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Role Understanding & Self-Evaluation of Key Competencies


Key Points

 The position requires the successful candidate to gain a thorough and in-depth understanding of each of the respective markets’ needs, preferences and culture in order to work in concert with a creative team to design tone and content appropriate communiques.

 In order to identify and achieve a deep understanding of the respective markets, the candidate will have to design information gathering techniques that will provide him/her with the insight necessary to obtain effective communications solutions.

 Additionally, the successful candidate will also have to identify effective communications channels and foster communicative relationships with various key partners to ensure that market communications are fruitful and meet the goals of the company.


Self-Evaluation of Key Competencies

 Copywriting skills and campaign conceptualisations: Excellent  Understanding of communications dynamics: Excellent  Understanding of written, audio, visual, audio-visual and new media: Excellent  Ability to design tone and content appropriate communiques (in a variety of media): Excellent  Understanding of quantitative and qualitative dimensions of information: Very High  Ability to research and turn raw data into meaningful information: Very High  Aesthetic sensitivity: Very High  Computer competency and literacy: Very High


In Summary

I feel, without doubt, that I could benefit the Beekman Group in their efforts to stay current with their respective and potential markets, and in doing so produce highly innovative, original and distinctive communications strategies suited to each market.

I am well versed in media, creative conceptualisations, socio-economics, and the cultural landscape of South Africa. The latter attributes combined with strong analytic skills should prove to make a good case for my candidacy pertaining to the role advertised.


Portfolio

Due to the primarily Web-based nature of my current role it is difficult to provide examples of completed work in a portfolio document. I will, however, provide a brief outline of my current marketing role, and insert an example of the type of writing I have done for the building of multiple digital assets.


Current role

 My role in uAfrica is to research the ecommerce market in South Africa and provide Search Engine Marketing solutions to three premier ecommerce sites, namely: TakeALot.com, PrivateProperty.com, bidorbuy.co.za.

 Additionally, research includes the analysis of the online price comparison environment (visualise: uPrice.co.za and pricecheck.co.za). Specifically, I use a very useful Google analytics engine, and then design a campaign based on market results.

 At the moment, the various stakeholders’ ROI is high due to the success of the methods pioneered at uAfrica, as is witnessed by the search engine marketing campaigns’ cornering of a highly competitive market.


Example of Writing Style taken from a Website built around the concept of Branding

An Introduction to Branding

Summary: Branding is a vital element of the marketing mix, and is often seen as the step that takes a client from product awareness to making the decision to purchase your product or service. In a competitive market, the competitive edge resides in what your brand has come to mean in the world in which the client lives.

Keywords: branding, brand, company, image, market, marketing, client, customer

Article:

Branding is a vital element of the marketing mix, and is often seen as the step that takes a client from product awareness to making the decision to purchase your product or service. In a competitive market, the definitive edge does not often come down to pricing and negligible differences in the quality of a product or service; instead, it lies in the perceptions of consumers. This is to say that the competitive edge resides in what your brand has come to mean in the world in which the client lives.


To put this in another way, and to borrow some terminology from the field of linguistics and semiology, each brand is a sign that suggests a multiplicity of meanings that combine to create a general impression of a company. This impression provides for a sense of what values are associated with the brand in question. If the client/customer identifies with those values, either through self-image similarity or through a respect for the values evinced by a brand, the chances of him/her taking business to that brand is dramatically increased.

One relatively recent example of the acute awareness that brand image plays in the decision making processes of a consumer comes from the world of golf. Whereas I would prefer not to dwell on this for too long, the example demonstrates the above points with particular rigour. When Tiger Woods’s indiscretions came to light, some of his biggest sponsors reacted swiftly with condemnation and the termination of their contracts with the golfer. Brand managers at these multinational organisations were quick to realise that infidelity is not something that they could afford to have associated with their brands.

The conflict, essentially, in the above example comes from the contradictions that would arise between brand identity and brand image should the companies have made the decision to continue their endorsement of Woods. Brand identity is the complex of associations that the respective company would like their brand (as a representative sign) to bring to mind in the perceptions of their client base and the public at large. Brand image is the real perception that the public and consumers have of the brand. The difference between the two (that is, between brand image and


brand identity) is that identity constitutes the ideal impression that a company would like to project whereas brand image is the impression that currently exists in the collective (cultural) consciousness of the market.

Referring back to the example cited above, a company like Tag-Heuer has a brand identity of reliable and trustworthy precision. If they were associated with indiscretion, and even deceit, the brand image would be contrary to the identity on which the company depends for its share of the market.

Whereas good, insightful branding cannot overcome the difficulties imposed by low quality and inferior products, a good product stands to suffer market neglect if it remains invisible due to incorrect marketing. A crucial element within the marketing strategy is the branding of the company which produces the good/service for sale.

One last way to think of this dynamic is that two levels of advertisement essentially take place: the first level is advertisement of the product itself (what it does, how much it costs, etc.); the second level is a much longer term form of advertisement, and operates at a level that underpins or endorses the specific product/service on offer: this second level is the plane on which branding operates.


The Genesis of Branding

Summary: Branding, as we know it today, is a relatively contemporary invention. Whereas there is a plethora of early examples of “protobranding” in the form of artists’ signatures and branded animals (denoting ownership), the Industrial Revolution and the development of mass production was the critical factor contributing to the need for market visibility.

Keywords: Branding, brand, market, Industrial Revolution, producer, customer, value

Article:

Branding, as we know it today, is a relatively contemporary invention. Whereas there is a plethora of early examples of “proto-branding” in the form of artists’ signatures and branded animals (denoting ownership), the Industrial Revolution and the development of mass production was the critical factor contributing to the need for market visibility. This is to say that as market places became more competitive, production companies had to earn the trust and loyalty of current and potential customers.


The word, “brand”, originated from the Archaic Norse word (brandr) for the phrase, “to burn”. The burning itself refers to the act of branding livestock to mark property. This practice continues into the present, and in its most basic form can be seen to describe the contemporary sphere of branding. That is, a sign (or a collection of discrete signs) is used to designate the origin of a product as coming from a particular producer. Moreover, the branding of a product by a well trusted company serves as a guarantee that the product is worth the money paid for it. Conversely, if a consumer were to purchase an item from a new producer that served them well, in whatever capacity, the quality of the product is conferred to/ associated with the producer. In the latter case, customer loyalty has begun to be built as positive brand experience has been established.

The role of the Industrial Revolution in defining twentieth and 21st century marketing techniques is almost all pervasive: this owes to the fact that mass production finds its genesis in the industrialisation that took place during this period in time. The mass produced goods manufactured in specialised factories needed to compete with goods produced by local manufacturers. Factory made goods were usually of equal quality with handmade products, at least, but were often cheaper. Nonetheless, they were an unknown entity and markets, fearing change, continued to show a preference for locally produced goods. To mitigate the factor of the unknown, producers began to brand their products so that consumers could identify a product that came from a particular company. It was through the simple marking of a product (thereby associating it with its producer) that a consumer could build an impression of the nature of the company (in a sense, the company’s character) over time.


With this, brand management was born. The underlying dynamic exerting a psychological force in the minds of consumers has been identified as being brand value. The value, which is to say the desirability, of a good is increased when it has been marked by/endorsed by/associated with a particular brand that has a positive public image. This positivity is created by the building of a carefully constructed impression that founds itself upon identifying and then embodying valuable cultural beliefs.

Pioneers in the field of scripting a company’s personality/character include early branding-conscious producers like Campbell Soup, Coca-Cola, Juicy Fruit Gum, and Kellogg’s.

By the 1940s, marketers realised just how much of an effect brand image could have on the sales of products, and therefore refined the act of creating a relationship between brand and consumer into an art form. To put this last point in another way, marketers realised that the market was willing to increase the amount spent on a product if that product was attached to a popular brand name. In this way, brand value generated revenue for producers.


Marketing Management

Summary: The correct management of marketing is essential to the success of any enterprise. There is however, a good deal more to the marketing process than most people suppose, especially new entrepreneurs. This is to say that whereas most people entering into the business environment are supply-side focussed, successful businesses are often seen to appropriately respond to consumer demand.

Keywords: market, demand, marketing, supply, product, Keynes, enterprise

The correct management of marketing is essential to the success of any enterprise. There is however, a good deal more to the marketing process than most people suppose, especially new entrepreneurs. This is to say that whereas most people entering into the business environment are supply-side focussed, successful businesses are often seen to appropriately respond to consumer demand.

Supply-side focussed firms (the norm until the 1960s) believe that if their product is, for example, of a better quality than their competitors, they will naturally have a greater share of the market. Demand orientated firms, on the other hand, produce that which is desired by the market (and therefore what is guaranteed to sell). If the firm can meet that market demand for a product or service at a price which is profitable to them, the product will go into production. This type of thinking believes that economic activity is demand driven (a belief made popular by the economist


JM Keynes during the period of the Great Depression). This contradicts supply-side economics which asserts that economic activity is stimulated by the ability of a producer to supply a particular good or service.

Neo-classical economists argued that demand would be infinite as people have an insatiable capacity to consume. Market orientated philosophies instead use the needs of the market as a guide to what types of products they should be producing and at what prices those goods will be bought. Market research is therefore the key to a good marketing strategy.

Once market needs have been identified, research and development should give a clear indication as to whether or not meeting those demands will be feasible to the firm involved. Should it prove possible and profitable, the product/service will be included within the firm’s gambit.

For firms already operating within well established, if not actually saturated, markets, good marketing management can further entrench a good position within that market, or give a particular company the competitive edge. This comes in the form of offering visible information about the product, ensuring that people of access to that product, and building good customer relations.

This last point relates strongly to the theme of this site (that is, branding). Managing the name of the company as it stands amongst those to whom you sell is imperative. If producer-customer relations break down, the entire brand stands to lose selling potential: this brand equity is


vital in highly competitive markets as consumers are often seen to purchase a product (assuming a minimum standard of quality) based on the brand with which it is associated. Beyond the image that is marketed by the company itself, a good marketing team will ensure that there is a high correlation between that identity and the actual image that exists in the market. Divergence between these two could further alienate a dissatisfied market owing to the fact that the company will be seen as being duplicitous.

Feedback is thus also crucial to the success of an enterprise. The firm must be kept abreast of the market’s response to their product (that is, whether or not they were happy with it, what they would include to improve on it, etc.). If all aspects of customer experience (the product itself; the price of the product; the customer’s awareness of the product; access to the product; and aftersales follow up) are well handled, there should be confidence that the firm is in a good position; either because it is doing things correctly, or because it has come to understand what needs to be done in order to improve upon their good/s.


Corporate Branding

Summary: Whereas individual products might be branded, thereby exploiting the unique characteristics of the product, many marketing teams have looked towards corporate branding as a wide reaching strategy that brands all individual products developed by an entity.

Keywords: brand, branding, corporate, brand orientation, image, consumers

Articles:

With the ever-increasing reach of companies into international markets due to globalisation, product competitiveness is an essential ingredient for gaining a share of the market. However, the notion of product competitiveness has shifted quite extensively in the recent past. Product quality has come to be assumed by consumers: this is to say that in highly competitive environments inferior products will quickly be crowded out by those which offer better value for money. The sought after advantage therefore comes down to brand image. The evidence from the market reveals that consumers will show a preference for a product based on their perception of the brand.


The shift in the marketing of products has thus been from product orientation towards brand orientation. In other words, greater amounts of resources are being allocated to brand management and brand marketing. This type of marketing is, strategically, much more of a long term campaign than those associated with product marketing.

Product life-cycles have also decreased owing to the fact that soon after the release of an item a flood of cheaper, imitative products are released into the same market. To distinguish the product from the rest of its competitors, therefore, companies are leveraging the equity contained within their brand. Brand orientation refers to "the degree to which the organization values brands and its practices are oriented towards building brand capabilities�

Whereas individual products might be branded, thereby exploiting the unique characteristics of the product, many marketing teams have looked towards corporate branding as a wide reaching strategy that brands all individual products developed by an entity.

Corporate branding can therefore be described as the practise of using a company name to brand a product or product range. Essentially, it is the using of established brand equity to persuade consumers to purchase that company’s product or service. Corporate branding of individual products creates an umbrella brand that covers a wide variety of economic activity.


Major multinational companies like IBM and Apple are regularly seen as using the reputation of the company’s brand (and the perceived identity of that brand) to market new products rather than market the specific details of the product itself. As Apple is associated with digital convergence – using fewer individual devices to complete all communications tasks and entertainment activities – as well as with innovation, the company has been able to exploit this identity to promote their “i” products. Buying an Apple product is buying into a range of interrelated products; moreover, it is buying into a group clearly distinguished from other consumers by their ownership and use of Apple products. The brand has acquired an identity that speaks for itself, an identity that is desired by many people around the world. In this way, the brand becomes more than the sum of its parts, and instead denotes an attitude towards life that consumers want to be associated with/consumers want to buy into.

A significant economy of scope has thus been achieved by the company as brand marketing replaces large amounts of individual product promotion. Brand marketing covers all products manufactured by a company, and the brand comes to assert a general identity, not leaving each individual product to fight for market recognition.


Role Interpretation and Portfolio