Promoting a brand

by The Times 100 on Monday 20th June, 2011

Eddie Stobart is arguably the most famous name in road haulage in the UK. The company started in 1976 with only eight trucks and 12 employees. It has now become so well-known that it has 25,000 members in its official fan club. The firm is a multi-million pound enterprise and has approximately 2,200 trucks on the road. Despite Eddie Stobart being a household name, it is certainly not the largest firm in the industry. Yet, according to Geoff Dossetter, a freight transport expert, it has effectively captured the public's imagination in a way none of its competitors has been able to do. Dossetter says that Edward Stobart recognised the importance of promoting the Eddie Stobart brand. The company created badges and children's truck spotting kits which became hugely popular. Eddie Stobart also changed the image of truck drivers by ensuring they wore collars and ties and waved or sounded their horns when signalled by passers-by. Perhaps his 'masterstroke' however was the decision to give all the lorries female names. The first was named after model Twiggy. (BBC News 1st April 2011)

Another well known brand name is Portakabin. Now often used as a generic term for portable buildings, Portakabin designs and delivers modular buildings for a range of purposes such as office buildings, medical centres and schools. As with Eddie Stobart, Portakabin is a business to business organisation (B2B). The way it promotes its products and services will therefore differ from organisations that provide goods and services to the consumer (B2C firms). Portakabin uses a range of above-the-line and below-the-line promotion activities such as direct mail, public relations and open days. Portakabin aims to seek out new customers and provide exceptional service to retain its existing ones. Through the effective use of promotion activities the firm can further develop its brand image and turn prospective customers into actual customers.

Questions
1.Identify five different methods of promotion.
2.Using the Portakabin case study to help, explain the difference between above-the-line and below-the-line promotion.
3.Analyse the benefits of effective promotion to businesses.

Answers
1.Identify five different methods of promotion.

  • Advertising
  • Sales promotions
  • Direct mail
  • Sponsorship
  • Public relations

2.Explain the difference between above-the-line and below-the-line promotion.

  • Above-the-line promotion uses paid-for, mass media advertising such as television and newspapers.
  • Below-the-line promotion is more under the control of the organisation and uses methods other than advertising, such as sales promotions and merchandising.

3.Analyse the benefits of effective promotion to businesses.
Effective promotion can be used to:

  • Raise awareness of products or organisations
  • Increase sales
  • Maintain market share
  • Gain competitive advantage
  • Change or improve the image of the firm
  • Provide information and raise concerns about issues.

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