Brand positioning refers to a long-term plan for the growth and evolution of an institution’s image. Most institutions incorporate brand strategies to project favourable images to potential customers. The type of brand positioning adopted by an institution depends on its customer profile. While different companies initiate different positioning strategies, the main goal of implementing brand positioning is to boost sales, and consequently maximize profits. Therefore, examining the brand strategies applied by top companies, such as BMW and Toyota, is necessary to learn the effectiveness of each company’s brand positioning.
BMW Group is an exclusive automobile brand. The car manufacturer has positioned itself in the market based on the class of its customers and its product attributes. Foremost, the company only targets customers from the upper social class. Its customer profile consists of customers aged 30-50 years, excelling in their careers, and in need of luxurious vehicles to portray their social status (Bhasin, 2018). The position taken by BMW has influenced the type of automobiles manufactured; thus, the company produces only premium techno-savvy vehicles.
BMW is also known to have reliable and quality customer service support. The company uses its customer service as a growth driver to boost customer experience and grow its market. Nonetheless, the company faces challenges in maintaining its position as a brand star. For instance, due to the brand approach adopted by BMW, its market segment is limited to only the upper social class. Moreover, due to the technology used in manufacturing, the vehicles produced by BMW are rarely used in developing nations. The company’s mission, “The BMW Group is the world‘s leading provider of premium products and premium services for individual mobility,” does not radiate inclusivity. Instead, it stereotypes the target market as that for only premium people. The setbacks mentioned above have adversely affected the brand image of the company.
Toyota Motor Corporation is a pioneer automobile manufacturer that uses value-based and user-benefit positioning strategies. The company applies differentiated target marketing such that its customers are from all demographics and social classes. Hence, it has a large market base. The company also emphasizes a customer-based approach in determining its production processes. For example, the company uses a “Jidoka” approach together with Just-In-Time (JIT) in running its production system. Per Bhasin (2018), the “Jidoka” approach ensures that quality products are delivered to customers, and in case of a problem, production is stopped immediately. The approach has enabled the company to improve its efficiency and minimize its operating costs.
As part of its branding, Toyota has maximized producing quality vehicles at low prices. The pricing strategy adopted has kept the company ahead in the competitive automobile industry. Moreover, the prices of Toyota vehicles enable the company to penetrate markets in developing countries with minimal hindrance. Bhasin (2018) notes that Toyota’s mission statement, “To meet challenging goals by engaging the talent and passion of the people,” plays a critical role in communicating its vision and emphasize an all-inclusive perspective of customer service to both its employees and customers. Therefore, the strategies initiated by Toyota have enabled the company to grow and maintain its brand outlook.
The positioning strategies used by either of the two companies are good, as evident from the sales made by both companies. However, the brand positioning used by Toyota is more effective than that adopted by BMW due to various reasons. Foremost, while BMW’s positioning focuses on the upper social class, Toyota’s strategies ensure affordable vehicles to middle-income earners; hence Toyota can reach a larger market segment and command a large market base as a result. Secondly, Toyota Corporation focused on the internal production process for the benefit of external markets; thus, it improved its production efficiency. In contrast, the BMW Group used its customers to determine its brand strategies and production techniques. Hence, its production efficiency is still wanting. For example, in 2010, the BMW had to call back seven cars due to engine pump problems (Bhasin, 2018). Lastly, Toyota applies low price positioning to sell its vehicles, whereas BMW specializes in producing expensive vehicles. The approach has enabled Toyota to penetrate markets in developing countries, such as Asian markets. On the other hand, BMW faces difficulty entering such markets since its vehicles are above the price range of most residents in developing nations.
The strategies used to promote a company’s brand should be unique as per the company’s needs and objectives. By comparing the strategies applied by Toyota Corporation against those adopted by the BMW Group; one can conclude that the brand strategy adopted by a company not only reveals its customer profile and target market; it also portrays the organizational culture of that company. Since a brand strategy plays a key role in attracting customers and motivating employees, critical evaluation is neccesary before implementing the strategy. The evaluation determines the strengths and weaknesses of the strategy and ranks its effectiveness. Moreover, the analysis will recommend measures that can be initiated to complement the strategy’s weaknesses, and help in reducing unnecessary operational costs. Therefore, a company has to assess its objectives, and streamline its brand positioning to boost its performance while creating the optimal work environment.
Bhasin, H. (2018). Marketing strategy of BMW- BMW marketing strategy. Strategic Marketing Articles. https://www.marketing91.com/marketing-strategy-bmw/#:~:text=BMW%20targets%20customers%20from%20upperhigh%20performances%20%26%exclusive%20automobile%20brand
Bhasin, H. (2018). Marketing strategy of Toyota- Toyota marketing strategy. Strategic Marketing Articles. https://www.marketing91.com.marketing-strategy-toyota/