SAVE Your BrandMay 2014
New SAVE formula saves the marketing specialists. 4P goes out of date. Brand managers oriented at the market success have to change their way of thinking.
So far, the formula of the market success was simple and well-trained: you take care of the product, price, distribution and promotion, and the brand will take care of itself. Note that in this formula, customers are absent, although sales, profits, etc. depend on their acceptance. Marketers will always find a way out of the problem, so Professors Ettenson, Conrado and Knowles have rescued us with their formula of SAVE [Harvard Business Review Jan – Feb 2013].
Brand in a ‘safe' formula
If no longer in the form of 4P, then let's have a look at the process of the effective brand design from the SAVE perspective.
Solutions replaced the product. So we don’t sell products anymore? No, if you think about the product from the perspective of an engineer who sees only a set of characteristics that need to be constantly improved. What's wrong with that? How about you: do you prefer a “better” USB flash drive (still susceptible to loss or incompatibility with the computer) or rather more convenient and more reliable access to the cloud? Focus on improving what is already known is the proverbial building a better mousetrap. Insiders say that the shrewd cat is a better option.
Access instead of the traditional distribution means looking from the perspective of the customer. You have to ensure the availability (where and how your customer wants to have access to the brand) of solutions, which make you stand out on the market, and not to concentrate on building relationships with distributors only. Think how many companies saying “customer” still think of wholesalers and retail chains and not about Mr. Smith?
Value, which replaced the price, tells us to think mainly from the perspective of the relationship between the benefits that a customer gets from the brand to the total cost of its acquisition and use. Therefore, production and sale costs and competitors’ prices are only external constraints to be taken into account but the key question is how much brand is worth for the customer.
Education is rather friendly good advice, suggestion, prompting, implemented in the form of a dialogue with the customer, in those places in which he or she wants to lead rather than monotonous dialogue, reminiscent of the bombardment of insolent ads in traditional media. Forceful persuasion has not convinced anyone to love the brand.
And the winner is ...
Today's winners of the most valuable and best brand rankings, such as Apple or Google, but also those which in these rankings advance rapidly (like Zara or Samsung), design their brands on useful solutions to which customers do not need to be forced and to which they have access, and finally, for which they will gladly pay because they recognize the value brand offers.
The 4P probably will remain with us for some time yet, but more and more often in academic textbooks, in the chapter titled “history of marketing”.