The traditional view of marketing is that marketers used to succeed by providing superior products and other distinctive functional benefits. But today for such benefits can readily be imitated. Marketers must therefore find new ways of differentiating their products and services by identifying new customer benefits from the customer’s view. Basing on this background, some companies emphasize process benefits and relationship benefits or integrate them with functional benefits to reshape the three benefits combination to attract the consumers who value these new types of benefits as highly as functional ones. The basis for creating successful marketing strategies has expanded to three dimensions and consequently leads to brand extension.
This essay aims at make a brief discussion on these issues. Process benefits and relationship benefits are critically analyzed firstly. Then maximizing value creation by identifying new customer benefits from the customer’s cognitive space will be evaluated. Additionally, relevant brand differentiation and brand extension, the key to competitive advantage, will be assessed. In general, brand benefits deriving from adding dimensions to single functional benefits and resulting in strong brand ripple effect, are running through the whole article as a main clue.
Today’s marketplace is fundamentally different as a result of major societal forces that have resulted in many new consumer and company capabilities (Kotler and Kevin, 2009). Consumers now tend to pursuit more convenience, pleasantness in consumption process except for high quality products and service. Their needs and wants, also says the consumers value, have expanded and updated to multi-dimensions including process benefits which make transactions between buyers and sellers easier, quicker, cheaper, and more pleasant and relationship benefits which reward the willingness of consumers to identify themselves and to reveal their purchasing behavior.
Meanwhile, companies are finding the market environment increasingly complex and competitive (Reid, 2008). They struggle to market more distinctive offerings to satisfy consumer needs. Delivering multi-dimension benefits to customers is the key, realistic and feasible step. The ability of process and relationship benefits to transform the customer’s shopping experience is becoming more and more apparent (Court et al., 1999). IBM and AT&T, which are both significantly stronger in such elements than their competitors, illustrate the point well. The two companies communicate confidence: consumers feel that if they buy these brands, they will not go wrong; as the saying goes, "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM." (Leiter et al., 2002).
On the relationship benefit side，British Airways redesigned its cabins to offer the first flat beds in business class when other airlines merely increased the pitch or width of their seats. Virgin Atlantic Airways reinforced its famous "doing things differently" brand personality with a restyled "Upper Class" service that features "designer-styled" cabins, a sit-down bar, an in-flight massage service, and flat-bed seats (Aufreiter et al., 2003). British Airways has found that building relationships with its "premium customers" increased the amount of business generated by these customers by nine percent (Kristy, 2003).
Just as the cases mentioned above indicated that, with the rapid development of the economy and modern industry, more and more excellent products are available. Consumers are more powerful, active and intelligent than ever before and are becoming more and more benefits sensitive to select the products and service between the different benefits.
It is sure that customers are value maximizers and estimate which offer will deliver the most perceived value and act on it. These forces have created new opportunities and challenges, and marketing management has change significantly...