Quaker Oats - Brand Equity and Positioning

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Quaker Oats – Brand Equity and Positioning
Brand equity and positioning are integral parts of any marketing campaign. Any product or service needs to provide value to its customers in order to be successful. A personal interview and research reveal information about the Quaker Oats brand, how it created equity and its position in the market. Having a solid foundation and keeping up with changes in trends and society are the keys to a successful brand.

Quaker Oats – Brand Equity and Positioning
Many products are identified by particular brand names, like Levi’s (instead of jeans), Kleenex (instead of tissue), or Band-Aid (instead of adhesive bandages). A brand distinguishes “the goods of one producer from those of another” (Kotler & Keller, 2009). A brand identifies the manufacturer of a product and symbolizes a particular level of quality. Some brands can represent many different products, but to the consumer they are all believed to be of the same quality. An interview was conducted in order to understand how branding influences consumer behavior and decision making.

A male subject, 54 years of age, who does not routinely shop or particularly even like the task, was interviewed about his brand loyalty to breakfast cereal. The first thing that he mentioned was his loyalty to Quaker oatmeal, as opposed to another name or store brand of oatmeal. He described himself as very loyal to the brand, to the point of exclusivity, due to the historical reliability and quality of the brand. He is very familiar with the look of the container and the label, making it easy for him to find the product in almost any store. Many other manufacturers of oatmeal have copied the shape of the Quaker Oatmeal container, but none use the colors and logo associated with Quaker. The interviewee’s loyalty is not based upon any recent marketing or advertising effort, but on his historical experience with the product.

Although anything can be branded, it is the brand equity, or the added value that the brand brings to the product or service, that makes one product more valuable than another. Customer-based brand equity is the effect that knowledge of a brand has on the consumer (Kotler & Keller, 2009). If a brand has no effect on a customer, a decision to buy any given brand will probably be based on price. In the case of my interview subject, he did not have any faith in competing brands of oatmeal. He did not feel that they would be of the same quality as Quaker, even if they were a bit less-expensive. He is willing to spend the extra money (which is relatively little) in order to buy something he is sure he will like. In this case, the consumer’s brand knowledge consists of positive thoughts, feelings, images, experiences and beliefs about the product, which might even lead the subject to buy another product of the same brand.

Quaker has leveraged its most valuable asset, its brand and logo, by placing it on other breakfast foods. According to Kotler and Keller (2009), many of the most successful new products are actually brand extensions. My interview subject stated that he is more likely to buy other breakfast items bearing the Quaker logo than some generic brand, based on what he believes to be the brand’s consistent quality standards.

Brand positioning is the way in which a company imbeds its image in the minds of consumers (Kotler & Keller, 2009). It is a value-based reason for the target market to buy its product. In the case of my interview subject, he believes that Quaker has positioned itself as a healthy addition to a person’s diet and as a breakfast food. He had not heard of any other hot breakfast cereals that describe themselves as healthy and cholesterol lowering. Quaker has also positioned itself as the choice of the “baby boom” generation that is now aging. My subject admitted that other brands may offer...
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