The practice of brand management is a key component of marketing and performs an integral function by motivating the wants and needs of consumers. It is known that marketing can shape consumer needs and wants, however, consumers today appear to be more knowledgeable about the information regarding products. Consumers lead busy lives and have therefore gone to the internet as one of the many channels to learn about products in order to make informed decisions. This paper will discuss the argument that marketing should reflect the needs and wants of consumers rather than shaping these attributes. Due to the speed and ease of obtaining information, consumers do not take at face value strong marketing efforts that appear to be overly aggressive and push a brand rather than just being informative. Brand managers have to be aware of these changing dynamics and carefully craft brand management practices to meet the demands of consumers.
According to Heath and Heath (2008), consumers seem to have a mistrust of marketing resulting in a disconnection between the agenda of brand managers and consumer interests. This mistrust lies with the consumer view that marketers are pushing for “excessive consumption” rather than really understanding attitudes and perceptions that lead to satisfying the needs and wants of consumers (Heath & Heath, 2008). Today, consumers are opposed to push strategies, and prefer making decisions about brands more independently. Hipperson (2010) has found that companies may have to “change from delivering push communications to creating pull interactions” (p. 263). This reflects the importance of listening to what consumers are demanding and then implementing strategies that will satisfy this consumer demand.
The needs and wants of consumers should be at the core of the marketing concept and brand managers should ensure that strategies reflect consumer behavior (Baker, 2005; Kotler & Keller, 2009). Kotler and Keller (2009) further suggest that consumer needs “preexist” marketing and therefore does not create needs. It is suggested that factors in society and marketing do however influence wants. For example, marketing might promote the concept that a Montblanc pen would possibly satisfy a consumer’s need for social status; however, marketing does not create the need for social status (Kotler & Keller, 2009).
Middleton (2005) suggests the concept that a brand is a “promise” of performance from the company to the consumer. This means that the brand must provide value to the consumer relating to numerous possible factors such as reliability, cost, quality, etc. Middleton (2005) goes on to suggest that problems occur when brands do not stay current and this issue may cause consternation for consumers. The value proposition of a brand can be lost when marketing takes for granted the needs and wants of the consumer. Brand management is an on-going process of continually evaluating and then delivering this...