Marketing Case - Viking range kitchen appliances
Viking range kitchen appliances
Evaluating Vikings brand image include several points such as brand equity and financial value. First of all a number of points regarding the brand name selection will be taken into consideration.
Benefits and qualities: A brands name should have a relation to its benefits and qualities, “Viking” as a brand name signifies to the general public something with a legacy, something of value in other words. The name also suggests a high quality product because of the historical connection to the Vikings therefore logically the product has been branded a niche with a mission to be a part of the world’s cutting edge food movement.
Pronunciation: Easy pronunciation also make a brand easy to recognize and remember, this definitely includes Viking.
Distinctiveness: The brand name must be distinctive for the same reasons as the above. The Viking name is not distinctive since plenty of books, movies, toys as well as its historical meaning occur with the title Viking.
Extendable: If a brand wants to extend its name the name should be suitable to be applied to other products, Viking does this with their Viking Life division and their Viking Cooking School.
Translatable: A global brand must be able and suitable to be translated into other languages. In this case Viking is perfect since there is no need for it to be translated.
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Legal protection: For a brand to be legally registered in different countries it must not resemble another product with that name, since Viking is a widely used brand name this point may become a problem.
Levels of product
Three levels should be taken into consideration when planning a product: Core benefit, Actual product and augmented product. If we take Vikings oven product as an example, its core benefit is cooking, the actual product however depends on its brand name(very strong and highly dependent), quality level(High quality), design(industrial, stainless steel, Viking D3) and features(convenience and abilities). Still the augmented level might become a crucial part of the ovens success since an oven is complex and difficult to install and transported. Especially two services are crucial. Firstly a safety for such an investment must be present. Viking handle’s this factor quite good with their 3 year warranty. Secondly good instructions on use of the oven.
A company’s product mix has four dimensions, these can be used to give an overview of Vikings product lines and items as well as help increase its business.
Width(number of different product lines): Viking provides for 5 different product lines, Viking professional, Viking D3, Viking outdoor, Viking commercial, Viking culinary.
Length (total number of items): Viking has several items divided into categories with in the product line such as cooking, ventilation, Carts and Cabinetry and refrigeration.
Depth (number of versions): Most of Vikings product has more than one version such as three versions of ovens (Burner, Gas and Electric).
Consistency ( relation between product lines): Viking has a strong relation between its product lines they all serve one purpose which is cooking.
If Viking wishes to expand its business then it can increase in one of the four dimensions. It has already introduced new items increasing its length but I would recommend Viking to pursue less consistency, to strengthen its position in other fields. This also seems to be
Brand Development Strategy
Vikings brand development strategy has been to introduce new product categories while maintaining the existing brand name. As the article states: “Viking has added new product lines. Refrigerators came along in 1996, cookware, cutlery and wine cellars in 2001 and countertop appliances in 2003. The latest innovation is a combination steam and convection oven”.
“Our products are never going to be in the lower-price range," Fred Carl says which means that Viking is definitely on the “more price” side and their prices also reflect this. Regarding the benefits however, Viking has met some critique from customers who are dissatisfied with the product. Therefore I place Viking on the “The Same” side regarding its benefits since this means that you get the same amount of benefits as you would from another brand. Therefore Collins says that "Viking has been called the Mercedes of kitchen appliances, and it's living on the brand name".
In order to explain and evaluate Vikings brand strategy development I will go through four steps: Brand positioning, brand name selection, brand sponsorship and brand development.
Brand positioning: Vikings has positioned itself on the level of beliefs and values where the emotional relationship with their costumers is of major importance. This is what the article “Viking Simmer a Strategy” suggests. As CEO Fred Carl says: "We want an American-made product, and I am 110% committed to keeping Viking manufacturing in Greenwood," he says. "This town is special to me. We grew up here; our family is here. Staying here is a way for us to have fun, make money and help the community along the way."
The major segmentation variables are geographic, Demographic, Psychographic and Behavioral. Viking could employ the geographic variable, due to their main customer group it is limited for Viking to make profit everywhere in the world. This is why they should stay away from for example, poor areas since they have upscale and expensive products. Viking should also employ the Demographic variable, most importantly the income factor should be addressed since Viking is an expensive product.
Vikings competitive advantage
Vikings competitive advantage has definitely been differentiation due to their focus on their brand identity as a culinary company which has helped Viking attract attention. Fred Carl says "I reminded our people that we were a culinary company, not a manufacturing company, and that was going to make Viking different". Psychographic and Behavioral variables could also be employed where social class, benefits and loyalty status would be relevant for Viking.
Target market strategy
Viking has chosen Concentrated (niche) marketing due to its price level and due to value proposition being “more for the same”. It is also stated in the article by Fred Carl that they wish to be a niche product.