This report aims at analyzing the brand management strategy of Telstra, which is one of the largest telecommunication in Australia. The company is popular due to its effective brand image and also consistent steps taken by the company to improve it on a regular basis. Brand positioning is vital for the success of an organisation. A company is popular among customers due to the fact that its brand identity is good and effective. Therefore, organisations must focus on increasing their brand image. This report has analysed the brand strategy of Telstra and how it has enabled the company to grow strategically in all these years. Towards the end, several recommendations are also provided for increasing the effectiveness of the existing services.
The brand selected for the report is Telstra, which is an Australian telecommunications company. The company builds and operates telecommunications networks and markets voice, internet, pay television and various other products and services for Australians. In terms of market share, it is the largest telecommunications company and also a member of the S&P/ASX 20 (Bostanci, Jerath & Yildirim, 2019). The brand has transitioned from a state-owned company to an entirely privatised company and also focussed on diversified products and new technologies. The focus of this report is to examine the brand positioning strategy of Telstra and evaluate how the telecommunications company has built its brand over the years to become the largest company in the country in the telecom sector.
3.Theory and practice
Consumers in the recent time are concerned with supporting brands that focus on their personal values. They do not only try to decide what is wrong and what is right instead they tend to make better decisions. The key purpose of consumers today is to select and associate with sustainable brands and support them. For this, even brands have to play a big role in ensuring that they just do not focus on profit-making but adopts an appropriate branding strategy (De Mooij, 2018). Studies indicate that brands do not only produce products and services rather they produce meaning, which indicate that it can relate to the consumers personally (Dou et al. 2010). There are various concepts such as brand equity, brand positioning strategy, brand extension strategy, brand innovation and technology crucial for the brands to enhance their brand image and develop exceptional strategies.
Fayvishenko (2018) defines brand equity as the value premium that a firm develops from a product with a good name when compared to others. The firms are able to develop brand equity for their products by making them extremely memorable for the consumers, easily determinable and also superior in quality and reliability. As per a research conducted by Herbst (2019), the organisations create the marketing campaigns to help in creating brand equity. A company has positive brand equity which means that customers are excited to pay a high price for the products or services. It doesn’t matter if the competitors offer the same products at low prices. Brand equity is extremely important for the organisations. With good brand equity, customers are ready to pay a premium price for carrying out the business with an organisation that they can personally connect to and can also admire them. The company with brand equity does not have a higher expense than the competitors to manufacture the products and services. The differences in the price is their margin. The brand equity of the firm enables an organisation to make huge profits. Hence, it is an indicator of the strength of the company. The firms in the same industry or sector use brand equity to compete with each other. In the case of Telstra, the telecommunication company faces huge competition in Australia. It is due to this that the company focuses on developing high brand equity.
Another important aspect of branding is Brand Positioning. Johnston (2016) defines it as the conceptual place which the firm aims at achieving in the minds of the consumers. With brand positioning, the firm is able to let the consumers think good about the brand. Therefore, an effective brand positioning strategy is extremely critical for increasing the customer relevancy and also maximising brand value. Over previous years, Telstra has made consistent efforts to develop an efficient brand positioning strategy. There are various components of a positioning statement such as category frame of reference, target market, key point of difference and evidence to prove it. The frame of reference helps in providing a view of the competitive context and product category to be associated with the brand (Pike et al. 2018). Another component of an efficient brand positioning strategy is the target market,which is about the individuals or group of individuals for whom the brand is built. The third component is the statement of the key point of difference which determines the benefits for the brand. The last component is the evidence for the consumers to believe in the brand.
Brand positioning strategy of Telstra focuses on various key components; relevance, differentiation and credibility.
Relevance is the first priority which indicates that the customers should find the brand appealing. For this, Telstra aims at making consistent changes in its strategies. If the brand does not consider relevance, it cannot position itself well in the industry no matter if the brand is differentiated or credible.
Another strategy is differentiation, which is a key driver of success of positioning. Telstra’s management has focussed on providing unique and competitive offerings to the consumers. This ensures that even if any other company offers the same products at low prices, customers would not buy them.
The third element of the brand positioning strategy of Telstra is credibility and attainable. There is a need to provide the offering so that the customers can be satisfied and not left with an empty promise.
In branding, a key aspect is brand extension strategy. Studies indicate that extending brand value is a term used for the methods that focus on increasing the reach of the brand among masses. Brand extension is a proactive strategy activity driven by customer behaviour (Pike et al. 2018). As the needs and preferences of the customers changes over time so the brands need to use their value propositions to reflect several changes. Also, customers may leave the relation with the brand if it does not make the changes they need. There are various methods of brand extension used by Telstra to ensure that it is able to change its offerings with time. For instance, Telstra’s management repositions the same products in a different way often. Also, there is a need to re-position different products in the same form. Telstra has new distributors, franchises or relationships to increase the brand image. Also, the telecom company makes changes in the price of the services to engage customers. Besides this, brand extension strategies may include introducing renewed features and also associations like changing product relationships.
Another key aspect of branding theory is brand innovation. It is a critical part of the corporate strategy. Brand innovation helps the businesses to execute new marketing projects through strategic planning (Pike et al., 2018). Brand innovation helps in providing new ideas, motivates the employees to practice creativity and also enables the marketing departments to take their firm ahead. Marketers are able to carry their innovation successfully and in a sustainable way with appropriate planning. In case of Telstra, the telecommunications company in Australia uses brand innovation for sustaining in the competitive industry and also strengthening the brand position. The company uses innovation for customers to promote that they provide best services to the consumers. This helps in ensuring that the consumers prefer Telstra over any other telecom company due to its brand innovation.
In brand innovation, dynamic innovation is crucial but the marketers have to consider that the new changes are aligned with the identity of the brand. This is a vital part of the marketing strategy. If there is no consistency then there cannot be any innovation. Therefore, the company cannot provide any benefits to the customers. In the case of Telstra, the company needs to have a dynamic workforce which works towards creating engaging products that align with the image of the company. This also needs efficient internal communication. Telstra’s workforce has a consistent and comprehensive understanding of the vision of the brand due to which they are able to work towards developing a different identity of brand.
The management of Telstra focuses on bringing different employees together such that there can be a dynamic and collaborative environment. The 5I’s of brand innovation model used by Telstra is as follows.
- Intent: the first I is Intent, which includes examining the market opportunities for long and short term. This helps the company to work towards sustainable growth and also align the strategies with business objectives.
- Insight: the second innovation element is insight which includes cultivating a deep understanding of the target audience. Telstra’s workforce conducts a detailed analysis of the customer data such that the business can inform their brand purpose and other important things to customers (Telstra.com.au, 2019).
- Ideation: the third element is ideation which implies that the team brainstorms about creatively understanding the brand concept. The workforce of Telstra make connections between current products and services for providing exceptional brand experience to the people.
- Innovation: The fourth element is innovation which is about informing strategic frameworks. This also includes creating product solutions as per the customers. Telstra has effectively allocated resources, streamlines operations and has an efficient corporate culture.
- Implementation: The last element is implementation which is about forming a strategy. This enables the brand to evolve and expand. Telstra has ensured that it implements its strategy well. Leadership supports evolution so that the strategies can be evaluated.
This I model helps in ensuring Telstra builds an efficient brand positioning strategy. The key agenda is to make sure that the company is able to effectively position itself well.
Telstra has a well-developed brand positioning industry and over the years, it has developed itself as a large company with a good brand image. The reports indicate that Australian telecom provider Telstra is on the mission to reposition itself from a telecom network to some other sector. This includes being an entertainment and lifestyle company. Also, there have been reports published in credible sources that Telstra has got the tag of being the most valuable brand for the fourth year followed by Qantas. The telecom company reported a dip in the brand valuation of the company from $14.7 billion in the Brand Finance’s Australia 100 rankings in 2019 (Telstra.com.au, 2019). However, this did not deteriorate the position of the company and the Australian company remained a top brand in the country. But there is a need for the telecommunications company to take appropriate steps such that the Telstra stays strong as a brand.
The management of the telecom company takes consistent steps to cope with the declining image of the brand value to ensure that they sustain their position. Reports suggest that brand strength has extremely weakened in all these years due to which there is a need for the company to make efforts to enhance it. This is an indicator of the fact that there are negative elements around Telstra that the company needs to resolve. Telstra’s management focuses on various measures such as measuring enterprise value, branded business value, brand contribution, brand value and brand strength (B&T Magazine, 2020). For this, the company has even started to prioritise improvements to enhance customer experience and also provide additional services to customers to make them happy and satisfied always. The focus of the company is on enhancing its brand image by taking various important steps in an appropriate manner.
A report has suggested that Telstra has also started the Telstra 2022 transformation product (B&T Magazine, 2020). In this project, the focus is on revamping the customer experience with high digitisation and automation. For this, Telstra focuses on using a mix of various channels. The company’s management even announced a four-pillar strategy for the coming years so as to achieve certain brand positioning goals. The goals of the company include improving the customer experience, providing better products and business, increasing the network for the consumers, acquiring high performance across the globe for high employee engagement. It also aims at achieving a net cost productivity of 2.5$ billion AUD by FY22 (Mason, 2019). The brand strategy of Telstra includes various components.
- The company is set to establish an infrastructure business for financial reports. This will help in engaging new strategic investors for the business. The official reports from the company declared about establishing a wholly owned standalone infrastructure business unit.
- Another crucial component of the project is to develop high-quality fixed network infrastructure assets such as data centres, domestic fibres, exchanges, ducts and pipes. This will help the telecom company to increase efficiency of the operations and also transparency.
- The third brand enhancement measure is to include the management of more than 5000 exchanges and data centres.
- The strategy also includes enhancing the workforce and providing them training to cope with business complexities. A competent workforce is vital for enhancing the image of the brand.
These are some of the steps taken by Telstra to ensure that it has an efficient brand positioning strategy and also it remains a strong brand for the Australians in the years to come.
Based on the theoretical and practical analysis of brand management strategy of Telstra, some of the recommendations for the telecommunication company are as follows.
- The brand positioning strategy of Telstra should be based on the benefits to customers provided by the company. The focus should be on simplification of the services. This can help in Telstra’s competitiveness and also can help in cutting cost. Besides managing the cost, it can also help in increasing the brand image of the company in an appropriate way. Therefore, this proposal can be extremely successful for the company.
- The company needs to focus on creating sustainable products and services and even training their workforce so that they can whole-heardtely commit towards exclusive positioning of the brand in the Australian industry. There is a need to ensure that every product is developed as per the competitiveness of the brand. It is vital that the workforce of the company is extremely competent to ensure that every dynamic responsibility is managed in an appropriate manner. The brand development is vital for the success of the organisation and this needs the efforts of the company.
- Telstra needs to focus on taking customer feedback so as to incorporate it in the new branding strategy of the company. The feedback of the customers is a strategic way to develop brand development strategies and also amend from time to time.
To conclude, it can be indicated that brand position is an extremely important driver for the success of the organisation. An organisation has to make efforts to ensure that the brand image of the company is strong amongst the consumers such that they choose the brand over other competitors. As a result, brand positioning, brand extension and brand innovation are crucial aspects of branding strategy of the company. The case of Telstra is the finest example of an efficient brand positioning strategy of a company. Telstra’s success is attributed to the steps taken by the company for improving the brand image of the company in the competitive telecom industry of Australia. The company has taken several steps in ensuring that the telecommunication sector is dominated by Telstra. In spite of high competition, Telstra’s services are liked by the consumers due to their efficient brand management strategy.
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