Apple brands - from the producers' point of view
When launching a new brand, fruit producers, as the major investor in a new apple variety, face a new challenge. After all, they have to evaluate both if the apple is worth cultivating and the
brand's quality, the marketing programme and the club of varieties. They have to decide if they want to take existing apple varieties down a well trodden path or set out on a new track, as part
of an exclusive value-added chain.
Factors of success relevant to a decision on an investment in new apple brands
Financial return flow
Can an emotional distance in brand management and price to the standard range and other club varieties be kept?
Pack-out quality product
Does the apple variety fit into the fruit-growing region? What is the expected share of the production total in relation to the share of the goods traded as the brand in question?
What is going to get consumers excited? What is the quality of the brand visualisation? Who are the programme's "makers"? What are the expected marketing costs?
Does an exclusive variety fit into one's own corporate philosophy? Does the producer take up the challenges and does he/she have confidence in the brand management?
In general, four brand management parameters can be identified, all inter-connected and inter-dependent:
- Financial return flow (=return on investment) | Sustainability
- Profile of intellectual property (=trademark protection) | Recoverability
- Network structure (=internationality) | Communication
- Demand in the market (=recognition) | Product quality
Akin to the shareholding culture, apple producers can be viewed as "shareholders", who not only invest in an apple variety but, at the same time, in a brand, their stock. To expand the analogy, the people who work for a club, manage and defend the brand in order to establish a brand value in the long term, can be viewed as "stakeholders". Today, producers thus do not only ask for a new apple variety's worthiness of cultivation but also for the brand image, brand strategy, the brand's market penetration and the consumers' perception of the brand.
Apple brands - from the consumers' point of view
Consumers view apples differently. The key to the success of a brand is its image, that is, its concept as formed by the consumer. In consumers' minds, brands are personal concepts. For a presentation of brands, the apples' quality standard, packaging, trademark, label, ads, commercials etc. are suitable means to equip the brand with values, purchasing incentives and images. Brands have three specific functions to make consumers buy the product:
- Brands combine different strands of information and provide potential buyers orientation,
- Brands reduce the risk of wrong purchase by signalling a minimum of quality and dependability,
- Brands provide a spiritual value because they embody a certain desire, an image.
All these characteristics and attributes do not have anything to do with any specific apple variety an do not tell us anything about its pomological value added. These three functions' fulfilment and the standard behind them shows that brands are found in the upscale price segment and have to be managed in a professional manner if they want to survive in that segment. A brand has to create values and outdistance rival and standard products.