Sarson’s Brand 

Subject: Business
Type: Analytical Essay
Pages: 12
Word count: 3139
Topics: Business Ethics, Consumerism, Marketing

Executive summary

Sarson’s brand is a market leader in the United Kingdom and the global market. The brand has continually involved its customers in its branding strategies. It has organized campaigns such as the pickling campaign and the Chip week campaign, targeted at improving customers’ perception of their brand. The brand has managed to be the leading vinegar producing entity, with output quality and consumer satisfaction being their driving operational factor. The brand’s owners Mizkan, have engaged in and ensured that the brand perception ascribed to the firm is maintained and this opportunity is utilized to ensure that new customers’ interests are captured. The brand has used different brand strategies such as advertising to create brand awareness, brand packaging, and maintenance of brand positioning through promotional strategies. It has been keen on how the customer perceives and uses their product. They have made their packaging user-friendly to ensure that the smudging of vinegar does not occur when consumers use the product. In addition, they have been keen to offer consumers different recipes. This strategy has gained them loyalty as the recipes and uses described in the Sarson’s website are of an eclectic taste; consequently, the brand offers a distinct feeling of satisfaction in the market to the consumer. 

Despite the positive branding strategies that the brand has continually used, there are gaps that they could manipulate to enhance their market control, market loyalty and espouse increased sales. Based on the information gathered from Mizkan and the Sarson’s website, the comments made by viewers and participant of the Sarson’s brand campaigns and the literature available on brand theory, brand equity, and brand strategies, there are certain emergent gaps ascribed to Sarson’s branding strategies. Increased digital branding, brand goal communication and increasing ease of access of the product to consumers are the notable re-launch recommendations that ought to be targeted at improving the brand’s capacity to meet customer needs through better quality, product availability and making informed purchasing decisions. Market leadership is not a position that is easily achieved; it is accrued through the inclusion of customer-oriented programs in the organizational objectives. The customer is the main tenet that facilitates a brand’s success and therefore should be the main area of focus when developing any brands launch strategy. 

Sarson’s Brand Analysis

The paper herein intends to harness the different branding strategies and concepts that brands usually utilize to make their brand a market leader. The focus is how Sarson’s as a brand has strategically positioned itself to ensure that it remains the market leader. The paper identifies its current market branding position and the branding strategies used to create its competitive position in the United Kingdom and the world’s global market. The scope of discussion will highlight the specific brand positioning, brand awareness, brand communication and brand evolution strategies that the owners of the brand have progressively put in place over the years. In addition, it will identify the discrepancies ascribed to its modus operando and improvements that the Sarson’s brand could utilize to establish a larger consumer base. The paper intimates a re-launch strategy that Mizkan could use to maximize the benefits that the Sarson’s brand achieves for them. The re-launch strategy is consumer-oriented and targets at improving the brand’s consumer base and the same time encouraging customer loyalty and the customer satisfaction derived from the brand. 

Sarson’s Brand Overview

Sarson’s is a United Kingdom-based malt vinegar brand that has been in production since 1794 (Mizkan Food Service, 2018). The brand was renamed the ‘Sarson’s Virgin Vinegar’ after Henry Sarson took over management from his father. Over the years the brand’s name has been varied but the Sarson name has always been present. The Sarson’s vinegar factory was a family business, which was originally run by James Thomas Sarson down to his generations. However, the company has now been run by different organizations, all with the agenda of promoting the uniqueness that the brand offers to the market. The Sarson’s vinegar constitutes a variety of vinegar types, which vary in flavour. Currently, the Sarson’s brand is managed by Mizkan after it bought the brand from Premier foods in 2012. The brand’s value has accrued over the years especially due to its persistence in marketing and originality in the brand. Currently, the brand’s estimated value is over £10 million and it produces millions of liters of vinegar per year. 

Brand Awareness and Image

In 2015, the Sarson’s brand set up a pickling and street food campaign intended at targeting the younger generation (FoodBev, 2015). Home pickling is a trend that is becoming evident in the United Kingdom’s food market and Sarson’s as a brand intended to capture the increasing popularity of the trend. The introduction of a new trend in the market is a task that requires an organization to define strategies and also identify the specific necessities needed to lure consumers into acceptance. Along with the street food and pickling campaign, Sarson’s made videos of food pickling in most online searches. The intention of this pickling project was to partner with traders and bloggers who are tasked with creating foodie recipes with their individual and unique style (Mizkan, 2018). This would promote the company’s strategy of sharing the quality of its brand with the partners. It gives the partners an inspirational motivation towards a better culinary experience. The videos for the campaign were distributed in social media channels. This is a recognition for the company that the internet controls the market share and consumer interests. With the increased influence of the internet on the populace, it is important that organization represent their brand with the current trends and become technologically updated. 

Brand Positioning

Sarson’s is a leader in its market niche in the United Kingdom and is recognized across the globe as an outstanding vinegar production enterprise. This position is difficult to hold in the market as it requires continuous rebranding, consumer loyalty initiatives, brand awareness measures and brand collaboration. However, most of the time, companies often achieve a position higher than the expected one but have an ideal rank that they would like to get to (Ellefsen, 2014). Sarson’s could improve its international market to make a shift to globalization. The enterprise has set a formidable standard in the foodie market due to its leading vinegar production. This is a recognition that has seen the brand capture a plethora customers since the brand has offered consumers a specific satisfaction that cannot be met by its competitors. Mizkan has harnessed its organizational objectives in the manufacturing of Sarson’s vinegar brands. This modus operando has improved their ability to be consistent in their production and branding strategies since they are in tandem with the enterprise’s general objectives. 

Secondary Brand Associations

A brand’s secondary associations and collaborations have a positive valence to the output of the organization and the brand (Ellefsen, 2014). Sarson’s has adopted a secondary partnership measure, which targets at improving the organizational relationships with stakeholder and influence customers to make purchases. Sarson’s has partnered with Jimmy Doherty, who is a renowned TV presenter and a farmer (Sarson’s 2018). The partnership revolves around a factory tour with Jimmy, who shows the populace how the Sarson’s vinegar production process is conducted in the factory. The agenda is to exhibit transparency to customers and interested organizations. In addition, it is intended to create customer confidence in the brand once they see how well their brand is manufactured, with quality and precision. In addition, they offer the organization unrealized exposure. This is because as the partner advertises their brand or product in relation to the associated partnership, they will make the world conversant with the brand without delving too much into advertising efforts. 

Brand Evolution Over Time

Sarson’s packaging is one of the brand elements that have evolved over time. The brand has had different packages, all with the agenda of impressing the customer. Brand packaging is another aspect of corporate branding that requires special consideration. A brand’s packaging should be appealing to the consumer and protective enough of the product being purchased. Sarson’s vinegar’s brand marketing manager recognizes that brand packaging changes can be scary but can be a long-term investment for brands and companies with futuristic approaches to brand management (Burrows, 2014).  In 2016, the Parker Williams packaging brand worked with the Sarson’s brand to package their new pickling vinegar. This project was well initiated as envisaged by Parker Williams, director, who is also a believer in pickling. This translated in the development of a label design that portrayed the attributes of the product comprehensively. The packaging is eye-catching and presents the idea behind making the product. Brand packaging cannot be a one-person job, it requires the brand manager and the packaging makers to collaborate in order to achieve exclusivity and integration of purpose. This is because the package communicates what the brand’s product is offering. The presentation is key for the organization and the consumers and only through integrative measures can the best packaging designs be offered (Dhurup, 2014). Brand packaging is an influence on customers’ brand awareness and brand loyalty, hence needs to be done with precision and with the intention of capturing the customer’s interest (Hess, 2014). The Sarson’s brand has been packaged by the Robot Food, UK, in 2013, where they aimed at creating a packaging bottle that was more convenient for the consumer’s consumption. They created a spray vinegar bottle, which mimicked the traditional bottle with the intention of improving packaging quality and still ensuring that the customer does not get confused with the content.

Branding Extensions

Sarson’s is a brand with the capacity of extending its brand’s products. In the beginning, the malt vinegar was the original Sarson’s brand, which has extensively grown its range to the pickling vinegar, distilled vinegar and balsamic vinegar (Mizkan, 2018). Based on the progressive inclusion of the new product range, Mizkan can work with foodie partners, who can help give suggestions on the different recipes that would require vinegar and how the different tastes can be developed. This is an opportunity that the brand can utilize as they already have a ready and established market. The intention behind brand extensions is to capitalize the brand’s equity to market new products. The important consideration is to make sure that the brand extension is operationally viable and is consistent with the other brand range of products. Also, the cost and the reception in the market needs to be considered since the enterprise can produce an item it cannot afford or one that will not be accepted by the customer. Sarson’s have made different market surveys and the information required to make a brand extension is available to them. 

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Pricing Strategies and Tactics

The Pricing of a product or a brand is one of the key factors that influence the customer base ascribed to a brand and its shares in the market (Dhurup, 2014). Pricing influences the consumer choice of a brand since they cannot buy what they cannot afford or a product for which they do not acquire value for their money. It is crucial that a brand set a pricing criteria based on affordability and value for money acquired by the customer. Importantly, the target market controls how the brand will be priced. If the target market is the youth or middle-class individuals, the pricing should favour their buying capabilities. Sarson’s vinegar is priced depending on the different types of vinegar and depending on the bottle size of the vinegar presented to the customer. Other considerations associated with developing a pricing strategy include; the cost of production, marketing cost, the profit margin expected and the competition. In the case of Sarson’s the considerations revolve around achieving value for money for consumers, the cost of production and marketing and the profits that the brand intends to gain out of the sales. 

Promotional Strategies and Tactics

During the Chip week, the brand launched a marketing campaign. This campaign targeted the chips and fish shops nationwide so that consumers see Sarson’s vinegar when they think fish and chips. They distributed bespoke bags to expose the use of Sarson’s ingredient vinegar in the chips, which would induce consumer interest and purchases. The intention of holding brand campaigns is to continually deliver brand information to consumers and at the same time advance the popularity of the brand’s uniqueness in satisfying the market’s needs. Brand advertising necessitates the utilization of different communication tools such as social media to reach out to as many people as possible. Sarson’s pickling campaign videos distributed on YouTube were a good way to popularize the brand. More importantly, the promotions and advertising should seek to educate the consumer on what they know and do not know about the brand (IGI Global, 2014). The brand has used different promotional strategies, which have been deemed effective as it has retained its position in the market as the leading vinegar brand in the UK. 

Brand Re-launch Recommendation

Sarson already has a sizeable market share in the market but its targets is to improve their consumer base to accrue a larger market control. The agenda of improving current branding strategies is to ensure that the brand’s imagery and personality is continuously differentiated from that of the other competitors in the market. Despite the brand’s success in the market, it is still the customer’s decision to continue purchasing the brand. This therefore propels every re-launch strategy and recommendation to mainly focus on customer satisfaction rather than just increasing sales for the organization. 

The first re-launch postulation would be to recommend the acceptance of globalization as a strategy that would increase the brand’s market control. Sarson’s is renowned worldwide but has majored its focus in the United Kingdom rather than an international market. Marketing campaigns such as the Chip week campaign only focused on the chips and fish shops in the United Kingdom. They could engage in an international campaign embracing the foodie cultures in those countries and introducing the vinegar as a seasoning brand, which would bring out the best in the recipes they make. Brand globalization is an efficient way to create a larger market share since the consumers are already aware of the brand (Lin, 2014). Legendary brands are well known; hence they require less brand awareness campaigns compared to new brands and other products. It is an expensive task that requires large investment considerations but could yield greater profitability and increased sales. In addition, it is consumer-oriented since the brand’s range of products will be made readily available to the consumer. The ease of access of the brand to consumers translates in satisfaction to the consumer, hence brand loyalty is acquired as the consumer can get the product whenever they need it. 

In 2016, Sarson’s brand initiated an online campaign video that generated more than four million views and changed the brand’s perception to those who already know the product. In addition, it attracted new consumers especially the younger generation (Mizkan, 2018). Based on this finding, it is quite evident that digital marketing is one of the tools in today’s market that influences today’s consumer perception of a brand. Channels such as YouTube and Facebook are platforms used by more than 50% of the population. In recognition of this, it is prudent that Sarson’s engage in more vigorous digital campaigns and consumer challenges that will capture consumer’s attention to the brand. More importantly, the digital platforms are an opportunity to disseminate information about the brand to all potential consumers who access the internet. By utilizing this tool, the brand can achieve consumer interest, which they could translate into sales if the consumer sees the importance and uses of the brand. During the pickling campaign, Sarson’s brand could have increased their brand’s awareness on the internet by extensively making it a digital forum that the organization can reach out to more people. Digital branding has become a trend for many brands and renown organizations but its full potential has not been realized (Kavaratzis, 2015). It can also be used as a feedback collection platform since viewers of the brand’s videos, pictures, campaigns and forums can comment on them. It is a quicker feedback collection method that can be easily manipulated to identify the organization’s discrepancies and gaps that could lead to better customer satisfaction (IGI Global, 2017). 

Sarson’s have their long-term consumer plans that they intend to use to ensure that the market share is retained and continued loyalty is achieved. This is a positive characteristic of the organization that is quite essential in developing a brand that is continuously acceptable to the consumer. However, the goals are not well communicated to the consumer. Goal communication allows the consumer to anticipate the best version of the brand (Weinacht, 2015). However, if the interest is not captured, the consumer can be swayed by competitors who have given them a reason to look up to the brand in the future. In my opinion, Mizkan and the Sarson’s website could have a slot, which communicates the future plans for their brand and what is to be expected of their product. In addition, the forum on the website could have a section which allows the customer to offer their insight on what they would want the brand to offer in the future. This will keep the consumer glued to the product owing to the expectations created in their mind and the personal expectation that the brand will incorporate their insight into future products. To avoid competitors from copying the ideas developed and implementing them before the company does, it is essential to ensure that only the goal is stated but the strategies that espouse the achievement of these goals remain withheld (Martin, 2005). This will ensure that the customer’s attention is captured and at the same time, the uniqueness and authenticity of the brand are maintained. 

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Sarson’s is one of those brands that have managed to acquire the market share by continually involving their customers in their activities. In addition, they have captured new customers by advocating for campaigns that create awareness of the brand at the same time create an environment for them to learn the uses of the brand’s vinegar. Most of the brand’s strategies have been to create awareness through different campaigns and promotional videos. However, the perfection and optimal success of their brand have not been achieved. There are gaps that could be manipulated to gain the brand a larger market share, increased sales, increased profits and customer loyalty. The branding strategies used to generate brand equity in the market have not been manipulated to full flight. The recommendations for improving the company’s branding posited herein include globalized brand communication and awareness, digitized branding and communication of brand improvement expectations. These recommendations are based on an evaluation of the organization’s current branding strategies, consumer remarks, Sarson’s brand awareness campaigns and the literature available on branding theory and strategies.

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