Weak breadth of awareness: Consumers only think of Tiffany on special occasions shared with lovers
Prior to our findings in Assignment 2, we deemed Tiffany to have been successful in creating high brand salience with consumers, scoring high on both depth and breadth in terms of awareness. While it is true that Tiffany enjoys high brand recall among consumers, we noticed a distinctive gap between Tiffany and its consumers when it comes to the breadth of brand awareness.
Tiffany’s idea whereby “A Tiffany gift is perfect for any occasion” accentuates the fact that they do not want to be constrained by merely being a brand meant for big, fancy occasions. However, judging from our findings, this is clearly not what is communicated to consumers. Most consumers associate Tiffany with occasions such as engagements, anniversaries, weddings and Valentine’s Day, with only a minority stating other occasions such as graduation, receiving their first pay checks, getting a job promotion and the like. This greatly narrows the usage situations, affecting the breadth of its brand awareness.
We feel that the idea of Tiffany being a gift that is “perfect for any occasion” might have failed to communicate with consumers because of the narrowly defined meaning of “love”. Most of Tiffany’s advertisements features couples in a variety of settings with a prominent blue box – which is possibly why Tiffany only comes to mind on special occasions consumers share with their lovers.
We recommend Tiffany to widen the breadth of its brand awareness through a clear redefinition of the meaning of the word “love”. True love encompasses many facets – such as romantic relationship, friendship and kinship. One possible way could be through the use of a tagline or an effective campaign slogan.
This shift is also promising because the idea of associating romantic love and jewellery is no longer unique to Tiffany & Co. As mentioned by David during the brand frenzy session, competitive brands tend to adopt the “me too” approach, emulating the brand leader in the category. Thus, we see this shift as an opportunity for Tiffany to act as a challenger brand to innovate and stay ahead of competitors.
Price discrepancy between Tiffany products in Singapore and overseas
Tiffany has generally done well in this block of the pyramid except for pricing. Tiffany’s products have never been on discount and the brand does not believe in sales promotions as well. A premium pricing strategy is adopted to maintain the image of high quality and consistency. However, the image of consistency is affected by the discrepancies in pricing among different countries. For instance, as mentioned in Assignment 4, local consumers find Tiffany too overpriced and would rather go overseas to purchase products at a cheaper price.
The team finds it a challenge for Tiffany to attempt to close this gap because luxury goods are typically more expensive here in Singapore, which results in the discrepancies in pricing as compared to overseas. This is a problem faced by many other luxury brands as well.
Advertisements only feature couples in romantic setting – narrowing the definition of “love”
Males are always portrayed as givers
Tiffany is a brand with rich brand imagery, especially so for its intangible associations with romantic love. As mentioned,most of Tiffany’s advertisements features couples in a variety of settings with a prominent blue box – which is possibly why Tiffany only comes to mind on special occasions consumers share with their lovers. In these advertisements, men are always the ones seen holding the blue box as well. This is in line with our findings in Assignment 2, whereby there is a strong misconception that Tiffany’s products are only meant for females and that most gift-givers tend to be males. Evidently, these imagery played a part in shaping consumers’ mental images with the portrayed users/purchasers.
Similarly, to educate consumers that true love encompasses many facets, such as romantic relationship, friendship and kinship, advertisements should feature more than just couples. Advertisements should feature a variety of settings celebrating other moments of love.
Price discrepancy and availability of counterfeit goods affect brand quality
Male consumers question brand superiority
Looking at our findings from Assignment 2, even though most consumers see a pricing and product quality match, there is a minority who questions the quality of the brand. As mentioned, some consumers find Tiffany overpriced and are particularly upset over the fact that Tiffany products are priced higher here in Singapore. These emotions affect their attitudes towards Tiffany, which, in turn, affect their perceived value and quality of the products. The availability of counterfeit goods and imitations also further affect the perceived value and quality of Tiffany products.
The superiority of the brand is also questioned, as most male consumers do not view Tiffany as unique and better than other brands. They merely buy Tiffany because their purchasing decisions are heavily influenced by gift-receivers – who are potentially females.
The team finds it another challenge for Tiffany to attempt to close this gap. In addition to the discrepancies in pricing, Tiffany also faces the problem of counterfeit goods and imitations. Although Tiffany is committed to delivering high quality products to consumers and has taken extensive steps to protect the brand legally in all aspects, the availability of these counterfeit goods and imitations is simply not within the control of the brand.
Some consumers remain cynical of true love
Tiffany evokes a strong sense of social approval for most users, as supported by our findings in Assignment 2, and a sense of self-respect particularly for gift-givers. The ability to afford a Tiffany for a loved one makes consumers feel better about themselves; consumers feel a sense of pride, accomplishment, or fulfillment. These feelings of social approval and self-respect are private and enduring, and constitutes to positive responses in their encounters with the brand.
Tiffany also exudes a sense of warmth for the affluent self-buyers and gift-receivers. As concluded from Assignment 2, a significant number of people in these groups are typically females. To them, Tiffany evokes a sentimental, warmhearted feeling which can be attributed to the fact that many females stated owning a Tiffany product or an engagement ring as “a childhood dream”.
However, as seen in the means-end ladders in Assignment 2, there is a minority of consumers who do not associate positive affect towards the brand. While one respondent feels that Tiffany is over-commercialized, another thinks that Tiffany is a brand meant for materialistic people. There is also a relatively substantial number of consumers who are cynical of true love.
To close this gap, Tiffany can educate consumers about why their products are of true, high-quality, and to justify what consumers are really paying for. Our suggestions would be that Tiffany can create videos or adverts to show how their products are forged (e.g. the new metallurgy process that is being adopted currently by Tiffany) and what R&D processes and innovations each Tiffany product has to go through. With regard to peoples’ cynicism on true love and on the brand’s image as “materialistic”, we feel that it is generally impossible to please everyone. There will be loyal fans of the brand, and on the other extreme end, haters of the brand. Therefore, we will apply the “Lighthouse Effect” taught by David from Lux Etera. The lighthouse teaches us to focus on the group of consumers who are deemed more valuable to the brand in the long run (let’s call them Group A); and place much less emphasis on those who do not share the same attitudes and value with the brand (Group B). In this sense, we cultivate stronger positive feelings and attitudes of our Group A consumers, who can potentially become fervent loyalists of our brand.
Lack of brand resonance with male consumers
While there is high resonance between the brand and female consumers, the resonance between Tiffany and male consumers is significantly low. Female consumers tend to feel a stronger sense of personal attachment to the brand Tiffany or, alternatively, to the Tiffany products that they respectively own. Female consumers are also likely to enjoy higher social value when wearing a Tiffany product. One such example is our brand diary participant, Felicia, who mentioned that wearing a Tiffany bracelet and being seen with it actually “feels really gratifying”. The intensity of attitudinal attachment and sense of community female consumers feel towards Tiffany marks a clear gap between Tiffany and male consumers. Even though Tiffany offers male products, male consumers clearly do not feel the same way at all towards Tiffany.
However, the CBBE pyramid represents a “branding ladder” from identity to meaning to responses to relationships, that is, we cannot establish meaning unless we have created identity; responses cannot occur unless we have developed the right meaning; and we cannot forge a relationship unless we have elicited the proper responses.
Thus, it is not possible for the team to recommend a strategy that specifically aims at closing the gap at this block of the pyramid. Instead, strategies would have to work bottom-up, in order for Tiffany to close the gaps and truly resonate with both gender groups.