Brand distinctiveness of a new trade name for MC Design & Contracting
Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study aimed to answer the question whether a change of trade name would affect the brand distinctiveness of MC Design & Contracting. MC Design & Contracting is a small to medium-sized enterprise based in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The business falls within a segment of the manufacturing sector known as the engineering sector. The business manufactures and installs engineered production facilities and components to industrial markets. As MC Design & Contracting is based in the Eastern Cape where the majority of South African automotive manufacturers are situated, it has a strong reliance on the automotive industry. In an attempt to break this single industry reliance, MC Design & Contracting management has deployed customer diversification strategies. The brand MC Design & Contracting is unique and the business therefore has achieved brand distinctiveness within its industry sector. The customer differentiation strategy requires marketing and sales personnel to target new customers that are not familiar with the business. As a promotional aspect of business-to-business marketing, the element of personal selling plays an important role. The salesforce and marketing personnel felt that the trade name of the business, MC Design & Contracting, was no longer aligned with its customer value proposition. They considered the trade name to be a distraction to the selling and promotions process. In order to assess the impact of a trade name change, MC Design & Contracting’s board requested an independent study dealing with the matter. This study set out to establish the various elements relating to the design of a trade name, including the procedural and legal requirements within a South African context. The ultimate goal of branding is for a business to achieve a degree of ‘uniqueness’ over its competitors. Referred to as ‘brand distinctiveness’, this study explored how trade names relate to brand distinctiveness. The study utilised a qualitative research methodology in the form of semi-structured interviews to gather data from internal and external stakeholders of MC Design & Contracting. The study found that MC Design & Contracting has a distinctive brand, but its trade name is no longer relevant. Furthermore, the study suggests that a change of trade name would affect both brand recognition and brand distinctiveness. The study concludes with recommendations to MC Design & Contracting’s board of directors. The recommendations revolve around the process of selecting an effective trade name that contains an element of distinctiveness. It also deals with the element of brand protection by suggesting the registration of a trademark.