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Compare and Contrast Two Policy Areas – Urban Regeneration, Housing, Local Government or Transport – In Urban Theory

Abstract

Urban theory also known as urban economics focuses on the phenomenon of how a city is formed where the economic significance prevail in order to equip the city’s ability to realize the generation and accumulation of wealth. This paper will seek to highlight how federal aid in the UK affects and impacts on urban housing and transport. The authors have chosen these two policy areas because they have several common determinants: for example high unemployment rate would result in economic trends that influence both urban transport and housing.

 

The Importance of Financial Aid in Urban Theory

The financial aid, according to the urban theory, affect and influence cultural and economic facets of the modern society in the United Kingdom. The financial aid is a policy that directly affects one’s quality and access to urban transport and housing. While it supports people in living a better quality of life, it is also suitable to address unemployment issues, help residents get around the local area. There are, however, several constraints of the development of urban areas: geographical (lack of space for expansion), deprivation of areas (unemployment, lack of local businesses offering suitable work) and social, which draws a strong line between areas in towns occupied by owners, private tenants and social tenants. The below study is designed to review the related policies of the government and local councils and their effectiveness in addressing the above issues.

Discussion

Review of Urban Environment in the United Kingdom

The Royal Commission recently published a report on the urban environment.  The report concludes that over 80 percent of the UK population lives in the urban environment, and this also means that 80 percent of people are directly affected by the government’s urban policy and regulations. Urban areas do not only form complex systems and communities but also have their environmental, economic and social challenges, and governments need to address from time to time. The main challenges of these urban communities will be detailed below; however, the authors would like to focus on the two, currently examined policy areas of housing and transport.  That stated, it is important to note that the quality of housing and transport systems has a direct implication on people’s health, well-being, and overall life quality. Therefore, the importance of urban planning is great.

The housing market shortage and the consistency of the occupancy types create several problems, according to Spicker. (n.d.). The British housing urban policy has four different tenure types: owner-occupation, local authority housing (council homes), registered social landlords and private rented housing. Currently, the owner- occupation of the housing stock is much higher than at the beginning of the 20th Century, while the social housing sector grew after the building of social housing estates after the Second World War.

Urban Transportation Policy Issues

One of the main issues featured in the report of the Royal Commission (2012) is the increased car ownership and use in towns. It results in a decline in walking, which has health implications, alongside with the increased CO2 emission. (AdviceGuide.org.uk 2013) Further, increased car ownership does create a higher demand for parking and new roads. These factors also have implications for the urban environment, in the form of closing local shops, therefore, low-income families without a car would not be able to access fresh food. The complexity and interaction of the issues are detailed in Appendix A and will be a basis of the current policy study. (United Kingdom 2003:1)

According to a recent study, quoted by Jones, Leishman, and MacDonald (2005: 4) the average speed of traffic in urban areas is 21 miles per hour, This, obviously fluctuates according to the road use. Peak periods include the start and end of school day, as well as between 8 and 9 and 5 and 6 PM. This also results in the fast decline of road quality in towns, needing investments from local councils. While schemes for potholes have been created, urban residents are not satisfied with the condition of roads.

The main recommendations of the Royal Commission report (2007: 11) regarding transport and housing are noted below:

“We recommend that the government develops and strengthens requirements for Local     Transport Plans, such that by the end of 2008 they can include statutory targets for     reduction in urban traffic.”

Conclusion

While councils have the authority to deal with issues on the local level, the government needs to ensure that there are guidelines in place that support communities living in urban areas. Planning of future developments should be reconsidered on local and government level in order to serve the benefit of urban residents: lower congestion, shorter travel time to work, support of local businesses, affordable and effective transport links, better air quality, healthy and up-to-standard housing, with social housing sector implementing fair, means-tested policies to ensure that those who are most in need are allocated the homes that suit their lifestyle. (Wonders 2013) While there are currently benefits and policies in place to address these issues, it has been proven through comparing three different cities’ different factors that final decisions need to be made on the local authority level, regarding stock refurbishment, allocation, planning of developments and transport. The main problem areas determined by the current paper are not fully addressed by the government at the moment, such as the low stock of homes, social problems on so called “council estates” and urban congestion. The authors of the current study hope that these factors will be placed on the government’s priority list and consolidated into policies.

 

Reference List

AdviceGuide.org.uk. (2013, March). Help with school costs.

Available AdviceGuide.org.uk: Available:

http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/england/education_e/education_school_education_ew/help_with_school_costs.htm#statutory_walking_distance

Hearing, D. (2013). Urban and Real Estate Researched. London: Intitute for Housing.

House, R. (2013, November). Housing UK. Available HousingUK.net: http://housinguk.net/

Jones, C., MacDonald, C. (2004) Sustainable Urban Formand Real Estate Markets.

Paper presented to the annual European Real Estate Conference, Milan, 2-5 June,2004.

Jones, C. Leishman, C., MacDonald, C. (2005) Local Housing Markets and Urban

Form. CityForm research Consortium

Stroper, M., Manville, M. (2006) Behaviour, Preferences and Cities: Urban Theory and Urban

Resurgence. Urban Studies, Vol. 43, No. 8, 1247–1274, July 2006

The Royal Commission. (2012) The Urban Environment. Summary of the Royal Commission on

Environmental Pollution’s Report.

The Pro-housing Alliance (2011) Recommendations for the Reform of UK Housing Policy. Available: http://www.prohousingalliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/PHA-Policy-Statement.pdf

United Kingdom. (2010, March). The Future of Urban Transport. Available HousingUK.net: Available: http://www.housinguk.net

Apple Marketing Communication in the UK

I. Executive Summary

Apple has been a market leader in the United Kingdom for a long time. Customers already have a strong brand preference and loyalty, however, today, it seems like the company is losing market share over Samsung and Google phones. While it is impossible to compete with all manufacturers based on price, and gain new customers, effective integrated communication strategies can increase brand awareness about undecided customers, and further strengthen the loyalty of existing users of Apple smart phones. The below essay is designed to reveal how Apple can re-design its marketing mix in order to create more effective, meaningful messages for potential and existing customers. Focusing on customer experience and innovation, a mix of marketing messages need to be created to regain the lost market share and further differentiate iPhones on the versatile and highly competitive marketplace of the United Kingdom. In order to implement effective strategies, however, the company needs to understand the specific beliefs and values of UK smart phone customers. Through careful analysis of reports and industry statistics, the author of the current study would like to evaluate the current performance of Apple’s marketing in the UK and make constructive recommendations for improving advertising messages.

II. Introduction

Apple has been known by its speed of innovation and excellent performance. As Heracleous (2012: 58) confirms, Apple’s competitive advantage on global markets lies in Quantum Strategy. Indeed, the company was the first to offer various technological solutions that met customers’ expectation. Starting with the ever so popular iPod, and ending with the latest smartphones, Apple has provided customers with advanced answers. However, competition on the smarphone market has increased during the past ten years, and companies like Samsung are catching up, dipping into Apple’s market share. Indeed, the UK market has some challenges and unique characteristics that make the competition even fiercer. The author of the current study will focus on these unique qualities of the British customer, market trends, and regulations that would affect the company’s performance in the country. While the global market share of Apple is still large, in the United Kingdom, a free market, various substitute products are offered for people who are looking to get the best value for their money. The only way Apple can win the competition is by strengthening the brand’s reputation in the United Kingdom and ensuring that it successfully communicates its product’s unique selling points. By reviewing related literature, the author of the current study hopes to create a marketing strategy that fully utilizes the existing and available marketing channels for strengthening brand image and loyalty.

III. Literature Review

Ashcroft (2012: 8) describes Apple’s decision to create the iPhone as follows: “By 2009, the product offer was comprehensive but maybe lacking internet connectivity and mobile connection. In 2007 it was time to introduce the iPhone”. Through branding and strategic alliances, Apple managed to make the iPhone and the next generations of the same product a success, and one of the most profitable devices in the history.
The overall marketing strategy of Apple was reviewed in detail by Mickalowski, Mickelson & Keltgen (2009). The authors found that – just like in innovation and customer service – Apple had a unique approach towards marketing, too. They sought collaboration with carrier companies, and used the differentiation strategy to position itself on the market, as a successful strategy. Remaining the “innovator”, the marketing department of Apple knew that the latest product will appeal to target customers: those who want better features, and the latest technology: the younger generation. Without continuous innovation, Apple would have appeared “old” and not trendy, and disappeared from the market. The authors (Mickalowski, Mickelson & Keltgen, 2009: 3) mention that Apple was the first mobile phone manufacturer that came out with a 3.5 inch screen. It was also able to provide solutions for customers who were unhappy with the insensitive keyboards offered by other brands, such as Blackberry. Apple seems to listen to customer needs, and implement changes both in its product development strategy and marketing.
The YouGov website (2012) found that as of March 2012, the UK mobile market was segmented mainly between smart phones and feature phones. Apple had a market share of 29 percent, while Samsung was closing up at 20 percent. Blackberry had 17 percent, while HTC, which is a lower cost device than the above had an impressive 16 percent market share.
A 2012 report published by the YouGov website (2012) found that while Apple was still dominant in the tablet market, it lost market share. This trend indicates that customers in the UK became more budget-conscious and wanted to get the most value for money. Similarly, in the smart phone market, the appearance of Samsung as an innovative company with cost-effective solutions and products that had similar capability as Apple’s phones made the marketplace even more competitive. The full analysis of market trends and conditions will be completed in the next part of the study.

IV. Market Environment Review

Morton (2014) created a research based on smart phone ownership and intentions. One interesting trend needs to be mentioned that will highlight the competitive advantage of Apple over other brands. Questioning smartphone users about their first, second, and third phone, it is important to note that Apple had the highest brand loyalty and customer retention. While 19 percent of respondents stated that they had an Apple phone as their first device, this number increased to 29 percent when asked about second phones, and 37 percent related to the third phone. 54 percent of respondents said they said they wanted an iPhone. This finding, compared with the main competing smart-phone operation system, Android reveals that the reputation of Apple in the marketplace is the strongest. 65 percent of customers had an Android first phone, while only 54 percent as a second phone, and 49 as third.
A recent We Are Apps (2013) study also revealed that iPhone ownership increased in the United Kingdom in the past two years at a slower rate than general ownership of internet enabled smart phones. This indicates that Apple is losing market share. Blackberry’s ownership has actually declined, therefore, this indicates that Android and Google phones create the greatest threat for Apple’s market share. Still, the iPhone is the most popular device in the United Kingdom, with a market share of 32.1 percent, followed by Blackberry at 7.69 percent, and Samsung Galaxy at 5.42 percent. The latest Portio Resarch document (2012, p. 2) concluded that “smartphone shipments reached 485 million in 2011, and that number will top 655 million in 2012, rising to over 1 billion smartphones per year by 2016”. This means that the market is constantly growing, and there are several opportunities for companies to enter the competitive device marketplace.
As the younger, technologically enabled and competent generation is an important market segment for Apple’ iPhone, it is important to review a recent survey that was created by the University of Sheffield (2011) among students related to their smart-phone usage habits. 99.6 percent of the respondents owned a mobile phone. A remarkable 27 percent of students owned an Apple phone. This is significant because students usually do not have a high level of disposable income to afford more expensive, high end brands, still their brand loyalty was significant. While for the year of 2011 the market share of Apple was recorded at 28.6 percent, 30 percent of students used i Phone operation systems. Male students were also more likely to own an i Phone than females. This finding is in line with the general statistics that men have a stronger brand preference towards i Phone than women.
It is also important to mention the brand awareness factor that is relevant to a company’s marketing strategy. Worldwide, through social media, according to the research of Sysomos (2013, p. 4), “iPhone gets talked about the most in social media with 6,215,118 mentions, accounting for 60% of the overall share of voice”. This means that there is a strong brand awareness globally. Considering that UK customers are active users of social media, this creates endless promotion and marketing communication opportunities for the company.

V. Critical Analysis and Discussion

Target Audience

In its current advertising campaigns, Apple focuses on upmarket, young people, aged 35 and below. Advertisements mainly feature males and females who utilize the new i Phone in different ways. The marketing targets young people who are looking for great applications on the move, and love innovation. With the slogan “You are more powerful than you think” (Apple i Phone S, 2014), it is evident that the company is aiming to reach the younger generation. Similarly, the ad titled Metal Mastered (Apple, 2014) is aimed at younger audiences who cannot wait for the latest design and technology to come out, and are conscious about appearance.
The latest UK ad, “Parenthood” (Apple, 2014), however, aims at not single people who are busy professionals, but parents. It is an important shift. The company’s UK marketing management has most certainly realized that there are customers with already existing brand awareness and loyalty who have been using an iPhone for years. Their loyalty needs to be maintained, and the product needs to be repositioned to reach a wider audience. Instead of featuring just the “cool apps” that teenagers can download on their iPhones from the Apple store, the company is communicating an important message: the universal value of the phone that can be utilized by anyone. As the downloaded apps are selected by the owner of the phone, user experiences can be personalized, based on one’s circumstances.

Brand Positioning

The brand Apple has a strong positive image. Most UK customers associate Apple with iPhones and iPads, as innovative products. It has been noted previously that the company listens to the market’s demand and is proud of its reputation of being the first to solve customers’ problem. Several customers in the UK have positive association with the brand. Customer engagement is high in social media, and the value of word-of-mouth and recommendation advertising is high. The global iPhone site has close to 3.5 million likes. The official iPhone 6 page has already got over one thousand likes. The image created by the company through marketing and media communication is that Apple is an innovative company that works hard to create solutions that make people’s lives easier.

Media Selection and Communication Mix Management

Apple currently markets its products through various channels. TV advertisements in prime screening times in the UK are usually scheduled around the launch of a new product. However, collaborative marketing through strategic partners, such as mobile service providers is not not to be neglected. As mobile companies know that many customers have a strong brand preference for Apple, companies are the first to let their subscribers know when the new model is available on a pay as you go or contract package.
Internet based branding is also important, and – due to the popularity of the brand – the company benefits from free online media and social network exposure. Press releases and conferences get a lot of media attention, and the communication strategy of the company is in line with the marketing strategy.
Apple also advertises in technology magazines, and through printed media. However, the greatest exposure of the brand is accredited to TV advertisements and online ads. Interestingly, in the United Kingdom, recently Samsung has created a series of ads for TV and online to mock the company’s reputation on the market (Russell, 2014). Indeed, Apple has used livestream broadcasts to educate customers about the new features, and Samsung is questioning whether the innovations are as great as Apple claims they are. One of the ads actually claims that “every phone has a bigger screen”, stating that the improvements of the new Apple models are artificially “blown up” (Samsung, 2014).

VI. Recommendation

Development Areas

It is important that the company keeps on listening to customers and responds to threats of new or expanding brands. While successfully applying the diversification strategy for brand positioning, the company should successfully communicate the benefits associated with using an iPhone. Indeed, the company should focus on the diverse and unique features of Apple’s phones that make users happier than those who choose another brand. In order to stop losing market share, the company needs to ensure that it responds to claims stating that “Apple is no better than other smart phones” in a positive and believable manner. This would strengthen brand loyalty among existing customers. Unique features to be communicated through online channels and TV advertisements could include: ongoing support with phones, more apps available than any other store, improved compatibility with devices. Further, the company could create a community of Apple users and strengthen the “sense of belonging to a distinguished group” among existing and new customers.

Threats Identified

The main threat of the competitive UK smart phone market is the threat of substitute products, according to Porter’s Five Forces model (Porter, 1979). As it is high, as well as the rivalry among competitors, as it has been revealed during the review of marketing channel utilization, it is important that brand loyalty is maintained. According to Porter (1979), the threat of substitute products is low when the cost of switching to another product is high. In the case of UK markets, once a person is ready to upgrade its phone, their mobile company will offer them options to take out a new phone on a contract, therefore, the cost of switching is low. Further, the cost of substitute product (Samsung Galaxy or Google phone) is lower than Apple’s and this further increases the threat.

Opportunities Identified

Apple should engage in meaningful conversations with existing customers and take advantage of the free marketing provided by customers online and through word of mouth recommendation. Loyalty and “refer a friend” programs should be developed, and communities of Apple owners should be created backed up by the company, offering discounts and competitions. Apple should also encourage users to create videos and enter a competition online featuring why they think the i Phone is the best value for money. This will help the company understand users better, and identify unique selling points that can be featured in future advertisements to maintain brand awareness and reduce the impact of Samsung’s aggressive marketing.

VII. Conclusion

It is evident that Apple has to face a great rivalry with Samsung and other smart phone manufacturers in the next few years. The market is competitive, and there is a great amount of rivalry among competitors, and a huge threat of substitute products. This means that the main challenges of Apple in the UK market are: successfully maintaining and increasing brand loyalty and communicating the unique features of the product towards existing and new customers. By integrating marketing strategies and using various communication channels, allowing customers to create and talk about their own experience, the company can achieve this goal and maintain its market share.

Bibliography

Ashcroft, John. 2012. “Apple from the iPod to the iPad A Case Study in Corporate Strategy”. Second Edition.
BT. 2011. “Internet Technology: Youth Technology Trends”
CSS Insight Report. 2014. “Global Smartphone Market Analysis and Outlook: Disruption in a Changing Market”
Heracleous, Loizos. 2012. “Quantum strategy at Apple Inc”
Kotler, P., Armstrong, G. 2013. “Principles of Marketing. Saylor Publishing.
Mickalowski, K., Mickelson, M & Keltegen, J. 2009. “Apple’s iPhone Launch: A Case Study in Effective Marketing” Augustana College.
Morton, Philip. 2014. “Android’s Weak Gravity”. Foolproof. London.
Ofcom. 2011. “Communications Market Report: UK”
Portio Research. 2012. “Smartphone Futures 2012-2016. Worldwide market analysis and competitor positioning in the high-end handset market in 2012 and beyond.
Smart Phone Market Research. 2014. “Smartphones. <http://www.smartphonemarketresearch.com/category/smartphones/>
We Are Apps. 2014. “UK Mobile Insights Report 2013 Q4” Web.
YouGov Research. 2012. “ Apple remains dominant in UK tablet market, but competition is catching up”
YouGov. 2012. “Smartphone growth in the UK: Challenges in the handset market”
Sysomos Research. 2014. “Industry Insider. Smartphones”
The University of Sheffield. 2011. “Student Mobile Research Survey”
Porter, M. 1979. “How Competitive Forces Shape Strategy” Harvard Business Review.

Appendices

Appendix A
Android vs. Apple Gravity

Source: Morton, Philip. Android’s Weak Gravity. p. 2. 2014.

Appendix B
Smart Phone Ownership in the UK Based on Operation Systems
Source: We are Apps. UK mobile devices usage and demographic roundup. 2013. p. 5.

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