2.4.3 Communication

Posted in academia,Bachelor Thesis,Brands and Business,communications by thomas on the Oktober 7th, 2011

communication
This post is part of my bachelor paper ‚The Evolving Role of Creativity in Brand Management‘. You can see the other posts and the table of contents here.

Historic perspectives on brand management have identified some distinct phases that each go along with certain developments and traits (Gries 2006, p.15ff; Zurstiege 2007, p.19ff; Tropp 2004, p.22ff). The beginning of modern advertising in Germany is tied to the industrialisation and the associated introduction of freedom of trade (1869) and registered and protected trademarks (1874) (Zurstiege 2007, p.24). With the social acceptance of the concept of competition started the professionalisation of advertising and – along with it – advertising research, which in turn led to the public debate of its central techniques in Vance Packards‘ “The Hidden Persuaders” (Zurstiege 2007, p.24).

Gries (2006, p.15) sees products as media of the modern age and describes the process of the medialisation of products. This process started in the late 19th century, accelerated due to a strong increase of demand in the 20s and 30s and is concluded with the widespread diffusion of televisions in the 60s. Since then, according to Gries (2006, p.15) a brand works similar to a newspaper, the radio or television in that it is surrounded by a dense net of communication relationships that formed over the course of this process of medialisation.

Looking more at the main functions that brands played in different eras, Tropp identified three phases, that he calls “Markierungsphase” (labelling or branding phase), “Wirkungsphase” (effect or impact phase) and “Kommunikationsphase” (communication phase). The first or branding phase started around the 5th century, when identification and distinction emerged as the first function of brands (Tropp 2004, p.23f). Social developments like the formation of the first cities or the establishment of guilds changed the specific functions of brands, it took until the before mentioned dawn of the industrial age, however, until the effect phase of brands emerged (Tropp 2004, p.25ff). Apart from the identification function, brands‘ chief function now lied in persuading potential consumers. In addition to the identification of a brand now there is the social practice of identification with a brand (Tropp 2004, p.36). Holt (2002, p.79ff) calls this the modern branding paradigm:

„Marketers made no pretense about their intentions in these branding efforts. They directed consumers as to how they should live and why their brand should be a central part of this kind of life. Advertisements shared a paternal voice that is particular to this era. By contemporary standards, these ads appear naive and didactic in their approach. This paternalism reveals that, at the time, consumer culture allowed companies to act as cultural authorities. Their advice was not only accepted but sought out.“ (Holt 2002, p.80)

Holt (2002, p.83ff) argues, that this paradigm ended up being replaced by the creative revolution of the 60s in what he denoted as an emerging post-modern branding paradigm. Branding then had to cope with social changes at a massive scale and a new anti-corporatist, yet consumerist culture that it somehow had to adapt to. It adopted and in turn relied on five central and then new techniques (for a description of the techniques that had a widespread media impact see Klein 1999): Authentic Cultural Resources, Ironic, Reflexive Brand Persona, Coattailing on Cultural Epicenters, Life World Emplacement, Stealth Branding . While these techniques were certainly new and a response to changing cultural and social environments at the time, they have again run into some severe contradictions and are losing their effect quickly (ibid.).

Holt (2002, p.68ff) and Tropp (2004, p.68ff) both argue that we can now see a different phase, that puts the relationship between a company and its consumer, or in general its role in society into focus. Driven on the one hand by the pressing scarcity of attention (Schmidt 2004, p.53ff; Tropp 2004, p.71f), by changing attitudes and expectations that citizens have of the role of companies in their communities and by the emergence of new technologies and feedback channels that made marketing tactics like CRM, but also a society ever more aware of the power of their public opinion possible. While doubts about the role, effectiveness and efficiency of advertising are a main driver of this transformation, this perspective also implies a more consumer-centric view of communication. It argues that the construction of meaning is done by consumers within the boundaries of collectively shared social symbols and ultimately demands a rejection of the pure sender-receiver model of mass communication as conceptualized in the early 20th century (Tropp 2004, p.72) and since then renounced by communication research.

The main conclusion of this current phase of branding is that companies are now more than ever competing in the field of communication and that communicative competence that goes beyond advertising is becoming a core asset of companies.


Gries, R., 2006. Produkte & Politik: zur Kultur- und Politikgeschichte der Produktkommunikation, Facultas Verlag.
Holt, D.B., 2002. Why do brands cause trouble? A dialectical theory of consumer culture and branding. Journal of Consumer Research, 29(1), pp.70–90.
Klein, N., 1999. No Logo: no space, no choice, no jobs ; taking aim at the brand bullies, New York, NY: Picador.
Schmidt, S.J., 2004. Die Werbung ist vom Anfang an am Ende. In S. Kemmler, J. Ballentin, & C. Gerlitz, eds. Die Depression der Werbung. : Berichte von der Couch / Berliner KommunikationsFORUM e.V. Sebastian Kemmler. BusinessVillage.
Tropp, J., 2004. Markenmanagement: Der Brand Management Navigator. Markenführung im Kommunikationszeitalter, VS Verlag.
Zurstiege, G., 2007. Werbeforschung 1st ed., Utb.

2.4.2 Coupling

Posted in academia,Bachelor Thesis,Brands and Business,communications by thomas on the Oktober 7th, 2011

Close connection - Verbundenheit
This post is part of my bachelor paper ‚The Evolving Role of Creativity in Brand Management‘. You can see the other posts and the table of contents here.

Just as complexity, structural coupling is a key term of systems theory. Usually used to describe the structural relationship between cognition and communication via language and media (Tropp 2004, p.64), this concept may be used in brand management to denote the relationship between companies that produce brands and consumers and bridge the before mentioned dichotomy between producer- and consumer perspective – or image and identity (Tropp 2004, p.65). Structural coupling in that context means that while a company as a social system and a consumer as a cognitive system are to be strictly distinguished, no company is possible without consumers and vice versa (Tropp 2004, p.64).

To specify and manage this structural coupling between a company and its consumers via the brand as realm of knowledge is one of the most pressing issues of brand management and again, able to integrate mostly consumer-oriented trends and pressures. For example, there is an apparent contradiction between an increasing brand consciousness and an at the same time decreasing brand loyalty with consumers (Essinger 2001, p.66 qt. in Tropp 2004, p. 66) that also taps into the debate about consumers‘ increasing unpredictability. Using data from a global, longitudinal survey that runs since 1993, Gerzema and Lebar (Young & Rubicam) have found out that since 2004 all consumer attitudes towards brands over the globe were in decline.

“Across the board, we saw significant drops in the key measures of brand value, such as consumer “top- of-mind” awareness, trust, regard, and admiration. This was true not just for a few brands, but for thousands, encompassing the entire range of consumer goods and services, from airlines and automobiles and beverages to insurance companies and hoteliers and retailers.” (Gerzema & Lebar 2009, p.2)

They argue that a brand bubble has developed for the fact that while the valuation of brands as done by financial analysts is steadily increasing, this overall value that these brands actually deliver for consumers, is provided by less and less (stronger) brand in the overall brand universe.

This contradiction does not put an end to the structural coupling of consumers and brands, but it suggests that the relationship between them has fundamentally changed. Since the 1980s, until then mostly unidirectional relationships have transformed into interactive and multi-directional relationships, as signified by developments such as relationship marketing, one-to-one-marketing, direct marketing, permission marketing, customer relationship management or the developments happening under the umbrella term of social media marketing. As research conducted under the relational paradigm (MacInnis et al. 2009; Fournier 1998) is striving to provide scientific insights into the company-brand-consumer relationship, branding has moved from what Tropp (2004, p.67) calls the effect phase to the communication phase.


Essinger, G., 2001. Produkt- und Markenpolitik im dynamischen Umfeld: eine Analyse aus systemtheoretischer Perspektive, Dt. Univ.-Verl.
Fournier, S., 1998. Consumers and their brands: Developing relationship theory in consumer research. Journal of consumer research, pp.343–373.
Gerzema, J. & Lebar, E., 2009. The Trouble with Brands. strategy + business, 55(Summer 2009). Available at: http://www.strategy-business.com/article/09205 [Accessed February 4, 2011].
MacInnis, D.J. et al., 2009. Handbook of brand relationships, M.E. Sharpe.
Tropp, J., 2004. Markenmanagement: Der Brand Management Navigator. Markenführung im Kommunikationszeitalter, VS Verlag.

2.4.1 Complexity

This post is part of my bachelor paper ‚The Evolving Role of Creativity in Brand Management‘. You can see the other posts and the table of contents here.

While in the past three global CEO studies, conducted by IBM, coping with change was the most pressing challenge, complexity took the lead in 2010, as seen in Figure 2.

“CEOs told us they operate in a world that is substantially more volatile, uncertain and complex. Many shared the view that incremental changes are no longer sufficient in a world that is operating in fundamentally different ways.“ (IBM 2010, p.8)

IBM Complexity

Figure 2: Organisations and complexity (IBM 2010, p.15)

Complexity is the most important concept in systems theory, as it is the reason why systems form in the first place. While the term is present in different approaches to systems theory,  Luhmann’s theory of social systems popularized it, stating

“we will call an interconnected collection of elements complex when, because of imminent constraints in the elements’ connective capacity, it is no longer possible at any moment to connect every element with every other element […] Complexity in this sense means being forced to select; being forced to select means contingency; and contingency means risk.” (Luhmann 1995, p.25)

A system can never reach the same level of complexity as its environments and therefore has to counter-balance this inferiority with selection-strategies, reducing external complexities (Tropp 2004, p.57). This necessarily selective reduction of relations between elements (e.g. information) is called contingency and brings with it the necessary risk to select different possible combinations of elements. However, with every selections come different other – not selected – possibilities that would be possible as well.What sounds arbitrarily complicating in the first place, does make sense in light of the unrelated and relatively arbitrary list of trends, drivers and perspectives that are present in brand management and marketing textbooks. To illustrate the concept of complexity in this context, it can be said that branding theory does not have an appropriate selection strategy (theory) that is able to reduce the environmental complexity (challenges) to a level that would allow for sensible systematization.

Complexity is a theoretical concept that is not able to explain the myriad of trends and environmental challenges, but the fact that companies will – in the future – have to accept unprecedented complexity as a permanent trait of their environment (Rose & Zuckerman 2009, p.13) and to acknowledge that “it’s no longer possible to observe and predict enough to map out courses of action that guarantee desired outcomes” (Andjelic 2010).

This has some important implications for strategic planning and strategic thinking that will be introduced at a later point.

Andjelic, A., 2010. the problem of strategy. i [love] marketing. Available at: http://anaandjelic.typepad.com/i_love_marketing/2010/07/the-problem-of-strategy-1.html [Accessed January 4, 2011].

IBM, 2010. Capitalizing on Complexity. Insights from the 2010 IBM Global CEO Study. Available at: http://www-935.ibm.com/services/us/ceo/ceostudy2010/index.html.

Luhmann, N., 1995. Social systems, Stanford University Press.

Rose, J. & Zuckerman, N., 2009. Can You Reach the Masses Without Mass Media? Available at: https://www.bcgperspectives.com/content/articles/cmos_dilemma/ [Accessed February 4, 2011].

Tropp, J., 2004. Markenmanagement: Der Brand Management Navigator. Markenführung im Kommunikationszeitalter, VS Verlag.

2.4 Challenges For Brand Management

Posted in academia,Bachelor Thesis,Brands and Business by thomas on the September 7th, 2011

A challenge lies ahead
This post is part of my bachelor paper ‚The Evolving Role of Creativity in Brand Management‘. You can see the other posts and the table of contents here.

“Although brand may be as important as ever to consumers, brand management may be more difficult than ever.” (Keller 1998, p.30)

The topic of challenges, changes in the environment or otherwise relevant external pressures on brand management is not exactly a new one, as previous research shows (Shocker et al. 1994). If a brand is seen as the structurally coupling link between an organisation and its environment, changes in this environment are and have always been of essential importance to  brand management. The following paragraphs do not aim at painting a complete picture of every trend that brand management has to deal with presently, but rather serve to give an introduction into the contemporary environment.

Keller (1998, p.31) lists 13 challenges without any inherent structure as important to brand builders:

“savvy customers, more complex brand families and portfolios, maturing markets, more sophisticated and increasing competition, difficulty in differentiating, decreasing brand loyalty in many categories, growth of own labels, increasing trade power, fragmenting media coverage, erosion of effectiveness of traditional media, emerging communication options, increasing promotional expenditures, decreasing advertising expenditures, increasing cost of product introduction and support, short-term performance orientation [and] increasing job turnover.”

Strebinger (2010) divides reasons why brand management has become much more challenging into four demand-side and supply-side drivers. On the demand side, consumers more and more demand products tailored to their special needs and preferences. Technology is bringing fundamental changes to the way people consume media (Wilbur 2008) and information overload restricts the amount of brands people are able and willing to think of. Last but not least consumers have become more critical of the behaviour of brands (Klein 1999). On the supply side, shareholders strive to maximize profits by exploiting market opportunities while focusing on cost efficiency. In addition, mergers and acquisitions challenge established brand portfolios, internationalization leads to new competitors and opportunities and new media leads to new online competitors.

Another structure (Fuchs & Unger 2007, p.2ff) suggests economic, social, legal and communicational changes. Fuchs and Unger identify increased dynamism and complexity, competitive pressure, internationalization, quality parity, the shortening of product-life-cycles and market differentiation as economic developments which all lead to competition through communication, which in combination with a dynamic media landscape leads to increased information overflow. In addition, changes in consumer values and expectations of corporate citizenship represent the most pressing socio-cultural developments.

Siegert and Brecheis (2005, p.76ff) provide more detail on the advertising and media side with their six developments that together portray the current framework advertising has to operate in. According to them, advertising has to deal with internationalization and globalization, digitalization and new information and communication technologies, individualization and experience seeking, promulgation through the mass media and the attention economy, economization and changing markets as well as changing legal frameworks.

Certainly, more challenges and trends that increase the pressure on marketing and brand management could be found. Depending on who one chooses to read, we live in a risk society (Beck 1992), a experience seeking society (Schulze 2005), an information- and media society (Siegert & Brecheis 2005), in a converging culture (Jenkins 2006) and/or in the communication age (Tropp 2004).

In this context, Kotler & Caslione (xii 2009) postulate

“[…] that turbulence, and especially heightened turbulence, with its consequent chaos, risk and uncertainty, is now the normal condition of industries, markets, and companies.”

While Feldwick (2010) doubts the emergence of a genuinely “new” consumer there is a recurring theme around the topic that brands and brand management are under pressure. As Keller called it, managerial practice in the field is becoming “more difficult than ever” (Keller 1998, p.30).

In light of the all the trends, drivers and environmental challenges listed, Tropp argues that there is lack of a consistent theoretical grounding to be actually give a brand manager a handle on the world he/she is operating in. Consequently, Tropp aims for a ‚lower resolution‘ of observation to integrate the different empirically observable phenomena into theoretically grounded categories (Tropp 2004, p.56). These three categories are complexity, coupling and communication, all of which are central terms of systems theory. – The challenges according to these theoretical concepts will be introduced in the next three blog posts.

Beck, U., 1992. Risk society: Towards a new modernity, Sage publications ltd.

Feldwick, P., 2010. The Feldwick Factor: Has digital growth changed consumer-brand relationships? Admap.

Jenkins, H., 2006. Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide illustrated edition., New York Univ Pr.

Keller, K.L., 1998. Strategic brand management: building, measuring and managing brand equity, Prentice Hall.

Klein, N., 1999. No Logo: no space, no choice, no jobs ; taking aim at the brand bullies, New York, NY: Picador.

Kotler, P. & Caslione, J.A., 2009. Chaotics: The Business of Managing and Marketing in the Age of Turbulence, Mcgraw-Hill Professional.

Schulze, G., 2005. Die Erlebnisgesellschaft: Kultursoziologie der Gegenwart, Campus Verlag.

Shocker, A.D., Srivastava, R.K. & Ruekert, R.W., 1994. Challenges and opportunities facing brand management: an introduction to the special issue. Journal of Marketing Research, 31(2), pp.149–158.

Siegert, G. & Brecheis, D., 2005. Werbung in der Medien- und Informationsgesellschaft: Eine kommunikationswissenschaftliche Einführung 1st ed., VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.

Strebinger, A., 2010. Markenmanagement – Lecture at WU Wien.

Tropp, J., 2004. Markenmanagement: Der Brand Management Navigator. Markenführung im Kommunikationszeitalter, VS Verlag.

Wilbur, K.C., 2008. How the digital video recorder (DVR) changes traditional television advertising. Journal of Advertising, 37(1), pp.143–149.

 

2.3.4 Relational Paradigm

Posted in academia,Bachelor Thesis,Brands and Business,media, culture and society by thomas on the August 31st, 2011

Your Brand is Not My Friend from http://www.mpdailyfix.com/your-brand-is-not-my-friend/

This post is part of my bachelor paper ‚The Evolving Role of Creativity in Brand Management‘. You can see the other posts and the table of contents here.

The relational paradigm addresses two arguments that are held against the projective and adaptive paradigm: the projective paradigm neglects to account for consumers‘ role in creating brand meaning, the adaptive paradigm focuses on consumer evaluation but doesn’t demonstrate how organisations create brand value in this setting. From a relational perspective brand management is seen as “[…] an ongoing dynamic process, without a clear beginning and ending, in which brand value and meaning is co-created through interlocking behaviours, collaboration and competition between organizations and consumers” (Louro & Cunha 2001, p.865). These relationships

“[…] involve reciprocal exchange between active and interdependent relationship partners; (2) relationships are purposive, involving at their core the provision of meanings to the person who engage them; (3) relationships are multiplex phenomena: they range across several dimensions and take many forms, providing a range of possible benefits for their participants; and (4) relationships are process phenomena: they evolve and change over a series of interactions and in response to fluctuations in the contextual environment” (Fournier 1998, p.344)

The relational approach to brand management then encompasses, in an interactive brand management process the core activities of all before mentioned paradigms: 1) building and communicating a brand identity that links to an organisation’s strategy and resources, 2) projecting it through a defined set of brand elements and a marketing program and 3) dynamically reconstruct and co-develop it “in the context of path-dependent consumer-brand relationships by encouraging active dialogue, mobilizing customer communities, managing customer diversity and co-creating personalized experiences (Fournier 1998; Prahalad & Ramaswamy 2000)” (Louro & Cunha 2001, p.866).

This has important implications for the firm’s desired organisational capabilities. For a company to be able to sustain these dynamic relationships with consumers, it has to combine the strengths of market sensing (outside-in) with inside-out capabilities, implementing “multidimensional, process-based measuring systems” (Louro & Cunha 2001, p.866) that “facilitate real-time action and reaction” (Keller 2000; Keller 1998; De Chernatony 1999 qtd. in Louro & Cunha 2001, S.867)

While the paradigms certainly describe “ideal-types” of brand management practices, assumptions and structures, they are able to give an overview into the current state of normative and academic literature in the field and the embodied assumptions about brands, brand management and the roles of organisations and consumers in the process. They might, however, also be read as a process of refinement and a historical development. Not only brand management as a function has to (or doesn’t have to, depending on the paradigm) adapt to outside changes, but also brand management as a discipline changes its focus, depending on economic, social, cultural and technological developments, thus the relational paradigm integrating earlier dominant modes.

Analysing paradigms and brand management models, Tropp (2004) uses a systems theory approach for a conceptualization of brands and brand management that will be used as the central theme of this work. Like proponents of the relational paradigm, Tropp (2004, p.115f) aims to bridge the before mentioned theoretical gap between image and identity. By analysing the relationship between companies and their environment from a systems theory view he first defines brands via two fundamental functions: Brands, according to Tropp [1] are the unique, emotionally charged field of knowledge about a company, a product or a service, that is symbolized by a set of highly complexity-reducing communication offers. It fulfils two mutually conditional functions:

a) Realizing and strengthen the structural coupling between companies and consumers (economic function)

b) Being the trigger and stabilizer for individual and social constructions of reality (life-world function)

Brands then, are not either the identity of a company or the image in consumers’ minds, but they receive their meaning from the social interactions around the brand and their value from being socially shared, and multidimensional knowledge (Keller 2003) that people can refer to Kapferer (1997, p.25). While Yakob (2007) compares this phenomenon with the collectively shared perception of the value of money, Tropp (2004, p.123) argues that brands usually cannot claim to have reached the status of being truly collectively shared knowledge. This means that consumers may individually very well have a different image of a brand, but that the meaning, the overall value of the brand at large – for both consumers as well as the company – is derived from what is commonly shared and shaped by the numerous social interactions performed around it (Holt 2010, p.3). As a consequence, this perspective leads to the conclusion that while brands are legally owned by the corporation managing it, they don’t have the possibility to fully control their meanings (Gries 2006, p.27).

After introducing the different brand paradigms at work today, with a focus on the relational perspective, the following chapter will now analyse the challenges, trends and changes contemporary brand management has to deal with.


[1] Translated from: „Eine Marke ist ein einzigartiger emotional aufgeladener Wissensbereich über ein Unternehmen, ein Produkt oder eine Dienstleistung, der von einer Menge hochgradig komplexitätsreduzierender Kommunikationsangebote symbolisiert wird. Diese erfüllt zwei sich wechselseitig bedingende Funktionen:a) Die strukturelle Kopplung zwischen Unternehmen und Konsumenten zu realisieren und zu festigen (ökonomische Funktion).b) Auslöser und Stabilisator für individuelle und soziale Wirklichkeitskonstruktionen zu sein (lebensweltliche Funktion). (Tropp 2004, p.115f)

De Chernatony, L., 1999. Brand management through narrowing the gap between brand identity and brand reputation. Journal of Marketing Management, 15(1), pp.157–179.

Fournier, S., 1998. Consumers and their brands: Developing relationship theory in consumer research. Journal of consumer research, pp.343–373.

Holt, D.B., 2010. Brands and Branding. Available at: http://culturalstrategygroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/brands-and-branding-csg.pdf.

Kapferer, J.-N., 1997. Strategic brand management: creating and sustaining brand equity long term, Kogan Page Publishers.

Keller, K.L., 2003. Brand synthesis: The multidimensionality of brand knowledge. Journal of Consumer Research, pp.595–600.

Keller, K.L., 1998. Strategic brand management: building, measuring and managing brand equity, Prentice Hall.

Keller, K.L., 2000. The brand report card. Harvard Business Review, 78(1), pp.147–158.

Louro, M.J. & Cunha, P.V., 2001. Brand management paradigms. Journal of Marketing Management, 17(7), pp.849–875.

Prahalad, C.K. & Ramaswamy, V., 2000. Co-opting customer competence. Harvard business review, 78(1), pp.79–90.

Tropp, J., 2004. Markenmanagement: Der Brand Management Navigator. Markenführung im Kommunikationszeitalter, VS Verlag.

2.3.3 Adaptive Paradigm

Posted in academia,Bachelor Thesis,Brands and Business,media, culture and society by thomas on the August 31st, 2011

Trendhunter-Shito-AW10

This post is part of my bachelor paper ‚The Evolving Role of Creativity in Brand Management‘. You can see the other posts and the table of contents here.

The adaptive paradigm changes its focus on the “output” perspective and comprises a range of consumer-centred brand definitions, the most notable of those definitions being the brand image concept (Louro & Cunha 2001, p.863), as defined earlier as “perceptions about a brand as reflected by the brand associations held in consumer memory” (Keller 1993, S.3). In this more consumer-centred conceptualization of brands,

“[b]rand management is enacted as a tactical process of cyclical adaptation to consumers‘ representations of the focal brand whereby brand image gradually supplants brand identity (Aaker 1996). Within the adaptive view, brand image becomes the core theme underlying strategic formation and frames the specification of a brand’s elements and its supporting marketing program (Kapferer 1992).” (Louro & Cunha 2001, p.863)

With performance measures usually focused on consumer-based metrics and brand management generating value by adapting to a particular competitive context, brand management needs to develop superior “outside-in capabilities” (Day 1994 qtd. in Louro & Cunha 2001, p. 864) developing “[…] the ability of the firm to learn about customers, competitors and channel members in order to continuously sense and act on events and trends in present and prospective markets.“ (Day 1994, p.43 qtd. in Louro & Cunha 2001, p. 863)

The adaptive paradigm in turn is criticised mostly by the brand identity school which argues for the importance of a companies guiding mission, culture and brand essence and against the “recursive reconfiguration of a brand’s identity in response to incremental changes in consumer’s expectations” (Louro & Cunha 2001, p.865).

Next up is the relational paradigm and a summary perspective.

Day, G.S., 1994. The capabilities of market-driven organizations. Journal of Marketing, 58(4), pp.37–52.

Louro, M.J. & Cunha, P.V., 2001. Brand management paradigms. Journal of Marketing Management, 17(7), pp.849–875.

2.3.2 Projective Paradigm

Posted in academia,Bachelor Thesis,Brands and Business,media, culture and society by thomas on the August 31st, 2011

Mad Men

This post is part of my bachelor paper ‚The Evolving Role of Creativity in Brand Management‘. You can see the other posts and the table of contents here.

The projective paradigm builds on the product paradigm and further complements and amplifies it. It was brought into existence by a series of mergers and acquisitions that publicly demonstrated multiples between earnings and acquisitions values of up to twenty to thirty. These earnings lead to a acknowledgment of the value of brands, which in turn led to a proliferation of brand management research and a consolidation of a strategic approach to brand management (Louro & Cunha 2001, p.859). Brands are here seen as the focal platform of a companies‘ strategy formulation and furthermore as an identity systems that all company offers have to be integrated with.

“Within this perspective brand management is focused on reinforcing and developing brand positioning and meaning by achieving a coherent focus across the brand portfolio and projecting a consistent message to all stakeholders.” (Louro & Cunha 2001, p.860)

As the term projecting suggests, the organisation is seen as the primary source of meaning and value, which is derived from the “creation, development and communication of a coherent brand identity (Kapferer 1992; Aaker 1996)” (Louro & Cunha 2001, p.860) that is projected onto the receiving consumers. In a historical context, the emergence of this paradigm can be related to Holt’s (2002) modern branding paradigm, which focuses on the communication of desirable life-worlds to the then emerging post-war mass consumer culture.

Next: The adaptive paradigm.

Louro, M.J. & Cunha, P.V., 2001. Brand management paradigms. Journal of Marketing Management, 17(7), pp.849–875.

2.3.1 Product Paradigm

Posted in academia,Bachelor Thesis,Brands and Business,media, culture and society by thomas on the August 31st, 2011

1940's snow white flour bag

This post is part of my bachelor paper ‚The Evolving Role of Creativity in Brand Management‘. You can see the other posts and the table of contents here.

The product paradigm reflects a tactical approach to branding and brand management with the product as the most important consideration. The brand definition best suiting this paradigm is the long-standing definition of the American Marketing Association that sees brands, as mentioned before, as “[a] name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers” (American Marketing Association 2010). Within this approach to brand management, marketing management is chiefly focused on the marketing mix, with the product as the most important outcome and source of value creation (Louro & Cunha 2001, p.856). The function of brands within this approach is mostly in its legal and signifying functions, and therefore closely resemble Gries‘ (2006, p.15) and Tropp’s (2004, p.23f) first phase in the history of brands.

Next: the projective paradigm.

Gries, R., 2006. Produkte & Politik: zur Kultur- und Politikgeschichte der Produktkommunikation, Facultas Verlag.

Louro, M.J. & Cunha, P.V., 2001. Brand management paradigms. Journal of Marketing Management, 17(7), pp.849–875.

Tropp, J., 2004. Markenmanagement: Der Brand Management Navigator. Markenführung im Kommunikationszeitalter, VS Verlag.

 

2.3 Brand Management Paradigms

Posted in academia,Bachelor Thesis,Brands and Business by thomas on the August 30th, 2011

This post is part of my bachelor paper ‚The Evolving Role of Creativity in Brand Management‘. You can see the other posts and the table of contents here.

To speak of brand management as one clear and perfectly defined concept or management process would oversimplify the current state of research and practice on the topic. Shaped by different company practices, widely discussed ‚recipe‘ books by practitioners (Roberts et al. 2005; Ries 2002), numerous proprietary models of advertising agencies and brand consultancies (Fuchs & Unger 2007, p.33ff; Tropp 2004, p.151ff), and different schools of academic research on the topic there are many different perspectives onto what brand management is and how it works. According to Louro and Cunha (2001, p.853) there are four brand management paradigms. These paradigms

“constitute an organization’s portfolio of implicit assumptions, collective beliefs, values and techniques concerning the why (the objectives and performance measures of brand management), the what (the concept of brands), the who (the organizational structure of brand management) and the how of branding (the variables of brand management)”.

Brand Management Paradigms

Figure 1: Brand Management Paradigms, taken from Louro & Cunha (2001)

They are located in a coordinate system on two central dimensions of current academic and practitioner discussions about brand management: brand centrality and consumer centrality. Brand Centrality stretches from a tactical orientation, which sees brands for their mere signifying and legal value and branding as a residual decision mostly dealing with the advertising of product, to brand orientation which sees brands as “central platforms, in the form of guiding vision and values, and core expressions, in the form of particular marketing mix configurations, of an organisation’s strategic intent (Kapferer & Mayring 1992)“ (Louro & Cunha 2001, p.855) Consumer Centrality, on the other hand, refers to the degree to which managers belief in the consumers‘ involvement in the process of value creation, which ranges from a unilateral approach seeing consumers as the mere recipients of value created by organisations and multilateral approaches in which consumers are seen as co-contributors of value (Louro & Cunha 2001, p.855). The distinctive paradigms will now be introduced, starting with the product paradigm, followed by the projective and adaptive paradigm.

Fuchs, W. & Unger, F., 2007. Management der Marketing-Kommunikation 4th ed., Springer, Berlin.

Kapferer, J.-N. & Mayring, P., 1992. Strategic brand management, Kogan Page London.

Louro, M.J. & Cunha, P.V., 2001. Brand management paradigms. Journal of Marketing Management, 17(7), pp.849–875.

Ries, L., 2002. The 22 immutable laws of branding: how to build a product or service into a world-class brand, Harper Paperbacks.

Roberts, K., Lafley, A.G. & Nagymáté, O., 2005. Lovemarks, PowerHouse Books.

Tropp, J., 2004. Markenmanagement: Der Brand Management Navigator. Markenführung im Kommunikationszeitalter, VS Verlag.

 

2.2 What is a Brand?

Posted in academia,Bachelor Thesis,Brands and Business by thomas on the August 29th, 2011

1958 UK NIVEA
This post is part of my bachelor paper ‚The Evolving Role of Creativity in Brand Management‘. You can see the other posts and the table of contents here.

There are a lot of diverging descriptions and definitions of what a brand is (Wood 2000, p.664; De Chernatony & Riley 1998, p.417), with de Chernatony & Riley (1998, p.418) identifying twelve categories of definitions, with brands being a

“[…] i) legal instrument; ii) logo; iii) company; iv) shorthand; v) risk reducer; vi) identity system; vii) image in consumers‘ minds; viii) value system; ix) personality; x) relationship; xi) adding value; and xii) evolving entity”.

Among those categories of definitions that cannot be sharply separated from each other, three stand out more prominently. First of all, there is the basic understanding of a brand as a signifier of distinction, “[a] name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers” that is now the standard definition of the American Marketing Association (2010) and e.g. also used by Kotler and Keller (2006, p.274). It was already used by the AMA as early as in 1960 (De Chernatony & Riley 1998, p.419) and is closely related to the legal definition of a brand, which deals with the protection of intellectual property. It derives its relevance from the time when companies started to “brand” their products in the strictest and simplest sense through visual identities (Gries 2006, p.15ff; Tropp 2004, p.23ff).

Another very frequently used perspective to define brands is the one of a brand as an image in consumers’ minds. Practitioners and researchers referred brands as being associations in people’s minds as early as 1955 (De Chernatony & Riley 1998, p.421). While there is no consensus among researchers about the conceptualization of brand image (Louro & Cunha 2001, p.863), Keller (1993, p.3) defined brand image as “perceptions about a brand as reflected by the brand associations held in consumer memory”, with the thought being that the value derived from brands is based on associations built upon “the complete experience that customers have with products” (Keller & Lehmann 2006, p.740).

However, the image perspective has come under harsh critique by another perspective, which lays its focus on brand identity (de Chernatony & Riley 1998, p.420). One of the strongest criticisms of the brand image perspective comes from Kapferer & Gibbs (1992, p.11):

“[A] brand is not a product. It is the product’s essence, its meaning, and its direction, and it defines its identity in time and space. Too often brands are examined through their component parts: the brand name, its logo, design, or packaging, advertising or sponsorship, or image or name recognition, or very recently, in terms of financial brand valuation. Real brand management however, begins much earlier, with a strategy and a consistent integrated vision. Its central concept is brand identity, not brand image.”

Another advocate of the brand identity concept is Aaker who defines brand identity as „a unique set of brand associations that the brand strategist aspires to create or maintain“ (Aaker 1995, p.68).

All these definition show a persistent duality in current brand definitions (Tropp 2004, p.55) that also exists in organisational theory (Gioia et al. 2000, p.63). On the one hand there is the brand as an identity and on the other hand there is what is perceived by people. This was already identified as early as 1955 in an often cited article by Gardner & Levy (1999, p.35):

“A brand name is more than the label employed to differentiate among the manufacturers of a product. It is a complex symbol that represents a variety of ideas and attributes. It tells the consumers many things, not only by the way it sounds (and its literal meaning if it has one) but, more important, via the body of associations it has built up and acquired as a public object over a period of time.”

These different definitions of brands and what their function is seen to be is a reflection of the development of diverging brand management paradigms that will be introduced in the following paragraphs.

Aaker, D.A., 1995. Building Strong Brands Nineth Printing., Free Press.

American Marketing Association, 2010. Dictionary. Available at: http://www.marketingpower.com/_layouts/Dictionary.aspx?dLetter=B [Accessed October 22, 2010].

De Chernatony, L. & Riley, F.D.O., 1998. Defining A“ Brand”: Beyond The Literature With Experts’ Interpretations. Journal of Marketing Management, 14(5), pp.417–443.

Gardner, B.B. & Levy, S.J., 1999. The product and the brand. Brands, consumers, symbols, & research: Sidney J. Levy on marketing, p.131.

Gioia, D.A., Schultz, M. & Corley, K.G., 2000. Organizational identity, image, and adaptive instability. Academy of Management Review, 25(1), pp.63–81.

Gries, R., 2006. Produkte & Politik: zur Kultur- und Politikgeschichte der Produktkommunikation, Facultas Verlag.

Kapferer, J.-N. & Mayring, P., 1992. Strategic brand management, Kogan Page London.

Keller, K.L., 1993. Conceptualizing, measuring, and managing customer-based brand equity. Journal of Marketing, 57(1), pp.1–22.

Keller, K.L. & Lehmann, D.R., 2006. Brands and branding: Research findings and future priorities. Marketing Science, 25(6), p.740.

Kotler, P. & Bliemel, F., 2006. Marketing-Management. Analyse, Planung und Verwirklichung 10th ed., Pearson Studium.

Louro, M.J. & Cunha, P.V., 2001. Brand management paradigms. Journal of Marketing Management, 17(7), pp.849–875.

Österreichisches Patentamt, 2009. Geschäftsbericht 2009. Österreichisches Patentamt. Available at: http://www.patentamt.at/geschaeftsbericht2009/de/start.html [Accessed July 12, 2011].

Tropp, J., 2004. Markenmanagement: Der Brand Management Navigator. Markenführung im Kommunikationszeitalter, VS Verlag.

Willman, J., 2000. Leaner, Cleaner and Healthier is the Stated Aim. Financial Times. Available at: http://scholar.google.at/scholar?q=Niall+Fitzgerald%2C+co-chairman+of+Unilever%2C+the+Anglo-Dutch+consumer+products+group%2C+epitomized+this+shift+in+perspective+when+he+stated+%22We%27re+not+a+manufacturing+company+any+more%2C+we%27re+a+brand+marketing+group+that+happens+to+make+some+of+its+products&hl=en&btnG=Search&as_sdt=2001&as_sdtp=on [Accessed January 4, 2011].

Wood, L., 2000. Brands and brand equity: definition and management. Management Decision, 38(9), pp.662–669.