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(2013, p.22) noted: “managers also need to recognize that the virtuous circle of participation, intimacy and ownership only occurs when people feel there is fair reciprocity between themselves and the brand. To achieve this, the key mechanism is feedback. It is only when participants receive clear, accurate and relevant feedback about their contributions – delivered at the right time – that they feel valued and realize the fulfilment that they seek.” Moreover, in accordance with Iglesias’ et al. (2013) aforementioned theoretical proposition, we expect to empirically demonstrate that in order to effectively run a co-creation community, managers need to adopt a participatory leadership style, which consists of opening up the organization to outsiders, being humble, embracing contributions from customers, and be willing to share.
Limitations In light of the nature of qualitative research, the main limitation of this study is that the findings will not be externally generalizable. However, the insights that we expect to get from managers about co-creation will enable us to provide the research community with some novel hypotheses ready to be tested and validated by quantitative research techniques.
Originality/Value Apart from the above-justified relevance of the research objectives and the expected findings, this research ultimately aims at generating value by developing the under-investigated field of value co-creation, which is currently one of the top research priorities in the discipline of brand management.
Keywords Brand management; value co-creation; multiple stakeholders; managerial perceptions;
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Reducing tensions among creative departments through brand identity definition: The case of Pininfarina Mazzalovo, Gerald Darpy, Denis Introduction In December 2006, Andrea Pininfarina (AP), President and CEO of one of the oldest and worldwide leading Italian car design company, invited a few brand specialists to a meeting at the company headquarter in Cambiano in order to explore the possibilities to develop the Pininfarina brand. He started the meeting declaring: “I want to make money with my brand, just as Ferrari 1 is doing with his.” At that time, Pininfarina had never designed and sold mono-branded products under its own brand. This was the beginning of a consultancy project which started with the definition and formalization of the Pininfarina possible brand identity and concluded in 2008 with a detailed business plan to launch mono-branded products and services.
The project intended to develop “Business to Consumer” activities for a pure product Designer servicing other brands, this paper shows how the definition of a singular brand identity helps to reduce tensions existing between the creative and the business sensibilities (Johansson & Holm, 2006; Michlewski, 2008; Chiapello, 1998).
A brief history of Pininfarina 2 Battista "Pinin" Farina was born in Turin in 1893. He began to work at age eleven, in his older brother’s car body shop. He founded Carrozzeria Pinin Farina in 1930 in order to design, engineer and assemble cars. It is the beginning of a long story of car design and development for most of the famous car brands: Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Fiat, Lancia, Maserati, Peugeot, Cadillac, GM, Bentley, Volvo, Mercedes, etc. and now the Chinese brands such as AviChina, Chery, Changfeng, Brilliance, JAC. The privileged relationship with Ferrari has marked both companies history.
Since 1950, all of the Ferrari (except one by Bertone) have been designed by In 2006, Ferrari was already invoicing more with derivative objects (Clothing, accessories, books, games, etc.) than with the approximately 6000 cars sold yearly.
Source: www.pininfarina.com [accessed August 15th 2014] Pininfarina. Adding a mono-branded business targeted to the consumer market to the traditional B2B activities is a case of business diversification (Stern* and Henderson 2004) as well as brand extension (Monga & John, 2010). This is indeed very similar to what Ferrari did when it started developing its derivative business 3 in the early 2000: New products for new consumers. Pininfarina can be classified as a designer brand (CM Moore, J Fernie & S Burt, 2000), but not exactly in the sense used for the fashion designers as it is exclusively active in a business-to-business context. However it meets all the requirements of a brand as traditionally defined: it has a name, characteristic signs (logo, calligraphy…) and it can trigger emotions and mental representations with its customers. What makes this desired transformation particular is the fact that so far, Pininfarina has designed models for other brands and therefore acted as an interpreter of someone else identity.
Methodology The format of the case study research was selected to review all interactions between the actors. The study is based on a consultancy assignment resulting from a request from AP in 2007 to improve the financial results of the company through the conception, design and commercialization of Pininfarina monobranded products. One of the paper’s co-author led the consulting assignment to follow the criteria of Engaged Management Research Design as advocated by Van de Ven (2007).
The consultancy assignment required gaining the support of the various design teams. The consulting team included a professional designer, ensuring the use of a proper tone and vocabulary in the interviews and questionnaires. The corpus was made of pictures of cars and other objects designed since 1930, car shows stands designs, advertising campaigns, books [including the founder’s biography (1968)], financial reports, press articles, architecture concepts of the headquarter and of the 3 assembly sites, specialized websites, etc.
The formulation of Pinninfarina own brand identity was developed using Floch’s semiotic approach (1990, 1995). Floch was a leading member of what has been called l’Ecole de Paris (Coquet 1982) or the school of narrative semiotics (Groupe μ 1992) rooted in structuralist teachings of Greimas in the 70’s. Floch’s brand identity scheme is based on Saussure’s (1916) approach to sign (signifier and signified), then taken up by Hjelmslev (1971). Floch’s contribution is his focus on the invariant parts of the 2 levels of expression and content, in line also with Ricoeur’s (1990) notion of narrative identity. The scheme later on called the brand identity hinge, has been taken up to illustrate specific brand issues by Heilbrunn (2000), Semprini (1992, 2005),) and Mazzalovo and Darpy (2014).
1) There are tensions between different design teams working on different projects as they respectively feel that they understand and interpret Pininfarina brand
better, as expressed (with caution) in some interviews:
• “Certain objects have been overdesigned (divani Nieri…) and certain projects insufficiently controlled (Keating hotel).” (Head of a design team) • “In the past 15 years, our designs have been less coherent than before” (car designer) http://auto.ferrari.com/en_EN/ongoing-heritage/brand-extensions/ visited on January 30th 2015 • “There is a lot of heterogeneity in the non-automotive designs… It is pointless to try to systematically apply automotive lines and shapes to non-automotive products.” (Overall Head of automotive design teams)
2) Creative teams do not show any type of reticence with respect to brand logics, especially when exposed to the semiotic vocabulary and notions related to brand identity. On the contrary, they call for more stringent and formalized guidelines that they expect the brand identity would provide. Some of the comments were
• “The need for a formalized brand is needed for the car design teams, but is even more important for the non-automotive team.” (Car Designer)
3) They participate and bring essential contributions to the process of definitions of, not only aesthetic but also ethic brand invariants, as they recognize the need for them.
• The president’s attitude and involvement has been essential in explaining the importance of the project and contributed to a strong motivation of the designers.
• The Pininfarina brand project was launched by AP in a formal meeting.
However, in all occasions, he demonstrated the strategic importance of the
project. For instance, in the company monthly Design meeting, AP declares:
“If we look at the 40 design projects we carried out in 2006, it appears clearly that we have to strive for a more integrated design. Our own “writing” should be felt in all our creations. The brand definition project should not only help in developing our own mono-branded products but also give us clear guidelines in all our design works for other brands.” Practical implications In addition to having demonstrated the usefulness of a clearly defined brand identity in appeased interrelationships among creative departments, we have
developed the following tools and methodologies:
- A semiotic-based methodology to formalize a possible brand identity.