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- A diagnostic tool to measure the degree of coherence of any brand manifestation with respect to the ethic and aesthetic dimensions of a pursued brand identity (the EST-ET diagram, see Note 2). This has been applied to most of the Pininfarina creations since 1930 (cars, Advertising, logo, non-automotive design projects, etc.).
At Pininfarina’s level, there are strategic and operational implications:
- The identity of the possible Pininfarina brand have been defined in terms of ethics and aesthetics invariants (see Note 1. Pininfarina Brand Identity Hinge)
- The brand identity elements which came out of the formalization process have been integrated into the company communication and the creation of the concept car “Sintesi” and the electrical car developed with the Bolloré Group’s batteries. They serve as basic guidelines for all future projects.
- The Brand Identity study led to the development of a detailed possible brand universe which served as a basis to the strategic development plan of the new Pininfarina brand activities (product and service categories. See Note 3. Brand Universe: Imaginair).
These Pininfarina implications can be extrapolated to similar cases of the transformation from B2B designer to B2C brand.
Limitations, originality and contributions This paper has all the limits of case study (Flyvbjerg 2006, Hodkinson &
However, there are no documented examples of the passage from B2B designer to B2C brand. This has been a unique opportunity to be called by one of the greatest car designer, in order to help in this transition. We had this rare chance of grounding our study in an actual working reality, revealing all the complexity of design projects and helping us in understanding the complex inter-relationships of design teams.
This has also been a unique opportunity to apply to its fullest extent a semiotic approach to brand definition and management. The results have then been presented up to the board level and accepted (and used) by the employees and executives in communication and design. The process has also confirmed the validity of the EST-ET diagram as a diagnostic tool of coherence of brand manifestations with respect to brand identities.
Conclusion This case study has legitimate pratical merits, but it is on the management of Pininfarina that it had a major direct and lasting impact. At the Geneva car show in 2008, the concept car “Sintesi” was presented. The project had been conceived by the Chief Designer Lowie Vermersch for “Sintesi” to present and respect all the elements of the Pininfarina brand identity as formalized by the study.
The website (accessed on October 24th 2014) language shows also that the results of the work done on the brand identity are present in the brand communication.
We can read for instance that: “Pininfarina DNA 4 today is the same as in the thirties: the centrality of the design, the aesthetic sensibility capable of creating timeless beauty, the constant striving for innovation, the strength of a tradition that brings together industry, technology and stylistic research, the ability to interpret the client's needs without altering the brand identity.” Since Andrea Pininfarina’s death on August 7th 2008 in a Vespa accident, the brand development project has been held, waiting for new investors to restructure the group and mobilize the necessary financial resources to launch the implementation of the brand in terms of mono-branded products and services.
Understood here as “brand identity invariants” Notes
1. Pininfarina Brand Identity Hinge
2. Diagnostic tool: The Est-ET diagram
3. Brand Universe: Imaginair
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Branding shopping centres: Customer insights Merrilees, Bill Miller, Dale Shao, Wei Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine consumer brand associations of shopping malls. The planned and managed shopping mall emerged as a format phenomenon in the mid-twentieth century. Arguably, the mall was a reinterpretation of the department store, which had offered a multiplicity of services and products, and which had been the site for the reimagining of shopping with the introduction of spectacle and emphasis on the shopping experience. The milieu for this paper is consumer perceptions of shopping centres, also termed malls. We use the term, shopping mall, to refer to planned shopping centres with a centralized management team. More specifically, the context is branding the mall. Despite their economic significance, there are few image or branding studies of malls.
The paper is positioned to discover and better understand critical mall brand associations and the components of brand meaning, which consumers give to malls. Pioneeringly, two critical consumer mall brand associations, namely mall atmosphere and mall merchandise are discerned for a particular mall. Experiential branding exemplifies shopping mall branding.
The Literature The literature, which forms the platform for this study, spans four domains: malls and consumers; branding and malls, mall image studies; and malls and tenants.
Malls and consumers Much of the mall research looks at customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. Many aspects of the mall marketing and management are said to affect satisfaction and loyalty, and include customer service (Kursunlugu, 2014); facilities management (Hui, Zhang & Zheng, 2013), and the effect of specific store loyalty on mall loyalty (Rabbannee, Ramaseshan, Wu & Vinden, 2012). Other researchers have examined excitement at the mall (Wakefiled & Baker, 1998), the impact of entertainment (Sit, Merrilees & Birch, 2003), the effect of mall atmosphere (Massicotte, Michon, Chebat, Sirgy & Borges, 2011; North & Kotzé, 2004;
Turley & Milliman, 2000), and enjoyment of the shopping experience (Hart, Farrell, Stachow, Reed & Cadogan, 2007).
Branding and malls The idea of branding the mall has received surprisingly little attention from researchers and practitioners alike (Dennis, Murphy, Marsland, Cockett & Patel, 2002). The literature on corporate branding and rebranding has proliferated in the past two decades (Balmer, 2010;
Miller, Merrilees and Yakimova, 2014); in parallel, the literature on malls has continued to evolve (Kirkup & Rafiq, 1999; Parsons & Ballantine, 2004), frequently addressing loyalty to the mall (Rabbanee, Ramaseshan, Wu & Vinden, 2012). However, it has been rare for research articles to focus on the intersection of these two domains. Brands can have multiple roles, and in particular, the impact of brand attitudes affects contract and lease renewal in the mall context (Roberts & Merrilees, 2007). In a different approach to branding, Roberts’ (2013) conceptual paper raises many questions for future research to answer, as well as noting that atmospherics is but one tool in mall branding. An industry review emphasises the critical importance of differentiation of ‘shopping places by the development of shopping place branding’ (Myers, Gore & Liu, 2008, 113).
Mall image studies In a seminal article, Finn and Louviere examined the contribution of anchor stores to shopping centre image, finding that “…center tenant and a few other physical characteristics can account for a very large proportion of the variance in center patronage through their impact on image” (1996, 250). Further, attracting more people to a mall can be helped by developing a robust mall image, which has been shown to be affected by access, atmosphere, price/ promotion and assortment (Chebat, Sirgy & Grzeskowiak, 2010).
Malls and tenants In retailing, the merchandise mix is a strategic component in the retail mix and contributes to the retailer (corporate) brand (Miller, 2008). In the mall context, the tenant mix shapes the overall brand of the mall as well as affecting customer satisfaction. In the mid-1990s, research focussed on the quest for an ideal tenant mix (Bruwer, 1997), and examining the tenant-mall manager relationships (Prendergast, Marr & Jarratt, 1996). Subsequently, a study of building trust with retail tenants explained how centre managers could develop stronger relations with their tenants (Roberts, Merrilees, Herington & Miller, 2010). The redefining of the tenant mix is usually in response to changing customer preferences (Ibrahim & Galven, 2007). Moreover, a study of shopping mall tenants found that service quality (from mall management) had a positive effect on the brand attitude and that there were multiple roles for brands in the relationship with the mall management (Roberts, Merrilees, Herington & Miller, 2010).
Methodology/approach The study uses a quantitative research design strategy. A survey was developed using variables from the literature that are known to influence brand attitudes. The personally
administered survey included questions about the four major retail-marketing elements:
merchandise, service, pricing and atmosphere, except all are in a mall context; the mall provides quality merchandise for example. Additional questions asked consumers for their perceptions of customer mall satisfaction and mall brand-attitudes. Each scale is measured on a two-item basis on a five-point Likert scale.
Criteria for inclusion in the survey were that the respondent was over 18 years of age and a shopping mall patron. The researchers trained survey administrators, who collected responses directly within a major regional shopping mall. Potential respondents were randomly approached, with a 50 percent acceptance rate in agreeing to be interviewed. There was a total of 755 useable surveys. The data was analysed using structural equation modelling (SEM) with AMOS software. The research design is a quantitative study of consumer mall brand-attitudes. A structural model is estimated in a way that explains two dependent variables, namely customer mall satisfaction and customer mall brand-attitudes.
Findings The measurement model reveals a satisfactory model fit. Similarly, the data also fits the structural model well. There is a high goodness of fit with GFI=0.98; AGFI=0.96; CFI=0.99;
NFI=0.98; χ2 = 93.9; χ2 / df = 2.24; p=0.01 (Bollen-Stine); RMSEA=0.040 (0.030 to 0.051);
Hoelter 0.05=467. The structural model estimates are presented in Table 1 in two parts:
firstly, the explanation of customer satisfaction at the mall and secondly, the explanation of consumer mall brand attitudes. A high degree of explanation applies for each equation, namely 76 percent and 62 percent respectively.
Starting with customer mall satisfaction, atmosphere and merchandise are the driving forces.
Atmosphere has a very high, standardized beta coefficient of 0.71 and significant at the one percent level. Merchandise also has a sizable effect with a beta coefficient of 0.24, also significant at the one percent level. In contrast, neither pricing nor service has any discernible effect, both having very small and statistically insignificant effects.
Moving to the model of customer mall brand-attitudes, we see that satisfaction and merchandise are the driving forces. In particular, customer mall satisfaction is the dominant explanation of customer mall brand-attitudes, with a beta coefficient of 0.53, significant at the one percent level. Merchandise is the only other variable to have a direct influence on mall brand-attitudes, with a beta coefficient of 0.30, significant at the one percent.