«of the AM’s Brand, Corporate Identity and Reputation SIG INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE SESSIONS Sessions chairs The main function of a session chair is to ...»
3) The Believers. This cluster includes respondents with no prior experience of the brand but showing positive perceptions of brand authenticity, brand image, brand trust and premium price. Actually, this group of non-customers showed higher values than those reported by the Engaged counterparts. These high scores, based on mere perceptions of potential customers, confirm the strong appeal of these well established brands. In particular, Vespa has been perceived as the most authentic brand, followed by Cinecittà and Enel. Because Peroni did not appear in this cluster, prior experience of the beer seems to be necessary to appreciate this product brand.
4) The Sceptical. This cluster includes non-customers who perceive low brand authenticity, brand image, brand trust and premium price. In particular Cinecittà has been perceived as the most authentic brand, followed by Peroni and Vespa. Note, the cluster analysis revealed that Enel is not present in this group. These findings might be due to the fact that young non-customer Millennials could be more interested in products or entertainment services than in energy services, the latter being perceived as distant from their current actual lifestyle.
Figure 1. The four-cluster solution Theoretical implications The main findings of the present study confirm brand authenticity as a relevant component of successful brands (Beverland, 2005; Kapferer, 2008) strongly linked to consumers’ brand trust ( Balmer, 2012; Schallehn et al.
2014). In addition, this work shows that brand authenticity is also linked to brand image and to consumers’ willingness to pay a premium price. Although brand authenticity has been strongly related to positive or negative consumers’ experiences (Chalmers, 2008; Leigh et al. 2006; Gilmore and Pine, 2007), noncustomers might also have different attitudes towards companies. In particular, well established brands might rely on positive perceptions of non-customers (i.e., the Believers) who value their high brand authenticity, trust and image. With respect to actual customers who have a positive experience with these brands (i.e., the Engaged), these potential customers might be stronger supporters of brands with high authenticity, being also prone to paying a higher premium price. Therefore, this study may provide a valuable starting point for additional research into non-customers’ perceptions of brand authenticity. In particular, scholars are called on to explore non-customers’ role in the legitimization of the brand within web brand communities. Lastly, this study also included brand authenticity perceptions of service brands, extending previous research on brand authenticity that mainly focused on product branding (Alexander, 2009; Beverland, 2005; Kates, 2004). In particular, findings highlighted potential higher risk from actual customers who negatively experienced the services of well-established brands (i.e., the Cheated) with respect to their non-customer (i.e., the Sceptical) counterparts.
Practical implications The proposed cluster analysis of brand authenticity dimensions and brand related contructs in young consumers (i.e., Millennials) may drive managers and, in particular marketers, to a new way of segmenting customers and non-customers. Therefore, managers should: protect the Engaged group of customers through actions of Customer Relationship Management (CRM), invest in the Believers and Sceptical groups of non-customers through actions of advertising and promotions, and invest in Public Relations (PR) resources for the Cheated group of customers who might seriously engage in anti-branding communities and negative word of mouth.
Limitations The main limitation of this study is due to using well established brands, thus limiting the genarilizability of findings. Also, as the considered sample included only Millennials, further studies are needed to verify the replicability of the proposed clusters in different age groups of consumers.
Originality In providing a new segmentation of consumers based on their experience and brand authenticity dimensions, this study highlighted the central role of both customers’ and noncustomers’ perceptions.
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Brand growth, when less is more Peretz, Adrian Olsen, Lars Erling Purpose of paper Brand extensions provide one of the most attractive growth strategies for companies because they can leverage the strength of existing brand names when entering into new product categories. However, brand extensions require cognitive effort on the part of consumers as they must learn and maintain new brand associations linked to the parent brand. As a brand grows the number of associations needed to maintain a working model of a brand’s associative network in memory may grow to the extent that this weakens or dilutes the parent brand. The purpose of the current research is to demonstrate that is possible to create broad, yet strong, brands, by increasing the level of abstraction for key brand associations rather than increasing the number of associations.
Theoretical Background One of the key goals for brand organizations is to grow brands (Samuelsen & Olsen 2012) – and one of the most attractive ways of achieving brand growth is through brand extensions (Keller 2013). The epic growth of the Apple brand – from marginal PC maker into the most valuable brand in the world (Interbrand, 2013) illustrates how important extending brands into new categories can be. The success of the Apple brand also illustrates that the rewards from a truly successful brand extension are twofold: the direct and immediate increase in brand sales created by the extension itself – to wit: iPod, iPhone, iPad; as well as the more indirect and lagged effect on parent brand sales if brand extensions serve to strengthen and broaden overall brand awareness and knowledge. The Apple brand also suggests another key issue that may be important for brand growth strategies – while Apple may loom large in the mind of most consumers, it does not seem to require much mental effort to maintain this image. Previous research has shown that broad brands achieve greater levels of overall brand strength (Meyvis & Janiszewski 2004). However, there has been little focus on how brand managers should create broad brands – brands that are associated with a number of dissimilar product categories (Meyvis & Janiszewski 2004).
There are four commonly used bases of brand extension: (1) product category, (2) brand attributes, (3) usage situation, and (4) target market (Herr et al. 1996; Keller 1993). However, as both usage situation and target market may provide the basis for brands that span a large number of functionally dissimilar categories, the current research will focus on brand growth strategies based on product category- and brand benefit growth strategies. These two strategies are also the most common extension strategies examined in the brand literature and of particular interest in terms of creating broad brands, as prior research indicates that brand extensions based on category similarity are easy for consumers to understand and are thus favorable when extending a parent brand into a similar and consistent category, but that consumers prefer extensions where the brand benefit is diagnostic when extending into a more dissimilar category (Broniarczyk & Alba 1994).
In terms of brand associations, brand extensions involve learning on the part of the consumer (Janiszewski & Van Osselaer 2000). When a brand is extended into a new category or the number of benefits a brand provides is increased, the consumer must update a number of associations linked to the brand. In both cases, the brand’s associative network increases in size, and over time it requires increased effort to maintain a coherent model of the brand in memory. Previous research has shown that a brand’s strategic concept (Park et al. 1986) may influence the potential breadth of the brand. Brands that provide symbolic value to the consumer tend to have more abstract brand benefits – and the abstraction level of these associations allow symbolic brands to be more easily extended into categories that, from a purely functional perspective, may seem quite distant (Park et al. 1991). This suggests that the abstraction level of core brand associations may play a major role in allowing a brand to grow into a broad brand. However, this has not been explored for functional brands – which are more grounded by their core associations and thus more difficult to extend far from the core. Prior research has however shown that for functional brands, broader may be stronger (Meyvis & Janiszewski 2004). Thus, if a brand extension increased the abstraction level of a functional brand’s core associations(s) – essentially storing more global brand beliefs than brand exemplars (Ng & Houston 2006), this would require less effort to learn and maintain, as there would be no increase in the number of associations in the network, merely a moderate redefinition of existing associations.
Increased levels of abstraction could make it easier to maintain a coherent model of the brand in memory, as a smaller number of associations would be required to recall the solutions to a greater number of consumer goals. The current research proposes that by selecting brand extensions that increase the abstraction level of parent brand benefits, brand managers can reduce the amount of learning required by the customer. To date, two studies confirm that it is possible to use brand extensions to shape the parent brand associations of functional brand, and that there is a differential effect of extension strategy on brand attitude.