«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 ...»
Prior Research This theoretical proposition that the importance of the brand name element reduced as products became established was examined in a quantitative experimental study, involving 100 participants (Round and Roper, 2011). These participants were adults from North West England, mixed in age and of both genders. This showed that in the vast majority of cases the importance placed on the brand name element was indeed relatively modest. However, for around 13% of the participants this was not the case. For this minority the brand name element was calculated to be of significant importance, equivalent to at least 60% of the price of the branded product.
Research Design This unexpected empirical result led to a qualitative study investigating the reasons behind the continuing and extreme importance of the brand name element for this minority of consumers. All of the research participants who had been identified as placing a substantial value on the brand name of a particular established product were asked to take part in followon research and 11 agreed to do so. This took the form of a series of in-depth semi-structured face-to-face interviews. These took place at a university in North West England during 2013 and 2014.
An interview guide was developed to explore their perception of the causes of brand name element importance. Interviews were structured to attempt to initially elicit reasons for importance without interviewer prompting, before subsequently turning to discussion of other potential causes.
Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed into NVivo10 software and analysed using template analysis. This is essentially a grounded approach for the thematic organisation and analysis of textual data, where themes are generally initially generated from existing theory (Dey, 1993).
Findings A number of interesting findings came out of the data analysis. In every case, participants recognised the high importance that they placed on the brand name. However, it proved hard for them to articulate directly the reasons for this. However, detailed thematic analysis did identify a number of potential causes for the importance of established brand names that appeared to be applicable for many of the participants.
a-Product Involvement as necessary precursor to Brand Name element importance It was invariably the case that participants were heavily involved with the relevant branded entity associated with the brand name. They were often heavy purchasers of the branded product, had been for many years and were generally reluctant to use alternatives. However, this high level of involvement with the product appeared to be a necessary precursor for the placement of high importance on the brand name, rather than its primary cause.
Three factors, discussed below, appeared to be relevant for the importance of the brand name element for an established product b-Brand Name element as Signifier of an unchanged Branded Entity The denotation function of the brand name identifies the branded entity. However, participants within this study perceived this identification role broadly. They did not regard it as simply that of facilitating the physical location of a particular branded entity. Rather they saw the brand name’s function as the identifier of the specific meanings and values, rational and otherwise that a particular branded entity holds. An unchanged brand name was perceived as signifying that the branded entity was unchanging. If the brand name were to change then they considered that they would have no way of knowing for certain that the branded entity was unchanged. Given the high involvement that these participants have with specific branded products the unchanging nature of the branded entity is imperative to them and therefore this signifying role performed by the brand name is very important.
(Talking about a Yorkshire Tea change of name) Well it would annoy me actually in my mind, because it’s a different name and it is a very small thing, but it is a different name. I know it’s the same product, but it’s the perception in my head of what I think it is…I don’t know, I just… I don’t believe in change for brands, I think it can be very risky, particularly if you’re attached to it [Lucy] c-Brand Name element as Signifier of a strong Consumer/Brand Relationship A number of participants considered that much of the value that they received from the branded entity resulted from the ongoing relationship that they felt they held with it (Fournier, 1998; Carroll and Ahuvia, 2006). The brand name element was seen as a signifier of their relationship. If the brand name were to change then this would lead to a significant weakening of the relationship, as it would have been carried out unilaterally by only one party within the relationship.
(Talking about a Lipton’s Iced Tea change of name) And if that changes then you’ll try it, you would see it and you’d be like well it’s not Lipton’s is it and you’ll try it and then it might be alright but to me my brand loyalty wouldn’t be there because it’s not Lipton’s, in my head I might know well they’ve just changed the name but it’s still not Lipton’s [Annabelle] d-Individual Value and Meaning associated with the Brand Name element For a number of participants the importance of the brand name element appeared to have been considerably developed by the individual participant. This was due to its association with meaningful events in the life of the individual and from becoming central to the identity of the individual. These meanings and values associated with the brand name were not primarily determined by the corporation. This is in line with an assertion that brand value is the creation of the consumer in addition to the corporation (Hatch and Rubin, 2006; Elliott and Wattanasuwan, 1998), where neither consumer nor corporation have complete control over brand meaning (Batey, 2008) and therefore importance to the consumer.
I would hate to be defined by… but I am a Guardian reader yes. I wouldn’t want it on my gravestone but I think it would be something that my friends would all know about me as well [Sarah] Theoretical and practical implications The first implication is that the denotation function of the brand name element is broader that might have been considered. It signifies to the consumer a number of important aspects about the branded entity, in addition to basic physical identification.
A second implication is that consumers often play a much more active role in the development of consumer brand equity than is generally assumed within the literature (Kapferer, 2008), where the emphasis is development by the corporation. Co-creation is no longer a new topic within the Marketing literature but it needs greater integration into established theoretical branding frameworks.
A third implication that follows on from co-creation is that the idea of co-ownership should be considered. Where brand value and meaning have been jointly developed by the corporation and the consumer then it may be considered that they are now also co-owned (Belk, 1988). In a world of co-ownership, there are implications for one party acting unilaterally to the detriment of the other. These appear particularly pertinent from a relationship marketing perspective.
A final practical implication is that corporations should be mindful of the ongoing roles played by the brand name element and why it may be of particular importance to certain of its customers. They need to appreciate that for these customers a change in brand name may always be problematic and should factor this into their branding strategies.
Limitations There are inevitable limitations associated with a qualitative study. The sample size used within the research raises generalisation issues. In addition, there may be concerns about the subjective interpretation of the findings. It is the intention to address these, through the employment of a complementary quantitative study in the future.
Originality/Value This research improves our understanding of the brand name element and its relationship with the branded entity and when and why it may remain important for established products.
It also provides support for co-creation activity occurring within branding and suggests the exploration of the notion and implications of co-ownership.
KeywordsBrand-name element, Brand equity, Co-creation
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Understanding and managing negative electronic word of mouth (eWom):
The role of trust, dissatisfaction and negative brand relationships Ruiz, Carla Aldás-Manzano, Joaquin Veloutsou, Cleopatra Purpose Brand experience can be a source of negative emotions for consumers, which may trigger behavioural outcomes (i.e negative electronic word of mouth, brand switching). An important question that arises in web 2.0 environments is if negative electronic word of mouth (eWOM) is a behavioural indicator of switching behaviour or just a temporary emotional release without any intended conduct (Verhagen et al., 2013). The effects of negative eWOM on the receiver’s attitudes and intentions have been studied at length, but the question of under which conditions negative eWOM leads to a behavioural outcome (switching decision) has received less attention in the literature.
Negative electronic word of mouth (negative eWOM) is defined as any negative statement made by actual or former consumers about a brand, which is available to a multitude of people and institutions via social network sites (Hennig-Thurau et al. 2004). The purpose of this paper is to analyse the effects of negative eWom in the context of brand switching, paying special attention to the role of trust, negative brand relationships and dissatisfaction.
The goals of this paper are two-fold. Firstly, it analyses the impact of the negative eWom on brand switching from the sender perspective. EWom is often the major reason for non-brand choice and can decrease the revenues of firms, therefore, more research on how negative eWom contributes to the sender’s behaviour is openly called for (Lee et al., 2012; To and Ho, 2014). Secondly, it analyses the combined impact of brand trust, dissatisfaction and negative brand relationships on negative eWom and the interactions among those variables. With the exception of some qualitative studies that have addressed motivations for engaging in WOM in brand-related conversation (Hennig-Thurau et al. 2004; Sundaram, et al., 1998), no systematic research has investigated drivers of negative eWOM beyond dissatisfaction. Trust is included in the research model as it is an important factor for measuring the behaviour of web 2.0 users because allows the mitigation of uncertainty and lack of face-to face contact and permits the creation of stronger brand relationships (Casaló et al., 2008; Gefen et al., 2003). This paper also analyses the impact of the emotive responses and connections with the brand, namely brand relationships on eWom. While practitioners recognize this aspect of online brand experience as being critical to the success (Rappaport, 2007), academic research largely overlooks them (Morgan-Thomas and Veloutsou, 2003; Mollen and Wilson, 2010).
The research model is presented in Figure 1.