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Case Analysis: Exploring Brand Personal Relationships Class Submission

Submitted by, Aditya Dutta Himanshu Jain Rachit Jain 2012066 2012078



PGDM 2012-14

Case Approach
The case begins with a short introduction to brands working as relationship partners. This is an extension of usual brand dynamics concepts as studied extensively in marketing literature. The case illustrates three stories where brands come alive in relationship dyad and illustrate how they form almost real relationships with their consumers.

Our Approach to Case Solution

Since brands are not human, it is the marketing mix that simulates behaviors on behalf of brands1. This forms the fundamental tenet fir our analysis of this case. We will look at the relationships for all three women, Jean, Karen and Vicki in following light, 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Voluntary Vs. Involuntary Positive Vs. Negative Intense Vs. Superficial Enduring(Long Term) Vs. Short Term Public Vs. Private Formal( Role or Task Oriented) Vs. Informal(Personal) Symmetric Vs. Asymmetric

We propose that we study the relationships in four categories 1. 2. 3. 4.

1 2


Friendship Marriage Dark side relationships Temporal orientation

Fournier, 1998

Consumer-brand Relationships: An exploratory study in the services, Jillian C. Sweeney, Macy Chew


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We begin by studying the relationships and pick up examples. We found that case talks about three women who are if different age cohorts and life cycles. Women may have been chosen as they represent deeper and stronger relationships as compared to men3. All three interviews were done in such a manner that first person brand story as well as contextual details were elucidated.

Three women from different geographies, age brackets etc. The selection was not by sampling rules but this was done to create marketing distance. Diversity in age, education, demography, social status is to Manufacture Distance 4. Based on case histories given, we analyzed the associations for all three women.

Jean is 59 years old, married for 40 years, has lived in same house for two generations and has been working all her adult life. Almost all her relationships with various brands are decades old and are extremely deeply held. Food seems to be consistent theme in her discussion. Her concept of self is very strong and compliments are very meaningful for her. She is proud of her ethnic heritage- sauce is a case in point. Every relationship with brands in her life are means to trademark her own self. Jean has been associated with some brands for more than 20 years. Some brands support ego defense like Electrolux, Maytag, GE. She has tried to buy the best so that her social standing remains great (Pastene Tomatoes). Frigidair and Maytag are some other examples. Jean has allowed a brand to entre her usage set only after testing it over other brands in same category, for example Bon Ami was kicked out when its performance was considered below par. Jean appreciates brands which have long standing and have been proven over the years. Permanence and constancy have been her theme of childhood as well as brand choices (GE iron).

3 4

Guest, 1964 McCracken 1988


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Jean has used many brands which bring out affiliation / independence. She likes to use service of people she has known or used over time rather than those referred to her by other people. On the other hand she has chosen brands which evoke memories of her loved ones. Jean is affected when her family/friends/market experts point out to other brands as being the best. Most of these stories have however resulted in strengthening of her loyalty towards her brand (positive association with Skippy and negative association with Honey of A Ham Store).

Karen is recently divorced mother of two kids, is 39 years old, hitting midlife, has to work very hard since money is tight. She has the task of raising two kids, earn money and deice if she wants to invest in opportunities for her own growth. She has very limited direction on what she wants to become but she knows clearly what she doesnt not want to become (ex. Her mother who was not encouraging at all). Karen has to continually choose in between doing something for her own or for the kids. She is desperate to find another man as well as rise in career. Given the state of her personal life, Karen has limited set of brand relationships. She is hardly attached to any brands emotionally. Her responses and inability to recall too many brands is consistent with fact that she has not had time to think about consumption / act as normal consumer. Her choice set depends on coupons or sales which will help save money. To Karen, national brands are all good and useful with little or no difference. Brands which offer predictability, can help in routine and bring structure to life (Gateway, Comet). Karen also has deep negative emotions attached to certain brands (Mop and Glo, Palmolive).Certain brands like Mary Kay form her inner sanctum with a deep stable relationship. She tolerates occasional disappointments with brand but is otherwise stable in her usage pattern and locality to the brand. Dove soap, Miracle whip are other example. She has now asserted her choice by refusing to use Hellman.


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Reebok has another lasting deep relationship with Karen. Running shoes give her joy and self-confidence as her fitness levels are high. Vitality and self-efficacy are two emotions that attach Reebok and Karen. Similar reaction exists for Gatorade. Lastly as mention in case, she loves to be seen as non-Diet Coke drinker. Her efforts to be seen as someone who need not avoid Classic Coke is more than her liking for Classis Coke.

Vicki is a 23 year old student who is in process of entering adult life and starting to do things independently. She is just out of home, in college and has just started making decisions on her own. Vicki still takes advice on some matters from her parents while choosing to do her bidding on others. She is not committed firmly to anything but has different things in progress. Vicky is currently looking for stable male partner so that she can plan marriage. Related to her plan is focus on feminine and sexuality (perfumes, makeup, and lingerie). She sees lot of value in friendship and her commitment to existing set of friends. Vicki is beginning to form very strong relationships with brands. Due to her younger age and recently discovered adulthood, she is beginning to choose and nurture string brand relationships and emotional connects. Vicki is attached to brands like Ivory and Crest. She has multiple association types which represent her current state of life. She is not sure what she wants to become and has considered multiple things. Also she has chosen many brands that are floral and scented. Despite so many brands in her life she still hasnt found her perfect brand relationship that can be said to be consistent (comparison with Mimi for scent). Vicki believes that person should be faithful to the brand and this contributes to her relationships with different brands. Despite this, Vicky also manages to keep a tab on what is hot in market by indulging in trials (shampoos in her bathroom). Her brand portfolio will see lot of change (she is sure Ivory / Floral will change). She will change brand associations inherited from her kins like her mother (Tetley Tea GIM PGDM 2012-14

leaves). At this point Vicky is loyal to loyalty not a particular set of brands and is in process of discovering her own self as well as a set of brands with whom she will develop meaningful relationships.

Relationship Form Arranged Marriage

Definition Non voluntary, due to third person, consumer surrenders at lower level, long term commitment, exclusivity

Example from case Karen adopted Mop n Glo/Palmolive though they were used by her ex-husband. Jean uses Murphy soap based on advice from manufacturer.

Casual friends & buddies Marriage of Convenience

Not so close friendship, lacking great intimacy, no or low expectations Influence of surrounding environment not deliberate choice

Household cleaning brands used by Karen Vicki replaced B&M with Friends due to availability in south

Committed partnership Best Friendship

Exclusive relationship, high degree of trust, higher intimacy Completely voluntary, by choice both parties receive positive rewards, brings forward true self, honesty, and intimacy,

Karen and Gatorad

Karen uses Reebok shoes, drinks Coke, Vicky uses Ivory

Compartment alized friendships Kinships GIM

Easy entry / exit, very situational in nature,

Vicky used a large number of perfume brands

Involuntary union with lineage ties.

Vicky likes Tetly Tea, Karen uses PGDM 2012-14

Ban/Joy/Miracle Whip, both were used by their mothers and hence by them Rebounds/ Avoid driven Childhood friendship Dominant role by consumer, attempt to move away from past partners Past association bringing comfort and infrequent engagement Comet/Gateway / Success Rice by Karen Vicki uses Nestle Quik & Friendlys Ice Cream, Jean used Estee Lauder which was also used by her mother Courtships Relationship in making towards a long term connect / contract Dependencies Obsession, highly emotional, selfish attractions. One partner cant live without other. Any departure will cause anxiety but consumer will bear mistakes on part of brand Flings Short term relationship, no commitment of future usage Enmities Wish to bad mouth , inflict pain Vicki tried different shampoo brands Karen and Diet Coke, All brands used by her husband , Jane & Kohler Stainless Steel Sink Secret Affairs Secret relationships, very tightly held and not exposed to anyone Enslavement Relationship due to partners choices, negative association but no change sought due to circumstance Hellman used by Karen Karen take Tootise Pops Vickis trial of musk scent brands Karen needs Mary Kay while Vicki needs Soft n Dry

Case Questions
GIM PGDM 2012-14


Brand Stories Analysis

What are the various brands that she uses? What kinds of products or categories form her inner sanctum of brands? What do these brands have in common? Identify functional, emotional and self-expressive characteristics associated with her usage classify brand usage according to these criteria.

What are the various brands that she uses?


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What kinds of products or categories form her inner sanctum of brands?

What do these brands have in common? All the brands in Jeans portfolio are not only functionally best but also time tested over a long duration. They are at times pricier alternatives but appeal to Jean. Vicki also has at strong sense of brand loyalty but commonality in her portfolio is that all brands carry very powerful brand images and she believes that her choice set will be verbally reproducible by her friends. Her choice (Musk) has been adopted due to the powerful institutionalized brand meaning that somehow came to define Vicky. GIM PGDM 2012-14

Brand communications play very important role in her choosing a set of brands and developing relationships. Karen has very limited choice of brands because she cant relate to either worlds- traditional or self-reliant modern world. Her set of brands is a largely hastily drawn set which is more functional than other two.

Is her brand set small or large? What are the characteristics of the relationships she has with the various brands in the portfolio of brands she uses (long standing, ephemeral, multi-brand, devotion)?
Answers to both the above are in the analysis of three stories given before, at start of this document.

Identify functional, emotional and self-expressive characteristics associated with her usage classify brand usage according to these criteria.


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F uctiona l JE AN
Revere Ware - Stainless Steel Pot Hunts - Special Sauce Progresso - Bread Crumbs Contadina - Tomato Paste Progresso - Vinegar Bounty - Paper Towels Jenn-Air - Kitchen Electrolux - Vacuum Bon Ami - Cleasning Powder Comet - Cleasning Powder Aussie Miracle - Shampoo Tide - Detergent Jell-O - Pudding DeMoulas - Salad Dressing Kohler - Stainless Steel Sink

E m otiona l
General Electric - Iron Estee Lauder - Perfume Bugles - Snacks Team- Cereal Bunny Yummies - Finger Food Nestle's Quick - Cups Gloria - Boar's Head Skippy - Peanut Butter

S elf E xpressive
Pastene - Tomatoes Philip Berio - Olive Oil Frigidaire - Refrigerator Benjamin and Moore - Paints Chemical Dry - Carpet CleaningAgent Shimmer Lights - shampoo

Cheer - Detergent Tide - Detergent Surf - Detergent Success - Rice Ciara - Perfume Mop and Glo - Floor Cleaning Palmolive - Soap Dove - Soap Estee Lauder - Perfume Joy - Cosmetic Lysol - Cleaner Ban - Deodrant Right Gaurd - Deodrant Hellman - Salad Dressing Gatorade - Energy Drink B&M - Baked Beans Tetley - Tea Bags Lysol - Cleaner Comet - Cleaning Product Gateway - Computer Miracle Whip - Salad Dressing Mary Kay - Cosmetics Dove - Soap Reebok - Running Shoes Coke - Cola Drink

Intimate Musk by Revlon - Deodrant Jordache Love Musk - Deodrant Maidenform- Intimates Bali - Intimates Playtex - Intimates Dow - Cleaner Ivory - Soap/Shampoo/Conditioner Crest - Toothpaste Soft'n Dry - Deodrant Opium- Perfume Giorgio - Perfume Victorias Secret - Intimates Aveda Elixir - Shampoo Aromatics - Mint Rosemary - Shampoo Metadent - Toothpaste

2. Are the brand relationships of Jean, Karen or Vicki different from that of each other? How so? Specify.
Jean brand relationship portfolio is composed of strong, committed partnerships that deliver meanings to the resolution of her existential life themes. Jean has developed major strong relationships with packaged food and cleaning brands. These brands guarantee her favorable performance in highly valued traditional roles GIM PGDM 2012-14

of homemaker, mother and wife in which she continues to reaffirm herself worth each and every day of her life. A never ending search for a sense of belonging and stability has also led Jean to value heritage and tradition and to seek and maintain relationships with classic brands. By connecting at these deep levels, Jeans brand relationship attain status as truly committed partnerships, many surviving 20 years of testing trails or more. Jeans style of assembling a tested portfolio of strongly held, delicate, and enduring relationships is mirrored in her interpersonal sphere as well: if you are Jeans friend, Jean rewards you with assailable loyalty. So too, is this tendency observed with Jeans chosen brands. Vickis behavior is in sharp contrast with Jeans both as an individual and in the brand relationship pattern. Unlike Jean Vicki believe that others evaluations are a function of the symbolic brand cues she displays and uses. She believes in the power of brands to the point where she is convinced that friends can effortlessly detail which brands she uses and which she avoids. Vicki has a broad array of brand relationships to reflect each and every realm of her lived identity experiences. She finds no issues in moving to better equipped brand communicators and finds reconstruction of her brand portfolio easy. Vicki denies herself exclusivity and longevity in her brand loyalty expressions. Karens relationship style is independent: although very few brand relationships attain entry into an inner sanctum of closely held partnerships, the majority are chance affiliations. Unlike Jeane and Vicki, Karens stories reveal only a limited number of close, albeit dependent, brand partnerships. The carefully selected brands in Karens inner sanctum share an ability to make her feel good about herself, both by keeping a feared and undesired aging self successfully at bay and by providing expression of personal convictions in a battle of between inner and other directed selves. Karens rejection of Diet Coke and her avoidance of brands inherited from her ex-husband and mother are purposive strategies for asserting a new sense of identity and independence.


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3. If you had to predict which consumer-brand relationships would endure five years after these initial interviews, which would you select? Which would change the fastest? Why?
Depending on the analysis of the personality traits and the interview transcripts of the brand preferences of the 3 women we can predict that the consumer brand

relationship would be most enduring in case of Jean and this relationship is stronger than Karen or Vicki.

Jean has reached a stage of life (age - 59 years) were consumers become

more stable about their brand choices which have shaped over the years. This is clearly reflected from the transcripts from which it becomes clear that Jean has choices which are pretty well defined across all product categories and she believes they are the best. Jean is a person who does not like too many changes in her life and prefers

stability which resonates with her brand preferences driven by the fact that she believes that every new thing need not be good. She gives more importance to the functional benefits and to some extent the

emotional benefits offered by the brand. Self expressive benefits do not seem to woo her a lot. She chooses the brand which she believes is the best in the product category

and does not try out too many new brands. She believes paying for the best is worth it!


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She is an independent woman who believes that she has achieved through

her immense hard-work and gives more preference to her own views over normative beliefs stemming from reference groups. In case of Karen the transcripts suggest she has a larger consideration/choice set of brands and n case of Vicki (a 23 year old university student) we can say that her brand preferences can still shape up as she grows(being in early twenties and of friendly nature her choices can be influenced by her friends and need of affiliation to different groups). Through the analysis of the case the consumer-brand relationship seems to be less enduring in case of Vicki. Though, even Karen has a large range of brands in her Consideration/Choice set that is primarily because of low involvement in certain product categories due to her hectic schedule and her priorities of having a settled personal life which might get sorted any moment. Reasons: o Vicki being in her early 20s is in a different set of mind where her friends and

personal relationships matter to her a lot. o Many of her brand choices are shaped up by what she aspires to be and how

her friends believe she is. o Self expressive benefits of a brand enthral her as they give her a distinct

identity. This might change as she progresses to her late 20s and becomes more rational in her choices.


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Though she is brand loyal about products associated to her beauty and

personal care at this stage she is ready to try out what other brands have to offer (as given in the transcripts) which gives a hint of vulnerability in her.


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