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Please assist with ideas for about Marketing and business strategic planning regarding WDIG in Japan using the case study "Walt Disney Internet Group Japan's Dimo Project" by Phillip Sugai.

1. Describe the business environment within which the Walt Disney Internet Group (WDIG) Japan team is offering its mobile content and services.

2. What are the implications for the Disney brand in the development of these new Dimo characters?

3. Based on the above analysis, how will the Dimo service provide a competitively advantageous position for WDIG going forward? If not, why?

4. What marketing strategies should Kasemsri and his team consider in April 2004 for the Dimo service? What is the most appropriate marketing strategy for WDIG Japan to implement for the Dimo service going forward?

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Q. Describe the business environment within which the Walt Disney Internet Group (WDIG) Japan team is offering its mobile content and services.

About Disney group
Walt Disney's animation/motion picture studios and theme park have developed into a multi-billion dollar television, motion picture, vacation destination and media corporation that carries his name.
The Walt Disney Company today owns, among other assets, five vacation resorts, eleven theme parks, two water parks, thirty-nine hotels, eight motion picture studios, six record labels, eleven cable television networks, and one terrestrial television network.

WDIG was launched in Japan in 2000. It is no. one mobile entertainment provider in Japan. The Walt Disney Internet Group (WDIG) Japan has recently launched an entirely new set of interactive mobile character/agents for the NTT DoCoMo iMode platform, called Dimo. Having built Japan's most successful mobile entertainment business using traditional Disney-branded characters and related content, these Dimo characters have been designed to go well beyond entertainment and become valuable guides, assistants, and friends for users of the continuously evolving mobile Internet and the increasingly complex tasks enabled by this platform. Hence these new technologies provide means to extend and enhance the brand experience anywhere and any time.

Environmental Analysis

External Factor Analysis Summary: Here we will analyze the affect of societal forces and to see what trends are like to affect the retail industry in which the Wal-Mart is operating in a brief manner.
• Economic Forces: One has monitor the economic trends like GDP trends, Interest rates, Money supply, Inflation rates, Unemployment levels, Disposable income. These products are in high growth category.

• Technological Forces: Impact of Internet, virtual online stores, using Internet effectively to increase the reach and to reduce the cost. Portable Information Devices, Electronic networking, smart mobile robots, increase in the speed of microprocessors will have tremendous impact on business. Impact of following factors:

 Efficiency of infrastructure, including roads, ports airports, rolling stock, hospitals, education, healthcare, communication, etc.
 industrial productivity
 new manufacturing processes and drug discoveries
 patent regime
 new products and services of competitors
 new products and services of supply chain partners
 any new technology that could impact the company

• Political Legal regulations; One should also be aware of foreign trade regulations, attitude towards foreign companies as Walt Disney is a multinational company.
Societal Trends: It is of very much importance to the entertainment giant. The factors like lifestyle changes age distribution of population, life expectancies etc. Demographic factors such as:
o population size and distribution
o age distribution
o education levels
o income levels
o ethnic origins
o religious affiliations
* Attitudes towards:
o materialism, capitalism, free enterprise
o individualism, role of family, role of government, collectivism
o role of church and religion
o consumerism
o environmentalism
o importance of work, pride of accomplishment
* Cultural structures including:
o diet and nutrition
o housing conditions
affecting this industry very much.

• Competition: According to the data given in the its biggest competitor is Bandai networks which has in access of the 550 unique content sites and various animation characters. Sony is also one of the ...

Solution Summary

This discusses the business implications for the Disney brand in the development of new Dimo characters in Japan.

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Do Customers have a Relationship with Brands?

Questions/Tasks - Susan Fournier (1998) argues that customers have relationships with brands. Do Customers have relationships with Brands? Yes or No? Defend your position. Either way, if they have relationships or do not have relationships with brands, so what?

In order to answer these questions and complete these tasks, you are required to select a movie studio and ONE brand from the remaining two product categories shown below and explore the idea that consumers have relationships with the products, paying particular attention to the implications of whether or not having a relationship might have for marketing managers in the management of and the development of marketing strategies for those brands, (the "So what?" in the above question).

The three product categories are:

Good & Service - eg Cell phone service (e.g. brands such as Verizon, Sprint, AT&T.)

Good Only - eg Hand gun (e.g. brands such as Colt, Beretta, Smith & Wesson, Glock.) or Motorcycle (e.g. brands such as Honda, Harley Davidson, Yamaha), and

Service Only - eg Movie studios (e.g. brands such as Paramount, 20th Century Fox, Disney.).

Note that the product categories cover both goods and services.

Select ONE brand from the TWO remaining product categories, (e.g. you might choose a cell phone brand, say Verizon, or a hand gun brand, say Colt; or a Motorcycle brand, say Harley Davidson). The brands shown above are only examples. You can select others not shown if you prefer, but they must be either a Good only or a Good & Service.

Note that it is not assumed that you will agree with Dr. Fournier that people have relationships with brands, (nor is it assumed that you will necessarily disagree). Clearly marketing scholars disagree about this so you can too! You might choose two brands, examine them, examine what it means to "have a relationship with a brand" and conclude that this idea does not hold water and has no benefits for marketers, in the process explaining why Dr. Fournier is wrong in your opinion. On the other hand you might conclude that her idea holds for one of the brands you have examined and not for the other, or perhaps holds for some people and not for others. In that instance, contrasting the two is very important. Or you might conclude that it holds for both.

The Situation


Fournier S. (1998, Mar). Consumers and their brands: Developing relationship theory in consumer research. Journal of Consumer Research. 24(4). LINK to PDF version available in EBSCOhost at
direct=true&db=bth&AN=3 49797&site=ehost-live
on May 12, 2009.

Vargo, Stephen L & Lusch, Robert F (2004, January). Evolving to a New Dominant Logic for Marketing. The Journal of Marketing. 68(1) 1-17. Link to PDF available via EBSCOhost at
direct=true&db=bth&AN=12142 574&site=ehost-live
on May 12, 2009.

Chaudhuri, Arjun & Holbrook, Morris B. (2002, September). Product-class effects on brand commitment and brand outcomes: The role of brand trust and brand affect . Journal of Brand Management, 10(1). 33-59 Link to PDF version available in EBSCOhost at
direct=true&db=bth&AN=7 346271&site=ehost-live
on May 12, 2009.

Grubb, Edward L & Grathwohl, Harrison L (1967, October 1). Consumer Self-Concept, Symbolism and Marketing Behavior: A Theoretical Approach. Journal of Marketing. 31(4). 22-28. Link to PDF available via EBSCOhost at
direct=true&db=bth&AN=499 9346&site=ehost-live
on May 12, 2009.


Bolton, Ruth N; Day, George S; Deighton, John; Narayands, Das; Gummesson, Evert; Hunt, Shelby D; Prahalad, CK; Rust, Roland T; & Shugan, Steven M (2004, January). Invited Commentaries on "Evolving to a New Dominant Logic for Marketing.' The Journal of Marketing, 68(1). 18-27. Link to PDF available via EBSCOhost at
direct=true&db=bth&AN=11924 939&site=ehost-live
on May 12, 2009.

Muniz Jr, A. M. & O'Guinn, T. C. (2001, Mar). Brand community. Journal of Consumer Research.. 27(4). LINK to PDF version available in EBSCOhost at
direct=true&db=bth&AN=52444 54&site=ehost-live
on February 20, 2008.

McAlexander, J. H., Schouten J. W., Koening, H. F. (2002, Jan). Building brand community. Journal of Marketing. 66(1). Link to PDF version available via TouroC eLibrary in EBSCOhost at
direct=true&db=bth&AN=63678 49&site=ehost-live
on October 23, 2008.

Note how the case you will make in favor or against the issue of people relating to brands takes you beyond the basics of product management to thinking about branding, product meanings, the roles brands play, the views customers have of brands developed through marketing and non-marketing influences, and the implications of these for marketing managers. Note that this last is the primary focus of this case.

Note also that the materials describing the situation introduce you to three of the major journals in marketing, the Journal of Marketing, the Journal of Brand Management, and the Journal of Consumer Behavior. In that regard, I believe it important that you be introduced to some "academic" research which you should find both interesting and easy to understand. The topics covered in these articles (brand relationships and brand communities) are important and relatively new ones in Marketing and I hope you'll find them stimulating enough to feel that at some point in the future you might try reading more articles in these journals. There are other sources which present new ideas in Marketing in a more "managerially friendly" form, such as the Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review, and California Management Review, to name but three. Now that you know these sources exist try to use them as you build your case and continue to use them, even after graduating.

The resources describing the situation include Susan Fournier (1998) in which, amongst other things, she argues that consumers have relationships with brands. Others have stated that they don't, (e.g. Vargo and Lusch (2004) state that "inanimate items of exchange cannot have relationships"). Perhaps they do but only under certain circumstances? I leave that for you to consider.

I stress, that I want you to address the implications that brand relationships might have for marketing managers in the management of brands. Hint: you are to consider TWO brands (one in one of the three product categories, the other in one of the other two product categories). I am forcing this issue to give you the opportunity to see if a relationship is formed based on the product category therefore allowing you to compare the results your analysis between brands in differing product categories. I stress that it is not sufficient simply to write about customers and their relationships with the brands. That's relatively easy. You need to do that to set the stage for your thinking about how marketers might use such insights. Fell free to be creative.

Sources of information for this case may include:

Introspection - you should NOT rely solely on anecdotal evidence.

Questioning friends and colleagues - you should NOT rely solely on anecdotal evidence.

Researching background information on the Internet and in magazines - strongly recommended.

While you may be tempted to simply rely on anecdotal information and write about your own relationship (or non-relationship) with a chosen brand, you will learn a lot more by broadening your horizons and thinking like a marketer, which means setting aside your own perceptions and understanding the way others perceive products. If you are in an Internet-constrained environment simply say so in your assignment and focus on Fournier S. (1998)) and Vargo, S. L. & Lusch, R. F. (2004)

When using the comments of friends and colleagues, reference them as sources.

You should also bear in mind that a fundamental goal, as with all the cases you build in MKT501, is to stimulate your learning. Your answers should therefore aim to demonstrate that learning. In preparing your CASE2, ensure that you demonstrate your learning of the marketing concepts and frameworks for analysis outlined in the modular learning objectives.

Note that this assignment does NOT require you to prepare a detailed essay. Instead use section headings for each of the topics you address in your paper followed by a discussion of that topic. For example, make sure that you list the brands you examine.

Submit a 3-4 page paper

If you wish to include supportive or illustrative materials, feel free to include these in an appendix (e.g. uploaded as an additional file) of no more than three pages. Make sure that you refer to this material in the body of the paper.

Quick Links to RESOURCES on TD2

Keller, Kevin Lane (1993, January). Conceptualizing, Measuring, and Managing Customer Brand Equity. The Journal of Marketing. 57(1). 1-22. Link to PDF version available in EBSCOhost at
direct=true&db=bth&AN=9 308118328&site=ehost-live
on May 12, 2009.

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