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    Susan Fournier, Marketing Mix: Products, Brands and their Distribution, Brand Relationship Theory

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    The following is a list of product categories:
    - AUTO REPAIR
    - TINNED TOMATOES
    - MEDICAL SERVICE PROVIDER, (DENTIST, OPTOMETRIST, FAMILY PHYSICIAN ETC)
    - JEWELRY

    Products and Brands:
    In her 1998 paper Susan Fournier argues that consumers have relationships with brands.

    1. Explain what Fournier means by "having a relationship" with a brand.
    2. Identify two brands chosen from the product categories above and explain whether or not you believe that consumers have relationships with those brands.
    3. Expand your thinking and explain whether, based on Fournier's paper, your own experience and your knowledge of other people, consumers have relationships with all brands.

    Distribution:
    4. Select TWO products from the list of product categories above (they can be the same as for sections 1 to 3 or different - your choice) and using the teaching materials, and any additional research, explain what you think would be an appropriate distribution strategy for them. In doing so compare and contrast the two distribution strategies explaining why they would be similar or different. Illustrate your answer by referring to specific brands within each of the two product categories you have chosen.

    Example:
    "Products & Brands (sections 1-3): Tinned tomatoes (Hunts) and Medical Service Provider: (Dr. Coldfinger)
    Place (section 4): Tinned tomatoes (Hunts) and Jewelry (E-Bay)"

    For the Product and Brands part of the case there are three case readings. In Susan Fournier's 1998 article she argues that consumers have relationships with brands. An article reporting the results of a study by a market research firm says that mostly they don't. Other marketing academics have also said that they don't (e.g. Vargo and Lusch, [2004]. In a Journal of Marketing an article stated that "inanimate items of exchange cannot have relationships"). Ah, but is a brand an "inanimate item of exchange"? Perhaps they do but only under certain circumstances? That is for you to consider.

    Case-related articles:
    - Fournier S. (1998, Mar). Consumers and their brands: Developing relationship theory in consumer research. Journal of Consumer Research. 24, (4). Retrieved from Proquest August 8, 2011.
    - Anon, (2001). Consumers say "no thanks" to relationships with brands. (2001, May). Direct Marketing, 64(1), 48-51+. Retrieved August 8, 2011, from ProQuest Central. (Document ID: 74823521).
    - Lou Cooper. (2010, October). CUSTOMER RELATIONS: The secret to a good customer relationship. Marketing Week, 24-26. Retrieved August 8, 2011, from ProQuest Central. (Document ID: 2168595091). (You can see an online version of this article, plus reader comments and other associated information at: http://www.marketingweek.co.uk/trends/the-secret-to-a-good-customer-relationship/3019534.article, Viewed August 8, 2011).

    Sources of information for this case may include:
    - Introspection, though you should not rely solely on anecdotal evidence.
    - Questioning friends and colleagues - strongly recommended.

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    https://brainmass.com/business/the-marketing-mix/marketing-mix-example-problems-442689

    Solution Preview

    1. Explain what Fournier means by "having a relationship" with a brand.

    Having a relationship with a brand means the consumer recognizes the brand based on past experiences and has either negative or positive views about the brand, based on quality, price, and overall fitness for its purpose. The personal relationship with a brand often means the consumer will prefer the brand over competing brands of the same product and will seek out the preferred brand due to its perceived value, which may include affordable price and high quality or functionality. For consumers to have a personal relationship with a brand awareness must be present. Often labeling and advertising that catch the attention of consumers help to establish the relationship consumers develop with a brand initially. Over time performance and quality that is consistent as expected helps to establish and cement the relationship.

    2. Identify two brands chosen from the product categories above and explain whether or not you believe that consumers have relationships with those brands.

    Auto Repair brands:
    Midas - consumers have a relationship with the brand as many consumers associate the company with muffler repair that is done right the first time and consider the company the muffler experts.
    Meineke - consumers have a relationship with the brand as a lower cost alternative to competitors, which offers dependable and reliable muffler repair/replacement services.

    Tinned tomatoes:
    Contadina - consumers have a relationship with the brand as a high quality producer of sauces and tomato products used for cooking various dishes. Consumers who are particularly looking for an Italian name to represent quality Italian ingredients for their pasta dishes will have a strong relationship with the brand.
    Hunts -consumers have a relationship with the brand as a lower cost alternative to competitors which is still relatively familiar on the store shelves. They may associate the brand name with reliability, affordability, and the ability to function as expected. The relationship with ...

    Solution Summary

    The solution uses specific examples of different companies in different product categories to summarize whether or not people have relationships with their brands. The solution is 1319 words long.

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