What is the relative importance of the following marketing factors in driving product choice: brand, quality, distribution, price? Defend your position In order to answer this question, you are required to select ONE brand from each of the following three prodcut categories: (1) Good & Service – eg Cell phone service (e.g. brands such as Verizon, Sprint, AT&T) or Store (eg brands such as CostCo, Macy’s, Amazon.com) (2) Good Only – eg Hand gun (e.g. brands such as Colt, Beretta, Smith & Wesson, Glock); Motorcycle (e.g. brands such as Honda, Harley Davidson, Yamaha); or Newsmagazine (e.g. brands such as Business Week, Forbes, and Fortune) and (3) Service Only – eg Movie (eg brands such as Brad Pitt or Angela Jolie) or Movie studios (e.g. brands such as Paramount, 20th Century Fox, or Disney). The brands shown above are only examples. You can select others not shown if you prefer, but they must be a Good only, a Service Only, and a Good & Service. The Situation Some authors argue that consumers have relationships with brands. People are brand loyal. Others argue that a relationship with a brand is not possible because a relationship has to be 2-way. In other words, brands can’t respond to consumers. Others argue that the relative importance of the brand, quality of the product, distribution intensity, and price vary by product. Susan Fournier (1998) argues that customers have relationships with brands. Either way, if they have relationships (people are loyal) or do not have relationships with brands (people are not loyal), so what? When you explore the idea that consumers have relationships with products, pay 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 Task Thus, in response to Fournier (1998), using the information you gather using the three product categories; you are to answer the question: “What is the relative importance of the following marketing factors in driving product choice: brand, quality, distribution, price?” Defend your position. Either way, if they have relationships or do not have relationships with brands, so what? Expectations 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. 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 in customer choice, the views customers have of brands developed through marketing and non-marketing influences, and the implications of these for marketing managers relative to the other attributes of the product such as its quality, location, and price. 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, among 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 have relationships, 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 THREE brands (a service only, a good and good with service). 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 in 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. In terms of sources of information for this case, I want you to use the Internet a the popular business press. With that in mind, I have provided links many products/brands/labels. I do not want you to rely on annecdotal evidence (e.g. Introspection and Questioning friends and colleagues). In other words, without proper sampling, exptrapolation from the few to the many is not acceptable. Thus, 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) In preparing your CASE2, ensure that you demonstrate your learning of the marketing concepts and frameworks for analysis outlined in the modular learning objectives by using and referencing the background and case material. 1. Explain fundamental marketing concepts related to products, both goods and services, including what each of these are, as well as brands, and the Product Life Cycle. 2. Analyze whether customers develop relationships with brands and the implications of this for brand management. 3. Identify and research top Marketing Journals and explain some the cutting edge marketing issues of brand relationships and brand communities. 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 for each of the brans you examine that you talk about the attributes of that product/brand/label including quality, meaning to its buyers/users, distribution, and price. References: ProQuest username: 4kw2wkdpbx. ProQuest password: welcome http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=1756506241 &Fmt=3&clientId=2944 0&RQT=309&VName=PQD http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=1701493041 &Fmt=3&clientId=29440&RQT=309&VName=PQD http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=1671434591 &sid=1&Fmt=3&clientId=29440&RQT=309&VName=PQD http://brunnen.shh.fi/portals/studymaterial/2009-2010/helsingfors/marknadsforing/23032/material/handouts/26januaryanalysisofqualitativedata/supplementarymaterial/Fournier_JCR1998.pdf http://www.fastcompany.com/1627908/ a-6-step-guide-to-brand-transformation?partner=rss http://www.mediapost.com/publications/ ?fa=Articles.showArticle&art_a id=127527 http://www.mediapost.com/publications/ ?fa=Articles.showArticle&art_a id=127529
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