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  • Publié le : 27 mars 2011
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Practicable Value-Cascade Positioning of Luxury Fashion Brands An increase in competition turned consumer-centred management into a key success factor. The transfer of an ultimate consumer orientation to brand positioning could change its logic: While positioning maps generally portray the position of a brand in the minds of consumers relative to its competitors, rigorouslyconsumer-oriented positioning maps depict what consumers with preferences for a certain brand actually want – as compared to consumers with preferences for competitor brands. The construct of human values refers to people’s wants and goals in life, influencing their behaviour including their brand preferences. There is a cascade from preferences for certain values that flow into preferences for certain brands.Value-Cascade Positioning (VCP) builds on that relationship and maps a brand depending on the values of its consumers and possibly other constructs of consumer behaviour intervening in this relationship, such as attitudes and motives, for example. However, daily business customs require that the complexity of the methodology and especially that of the results is reduced to simple figures and modelsthat are easy to understand and to communicate. The objective of this article is therefore to outline a concept of VCP, which combines a scientific base with practicable business requirements. This concept will be demonstrated and tested for the case of luxury fashions brands with the data from two recent luxury consumer surveys. In doing so, the paper also presents some new insights regardingcharacteristics of luxury consumers. Results include VCP maps of selected luxury fashion brands and instructions for the application of VCP. The paper continues to discuss its benefits and concludes that VCP can complement common positioning with valuable consumer insights that may inspire brand management and help to create competitive advantages. According to the consumer-orientation of modernmarketing, brands are defined as images in the minds of consumers and other target groups (Aaker 1996, p. 68). Positioning is one of the most important strategic tools in marketing, helping to analyse these images and perceptions of consumers about a brand. The positioning map generally portrays the position of a brand in the minds of consumers relative to that of its competitors. The goal ofpositioning is to identify a position that differentiates a brand from its competitors and best matches the desires of its target group (c.f. Trommsdorff 2007; 2008, p. 169 et seqq.). In times of recession, companies are trying even harder to differentiate themselves from competitors and lure consumers back into the shops. In order to do so, they first need to delve deep into the minds of their consumersand understand what (perceptions) they really want. If consumer orientation is a key to survive the economic storm, it makes sense to rethink the logic of positioning: Companies rely mainly on positioning maps to show them consumers’ perceptions of brands. But wouldn’t it make sense if the positioning map would portray what consumers of a brand actually want as compared to consumers of itscompetitors?

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The construct of human values refers to people’s wants and goals in life and influences their behaviour, including their brand preferences. So there is a cascade from preferences for certain values that flow into preferences for certain brands (c.f. Da Silva Añaña and Nique 2007, p. 293). Value-Cascade Positioning (VCP) builds on that relationship and maps a brand depending on thevalues of the consumers with preferences for that brand relative to competitor brands and the values of their consumers. There are certainly several other constructs – attitudes and motives, for example – factoring into the relationship between values and brand preferences. VCP may consider further constructs, but it cannot represent completely their complex relationships. It should therefore not...
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