Sie sind auf Seite 1von 112

Brand Equity in the Bath Foams Category in

Greece: A descriptive approach

www.grossolatos.com

Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirement of


the degree of Master of Business Administration of the
University of Strathclyde

THE UNIVERSITY OF STRATHCLYDE


GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS

George Rossolatos

2005

1
ABSTRACT

This dissertation explores the key aspects of consumer-based brand equity in


the Bath Foams category in Greece. By using a descriptive approach an
attempt is made to carve the equity territory of the major brands in the
concerned market.

A combination of secondary and primary research methods are recruited in


order to determine the category’s key value drivers in brand equity terms,
discern key brands’ relative positioning, examine the relationship between
market performance and brand equity and unearth consumers’ associations
with regard to key brands.

The research findings are an attestation of the importance of brand equity in


the Bath Foams category, based on relevant literature, and the effect of the lack
of equity for certain brands on consumer perceptions.

Finally, by drawing on the findings pertaining to the equity status of the


category’s leading brand, Dove, an attempt is made to demonstrate the effect a
“multiple brand personalities” syndrome may have on brands, in particular
Palmolive, in terms of unclear consumer associations and the inability to attain
differential positioning. This comparative outlook points to the importance of a
coherent brand equity platform across all brand communications and new
product development endeavours.

2
Contents

1. Introduction/Chapters Overview …………………………………………7

2. Industry Overview……………………………………………………… 10
2.1 Introduction 11
2.2 Size, growth and distribution channels of the Bath Foams category 11
2.3 Market structure and key brand players 11
2.4 New product development and media spending in the Bath 12
Foams category
2.5 Conclusion 13

3. Literature Review……………………………………………………….. 14
3.1 Introduction 15
3.2 What is a brand and why is it relevant to brand management? 15
3.3 The emergence of the concept of brand equity 16
3.4 The three categories of brand-equity measures 20

3.4.1 The financial approach 21


3.4.2 Brand extensions 24
3.4.3 Consumer based brand equity 26
3.5 Conceptual Framework: Brand Equity Pyramid in the Bath 31
Foams category
3.6 Consumer-based Brand Equity and market performance 34
3.7 Measuring consumer-based brand equity 35
3.8 Conclusion 39

4. Methodology………………………………………………………………41
4.1 Introduction 42
4.2 Purpose of the study/Research objectives 42
4.3 Research approach 42
4.3.1 Overview of research methodology 42
4.3.2 Quantitative research 43
4.3.3 Qualitative research 43
4.4 Research design 44

3
4.4.1 Quantitative method 44
4.4.2 Qualitative method 45
4.4.2.1 In-depth interviews discussion guide 47
4.5 Fieldwork 50
4.6 Methods of analysis 50
4.7 Limitations of the research methods 56
4.8 Conclusion 58

5. Analysis of Findings………………………………………………………59
5.1 Introduction 60
5.2 Objective 1 Main Findings: Determining the key equity dimensions in
the Brand Equity Pyramid 60
5.3 Objective 2 Main Findings: Determining the relationship between
brand equity and market performance 62
5.4 Objective 3 Main Findings: Discerning whether there is
sufficient differentiation among the key brand players 66
5.5 Objective 4 Main Findings: Descriptive overview of the
primary and secondary brand associations of key brand players 67
5.6 Conclusion 81

6. Conclusions and Recommendations for further research……………..82


6.1 Introduction 83
6.2 Integrated Marketing Communications as a way of building and
sustaining brand differentiation, competitive advantage and brand
equity in the Bath Foams category 83
6.3 New product development as a way of building and sustaining
brand differentiation, competitive advantage and brand equity in
the Bath Foams category 87
6.4 Limitations of the research 88
6.5 Recommendations for further research 89
6.6 Conclusion 90

Appendices………………………………………………………………..…91
Appendix I-Bibliography 92
Appendix II- Profile of Qualitative Research informants 97
Appendix III-Moodboard Technique output (collages) 101

4
Appendix IV- Brand Maps 112

List of Figures
Figure 1- Keller’s Brand Knowledge Structure 28
Figure 2- Keller’s and Davey’s Brand Equity Pyramid 30
Figure 3- Rendition of Keller’s and Davey’s Brand Equity Pyramid in the 31
Bath Foams market
Figure 4- Brand Dynamics Pyramid 38
Figure 5- The Wheel of Integrated Marketing Communications 85

List of Tables
Table 1 – Share of market of key brands in the Bath Foams market 12
Table 2- Interbrand’s brand valuation process 24
Table 3- Bath Foams Brand Equity Pyramid Building blocks and attributes 33
Table 4- Performance of key brands in the Bath Foams Category against
Brand Equity Pyramid building blocks 60
Table 5- Correlation coefficients ( r ) between awareness/brand salience
and Brand Equity building blocks in the Bath Foams category 61
Table 6- Market performance variables by key brand player in the Bath
Foams market 62
Table 7- Correlation between Average Brand Equity and Market share 63
Table 8- Correlation between Average Brand Equity and Volume Sales 63
Table 9- Correlation between Average Brand Equity and Value Sales 63
Table 10- Share of market/Share of voice of key brands in 2004 64
Table 11- Share of market/Weighted distribution of key brands in 2004 64
Table12- Output of Double-centered normalization (DCN) 66

5
CHAPTER 1: Introduction / Chapters Overview

6
Introduction

This chapter provides an overview of the dissertation chapters’ contents. The


dissertation starts with an exposition of the Bath Foam category’s structure that
constitutes the frame of reference for the brands explored in the following
chapters. It continues with the literature review of the main perspectives on
brand equity and the review of the methodological framework and methods of
data collection and analysis. The research outcomes are then displayed in the
Main Findings chapter and further discussed in the Conclusions and
Recommendations for future research chapter.

Chapter 2- Industry Overview


This chapter illustrates the Bath Foams category main characteristics,
alongside a profiling of each of the main brands. It includes an overview of
growth trends, purchasers’ attitudes towards the category and the relative
market shares of key brand players.

Chapter 3- Literature Review


The main perspectives that have been used by academics and practitioners
alike for conceptualizing brand equity are laid out. Consumer based brand
equity is explored at greater length, with a focus on K.L.Keller’s Brand
Knowledge Structure and Brand Equity Pyramid, which constitutes the basis
for portraying the Brand Equity Pyramid for the Bath Foams market.

Chapter 4- Methodology
This chapter presents the purpose of the study and the main research
objectives, along with the methodological framework, and the respective
methods of data collection and analysis of brand equity in the Bath Foams
market.

Chapter 5- Main Findings


The Main Findings chapter provides an outline of the primary and secondary
research findings. The exposition of the data takes place according to the
research objectives and against the background of the selected methods of
analysis.

Chapter 6- Conclusions and recommendations for future research

7
Finally, reflections on the main findings, focusing on Dove and Palmolive
brands are presented as concluding remarks, with an emphasis on the role of
brand communications and new product development as sources of consumer
based brand equity.

Conclusion

This chapter provided a summary of the main contents that make up the fabric
of this dissertation, which will be further explored in the following chapters.

8
CHAPTER 2: Industry Overview

9
2.1 Introduction

This chapter provides an overview of the Bath Foams category characteristics 1.


It starts with a description of the category’s size in terms of value and volume
sales, growth, main distribution channels, structure and proceeds with an
exposition of the market players and key brands’ market shares. Then, allusion
is made to the key segments of the category and competitors’ activity in terms
of new product development and media spending levels.

2.2 Size, growth and distribution channels of the Bath Foams


category

The Bath Foams category constitutes a significant part of the overall Body care
market that includes all products that relate to body treatment, such as Body
Lotions, Deodorants, Soaps, Liquid Hand Soaps and Anti cellulite Creams.

In Greece, category related consumer spending amounted to 44.000.000 €


value sales and 5.610.000 liters volume sales in 2004. During the last year, the
bath foams market grew slightly by 1%, while during the last 4 years the
market increased on average by 2% per year.

The main distribution channels through which the category is sold are the
following:
• Supermarkets/ Hypermarkets (80% of the category’s sales)
• Pharmacies/ Drugstore (10% of the category’s sales)
• Department Stores (such as Hondos, Beauty Shop) that absorb the rest
10% of the category’s sales.

2.3 Market structure and key brand players

As regards structure, the Bath Foams market is rather fragmented, considering


that the leading brand’s value share (Johnson’s and Johnson’s) is 14%,
followed by Dove and Palmolive with 11% market share. However, Johnson
and Johnson’s largest proportion of market share stems from the baby and

1
All data contained in this chapter stem from AC Nielsen’s Body Care category report (Greece) 2004

10
family segments. In terms of market performance in the female Bath Foams
segment, Dove is the leading brand.

Table 1 – Share of market of key brands in the Bath Foams market


Share of market
2004
J&J 13,8%
DOVE 11,0%
PALMOLIVE 10,8%
BADEDAS 7,8%
LUX 7,3%
SANEX 5,1%
FA 4,9%
NIVEA 2,8%
ALL OTHERS 36,5%
Source: AC Nielsen ScanTrack database 2004

The main companies and respective brands that compete in the Bath Foams
market are the following:
• Unilever with Dove, Lux and Axe brands
• Procter & Gamble with Camay and Noxzema brands
• Henkel with Fa brand
• Colgate Palmolive with Palmolive brand
• Sare Lee with Badedas, Sanex, Proderm, Inco and Fissan brands
• Johnson & Johnson with Johnson & Johnson brand
• BDF with Nivea brand

As regards market segmentation, the female segment has the highest


contribution in the category’s sales, with Dove and Palmolive being the major
competitors. Finally, certain brands, such as Axe and Gillette target solely the
male segment. The majority of the above mentioned brands (Dove, Axe, Fa,
Palmolive, Sanex, Johnson & Johnson, Nivea) also compete in other body care
categories (e.g Deodorants, Liquid Hand Soaps).

2.4 New product development and media spending in the Bath


Foams category

11
The Bath Foams market is characterized by intense new product development
(more than 15 new products/line extensions are introduced every year) on
behalf of all competitors in their effort to enhance their competitive position in
the market. New products’ elements include new fragrances, end benefits
(advanced moisture, relaxation, sensuality, exfoliation etc.) and pack
aesthetics. With an increased interest in personal treatment, consumers appear
to be keen on trying new products and adopting those that offer innovative
attributes or enhancement of existing offerings. In addition, consumers appear
to be repertoire purchasers, being influenced by media communication and
value-adding promotions2.

With regard to media support, the category is highly advertised, considering


that the media to sales ratio is more than 15%, with reported media
expenditures of around 6.000.000 $ in 2004. Various communicative vehicles
are used to communicate the category by the majority of competitors, such as
television, radio, the internet, magazines, outdoor.

2.5 Conclusion

This chapter provided the frame of reference for this dissertation in terms of
market structure and characteristics. Insofar as the market is characterized by a
proliferation of new products and fragmentation, the sustainability of
distinctive product propositions in terms of brand equity is an issue that merits
exploration, as the next chapter will attempt to illustrate.

2
These behavioral characteristics stem from company funded Usage & Attitudes studies.

12
CHAPTER 3: Literature Review

13
3.1 Introduction

This chapter provides an overview of the main perspectives whereby brand


equity has been conceptualized. It opens up with a brief definition of “brand”,
which constitutes the very foundation of brand equity and proceeds with an
exposition of the concept of brand equity, how it emerged and why it is useful
to a wide range of business-related professions, including accountants and
marketers.

Pursuant to the definition of brand equity, the chapter hinges upon the three
broad perspectives that have been used so far by academics and practitioners
alike in the process of conceptualizing and putting brand equity in practice.
Since the main area of practice with which the authors are concerned is
marketing, particular emphasis is laid on the consumer-based brand equity
perspective. K.L.Keller’s Brand Knowledge Structure and Brand Equity
Pyramid are drawn upon in greater detail.

What is a brand and why is it relevant to brand management?

According to the American Marketing Association, a brand is “a name, term,


sign, symbol or design or a combination of them intended to identify the goods
and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from
those of competition” (quoted in Keller, 1998, p.2).

The key concept in the above definition is differentiation. Hence, a brand is


primarily what makes otherwise undifferentiated commodities look different to
the eyes of consumers and more importantly, being perceived as such. This
constitutes the integrated definition of a brand, as “a mechanism for achieving
competitive advantage through differentiation” (Wood, 2000, p.667). Insofar
as differentiation is a key source of sustainable competitive advantage, the
importance of branding can hardly be overlooked by today’s businesses. “The
strongest brands are those brands that have developed unique, meaningful
differences that set them apart in the mind of the consumer” (Biel, 1997).
“Brands, especially strong ones, have a number of different types of
associations and marketers must account for all of them in making marketing
decisions” (Keller, 1998, p.5).

14
Hence, insofar as branding is concerned with sustaining differences among
otherwise similar products and given that these differences are substantiated in
the form of the associations that consumers make about them, the management
of a brand should be concerned with systematically managing brand
associations. As Kapferer (1999, p.25) notes, “the value of a brand comes from
its ability to gain an exclusive, positive and prominent meaning in the minds of
a large number of consumers”. Pursuant to the definition of “brand”, the
concept of brand equity is explored in the ensuing sections.

The emergence of the concept of brand-equity

“The origins of measuring brand equity as a corporate asset lie in the takeover
battles of the 1970s, where a ledger value was found useful as a way of
recording intangible assets on the balance sheet” (Morgan, 1993).

“In a wave of mergers and acquisitions, triggered by attempts to take up


advantageous positions in the single European market, market transactions
pushed prices way above what could have been expected” (Kapferer,1999,
p.15).

Flat growth rates and the increasing concern with cost cutting initiatives and
aggressive market share acquisition paved the way for new ways of corporate
thinking, while the need for leveraging brands for enhancing profits emerged
to the forefront. “As support for this alternative, studies of consumer brands in
different markets found that successful brand extensions spent less on
advertising than comparable new products” (Pitta & Katsanis, 1995, p. 51). As
these rather extensive methods of reducing costs reached their apex, profit
boosting mechanisms were actively sought by businesses. One of the
mechanisms that were put forward was the application of financial measures to
corporate assets, both tangible and intangible. In this context, marketing
managers and researchers alike sought to attach a monetary value to brands
(Dyson, Farr, and Hollis, 1996). Prior to that critical turn, the concept of brand
image was peripheral; it was seen by many advertisers and researchers as of
little relevance to the real task of brand communications, that is to
communicate brand messages, induce brand switching or retaining the current
consumer franchise and increase sales. The emergence of the brand equity
concept was inextricably linked to the recognition of brands as primary agents
of cash generation.

15
Feldwick (1996) suggests that brand equity has three different aspects, that is
the value of a brand as a separable asset when sold or included in a balance
sheet, the string of associations, beliefs and feelings consumers have about the
brand and the strength of consumers' associations about a brand. In a nutshell,
the three main dimensions of brand equity, according to Feldwick, consist in
brand value, brand strength and brand image.

Despite the proliferation of research papers and models that have been
constructed in order to tackle this complex topic, there is no one widely
accepted definition of brand equity (Keller, 1999; Ehrenberg, 1997). The term
means different things to different companies and brands. However, there are
several common characteristics of the many definitions that are used today.
The following definitions are an attestation of the fact that brand equity is
multi-dimensional.

• The Marketing Science Institute (1998) defines brand equity as, "The set
of associations and behaviours on the part of the brand's customers, channel
members, and parent corporations that permit the brand to earn greater volume
or greater margins than it could without the brand name and that gives the
brand a strong, sustainable, and differentiated advantage over competitors"
(quoted in Srivastava & Shocker, 1991, p.5).

• According to David A. Aaker (1991), brand equity is "a set of brand


assets and liabilities linked to a brand, its name and symbol that add to or
subtract from the value provided by a product or service to a firm and/or that
firm's customers."

• Keller (1998, p.44) stresses that “researchers studying brand equity at


least…acknowledge that brand equity provides a common denominator for
interpreting marketing strategies and assessing the value of a brand”.

There are several stake-holders concerned with brand equity, encompassing the
firm, the consumer, the trade, the financial market . However, the consumer is
indubitably the most critical component in defining brand equity. While brand
equity has come to stand for a financial concept associated with the valuation

16
placed on a brand, it is useful to recognise that the equity of a brand is driven
by brand image, a consumer (or customer) concept. (Biel 1991).

The benefits potentially stemming from building and managing effectively and
efficiently the equity of a brand have been widely explored by various
researchers. According to Keller (1998), brand equity may lead to greater
loyalty, less vulnerability to competitive market actions and market crises,
larger margins, more inelastic consumer response to price increases, more
elastic response to price decreases, greater trade cooperation and support,
increased market communication effectiveness, possible licensing
opportunities, additional brand extension opportunities. Morgan (2000) adds
that a brand with a strong equity might imply the incremental cash flow from
branding vs non-branding. Complementary to the benefits of brand equity to
the producer, De Chernatony (2001, p.31) stresses that “there are significant
benefits to the consumer, such as identification, which simplifies the brand
choice decision making process, efficient risk assessment as the brand offers a
guarantee of consistent product quality and a representation framework,
satisfying hedonistic needs of embodying social status”.

According to Biel (1997), two sets of attributes distinguish strong from weak
brands, what he calls ‘output’ and ‘input’ response items. Output items reflect
consumer reaction to strong versus weak brands, and include elements such as
relative perceived quality. Input elements include characteristics, such as
length of time in business. Stronger brands are more likely to be seen as
unique, they enjoy higher perceived quality relative to their competitors and
they are more likely to evoke vivid, rich imagery among consumers. Input
factors that differentiate strong brands included a sense of history; that stronger
brands have a higher likelihood of withstanding the 'test of time'. In addition,
as Morgan (2000) points out, strong brands are normally differentiated,
carrying clear perceptions, which allow them to maintain points of
differentiation against competition. The author draws another key distinction
regarding brand attributes, between those that pertain to functionality and
performance and the softer, more emotional and intangible issues related to
branding. Softer attributes are claimed to lead to the ‘affinity’ that consumers
have for the pure branded side of the product. The above distinction echoes the
classic distinction between tangible and intangible brand elements, which has
been employed extensively by both accountants and marketers over the years
(also rendered as product and non-product related attributes by Keller (1998)

17
or the ‘softer side’ of branding by Biel (1991, 1997), as will be further
discussed in the context of the consumer-based brand equity perspective).

Brand equity is built primarily via the employment of consistent aesthetic cues
and consistent messages (Keller, 1998), thus allowing consumers to distinguish
among brands and their product attributes. As consumers compare and contrast
the tangible product features in alliance with price and intangible elements
(such as projected user/usage image), they arrive at a set of products in a
category, which they consider for purchase, called the salient set. Therefore, a
brand’s equity is dependent on effective communications to the target
market(s), while it may be improved to some extent in tandem with
communications effectiveness. “The challenge of marketing communications
is to communicate the right message, in the right way, to the right people, in
the right place, at the right time” (Pickton & Broderick, 2003, p.13).

As regards the process of building brand equity on behalf of the consumer, it is


often described as a tradeoff exercise among various factors (Morgan, 1993) in
which consumers enter when they consider their salient set prior to making a
purchase decision. In particular, consumers actively trade off both the
perceived tangible benefits and the perceived intangible benefits delivered by
products in their salient set, against price, to arrive at a value hierarchy, which
forms the basis for the purchase decision. The above constitute a brief
overview of the conceptual model of the Brand Price Trade Off research
technique, which was developed by Morgan (1993) in order to explore brand
equity (which evolved into the much more complex research tool,
EquityEngine, see Morgan & Carter, 1998). Since then, a variety of models
have been coined by both academics (eg. Keller, Kapferer, Aaker, De
Chernatony) and practitioners (eg. Research International, Millward Brown,
JWT, Young & Rubicam, Brand Finance, Interbrand, EquiTrend) alike for
operationalizing the concept of brand equity.

Brands that have high perceived value have a greater likelihood of being
included in a consumer’s salient set. If a brand’s combined tangible and
intangible values are consistently higher than any other brand in the category,
that brand will have the highest customer loyalty in terms of purchase,
repurchase, and recommendation. Competing brands can only improve their
loyalty against the brand equity leader by lowering price in the short term,

18
improving their product’s tangible features in the mid term, or improving their
brand’s intrinsic values, or equity, in the long term. “Although price reductions
are more commonly employed to improve perceived value, in reality they are
often more expensive than adding value through various brand building
marketing activities” (Keller, 1998, p.187).

Hence, the emergence of the concept of brand equity came in recognition of


the value of brands as assets and the importance of managing them efficiently
and effectively with view to maintaining the long term viability of a company.
The focus of this chapter will now turn to an overview of the three main
perspectives, whereby brand equity has been conceptualized.

3.4 The three categories of brand-equity measures

The delineation of methods for measuring and managing brand equity is a


challenging task to marketing managers, advertisers, marketing researchers and
accountants, as the resulting value of a brand may be leveraged in order to
increase the likelihood of brand selection and ultimately lead to brand loyalty.
This challenge is even more demanding for fragmented and repertoire driven
markets, such as Bath Foams.

Recent literature addressing brand equity indicates that there are several
different approaches to measurement, largely falling under two major
categories, that is those concerned with the financial aspects of brand valuation
and those concerned with the consumer behavior aspects of brands (Pitta &
Katsanis, 1995). The consumer behavior category is further split into those
focusing on brand equity as a springboard for brand extensions (eg. Pitta &
Katsanis, 1995, De Chernatony & Martinez, 2004, Martinez & Pina, 2003) and
those focusing on the generic consumer effects of brand equity (eg. Aaker,
1991, 1997, Keller, 1998, 2001).

19
Brand equity can be addressed at either the corporate level or the category
level and can also be addressed using internal data or external data. The
different strands of thought tend not to dispute the others’ definitions, but
rather they recognize them while postulating their own versions. Authors (i.e.
Keller) often use the definitions of others as a springboard for their work,
while formulating their own definitions of brand equity.

In the subsequent sections the three different perspectives for conceptualizing


and measuring brand equity are displayed, that is the financial, the brand
extensions and the consumer-based brand equity perspective, with a focus on
the third one.

3.4.1 Financial Perspective

Exponents of the financial perspective of brand equity (Simon and Sullivan,


1993, Davis and Douglass, 1995) stress that without putting a monetary value
to each brand, companies are unable to quantify the total value of their assets.
The importance behind the need for this knowledge comes into play when a
company is incumbent on acquisition or attempts to counteract an aggressive
take over bid. Without a clear understanding of the value of each brand, the
worth of a company may be undervalued, which may lead to a financial loss
for the company’s stockholders (Cobb-Walgren, Ruble, and Donthu, 1995;
Mahajan, Rao, and Srivastava, 1994).

The financial approach to defining brand equity is largely concerned with


assigning a measurable value to every brand a company owns or produces. The
researchers and marketing managers who use the financial approach propound
that a brand is a viable asset (Davis and Douglass, 1995). Therefore, a value
must be assigned to it, while brand equity by definition is an intangible asset.
The key challenge rests with determining this value. The methods utilized so
far include the value of brand names (Cobb-Walgren, Ruble, and Donthu,
1995), and the cause and effect of advertising on brand loyalty and its
relationship to equity (Blackston, 1995; Oakenfull and Gelb, 1996). These
same mechanisms are used in the second area of financial evaluation, mergers
and acquisitions. Under or over valuations can create huge losses or excessive
profits for companies.

20
Kapferer (1997) reports that there are two major strands of thought for brand
valuation, the one relying on historical costs and the other on projected future
cash flows. “The financial value of the brand is the difference between the
extra revenue generated by the brand and the asociated costs for the next few
years, which are discounted back today” (Keller, 1998, p.32).

While there are many methods for conducting this measurement, some of
which are described below, it is important to note that there is a significant
difference between an "objective" valuation created for balance sheet purposes,
and the actual price that a brand may get when sold. “A certain amount of
uncertainty and heterogeneity, which are against the rules of caution, would be
created if these were included in the balance sheet” (Kapferer, 1997, p.386).
For acquisitions, the value of a brand to a certain consumer is often estimated
through scenario planning. This involves determining what future cash flows
could be achieved by the company if it owned and took advantage of the brand.
What this means is that there is no such thing as an absolute value for a brand,
and brand value must be considered as only one component of the overall
equity of a brand.

There are several possible ways to measure brand equity in financial terms, as
reported by Kapferer (1997, pp.398-410):

1. Valuation by replacement costs: By taking the various characteristics of a


brand into account (awareness, relative market share, distribution network etc.)
an attempt is made to measure brand equity as the replacement cost of the
brand over a generic equivalent, that is how much it would take to build an
equivalent brand. Alternatively, replacement value can be estimated as book
value. Allegedly, this method suffers from a high level subjectivity.

21
2. Valuation by market price: Drawing on valuation practices popular in
markets such as real estate, the valuation by market price approach attempts to
place a financial value on brands by looking at similar brands in the market.
The problem with this approach lies with the difference in that whereas in real
estate the price of a house remains the same irrespective of the use the owner
makes of it, in the case of brands, the price-setter is the consumer, based on the
perceptions s/he holds of brands. “In abstract terms, the purchase price is not
the price paid for the brand but is the interaction between brand and purchaser”
(Kapferer, 1997, p.400). Whether a brand can command the price asked for it
in the marketplace is in large part determined by how it is perceived by the
buyer, and whether someone continues to buy the same brand is also in large
part a function of their attitudes toward it (Dyson, P., Farr, A., and Hollis , N.,
1996).

3. Valuation by potential earnings: Brand Equity is evaluated by discounting


the value of future earnings projections and adding to the value the cost
competitors would incur if they duplicated the brand.

4. Incremental Cash Flow from Branding: Brand equity is estimated by


determining the cash flows of a brand and subtracting the cash flows from an
unbranded product. The estimation challenge becomes more difficult as the
product of interest belongs to an increasingly differentiated category. For
example, it is harder to find a generic equivalent for cars than for cigarettes.

22
5. Price/Earnings Multiplier: Multiplying current earnings by an estimate for
P/E multiple yields an equity price. The critical step is estimating the P/E
multiplier. One approach that has been put forward is to measure brand
strength by a weighted average of seven factors (Penrose, 1989). Then, the P/E
multiplier is estimated using and S-shaped relationship between brand strength
and the P/E multiple that is based on similarities to risk free rates, industry
rates, and other factors.

In addition to the aforementioned methods, Interbrand, which calculates the


worth of the world’s most valuable brands on an annual basis, examines the
economic profit that a brand generates for the underlying business (Motameni
& Shahrokhi, 1998). This valuation process comprises three areas of brand
profitability: the future economic earnings that the branded business is
expected to generate, the role of the brand in generating those earnings and the
risk profile of the brand’s expected earnings. Essentially, Interbrand dissects a
company’s profit-and-loss statement to assign a value to the business’s brands.

Morgan (1993) illustrates Interbrand’s brand valuation process as follows:

Table 2- Interbrand’s brand valuation process


Brand valuation =
(some multiple) x brand earnings
Branding multiple Brand earnings
Profit before tax Subjective marks for:

Less profits from own label market leadership

Weighting from previous years market type

Disregards future profits trend


investment
protection
Adapted from Morgan, R.P., 1993, p.6

The author criticizes Interbrand’s model as a subjective process that dwells on


past performance at the expense of future profits.

23
The major disadvantage with the financial approach of defining brand equity is
that it focuses on maximizing short-term goals at the expense of long-term
growth (Aaker, 1992; Davis and Douglass, 1995). “This is not to say that the
‘accountancy’ driven definition is wrong, merely that its usefulness is
elsewhere, and that any attempt to understand individual patterns of purchasing
behaviour must grapple with the way individuals perceive brands, and the way
in which these perceptions lead to some kind of brand standing or strength”
(Morgan, 2000, p.4).

3.4.2 Brand Extensions Perspective

The second major perspective in conceptualizing and measuring brand equity


is concerned with brand extensions (Pitta and Katsanis, 1995; Baldinger,
1990). In this context, brand equity is approached in terms of a brand’s ability
to act as a springboard for the development of similar brand types (extensions).
“Recent history shows that more than half of the new brands marketed during
the 1980s were extensions of existing products, marketed under existing brand
names” (Pitta & Katsanis, 1995, p. 51).

The main thrust that transverses the argumentation in the relevant literature is
that the more equity a brand holds, the more capable it is of expanding into
relevant territories. The parent brand may effectively act as a springboard for
stretching into the same, similar or different product categories. Based on the
parent brand associations stored in consumers’ memories, it is less cost
effective to gain awareness, favorability and brand salience (Keller, 1998).

Brand extensions may revitalize the parent brand, yield incremental sales,
enlarge the scope of the existing consumer franchise; however, extensions may
also alienate an existing consumer base, cannibalize parent brand sales and
dilute its image (Martinez & Pina, 2003). Extending a brand essentially entails
enlarging the breadth and depth of parent brand associations, in such as way as
to enable the extension to gain in brand salience and the favored associations
of the parent brand to migrate into its kernel.

24
According to Keller (1998, p.472) the benefits of an extension will depend
primarily on the following three main factors:

- how salient parent brand associations are in the minds of consumers in the
extension context

- how favorable any inferred associations are in the extension context

- how unique any inferred associations are in the extension category

By assessing current brand value and past performance, a prediction can be


made about potential future growth (Pitta and Katsanis, 1995). The same holds
for brand extensions. As Keller (1998) and Aaker (1996) remark, the costs of
introducing new brands into the market are significantly higher than they were
20 years ago. Barwise (1993) explains that brand extensions generally have
lower start-up costs than do brands introduced with new names. Furthermore,
calculations of existing brand equity can be used to determine what
contributing elements can be transferred to the brand extensions (Baldinger,
1990), by focusing on key structural elements of a brand, such as name, slogan,
symbols etc.

Despite the fact that the brand extensions approach takes into account the
consumer-based perspective, it is still largely grounded in economic theory. In
the next section, the third major perspective, that is consumer-based brand
equity, is described.

3.4.3 Consumer-based Brand Equity Perspective

The third major perspective consists in a consumer-based perspective of brand


equity (Aaker, 1991; Blackston, 1995, Kapferer, 1997, Keller, 1998, Morgan,
1999). Authors in this field are primarily concerned with psychological,
attitudinal and behavioral aspects in an attempt to establish causal links
between market performance and equity related variables or research data,
such as brand usage, purchase intention, price sensitivity. In this way, they
allow the voice of the customer to enter the brand valuation process. “Brand
equity is based on psychological indicators, which are measured from the
consumers’ point of view and is only worth something if it results in extra
profits” (Kapferer, 1997, p.388).

25
Aaker (1991, pp.109-113) stresses that consumers use brand associations to
help process, organize and retrieve information in memory and to aid them in
making purchase decisions. He demarcates brand equity as a set of five
categories of brand assets and liabilities linked to a brand, that is brand
awareness, brand loyalty, perceived quality, brand associations and other
proprietary assets (eg. patents, trademarks and trade relationships). Based on
these five categories Aaker puts forward a systematic perspective that attempts
to encapsulate brand strength. The components of his model consist in the
following:

Brand Awareness: It indicates the function of the brand as a seal of guarantee;


it constitutes the platform upon which more associations may be nurtured,
while signaling the potential of including the brand in consumers’ salient set.

Brand Loyalty: Ensures reduced marketing costs, enables trade leverage,


creates reassurance, while establishing a stronghold in times of fierce
competitive pressure.

Perceived Quality: Signals the achievement of differential positioning, while


providing a substantial reason-why for purchase, also functioning as a
precursor to brand loyalty.

Brand Associations: Enables the retrieval and processing of brand related


information, allow for brand differentiation, while creating positive
attitudes/feelings.

Other proprietary assets: Including patents, R&D know how, trade goodwill,
or whatever other source may lead to competitive advantage.

According to Aaker (1991), all the above brand equity elements allow
consumers to process brand related information in a meaningful way, to
develop brand related associations, and to gain satisfaction from brand usage.
On the part of the company, they ensure the effective and efficient deployment
of marketing programs, while enabling to command higher prices/margins and
ultimately lead to a sustainable competitive advantage.

26
In order for brand equity to be built, brands must primarily be meaningful to
consumers. The remainder of this chapter will delve into the essence of brand
meaning, how it is constructed and how it may be researched in the Bath
Foams category with view to rendering brand equity manageable.

Exponents of the consumer-based perspective focus on consumers’ attitudinal


and behavioral patterns in order to determine brand equity. The key
components of these patterns are awareness and brand image. The challenge is
to combine these features into a composite view of how the consumer
perceives brand equity.

In order to systematically account for how consumers perceive brand equity,


Keller (1998) uses a multi-step approach in formulating his brand knowledge
model.

Figure 1- Keller’s Brand Knowledge Structure

27
Adapted from K.L.Keller, 1998, p.94

The two basic features of the model are brand awareness and brand image.
"Brand awareness can play a dominant role in brand choice if the customer has
strong awareness of some brands, but not of other brands, in part because
brands with little awareness are unlikely to be considered for purchase"
(Srinivasan 2001, pp.7-8). Awareness consists of brand recall and recognition.
Brand-image consists of type, favorability, strength, and uniqueness of brand
associations. “It defines the cluster of attributes and associations that
consumers connect to the brand name” (A.Biel, 1991, p.71).

Keller believes that by building favorable brand associations, the consumer


will develop a positive attitude towards the brand. The more needs the brand
satisfies, the more positive the attitude and the more positive the brand
knowledge imprint. “In particular, raising brand awareness increases the
likelihood that the brand will be a member of the consideration set, the handful
of brands that receives serious consideration for purchase” (Keller 1998, p.
91). As the strength of the memory imprint increases, the greater the likelihood
that the information (knowledge) will become accessible to the consumer when
s/he actively thinks about a product. Awareness is built over time, through
consumers’ multiple encounters with a brand and its constituent elements, that
is logo, slogan, packaging, brand character. The vehicles whereby awareness is
built are all forms of brand communications, both above and below the line,
that is TV, radio, outdoor, magazine advertising, instore and onpack
promotions, sponsorships, public relations etc. However, “awareness is a
necessary, but not always sufficient step in building brand equity” (Keller
1998, p.92).

Brand image is the second important equity concept, which has been defined
by Keller (1998, p.92) as “perceptions about a brand as reflected by the brand
associations held in consumer memory”. De Chernatony (2001, p.6) contends
that "associations tend to be stored in terms of metaphors and, importantly,
they tend to aggregate in clusters". Brand associations, in turn, are classified by
Keller into three major categories, that is attributes, benefits and attitudes.
Attributes are classified into product-related (primary brand associations), eg.
the purely functional base of products, such as ingredients, color, texture and

28
non-product related (secondary brand associations), such as price, usage/user
imagery, feelings and experiences and brand personality. Benefits refer to the
personal meaning consumers assign to the product attributes. Keller (1998)
identifies three main categories of benefits, that is functional benefits (deriving
from product-related attributes), symbolic benefits (deriving from non-product
related attributes) and experiential benefits (deriving from both categories of
attributes). The culmination of attributes and perceived benefits is the
formation of brand-related attitudes, which determine the strength, favorability
and uniqueness of brand associations.

After establishing the consumer knowledge structure of the brand, brand


managers need to determine what actions to take to capitalize on this
knowledge structure. The brand managers must decide on the core needs and
wants of consumers to be satisfied by the brand. Once these core needs are
identified, the appropriate tactics can be implemented. Also, brand managers
need to select the appropriate brand elements for effectively covering these
needs. Brand elements, according to Keller (1998, pp.135-172) consist in
brand name, logos and symbols, brand characters, slogans, jingles, packaging.

Pursuant to the exposition of the Brand Knowledge structure, Keller & Davey
(2001) proceeded with the construction of the Brand Equity Pyramid. The
brand equity pyramid essentially constitutes a portrayal of the key components
of brand equity. Keller & Davey conceives of the model as a sequential
process with four distinctive steps, as follows:

(i) ensuring identification of the brand with customers and an association of the
brand in customers’ mind with a specific product class or customer need
(ii) establishing the totality of brand meaning in the minds of customers by
strategically linking a host of tangible and intangible brand associations
(iii) eliciting the proper customer responses to brand identity and brand
meaning
(iv) converting brand response to create an intense, active loyalty between
customers and the brand

From this stepwise process, Keller & Davey identify 6 brand-building blocks,
which are portrayed in the Pyramid as follows:

29
Figure 2- Keller’s and Davey’s Brand Equity Pyramid

Adapted from K.L.Keller & K.K.Davey, 2001, p. 9

3.5 Brand Equity Pyramid in the Bath Foams category

This section outlines a rendition of the Brand Equity Pyramid, by drawing on


Keller’s & Davey’s work, as it is to our view, the most comprehensive model
up to date for researching brand equity. Aaker’s work is indispensable in the
construction of a conceptual model, however it constitutes a “series of
guidelines rather than a fixed model” (Cooper, 1998). Also, as Keller (1998,
p.625) himself stresses, his own model, compared to Aaker’s conceptualization
of brand equity, “permits a more definitive set of recommendations and
guidelines concerning how to build, measure and manage brand equity”.
Drawing on the above model, brand equity in the Bath Foams category is
operationalized in the following fashion:

Figure 3- Rendition of Keller’s and Davey’s Brand Equity Pyramid in the


Bath Foams market

30
This rendition draws on Keller’s pyramid, however constitutes a more
customized approach for the Bath Foams category as regards the attributes that
make up its edifice, which will be displayed in due course. The basic variables
or brand building blocks of the Pyramid are explained below:

1. Salience- Brand Awareness: As already explained, awareness is a


threshold criterion for building brand equity, which brands must pass
successfully in order to climb to the higher strata of the pyramid. Brand
salience merely denotes that a brand is likely to be considered in the context of
the next purchase among a roster of brands that respond equally well to a given
set of requirements. “To be potentially salient, a brand has to be distinctive in
its name and logo, so that the consumer is able to focus on Bingo and select it.
But Bingo does not have to be 'best'. Nor does Bingo even have to seem to be
better than Bango, which would often be difficult to achieve. It only has to be
regarded well enough to continue to be salient to that consumer as once of the
brands he or she might buy” (Ehrenberg et al, 1997, p.5). According to
Ehrenberg et al there is an enormous gap between brand salience and
differentiation, thus pointing to the strenuous ascendance from the bottom of
the equity pyramid to the higher strata that lead up to identification.

31
2. Performance/Imagery: Simply put, “what a brand can do, moreover,
what it may be perceived as doing”. This is another key aspect of the bath
foams equity pyramid, as successful brands must be perceived as being capable
of meeting key consumer requirements, such as the ones laid out in the
respective part of our equity attributes list (see below table). In line with
Keller’s and Davey’s model, this list includes both tangible and intangible
elements, such as “has a moisturizing effect” in the case of the former, and
“leaves skin looking younger”, in the case of the latter.
3. Experiential benefits/ Value/Quality perceptions: Again in line with
Keller’s and Davey’s definitions, the variable of experiential benefits reflects
brand feelings, that is the “emotional reactions to the brand that relate to the
social currency the brand evokes” (Keller & Davey, 2001). The variable of
value/quality essentially reflects the perceived quality of brands in the Bath
Foams category.
4. Identification: Holding its rightful place in the apex of the equity
pyramid, the variable of identification is the culmination of brand management
efforts and the overarching aim of every successful brand. Identifications
describes the extent to which perceived image, benefits and experiences have
managed to colonize consumers’ personality, gain in consumer involvement
and ultimately make them part of their “extended self”. “In this case,
consumers themselves become brand evangelists and help to communicate the
brand and strengthen the brand ties of others” (Keller & Davey, 2001).
The list of attributes that is employed in the operationalization of each of the
strata of the Brand Equity Pyramid in the Bath Foams market is displayed in
the Table 3:

Table 3- Bath Foams Brand Equity Pyramid Building blocks and


attributes
Performance/Imagery
Foams well
Cleans well
Has fragrances I love
Has long lasting fragrance
Clinically Tested
Has a moisturising effect
Gentle on skin
Keeps skin healthy
Purifying effect on skin
Leaves skin looking younger
Beauty treatment for my skin

32
Does not dry the skin
Contains natural ingredients
Like texture/consistency
Identification
A bath foam would choose for myself
Suitable for the whole family
Suitable for children
Experiential benefits
Brand enjoy using
Makes everyday cleansing more
pleasurable
Makes innovative exciting bath foam
Good for relaxing
Provides overall wellbeing
Refreshing
Value/Quality perceptions
Good quality
Has a competitive price

These attributes have been found to be the most relevant for the category in the
context of preceding qualitative surveys (company-funded).

3.6 Consumer-based Brand Equity and market performance

As may be gathered from the literature review so far, brand equity is a


condition sine qua non for strong and viable brands. Morgan (2000), among
others, contends that brands with a strong equity cherish increased market
share, premium pricing, reduced promotional expenses. Insofar as these
marketing variables are central to brand management, we intend to first
explore whether there is a relationship between brand equity and market share
and value/volume sales. For most brands, their equity is a strong indicator of
their market share (Khandelwal, M. and McKinney, C., 2003). Therefore, in
order to drive future market performance, understanding the specifics of brand
equity in conjunction with marketing fundamentals is a critical step.

When brand equity and market share are proportional, frequently the specific
sources of the respective brand equity indices, i.e., brand familiarity and
imagery can provide a clear understanding of how to continue to strengthen
market share. “Weaknesses in brand familiarity indicate awareness and trial
building strategies for share growth, while weaknesses in brand imagery
indicate positioning issues, a need to refocus on favourable and unique brand

33
associations or potentially the need to explore target consumer issues”
(Khandelwal, M. and McKinney, C., 2003).

Which of these different scenarios envisioned by the authors prevail in the


Bath Foams category? Is there sufficient differentiation among the key brand
players for creating sustainable associations, brand equity and competitive
advantage? These questions, alongside others that emerge from the respective
literature will be further consolidated in the next chapter in the context of the
research objectives.

3.7 Measuring consumer based brand equity

Pursuant to the delineation of the components of consumer based brand equity,


what it means (in terms of brand associations) and what are the structural
elements that make up its conceptual edifice (in terms of logos, symbols,
packaging), a brief mention on methods of measurement is deemed necessary
prior to proceeding with the exposition of the research methodology.

Keller (1998) distinguishes between two types of measurement, that is those


concerned with the sources and those concerned with the outcomes of brand
equity, as well as between qualitative and quantitative research methods. In
addition, Morgan (2000) draws a distinction between descriptive and
prescriptive consumer-based brand equity research methods, that is between
methods that yield brand diagnostics, as a snapshot of a given time period
(similar to the one that is pursued in this study) and methods that yield brand
prognostics, based on longitudinal studies and methods, such as time series
analyses and multivariate regression.

Quantitative methods of measuring sources of brand equity “employ various


types of scale questions so that numerical representations and summaries can
be made” (Keller, 1998, p.325). They may be used to “better assess the depth
and breadth of brand awareness and the strength, favourability and uniqueness
of brand associations” (Keller, 1998, p.325). Awareness may be gauged by
asking consumers which brands they know of in the context of a given product
category, either spontaneously or in a prompted fashion. As regards the
strength of brand associations, it may be gauged by either asking consumers to

34
simply state whether an attribute matches a brand (eg. “Do you agree with the
following list of statements regarding brand A”?) in a Yes/No fashion or by
asking them to give a score on a Likert scale (eg.1-7) reflecting the degree to
which they associate an attribute with a brand or rating a brand on a semantic
differential scale with bipolar adjectives (eg. No smell 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Intense
smell) (Keller 1998).

As regards quantitative methods for measuring outcomes of consumer-based


brand equity, Keller (1998) reports two major trends, that is comparative
(brand based and market based) and holistic methods. “Brand based
comparative approaches use experiments in which one group of consumers
responds to an element of the marketing program or some marketing activity
when it is attributed to the target brand and another group responds to that
same element or activity when it is attributed to a competitive or fictitiously
named brand. Marketing based comparative approaches use experiments where
consumers respond to changes in elements of the marketing program or
marketing activity for the target brand or competitive brands” (p.345). Holistic
methods (Keller, 1998) attempt to place an overall value for the brand in either
abstract utility terms or concrete financial terms. Holistic methods tend to
either produce a single brand value (or equity score) in the context of a single
study (for example see Morgan, 1993 on how a brand equity score may be
produced from discreet utility values that emerge through a process of conjoint
analyses from partial equity variables, including attributes and attitudes, along
with price) or by combining attribute based components (gauging the sources
of brand equity) and non attribute based components (eg sales or market share
figures).

Qualitative studies of brand equity draw largely on the similar conceptual


constructs as quantitative studies; however the methods used vary, as expected.
As regards qualitative methods for exploring sources of consumer based brand
equity, Keller (1998) cites free association3 (asking consumers what comes to
mind when thinking about a brand) and a series of projective techniques, which
be illustrated further in Chapter 4.

3
Also see Chen (2001) for an application of quantitatively measured free association in determining
brand equity

35
The following paragraphs report relevant research studies that have attempted
to measure either sources or outcomes of consumer based brand equity or both.

Khandelwal and McKinney (2003) bore on AC Nielsen’s WinningBrands


model, which has been constructed on the grounds of equity attributes. The
authors draw on Keller’s conceptual framework and coined a proxy variable of
emotive brand loyalty (based on the extent to which consumers would
recommend their preferred brand). They combine emotive loyalty with
consumers’ willingness to pay a price premium for their preferred brand, while
applying multivariate regression analytical methods in order to produce a
Brand Equity Index (from 1 to 10) for each brand. Their research in various
product categories indicated that brand equity correlates with market share in
most categories, however with some exceptions. These exceptions were found
to be largely attributed to a lack of differential positioning of brands. In
addition, various research studies conducted by Morgan (2000), also echoing
work done by Jones and Sasser (1996) pointed out that the size of the gap
between high equity ranking brands and the probability of choosing them is
highly category specific.

Lassar, Mittal and Sharma (1995) produced a brand equity model based on 17
attributes, which were reduced to five equity dimensions (image, value, trust,
performance, attachment) through exploratory factor analysis and the
concomitant application of discriminant analysis for measuring the
discriminant validity among factors. After confirming the hypothesis that
brand equity correlates with price perceptions they drew on the widely-held
assumption that brand communications aid in the creation and sustenance of
brand equity in order to point out that promotions techniques may help in
ameliorating equity factors, in which brands underperform.

Hollis, Farr and Dyson (1996) developed the Consumer Value model, which
developed into the Brand Dynamics system (later evolving into Millward
Brown’s brand equity tracking method, BRANDZ). Brand Dynamics is
displayed in a pyramid format, similar to Keller’s conceptual construct. The
factors taken into account for the construction of the model are consideration
of inclusion of a brand in the salient set, brand size, price responsiveness,
which gauges in crude terms the price sensitivity of consumers towards certain
brands in their salient set. The model’s approach is predictive and has been

36
applied in numerous tracking studies in order to point out to brand’s potential
share of requirements4. A brand’s consumer value was found by the
researchers to correlate highly with the brand’s share of requirements,
following a holistic approach, as previously explained, that is combining
primary research data with objective (eg. AC Nielsen’s) metrics to arrive at a
validated consumer based brand equity model. Pursuant to the validation of the
relevance of the concept of brand equity in terms of responsiveness, size and
price they proceeded with the operationalization of the components of brand
equity, by bearing on Aaker’s conceptual constructs. The culmination of their
research was the portrayal of brand equity in terms of the Brand Dynamics
pyramid.

Figure 4- Brand Dynamics Pyramid

Adapted from Dyson, P., Farr, A., and Hollis , N., 1996, Figure 2

According to the authors, presence is exhibited in unaided awareness of the


brand name (similar to our definition of brand salience as the bottom of the
Equity Pyramid for the Bath Foams market); relevance consists in
demonstrating how a brand is capable of fulfilling at least some of the key
criteria the consumer has for the intended purchase. Then, the brand’s
performance must deliver the intended benefits against the standards set by the
competition, while demonstrating that is has a competitive advantage over the
competition against criteria that are deemed to be relevant. Ultimately, having

4
Share of requirements is a term coined by ACNielsen in the context of analyzing Home Panel
consumer tracking data, denoting the percentage of a brand’s volume sales based on consumers’
category purchase patterns

37
passed successfully through the preceding stages, a brand gains bonded
consumers, resulting in identification of the consumer franchise in terms of
match between high ranking category criteria (or key value drivers) and the
brand’s deliverables, in terms of benefits, attitudes, associations. A micro-
modelling approach is followed in this model (that is focusing on individual
Informant data, similar to the one advocated by Morgan, 1998,2000). Since
this a proprietary research model, the analytics that take place behind the
model are not open to scrutiny. For example, it is not clarified whether the five
equity dimensions were produced via factor analysis (as is the case of Lassar,
Mittal and Sharma’s above cited research model) or whether the category
specific key value drivers that constitute the relevance dimension are produced
by a direct questioning method or an indirect method .

Leuthesser, Kohli & Harich (1995) produced a very interesting brand equity
research, by showing how the effect of ‘brand size’ may distort equity data, by
drawing on the much discussed phenomenon of ‘halo effect’. They drew on the
method of double-centered normalization for purging data of the halo effect,
thus providing brand managers with a more accurate reading of quantitative
data5 .

Finally, Low and Lamb (2000), among other research objectives, sought to
explore whether the degree of dimensionality of brand associations varies
depending on a brand’s familiarity, where they found a positive correlation
(77%) between the successful discriminant validity tests for each surveyed
brand and the level of brand familiarity (measured on a 1-7 scale). Brand
familiarity essentially denotes the same phenomenon as presence (as coined by
Andy, Farr and Hollis) or brand salience and may be approximated by using
spontaneous brand awareness (as quoted in Keller’s model).

3.8 Conclusion

As this chapter illustrated, brand equity is a polymorphic concept, while a


string of perspectives have been coined over the past twenty years for coping
with the sheer complexity of this construct. While recognizing the usefulness
of the financial and brand extensions approaches, the consumer-based brand
equity perspective has been found to be the most relevant for the purposes of
5
cf.4.6, Objective 3

38
the study at hand. The consumer-based brand equity perspective aids in
systematically unearthing consumer associations that underpin brand equity
and allows for the determination of the extent to which there is sufficient
differentiation among brands. Keller’s and Davey’s conceptual constructs are
deemed to be the most comprehensive and practical for the purposes of this
study. Their work is largely drawn upon the rendition the Brand Equity
Pyramid for the Bath Foams market. Last, but not least, circumstantial research
evidence was found to be suggestive of a clear relationship between brand
equity and market share, which merits exploration in the selected target
market.

39
CHAPTER 4: Methodology

40
4.1 Introduction

The previous chapter illustrated the various strands of thought pertaining to


brand equity. Having focused on the perspective of consumer-based brand
equity as the most dominant and relevant among them, this chapter lays out the
research objectives, the methodological framework, and the respective
methods of data collection and analysis.

4.2 Purpose of the study/Research Objectives

The purpose of the study is to draw on the existing brand equity literature and
provide a descriptive overview of sources and outcomes of key brands’ equity
in the bath foams market. “Measuring sources of customer-based brand equity
requires measuring various aspects of brand awareness and brand image that
potentially can lead to the differential customer response that creates brand
equity” (Keller 1998, p.310)

More specifically, the research objectives consist of the following:

1. To determine the most important equity dimensions (category’s key


value drivers) in the Brand Equity Pyramid.
2. To determine the relationship between brand equity and market
performance in the Bath Foams category in the Greek market.
3. To identify differences among the key competitors in the Greek Bath
Foams category in terms of consumer-based brand equity.
4. To provide a descriptive overview of the primary and secondary brand
associations of key brand players, in terms of attributes, benefits, attitudes and
on the grounds of the key equity dimensions making up the Brand Equity
Pyramid.

4.3 Research Approach

4.3.1 Overview of Research Methodology

The research methodology consists of a combined quantitative/qualitative


approach. The pursuit of a combined methodology endows the study both with
the robustness of quantitatively collected and analysed data, as well as the

41
depth of the insights that is mandatory for such a delicate research subject
matter as brand equity. In addition, they complement each other in terms of
responding to the disadvantages inherent in each approach.

Overall, both indirect and direct methods for gauging sources and outcomes of
brand equity were employed. According to Keller “an indirect approach can
assess potential sources of customer-based brand equity by identifying and
tracking consumers’ brand knowledge structures. A direct approach, on the
other hand, could measure customer-based brand equity more directly by
assessing the actual impact of brand knowledge on consumer response to
different elements of the marketing program” (Keller, 1998, p. 308).

Finally, the methodological approach of this study is descriptive and not


prescriptive. Malhotra & Birks (1999, p.79) define descriptive research as
“describing something, usually market characteristics or functions”, among
which lies the determination of the degree to which marketing variables are
associated, as displayed in subsequent sections.

4.3.2 Quantitative Research

“Quantitative measures of brand knowledge can be employed to better assess


the depth and breadth of brand awareness and the strength, favourability and
uniqueness of brand associations” (Keller 1998, p.325). Quantitative
methodology mainly addresses issues of validity and reliability, however it is
insufficient in addressing latent consumer associations (Objective 4), which
may be unearthed via the employment of a qualitative methodology, as
discussed in the ensuing section. Quantitative research in this study yielded the
background against which primary qualitative research took place, in order to
gain an elaborate perspective on the insights generated through the former. In
particular, secondary quantitative research data were employed additional
analyses were conducted on raw data with view to meeting the first three
objectives of this study.

4.3.3 Qualitative Research

“Qualitative research techniques are often employed to identify possible brand


associations and sources of brand equity. Qualitative research techniques are

42
relatively unstructured measurement approaches whereby a range of possible
consumer responses are permitted” (Keller 1998, p.311)

Objective 4 primarily seeks to systematically describe brand associations;


associations gathered through quantitative methodologies are elicited verbally
and reside in the conscious part of perception, whereas verbal representation is
only a mode among many (eg verbal, visual, sensory, emotional) (Supphellen,
2004). Given that brand associations reside more often than not in the spheres
of the pre and unconscious (Supphellen, 2004), then a qualitative research
methodology may allow for an elucidation of these latent perceptions and help
construct a system of brand associations. The pursuit of a qualitative
methodology may aid in, if not overcoming, at least mitigating consumers’
“unwillingness or inability to reveal true feelings, which are particularly
evident when consumers are asked about brands characterized by non-product
related image associations” (Keller 1998, p.314), such as those under scrutiny.

The disadvantages of qualitative research methodology consist of the high


level of subjectivity inherent in the process of eliciting brand associations out
of verbal and non-verbal (eg pictorial, such as those gathered via collage
exercises) representations. However, instead of disregarding the voice of
consumers in the elicitation of brand associations, Supphellen (2004) contends
that researchers should focus on how to ask better questions, or rather on how
to help consumers express their brand associations.

4.4 Research Design

4.4.1 Quantitative method

In order to meet the first three objectives identified in 4.2 and on the grounds
of previous studies employing similar methods as illustrated in 3.7, a string of
analyses were conducted on the grounds of secondary equity-related attribute
data that were collected during a company-funded equity research in 2004. The
category specific attributes (cf.3.5) that were included in the respective battery
of attributes in the research questionnaire were validated regarding their
relevance through extensive qualitative past research studies, commissioned by
the company.

43
The structure of the question from which the attributes evaluation was elicited
by the consumers who participated in the study was formed in an associative
fashion, asking consumers to state whether Attribute A matches Brand A (cf.
3.7), and so forth for the attributes/brands matrix under scrutiny.

In order to meet the second objective in particular, concerning the relationship


of equity scores with market performance (the holistic aspect explained in 3.7)
additional data from AC Nielsen’ ScanTrack database (market shares,
volume/value sales, weighted distribution figures, pricing, promotional
intensity) and Media Services (advertising expenditures and share of voice)
were used, spanning the same period as the equity data (that is annual 2004
figures). All of the analyses on secondary equity data, discussed in 4.6 were
conducted by the authors of this study. “Examination of available secondary
data is a prerequisite to the collection of primary data. Start with secondary
data. Proceed to primary data only when the secondary data sources have been
exhausted or yield marginal returns” (Malhotra & Birks, 1999, p.99).

The target group profile where the equity research was conducted consists of
Women, ABC1C2 S/E, aged between 18 and 44 years old who are primary
household consumers (primary characteristics of Bath Foams category users).
660 face-to-face interviews were conducted in a nationally representative
group of Informants via the employment of a structured questionnaire. Specific
quotas were set in terms of brand usage, while all respondents must have used
at least two of the investigated brands in the bath foams category (Palmolive,
Dove, Lux, Sanex, FA, Nivea, Papoutsanis, Badedas) in the past six months
prior to that study. Quotas based on brand usage were set in order to ensure
that respondents’ level of familiarity with a brand does not rest solely with
name recognition, but a set of brand related associations will have been formed
through brand usage (as explained in the Literature Review, brand usage is a
major source of forming primary and secondary brand associations).

4.4.2 Qualitative method

In order to gain additional insights into consumer based brand associations


(Objective 4) and a further understanding of the differential positioning of
brands, ten in-depth interviews were conducted among women, ABC1C2 S/E,
aged between 18 and 44 years old who are primary household consumers.

44
“Personal interviews are preferred [authors’ note: over focus groups] because
of their superior potential to delve deeply into the memories of Informants by
means of long, personal and individually adapted probing (Zaltman 1997;
Malhotra 1999)” (quoted in Supphellen, 2004).

In terms of sample selection, specific filters were used during the screening
phase of the selection process in terms of brand usage and brand awareness. In
particular, the recruited consumers must have been main users of one of the
key brands under investigation, that is Palmolive, Dove, Lux, Sanex, FA,
Nivea, Papoutsanis, Badedas Also, they must have used Palmolive during the
past year and not being rejectors of the brand. Particular emphasis was laid
during the determination of our qualitative research sample on the Palmolive
brand, insofar as it constitutes the focal point of our research.

The research design took place on the grounds of a discussion guide, in order
to allow consumers to express themselves in as a natural way as possible. In
the context of the in-depth interviews, projective techniques were used for
tapping into consumers’ latent brand associations. “Projective techniques go
beyond language to capture other ways in which we encode our experience- as
sensations, an ambience and atmosphere, visual memories, treasured instances”
(Branthwaite & Cooper, 2001, p.3). Hence, an array of techniques was
employed for eliciting latent perceptions pertaining to brand associations (as
illustrated in Supphellen, 2004) such as the following:

Free Association: It provides a “rough indication of the relative strength,


favourability and uniqueness of brand associations” (Keller 1998, p.312).
Metaphors/Analogies: What would a brand be if it were a woman, a planet, a
movie, an actor/ress? With the employment of such Object Projective
Techniques (OPT), “impressions of brands are largely represented in memory
in terms of metaphors because this is an effective way to understand and store
impressions about brands (Supphellen, 2004). Also, given that the ultimate
purpose of the study (cf. Chapter 6) is to pin down equity particularities of the
two main brands in the category, Palmolive and Dove, a social interaction
technique was employed. This technique enables the elicitation of associations
as to what equity elements might act as a bridge between the two brands, such
as “What kind of discussion these two brands would enter if they met in a
bar?”.

45
Moodboard technique: Informants were instructed to select any kind of
pictures (people, objects, colors, landscapes etc.) from magazines or
newspapers that represent what they think or feel about the brand.
Probing: Progressively digging deeper into latent perceptions on the grounds
of asking for qualification of primary associations (snowballing technique).
For example, when common places are referred to, such as “it is a quality
brand”, “it is a premium” brand, then consumers were probed into defining
what these terms mean to them. This process effectively allows for the creation
of links between perceived brand values (which are also highly dependent on
the variable extent of use and familiarity with a brand) and consumers’ own
belief systems.
Brand Mapping: On the grounds of the two category benefits consumers
deemed to be most important to them, they were asked to create a two-
dimensional map and position the brands of which they are aware according to
the level of proximity each brand has to the respective axis (each axis
corresponding to a category criterion).
The following section lays out the discussion guide and the interviewing
process that was followed during the qualitative phase.

4.4.2.1 In-depth interviews Discussion Guide

The discussion guide contains the main research areas and the guidelines that
governed the flow of the interview process. The process started with more
generic, category-wide questions and proceeded to more in-depth, brand-
specific elicitation techniques.

Stage 1

Perceptions / Habits in relation to Bath Foams (in brief)


Free Association Technique: Informants were asked to state anything that
came to their mind when they think of the category, including:
- Words / phrases / adjectives
- Feelings / emotions
- Perceived benefits
- Role this product category plays in their life
- Characterization of role
Consumption pattern

46
- Brands they know of
- Personal consumption history (brands)
- Frequency of purchase
- Reasons for using / not using any more brands they know of
- for buying – own initiative, advertising, word of mouth
Criteria of brand selection and relative importance of selection criteria
(spontaneous mentions)
- Types (size, single unit, multipacks etc)
- Price
- Pack aesthetics
- Brand name trustworthiness, heritage
- Benefits (eg moisturizing effects, basic skincare etc)
- Fragrance
- Added value ingredients
- Word of mouth
- Advertising / promotional activities

Stage 2: Brand Equity in Focus

Brand mapping exercise

Before any further investigation informants were asked about spontaneous


(anew) and prompted awareness of brands.
Then, cards of brands they know of (Main brand and Palmolive, along with
key competitors, such as Dove, Lux, Sanex, FA, Nivea, Papoutsanis, Badedas)
were placed on the table and Informants were asked to categorize them into
groups according to any criteria that they deemed important, on the grounds of
a 2 dimensional map. The dimensions of the map were made up of the two
most important criteria (key category value drivers) for each individual
consumer.
This exercise enabled us to see how consumers categorize the market on a
spontaneous level, using their own personal criteria.
Once they sorted them they were asked to justify their groups:
- Characterization of each group
- What is the common denominator for each group
- What does each group think of the other
- Which groups are closest to which / which are further away

47
Pursuant to the mapping exercise consumers were asked to elaborate on the
brands falling under each of the four quadrants on the map:
- Brands they have consumed – reason why
- Brands they no longer consume – reason why
- Brands they would never consume –reason why
- Who are considered to be the strong players of the market
- Who are considered to be the weak players of the market
- Similarities and differences among them
- Sources of information they consider most suitable for each brand in their
salient set
- Brand communication elements they spontaneously recall
Moodboard Technique
For each of the brands that were investigated, namely main brand and
Palmolive, each Informant was asked to create a collage of images, words (by
cutting and pasting pieces from magazines) that signify what they believe each
brand represents and illustrate its core benefit. This set of images aimed to
depict the values, personality and emotions linked with each of the brands’
image/core benefit. After the completion of this exercise, consumers were
asked to interpret their collages.
Projective techniques
Latent perceptions about consumer brand associations were gathered through a
series of projective techniques:
Spontaneous Associations: - What are the first things that come to mind
about brands: a physical sensation, an emotion / feeling, a symbol, a place, a
situation, a benefit, a drawback / shortcoming
Analogies: What would the brand be if it were ….a place……a film….a
car….an article of clothing…a type of sport….a famous person, celebrity or
athlete?
Planet: Imagine that the brand transforms itself in a planet, fully describe this
planet (atmosphere, what are the inhabitants like / their relationships, what are
their values, types of buildings, how do we feel on this planet, what do we like
most / least, what would make us stay there, do we make friends).

48
Stage 3: Brand encounters

In this stage a comparative assessment of the brands investigated was


conducted. This comparative assessment revealed the level of proximity that
each brand has to the consumer.
Informants were asked to imagine that the two brands (main brand and
Palmolive) meet in a pub or in a restaurant, and then asked to give their
opinion on the following:
How does one react to the other?
- How would their physical appearance be described
- Could they find something to talk about? What might that be?
- Do they get along? Why yes/no?

4.5 Fieldwork

Quantitative research (which is the source of our secondary data) was


conducted at consumers’ homes via CAPI (computer aided personal
interviewing).

Primary qualitative research was conducted at consumers’ home via the


employment of a tape recorder. The participants will be recruited from a
company-owned list, which is maintained by Colgate Palmolive’s Consumer
Affairs Manager.

4.6 Methods of Analysis

In the light of the research objectives the following analysis methods were
employed.

Objective 1

A correlation matrix (as also employed by Leuthesser, Kohli & Harich, 1995 in
their study of brand equity, cf.3.7) was produced among each of the three
equity dimensions in the Bath Foams specific Brand Pyramid and brand
salience (in terms of unaided recall, which, according to Keller is a proxy for
brand strength), which lies at the bottom of the pyramid.

49
As already explained, this analysis (as well as the analyses conducted with
view to answering objectives 2 and 3 of our study) has been conducted in the
context of desk research, as the data that were employed stem from a
proprietary, company-funded brand equity research.

The correlation scores between salience and each of the three dimensions were
employed as the basis for determining the relative weight of each dimension in
generating brand salience, hence brand strength scores. Insofar as the purpose
of the study is descriptive and not prescriptive and the intention is to map out
relationships among variables (irrespective of the potential causation)
correlation is deemed to be appropriate. Correlation “indicates the extent to
which the variation in one variable, X, is related to the variation in another
variable, Y” (Malhotra & Birks, 1999, p.514). If the purpose of the study was
prescriptive, then analysis techniques, such as multivariate regression or
conjoint analysis should be employed, in order to determine (a) the
autocorrelation among variables, (b) the relative explanatory force of each
variable in accounting for brand salience.

Despite the fact that a strong correlation between equity dimensions and brand
salience may point to the fact that “halo effect” is operative in the data (see
discussion in Objective 2 below), the relative magnitude of the correlation
coefficients between equity dimensions and brand salience may point to the
relative importance of certain dimensions over others in defining brand
salience; and insofar as brand salience is a proxy of brand strength, then the
output of correlations may point to equity dimensions that are key determinants
or key value drivers of brand strength.

Objective 2

A series of correlations between secondary brand equity data and (i) market
share (ii) value/volume sales were produced in order to demonstrate the
relationship between key equity dimensions in the Brand Equity Pyramid and
market performance of the key brand players (cf.3.6). Also, insofar as brand
equity in the residual value approach terms (an offshoot of the holistic
approach, see Keller, 1998, pp.354-356) may be defined as the incremental
preference over and above that which would result for the product without
brand equity, a series of correlations were conducted among the more often

50
than not desired outcome of each marketing activity (that is volume/value sales
and/or share of market) and the rest key marketing variables (pricing, weighted
distribution, advertising expenditures, promotional intensity).

The aim was to determine the effect of each of these variables on market share
and compare the findings with the respective correlations between market
share and brand equity.

The impact of brand equity was determined in an inferential fashion by


comparing correlation coefficients between market share and the rest key
marketing variables and the correlation coefficients between market share and
brand equity Pyramid dimensions scores. A similar inferential approach was
followed by Khandelwal and McKinney (2003)- displayed in 3.7- in an attempt
to shed light to different patterns of fit or discrepancy of equity scores and
market performance data.

Objective 3

As explained in 3.7 in the context of the research conducted by Leuthesser,


Kohli & Harich, 1995, determining the differential positioning of brands in
equity terms may be overshadowed by significant distortions due to the “halo
effect” phenomenon, which is a matter of brand size. “Bigger brands (those
with more users) get more image responses than smaller brands, almost
regardless of the image attribute” (Romaniuk and Sharp, 1996). “The
consequence of this is that product-attribute ratings represent a composite of
individual attribute assessments, adjusted (“haloed”) by a rater’s global attitude
towards the product” (Leuthesser, Kohli & Harich, 1995, p.58).

This is the so-called double-jeopardy effect, which, as noted by Ehrenberg


(1995), occurs due to the circular relationship between the sheer size of big
brands and the equity scores they tend to obtain in the context of brand equity
studies. This often produces a distortion in the ratings collected in the context
of a battery of attributes, which may in turn “result in misleading conclusions
about competitive positioning, and may even lead brand managers to make
erroneous decisions concerning product modifications and product strategy”
(Leuthesser, Kohli & Harich, 1995, p.57).

51
The statistical technique of double-centered normalization was employed on
secondary equity data in order to purge equity scores of the halo effect. The
data transformation procedure is straightforward and is carried out in two
steps. “First, columns (corresponding to attributes) are standardized, followed
by rows (corresponding to raters). The effect of this double centring is
essentially to move the centroid of raters and attributes to the same origin,
keeping the raters’ response profiles intact across attributes, but removing
mean differences which are considered to be irrelevant” (Leuthesser, Kohli &
Harich, 1995, p.61).

In particular, the process whereby equity data were purged of the halo effect
via the double centered normalization consists in the following steps:

1. We take the raw image data by brand and convert it to a score based on
an index of 100.
2. Above (below) 100 indicates the extent to which the brand is endorsed
relatively more (less) on the attribute than on other attributes in relation to
other brands.
3. The outcome removes the effect of some brands being more widely
endorsed than others : each brand’s total endorsements is 100 x the number of
attributes and the total for each attribute is 100 x the number of brands (ie. a
constant sum outcome for brands and attributes).
4. The precise steps are as follows :
(i) for each brand we add together all the attribute % scores and
divide by the number
of attributes (to generate an average attribute score for the
brand)
(ii) for each attribute we add together all the brand % scores
and divide by the number of brands (to generate an average
brand score for the attribute)
(iii) we calculate for each brand the difference between (i) and
(ii)
(iv) we add together the score at (iii) and (i) to create a new grid
of figures (ie. the expected score for each brand on each
attribute)

52
(v) we take the difference between this expected score and the
actual score for each brand (when ahead of expected, this
produces a positive number; when behind a minus)
(vi) we add this score to 100.
Scores above 105 point to a differential competitive advantage,
whereas scores below 95 point to a differential competitive
disadvantage.

Objective 4

The qualitative analysis method comes into play in order to address the fourth
research objective. Insofar as brand equity, as referred to so far, consists in
building favourable, relevant and unique brand associations, the employment
of qualitative collection and analysis techniques will help us in systematically
mapping these associations with regard to the key brand players in the Bath
Foams market. “The consequences of superficial knowledge of brand
associations can be serious. When managers fail to grasp the full breadth and
depth of the associations people have for their brands, their understanding of
customer brand perceptions and the way brands are positioned relative to
competitors in the mind of customers will be biased” (Supphellen, 2004).

The primary data collected by using qualitative research methods were


analysed on the basis of discourse analysis, of which the analytical tools and
the limitations are outlined herebelow.

Since the very foundation of discourse analysis is the concept of discourse, it


may be useful to start with a definition of discourse. Parker (1992, pp.6-17)
summarizes the meaning of discourses under seven headings, as follows:

1.A discourse is realized in texts, while texts are “delimited tissues


of meaning reproduced in any form that can be given an
interpretive gloss”.
2.A discourse is about objects, meaning that “discourse constructs
representations of the world, which have a reality almost as
coercive as gravity”.
3.A discourse contains subjects, meaning that “a subject is a
location constructed within the expressive sphere which finds its

53
voice through the cluster of attributes and responsibilities assigned
to it as a variety of object”.
4.A discourse is a coherent system of meanings, meaning
“recurrently used systems of terms used for characterizing and
evaluating actions, events and other phenomena…a limited range
of terms used in particular stylistic and grammatical constructions
organised around specific metaphors and figures of speech”.
5.A discourse refers to other discourses, meaning that “discourses
embed, entail and presuppose other discourses to the extent that
the contradictions within a discourse open up questions about
what other discourses are at work”.
6.A discourse reflects its own way of speaking, meaning that a text
is articulated in such a way as to convey certain implicit meanings
that can be reworked by showing how its terms interlock”.
7.A discourse is historically located, meaning that “discourses are
located in time, in history, for the objects they refer to are objects
constituted in the past by the discourse or related discourses”.

The main protocol behind discourse analysis is looking at what the discourses
present in text are trying to achieve, in order to gain “a better understanding of
social life and social interaction” (Potter and Wetherell 1987, p.25). This is
carried out by relating the structure of the language, present in texts, to its
desired function, and observing the social forces that operate behind
utterances. “The question is not so much why people understand one another,
or even what they understand, but the organisational forms through which they
achieve that understanding” (Silverman 1986, p.118). Discourse analysts seek
to examine how people use language to construct their own social world, while
no particular reading of a text is superior to another.

Van Dijk (1997) provides the following recommendations on the way of


conducting discourse analysis, which were drawn upon during the analysis of
the primary data (cf. Chapter 5):

1. Select a sequence in which whatever interests you occurs, by


looking at identifiable boundaries between topics. The
selection took place by isolating data fragments and reordering

54
them according the main topics included in the discussion
guide.
2. Characterize the actions in the sequence, i.e. the actions
performed in the course of speech-acts. Speech-acts are
discursive entities that accomplish certain actions.
Interviewees accomplished actions in their utterances through,
for example, descriptions of experiences and benefits derived
from the usage of bath foams brands, or by interpreting the
effect certain communicative vehicles had on purchase
decisions.
3. Consider how the speakers’ packaging of actions, including
their selections of reference terms, provides for certain
understandings of the actions performed and the matters
talked about. This is a very important step, as it helped
demonstrate how the selection of particular adjectives and
expressions in the description of events frame consumers’ brand
associations.
4. Consider how the ways whereby the actions were
accomplished implicate certain identities, roles and/or
relationships for the interviewees. In the process of making
sense of the data and trying to discern how discourses interlock
with the exploration of brand personalities, individual
consumers’ value systems were taken into account. This aided
in moderating the effect discreet value systems and beliefs have
on value judgments conferred on brands. For example, certain
consumers were found to reject Dove not in terms of functional
attributes and benefits, but because its premium image and
positioning was irrelevant to their own lifestyle and value
system. Hence, the extent to which there is a fit between a
consumer’s value system and the values projected by a brand is
a key determinant of the potential endorsement of a brand by a
consumer.

4.7 Limitations of the research methods

The limitations of using secondary research data , according to Malhotra &


Birks (2000), consist primarily in the terms of relevance and accuracy. For the

55
purposes of this study, secondary data are deemed to meet these criteria, given
that brand equity was the focus of the study, while the generation of the
attributes list has taken place against the background of qualitative image
studies. The robustness of quantitative findings would be enhanced if equity
tracking data were available, on the grounds of which we might be able to
build a multivariate regression model or conduct a time-series analysis, in
order to assign a predictive value to the findings.

The limitations regarding the qualitative elicitation of brand associations, as


identified by M. Supphellen (2004) consist in problems of access in surpassing
the level of primary associations (as coined by Keller, see Keller’s brand
knowledge structure) and moving to more abstract, secondary brand
associations; the problem of verbalisation, since the relationship between
visual, pictorial, emotional representations and verbal descriptions is not
necessarily a one-to-one referential one; the issue of censoring , insofar as
occasionally, latent wishes, aspirations, self-identities are projected onto
brands, irrespective of whether consumers really believe these disclosed
aspects match their perceptions or not.

As regards qualitative data analysis, the inherent subjectivity in the


interpretation of the findings may partially distort the intended meaning on
behalf of the consumers. In more detail, Parker and Burman (1993) single out
five main limitations of discourse analysis, as follows:

1.The analyst has the power to impose meaning onto sections of


the interviewees’ text, which may not have been originally
present.
2. It is very labour intensive, meaning that analysts spend
considerable time sorting out which parts of the information
are linked.
3.It is difficult to ascertain whether different discourses are
present in the text as discreet phenomena, or whether the
changes in context are in fact responsible for the changes in
meaning
4.It becomes too difficult to view the text in terms of empirical
generalisations, therefore the wider context is often not
considered.

56
5. The methodology of discourse analysis is not rigorous
enough, cutting down the variety of possible interpretations,
made available by the text.

4.8 Conclusion

This chapter presented the purpose of our study, along with the research
objectives and the methods of data collection and analysis that were used with
view to exploring these objectives. Based on similar methods employed in
various studies and against the background of the brand equity attributes and
dimensions that make up the Brand Equity Pyramid, the output of our research
will be illustrated in the Main Findings chapter, in an attempt to map out brand
equity in the Bath Foams category.

57
CHAPTER 5: Analysis of Main Findings

58
5.1 Introduction

Pursuant to the display of the research objectives, the methodological


framework and the methods of analysis for exploring these objectives, this
chapter lays out of the main findings. The exposition of the main findings takes
place alongside an allusion to the conceptual framework and the analysis
methods that constitute the backdrop of the findings.

5.2 Objective 1 Main Findings: Determining the key equity dimensions in


the Brand Equity Pyramid

In this section the findings of the analyses that were conducted on secondary
research data in the context of desk research will be displayed.

First and foremost, the performance of the investigated brands against the key
variables (brand pyramid blocks) that make up the Brand Equity Pyramid
(cf.3.5) are displayed in Table 4.

Table 4- Performance of key brands in the Bath Foams Category against


Brand Equity Pyramid building blocks
Palmolive Badedas Dove Fa Johnson's Lux Nivea Sanex Papoutsanis
Identification 11 12 38 17 26 15 11 10 10
A bath foam would choose for myself 10 11 42 16 11 18 7 8 7
Suitable for the whole family 13 13 38 21 29 18 15 15 13
Suitable for children 11 11 35 15 39 10 11 8 9
Experiential benefits 13 15 44 22 14 20 11 10 10
Brand enjoy using 11 11 46 19 14 18 9 8 9
Makes everyday cleansing more pleasurable 15 17 47 24 18 23 12 13 11
Makes innovative exciting bath foam 13 15 45 24 14 21 13 10 10
Good for relaxing 12 14 43 20 14 21 9 10 10
Provides overall wellbeing 13 17 43 24 13 20 10 10 10
Refreshing 12 14 41 22 13 19 11 9 8
Value/Quality perceptions 15 17 44 24 21 21 17 15 16
Good quality 14 14 49 20 18 21 15 13 12
Has a competitive price 16 20 38 28 23 20 18 16 20
Performance/Imagery 13 15 49 20 16 19 12 12 10
Foams well 14 19 47 25 16 19 12 10 13
Cleans well 18 23 51 28 21 25 18 16 15
Has fragrances I love 12 13 50 22 11 23 8 8 11
Has long lasting fragrance 13 15 46 20 13 21 9 8 8
Clinically Tested 20 23 51 26 24 22 21 23 14
Has a moisturising effect 11 12 52 16 12 17 13 10 8
Gentle on skin 9 12 47 17 18 15 10 9 8
Keeps skin healthy 13 15 44 19 18 18 14 15 11
Purifying effect on skin 11 12 47 16 11 15 7 9 9
Leaves skin looking younger 10 12 54 16 15 17 11 10 10
Beauty treatment for my skin 11 14 46 18 12 16 7 10 8
Does not dry the skin 13 16 54 18 17 19 12 11 8
Contains natural ingredients 14 12 44 20 18 15 12 14 10
Like texture/consistency 11 12 47 16 15 17 9 8 8
Salience/Brand Awareness (Spontaneous) 54 40 60 36 30 43 32 6 16

The score for each brand pyramid block (performance/imagery, value/quality


perceptions, experiential benefits, identification) has been calculated as an
average of the attributes that fall under its umbrella. Brand salience

59
(spontaneous brand awareness), that forms the base of the brand equity
pyramid, was gauged from a separate question enquiring which brands
consumers were aware of.

As a second step, a correlation matrix among variables 6 was produced (cf.4.6-


Objective 1), in order to discern the most important dimensions (or category
key value drivers) in the Brand Equity pyramid.

The key value drivers were discerned by looking at the correlation coefficients
between awareness and each of the key variables under investigation. This
analysis takes into account how each attribute, therefore each of the key
variables that are made up of the distinctive attributes, scores on a category-
wide level. Insofar as spontaneous awareness is considered to be a proxy for
brand strength (cf. 4.6-Objective 1), the stronger a brand and/or a variable, the
more likely it is for the correlation output to be close to 1 (or 100%), as amply
evidenced in the Table 5.

Table 5- Correlation coefficients ( r ) between awareness/brand salience


and Brand Equity building blocks in the Bath Foams category
Value/Quality
Performance/Imagery Identification Experiential benefits perceptions Awareness
Performance/Imagery 1,0 0,9 1,0 1,0 0,6
Identification 0,9 1,0 0,9 0,9 0,5
Experiential benefits 1,0 0,9 1,0 1,0 0,7
Value/Quality perceptions 1,0 0,9 1,0 1,0 0,6
Awareness 0,6 0,5 0,7 0,6 1,0

From Table 5 data the following findings are inferred:

1. There is a clear positive relationship between the key equity variables and
spontaneous awareness on an inter-brand, and hence on a category-wide level.
2. The highest correlation coefficient is observed between brand salience and
experiential benefits. Hence, in order for a brand to colonize successfully
consumers’ perceptual framework in the Bath Foams category it is crucial to
establish a rich set of consumer associations with regard to the end result, that
is brands must become as “experiential” as possible in the battle of winning
consumers.
3. Contrary to what was expected (cf.3.5), identification and brand salience
have the lowest correlation coefficient. However, this may be explained in the

6
cf.4.4 for the source of data whereupon the analyses were conducted

60
context of the disadvantages of the data collection method, that is quantitative,
where, as is well-known, eliciting in-depth responses which may dwell in
preconscious and unconscious strata of consumer behaviour, is not feasible via
a rationally structured list of attributes, but merits a more qualitative approach
(cf.4.3.3).

5.3 Objective 2 Main Findings: Determining the relationship between


brand equity and market performance

As explained in 4.6, the analytical route for answering Objective 2 is twofold.


Thus, the impact of brand equity was determined in an inferential fashion by
comparing (i) the correlation coefficients between market share, value/volume
sales and brand equity Pyramid blocks scores7 and (ii) the correlation
coefficients between market share and the rest key marketing variables
(advertising pressure, promo intensity, weighted distribution, pricing).

Table 6- Market performance variables by key brand player in the Bath


Foams market
PALMOLIVE BADEDAS DOVE FA LUX NIVEA SANEX PAPOUTSANIS
Volume sales 635110 514098 458084 244665 397750 158945 293915 231844
Value sales 4772905 3380389 4691978 2156153 3176368 1227167 2197039 1820555
Weighted
distribution 94 46 93 86 88 76 47 69
Value share 10,8 7,8 11,0 5,0 7,3 2,8 5,1 4,2
Volume share 9,1 7,4 6,6 3,5 5,7 2,3 4,2 3,3

Average selling
price (per 1000 ml) 7,5 6,6 10,2 8,8 8,0 7,7 7,5 7,9

Source: AC Nielsen Scan Track database 2004

7
This analysis constitutes a holistic approach (cf.3.7), combining the overall equity score for each of the
examined brands (that emerges from averaging the four basic dimensions making up the Brand Equity
pyramid) with non-attribute based components, that is marketing performance, such as share of market,
sales, weighted distribution, pricing, advertising expenditures, that have been collected through independent
research audit firms, such as AC Nielsen and Media Services.

61
In the case of (i) the correlation coefficients were quite low, as may be
gathered from Tables 7-9.

Table 7- Correlation between Average Brand Equity and Market share


MARKET SHARE TTL EQUITY
MARKET SHARE 1,00 0,53
TTL EQUITY 0,53 1,00

Table 8- Correlation between Average Brand Equity and Volume Sales


VAL SALES TTL EQUITY
VOLUME SALES 1,00 0,21
TTL EQUITY 0,21 1,00

Table 9- Correlation between Average Brand Equity and Value Sales


VAL SALES TTL EQUITY
VALUE SALES 1,00 0,54
TTL EQUITY 0,54 1,00

Average correlation between brand equity and value sales was 54%, between
brand equity and market share 53%, while average correlation between brand
equity and volume sales was 21%. In a standalone fashion, this direct method
of gauging the effect of brand equity on market performance might point to the
conclusion that brand equity is not a key determinant of market share and
value/volume sales.

However, as Khandelwal and McKinney report (2003) (cf.3.7 and 4.6) “it has
been observed that in some cases brand equity scores do not correlate with the
in-market performance which exhibits that there are factors (for example
distribution, pricing) other than the brand equity that need to be addressed to
strengthen the market shares before brand equity can become a major
contributor to strategic planning and growth”. This finding urged us to conduct
the second set of correlations, as above mentioned, between market share and
the rest key marketing variables (advertising pressure, weighted distribution,
pricing). This set of analyses on secondary data allowed us to determine in an
indirect, inferential fashion the relative effect of brand equity on market
performance, in terms of a residual value approach (cf.4.6).

62
As regards advertising pressure, there is a clear positive relationship between
advertising spending levels and achieved market share8. Table 10 table displays
the respective figures for the key Bath Foams market players for the year 2004.

Table 10- Share of market/Share of voice of key brands in 2004


Share of market Share of voice
2004 2004
J&J 13,8% 19%
DOVE 11,0% 20%
PALMOLIVE 10,8% 19%
BADEDAS 7,8% 0%
LUX 7,3% 22%
SANEX 5,1% 6%
FA 4,9% 0%
NIVEA 2,8% 0%
ALL OTHERS 36,5% 14%
Sources: AC Nielsen Scan Track database (share of market), Media Services (share of voice)
Note: Share of market is calculated by dividing the sales of each brand with ttl Bath Foams
market sales. Accordingly, Share of Voice is calculated by dividing the advertising expenditures
for each brand (across the key above the line advertising media, that is TV, radio, print, outdoor)
with ttl market expenditures.

Based on this dataset, a correlation figure of 68% was returned, which points
clearly to a positive relationship between the level of advertising expenditure
as an enabler of market share sustainability.

The same holds in the case of weighted distribution.

Table 11- Share of market/Weighted distribution of key brands in 2004

W
DOVE
Source: AC Nielsen Scan Track database 2004

LUX
This is also in line with J.P.Jones’ finding, published in his seminal book “When Ads work: New Proof that Advertising
Triggers Sales” (Lexington 1995), where there was ample evidence about high correlation between market share growth and
advertising intensity (p.95); advertising intensity is used by the author interchangeably with share of voice, denoting the same
metric).

BADEDAS 63
Based on Table 11 data a correlation figure of 86% was returned, pointing to a
clear relationship between the achievement of market share and the build up of
distribution, even more so than in the case of advertising expenditures. The
positive relationship between market performance and key marketing
parameters as above illustrated (distribution, pricing, advertising expenditures)
is pretty much self-explanatory. As Ehrenberg et al (1998) contend, the
number of consumers to whom a brand is salient tends also to correlate with
just about everything in the marketing-mix that contributes towards purchasing
and market share.

The above more often than not verified remark by the authors, which
constitutes a consolidation of longitudinal studies across more than 50 product
categories is a forceful attestation of the findings of our research so far. Hence,
despite the fact that (i) brand salience correlates positively with all equity
dimensions (ii) market share and value/volume sales correlate positively with
almost all key marketing mix elements, yet key brand equity variables have a
mild positive correlation with value/volume sales and share of market. This is
attributed to the low level of discrimination among the key players, with the
exception of Dove, which manages to charge a considerably high premium (cf.
Table 6)9.

The above point to the conclusion that whereas the relationship between
market share and the marketing mix variables is pretty much linear, yet some
brands are more effective than others in building equity. Also, as already
stressed (cf.3.2), establishing differential positioning entails establishing
differentiated consumer perceptions that lead to brand equity. Insofar as
building equity may only be attained at the interface between the brand and the
consumer, then gaining in equity and long lasting consumer perceptions may
be attained by enhancing the effectiveness of brand communications (all other
marketing mix variables held equal, as already explained in the preceding
analyses and on the grounds of the positive relationship among key marketing
variables). This standpoint is further discussed in Chapter 6.

5.4 Objective 3 Main Findings: Discerning whether there is sufficient


differentiation among the key brand players
9
A similar finding regarding high brand equity for Dove and its ability to command a price premium
was found by A.Chaudhuri (1995) in “Brand Equity or Double Jeopardy?”, Journal of Product and
Brand Management, Vol.4, No1.

64
As is well known in the brand equity literature, brands with high esteem tend
to score high across seemingly discreet attributes, due to the “halo effect”
phenomenon. “Halo effect” urges consumers to attribute high scores to most of
the attributes, based on the degree of brand knowledge, usage and
involvement. In order to purge data of the halo effect, which more often than
not seethes into quantitatively consolidated perceptions, the statistical method
of double centered normalization was applied (cf.4.6, Objective 3).

The output from the above analysis allowed the determination of the true
points of differentiation among brands in the Bath Foams market, which are
displayed in Table 12:

Table12- Output of Double-centered normalization (DCN)

65
Identification
A bath foam would choos
myself
In order for a DCN equity score to be meaningful as a point of differentiation,
thus constituting a competitive advantage or disadvantage, it must be either

Suitable for the whole fam


above or equal to 105 and below or equal to 95 respectively.
On the grounds of the above analysis the following are inferred (per key brand
of concern):

Suitable for children


Dove is clearly the leading equity, with the highest salience (spontaneous
brand awareness) score (60%). In terms of equity, it stands out in

Experiential Benefits
performance/imagery. In particular, it is well differentiated from competition
in terms of well endorsed range of fragrances, for leaving skin soft, not drying

Brand enjoy using


the skin, and for its moisturizing effects.

66

Makes everyday cleansin


Johnson’s has carved a key territory and is perceived mainly for its suitability
for children and for the whole family, thus standing out in terms of
identification.

Lux stands out for its fragrances, Sanex for being clinically tested and
Papoutsanis for its competitive prices.

Palmolive, Badedas, FA, Nivea do not have any clear positioning, while their
equity is indiscreet and diffuse.

In a nutshell, the majority of key brand players in the Bath Foams market have
not attained to cultivate points of differentiation, in Keller’s terms, thus facing
the threat of unsustainable competitive advantage and market share erosion in
the long term. Equity scores are suggestive of points-of-parity associations,
which “represent a necessary, but not sufficient condition for brand choice”
(Keller 1998, p.117).

5.5 Objective 4 Main Findings: Descriptive overview of the primary and


secondary brand associations of key brand players

On the grounds of the Brand Equity pyramid and in the light of the main
findings in the context of desk research, this section provides an exposition of
key brands’ primary and secondary brand associations.

The exposition of brand associations, as noted in the Methodology chapter,


aims to unearth latent consumer perceptions through qualitative research
techniques and against the background of discourse analysis. Hence, following
Van Dijk’s (cf.4.6) recommended steps for discourse analysis, an attempt was
made primarily at singling out certain areas of concern, in line with the topics
covered in the in-depth interviews discussion guide. Then, primary data
(verbatims) were rearranged in such a fashion, as to transform speech-acts into
brand equity related insights, while trying to respect the original intention
behind speech-acts on behalf of consumers.

Starting with a synopsis of the first three objectives’ main findings, it was
found that experiential benefits is the key value driver of the Bath Foams

67
category as a whole; on a category level, brand equity does not correlate highly
with market performance (in a direct fashion), due to the high degree of
undifferentiated equity perceptions for the majority of key brand players
(Palmolive, FA, Nivea, Badedas), with the exception of Dove, Sanex and Lux;
Dove is the leading brand in brand equity terms and market performance, given
its market share status and its ability to command a higher price premium.

The focus of this section will now turn to an exposition of key brand players’
primary and secondary brand associations, after an overview of the qualitative
research findings on a category-wide level.

Attitudes towards the category

Overall, the category is associated with pictures of water, bubbles, colors,


fragrances and feelings of pureness, relaxation, coolness, energy, euphoria and
well being. Most of the women associate their bath with the time of relaxation
after work, or during the time when they need to feel clean and enjoy the
feeling of personal treatment and “pampering” themselves. The category was
claimed to create positive feelings to the users. We may argue that Informants
seem to be involved with the bath foam category as illustrated by their
responses (“I spend a lot of time in front of the shelves, checking new products
and smelling various variants” – Informant 5, ”I like trying new variants”-
Informant:6).

During the “perceptions/habits exploration” stage of the in depth interviews,


Informants were asked to state spontaneously the criteria they use when
selecting a bath foam. Following the first stage where Informants referred to
the criteria spontaneously, they were further asked on other criteria (not
mentioned spontaneously) and their importance to them. It is important to note
that during that process, Informants were mentioning as main criteria not only
functional benefits but also more emotional benefits such as the feeling of
freshness (Informants:1,2) or feelings of relaxation: “ I want to feel relaxed
after having taken a bath at the end of a difficult day” (Informants: 5,7).
During that stage, the following criteria emerged as the most important ones:

Fragrances: Fragrance was claimed to be one of the major criteria for the
selection of the category. “I choose this brand since it has fragrances I like”

68
(Informants: 6, 7, 9). What Informants expected from “fragrance” is variable.
Some are looking for strong, “happy” fragrances; others claimed that they are
looking for more “discreet” fragrances. Some say that they want it to last after
the bath, others that they enjoy the fragrance during the bathing process. In any
case, Informants claimed to smell the products in front of the shelf in order to
be able to make the final decision.

Packaging Aesthetics: packaging appears to play a significant role in the


Informants’ decision hierarchy, especially when in front of the shelf. Aspects
of packaging that affect purchase decisions are shape and color as they
constitute the first impression that a consumer gets from a product. Many
Informants claimed that “packaging plays a significant role in my decision as I
want to have something beautiful in my bathroom.”(Informants:2,8) It is worth
noting that “size” was not claimed to be a significant factor affecting the
purchase decision.

However, preferences vary depending on the size of the family but it is worth
mentioning that all interviewees claimed that they buy small sizes during
holidays. Some Informants claimed that they usually buy small sizes in order
to have a lot of different bath foams in the bathroom to have the opportunity to
choose among them according to their mood or even use more than one during
their bathing. As Informant 7 said “I want to have a lot of different bottles in
my bathroom, and be able to choose between them according to my mood.”

Benefits (Moisture- feeling on the skin-skin care): Two key benefits


emerged in Informants’ discourses with regard to the use of a bath foam brand:
The feeling of cleanliness (the feeling that they have taken the route for
personal hygiene) and moisture. With regard to the feeling of cleanliness,
Informants claimed that this varies depending on the product used. Some bath
foams give the sensation of pure cleanliness, while others do not meet this
requirement. However, it is notable that the feeling of cleanliness is a threshold
requirement and it is closely connected with freshness, coolness and
revitalization.

With regard to moisture, Informants claimed that they need to feel their skin
smooth and moisturized. Moisturizing effect was claimed to be one of the
major benefits that Informants seek from their bath foam. It is worth

69
mentioning that certain Informants claimed that they do not expect or seek
hydration from their bath foam since they use special creams after their bath to
moisture their skin. As stated by Informant 4: “I am not interested in
moisturizing effect. I use body lotion for this reason after my bath”.

For both these benefits (cleanliness and moisturizing effect), the texture of the
product seems to be closely associated with the benefit. This association is
mostly clear for the moisturizing effect where Informants consider creamy,
thick texture as responsible for leaving the skin soft and hydrated. As
Informant 7 said: “I use Dove and I have this feeling of deep moisture… It is
because of this creamy, thick, white texture”.

Promotion: Price did not appear to be a factor that affects Informants’


decision. As stated by Informant 6 “The bath foams are not so expensive. The
differences between the brands are rather small, so I do not pay attention to
prices. What I seek is a product I like and I will pay for this”. It is important to
note that the Informants do not appear to be price sensitive either because they
do not consider the category to be “expensive” or because they want the best
for themselves and they are willing to pay for this. However, promotions (both
value adding promotions -with gifts- or price incentives (price off, volume
free) seem to constitute a purchase incentive in case the brand that is promoted
is included in the Informants’ roster of brands that are considered for the next
purchase given that these brands respond equally well to the given set of
requirements.

Informants have a set of products that they like and are willing to switch
between them and promotions may have an impact on their decision for
selecting any of the brands comprising their salient set. In case a brand has
been rejected by the consumer, it will not be purchased even if it has a very
low price or is promoted with a very attractive gift. As Informant 4 said “I go
to the super market and I normally take a look at the brands that I use most
often. In case one of them has a promotion I like – I am keen on gifts – I will
purchase it. But I will not consider buying brands I do not like only because
they are on promotion”. “I once changed because I liked the promotion but the
product was awful and I decided not to pay attention to the promotions
anymore”. “I only pay attention on the promotions that have the products I like
and I switch between them” (Informant: 5).

70
Both types of promotions (value added or price related) were stated as
important. People like their main brand to offer them volume free. As
Informant 10 said “I enjoy buying my favourite brand under free volume
promotion. It seems to me that I gain more. I would buy it anyway, but with
free volume, I buy more at less price”.

Nevertheless, value added promotions (such as product and free gift) appear to
draw more easily Informants’ attention and are considered to be a very
effective promotion. As Informant 3 said “I love gifts. Each time I am in front
of a shelf I spend a lot of time checking who gives the best gift”.

It is notable that a lot of promotions have been recalled either during the
mapping process – when talking about the brands they have consumed - or
during the initial talk about the criteria that affect their purchase decision –
particularly when talking about the reasons for switching. The following were
quite memorable promotions: Dove Bath Foam with free hut made of silk,
Dove with free blouse made of silk, Palmolive with slippers, Badedas with free
mini radio. As Informant 10 said “Badedas is a brand that I would not use.
However, I bought the male variant for my husband since it had a mini radio as
a gift and I was sure he would like it”.

Information Sources

With regard to advertising, it is notable that at the beginning of the


conversation, all Informants argued that advertising does not influence their
decision and it does not convince them on the brand’s benefits. As Informant 1
said “All advertisements look the same and all advertisements claim the same.
That is the reason that I do not pay attention to them.” These responses took
place during the first stage of the in depth interview process when Informants
were asked if they were influenced by advertisements.

At that time, it was stressed that the role of advertising is limited to building
awareness. “It helps me learn about new products in order to have a look at
them the next time I visit a super market” (Informant 4), but they need to use
and test the products in order to draw their conclusions.

71
However, as the discussion evolved, different perceptions emerged indirectly,
especially through the employment of projective techniques. For example,
Informant 1, even though she claimed primarily that she is not influenced by
advertisements, referred to Dove as “white and clean”, and recalled “ the sense
of milk pouring on your skin leaving it soft and smooth” when talking about
her favourite brand. These images were instilled to consumer perceptions
through advertising communication. Informant 7, despite the fact that at the
beginning of the interview argued that she was not influenced by the
advertising, at the stage of brand mapping, she said “I have bought FA. I had
seen the advertisement with the island, the naked woman, the colours, and it
reminded me of vacations. I had positive feeling so I bought it”.

Overall, with regard to the recalled advertisements, FA TV communication


(the woman under the waterfall) is the advertisement that is most salient,
followed by Dove’s communication (either testimonials- Informants talking
about their experiences when using DOVE or the visual with the ¼
moisturizing cream pouring into Dove’s bottle). It is notable that not only
television, but also magazines were recorded as a valuable vehicle of
communicating new product offerings.

In addition to the above, the shelves of the retail outlets were reported as a key
information source about new variants or other bath foams (“I spend time in
front of the shelves, smelling and having a look at the variants” as stated by
Informants 5,6).

Having thus far dwelt on the findings of the first stage of the in-depth
interview, we shall now proceed with the exposition of primary and secondary
associations for each key brand player of concern, as they emerged during the
second stage of the in-depth interviews, though the brand mapping exercise,
the moodboard and projective techniques.

Dove

With regard to the brand knowledge dimension, it is remarkable that Dove -as
a leading brand- enjoys high levels of spontaneous awareness, since it was not
only spontaneously recalled by all Informants – users or non users of the
brand- but it was also recalled among the three first mentions. With regards to

72
brand image, Informants appeared to have a very clear idea about what Dove
stands for: ‘Luxurious, premium, creamy with a moisturizing effect’ – even in
the case of Informants that had rejected it. As a brand with such clear brand
image, Dove has built associations in Informants’ minds, rich in all dimensions
(attributes, benefits and attitudes).

With regard to the performance/ imagery dimension of the brand equity


pyramid, the brand is claimed to have clear functional benefits, both tangible
(moisturizing effect) and intangible (my skin is smoother and looks younger).
The perception of these functional benefits are enhanced through various
attributes of the brand, either functional, product related (creamy texture) or
non product related (such as the communication of the ¼ moisturizing cream
that pours into the bottle).

In addition to that, Dove has strong brand elements: (strong brand name, strong
symbols -the dove picture, the white color, the crème pouring into the bottle-
and a packaging (the oval, white opaque bottle) that are easily recognized and
established at the consumer’s minds. As stated by Informant 10 “ When I am
thinking about Dove, the picture of the milk pouring into the bottle comes to
my mind, giving me the sense that it will offer a unique moisturizing effect”.
Overall, Dove appears to meet the basic requirement of the “moisturizing
effect”, while Informants claim that they feel this moisturizing effect during
the bathing process.

With regard to the experiential benefits dimension of the brand equity pyramid,
Dove is perceived as a premium brand of high quality that is used by
Informants that treat themselves; they are rich, clean and beautiful. Dove
evokes a picture of Luxury and richness. It is notable that during brand
personification, Informants described the brand as a woman (aged 35 years old
+) that enjoys taking care of herself, wearing nice, expensive clothes. As
illustrated by Informant 7 “ Dove is a woman around 30+, that is Luxurious,
surrounded by white objects in a clean , expensive house, she wears expensive
clothes , she owns a yacht, she is part of the jet set”. This image was strong
even in the analogy process with the Dove planet as described by Informant 3:
“Dove planet is strong, it is differentiated, very Luxurious, and very clean,
with people with lots of money that live a Luxurious life”.

73
It is important to note that this picture is described by both Dove users and
Informants that have rejected the brand. The former adore the rich, beautiful
woman and they want to be like her, the latter consider this lady somewhat
hypocritical or even boring and distant and cannot relate to her. In both cases
the picture and the associations are clear. Dove is white, creamy, rich, leaves
the skin smooth and supple. In the case of its users, as illustrated by Informant
1: “Dove is my brand: a brand that takes care of my skin is rich, pure, and
Luxurious”. Dove brand is a very clear choice for those Informants that seek
moisturizing benefits from the bath foam category. These perceptions were
confirmed during the collage process, where Informants were choosing icons
of expensive bags, satin clothes, jewellery, beautiful - clean - blonde women,
creams, white color to describe the Dove brand.

However, the Informants that rated experiential benefits (fragrance, relaxation,


excitement) as more important than moisturization had negative perceptions
about Dove, considering it a little bit boring. “It remained unchanged over the
years” (Informant 5), “It has a single fragrance, not the variety I need”
( Informant 6). In addition to this, the lack of variety, the and single minded
concept of moisture is connected in some Informants’ mind with inertia,
indolence: “Too clean and soft to be exciting” as Informant 6 said.

Overall, Dove holds strong associations (white, milk, softness) that have been
built not only though advertisement, but supported through all elements of the
marketing mix (white packaging, thick texture, promotions with satin garments
that convey the idea of softness and Luxury). It is notable that apart from
strong, Dove associations are favorable and unique, mostly for those consumer
seeking softness and hydration from their bath foam. In any case, Dove enjoys
a very clear positioning as a brand that is premium, well established, of high
quality, that delivers its promise of moisture.

Palmolive

Palmolive does not appear to have a strong, unique, single minded image in
consumer’s minds as is the Dove case.

In terms of the performance/ imagery dimension of the brand equity pyramid,


the Palmolive attributes are not so clear. It is notable that Informants could not

74
claim a clear functional benefit -such as softness on skin- for the Palmolive
equity. The only clear functional benefit that Palmolive was considered to offer
was a variety of products. The benefits of these products varied depending on
the product line they have used or recalled. The only “striking” product related
attributes of the Palmolive equity was its fragrances and different packaging
colors. This was argued by Informants talking about the colors of Palmolive
packaging that attracted their attention on the shelves; they smelt it and they
bought it. Overall, Palmolive has the image of a brand that offers variety in
terms of different colors, fragrances, benefits (relaxation with Aromatherapy or
revitalization with the SPA line), while not being considered premium.

It is notable that Palmolive brand has a lot of identities (“It is not one planet, it
is a lot of smaller, different ones” as stated by Informant 5). On the one hand,
Palmolive is modern, different, young, joyful, and full of colors and
fragrances, exciting. As described by Informants, during the projective
techniques phase, the Palmolive planet is “a green, natural environment,
exotic, with strong fragrances, with lightly dressed, beautiful, young, warm
people” (Informant 4), “Relaxing environment, something like a spa, where no
stress, no activity exists, a world full of pale colors – light purple, light blue -
more a rainforest type of world “(Informant 6). Similar pictures were used to
describe Palmolive during the moodboard technique: Islands, natural
environment, green trees, flowers, young Informants in beachwear.

Palmolive associations (nature, colors, fun) are rather strong and favorable,
especially to these Informants seeking more “experiential” benefits from a bath
foam such as relaxation, strong fragrances. However, Palmolive associations
are not unique. On the contrary, they are very similar to FA’s brand
associations.

FA

In terms of the performance/ imagery dimension of the brand equity pyramid,


most of the Informants claimed that FA offers a variety of fragrances, while
the functional benefit of softness on skin was not reported. When referring to
functional, product related attributes, people associate FA with strong
fragrances and strong colors – mostly with packaging elements. As Informant

75
6 said “When I think of FA, a lot of variants, colors and fragrances are coming
to my mind”.

With regard to experiential benefits we may argue that FA has more


“experiential benefits”, and Informants perceive it as a brand that “makes
cleansing more pleasant and refreshing”. “FA experience is refreshing “as
Informant 2 says.

It is worth mentioning that at the stage of the brand mapping process, the
pictures of colors, nature, activity, refreshing experience and fragrances were
mainly quoted. FA communication (TV ads) played a major role in building
associations to Informants’ minds. It is notable that FA TV advertisement was
the first recalled by all Informants. In addition to that, in the context of the
analogies technique, the FA brand was described as an island that is
surrounded by sea and waterfalls, images that are communicated in the FA
commercial.

Overall, FA is associated with fragrances and a refreshing experience, but


lacks a differentiated image and a clear identity.

Badedas

With regards to awareness, Badedas lacks in spontaneous awareness (just 2 out


of 10 Informants recalled it spontaneously) but it has been promptly
recognized by all the Informants. As far as product related attributes are
concerned, the Informants recorded the variety of Badedas’ fragrances along
with the shape of its bottle. With regards to performance / imagery attributes,
Badedas was described as an average bath foam that cleans well.

Badedas was found to be lacking in experiential benefits. This may have to do


with the fact that Badedas is related more to a “masculine” brand. It is
characteristic that during the analogies process, most Informants described
Badedas as an athletic man. Most of the Informants have associated Badebas
with men since it is the brand they buy for the male members of their families.
As Informant 10 said: “I buy Badedas for my husband and I use another brand.
Badedas fragrances are too strong and “macho”for me” and Informant 6 said:
“I use it when I ran out of my brand and I borrow my boyfriend’s bath Foam”.

76
Overall, it was rather rejected by 8 out of 10 Informants, while for the other 2
it was not a top choice.

Nivea

Nivea is a brand that competes in various product categories and is well known
for its creams / body lotions products. However, it lacks awareness as a bath
foam brand – no Informant recalled it spontaneously. When people identified it
they talked about boring bottles with no innovation. As Informant 10 said: ”
Everything is boring about Nivea: the opaque, blue bottles, the fragrance,
everything!”

Nivea , due to its strong heritage in body lotions and creams has been accepted
as a brand that may offer moisture effect but as Informant said: “There are
better options in bath foam category when seeking moisture”. It is interesting
to note that during the analogies’ process, Nivea was evoking images of boring
family movies, ordinary, unsuccessful people. Nivea did not have either strong
or favourable associations.

Lux

Lux is a brand that has strong awareness since more that half of the Informants
recognized the brand spontaneously.

With regard to functional benefits, Lux is associated with its fragrances.


Informants that were users of Lux rated its fragrances as elegant and long
lasting (as Informant 8 said “Lux fragrances are long lasting. I love them”),
while other Informants found them too strong. It is worth mentioning that there
was the case of 2 Informants (2, 6) that described Lux as a brand that is old
fashioned and associated it with the soap category. As Informant 6 said: “Lux
reminds me of my grand mother that was using Lux soap. It is so old fashion!”

With regard to experiential benefits, Informants that are brand users, described
feelings of Luxury and pleasure when describing the feelings they get when
having a bath with Lux. Overall, Lux is connected with pictures of Luxury. It
is notable that during the analogies stage, Lux was described as a rich woman,
older woman, with Luxurious appearance but a little bit distant. As Informant 5

77
said: “Lux is a woman at mid 40s that is beautiful, very Luxurious, attracts
attention but does not let the others approach her; she is a little bit distant”. In
addition, in the context of the moodboard technique, Lux was associated with
pictures of gold, precious stones, femme fatales.

Lux image has been influenced by the TV advertisements that show beautiful,
rich and famous celebrities bathing with Lux. Two Informants (2,3) recalled
these advertisements. As Informant 2 said: “Lux reminds me of E. Menegaki
[ a Greek, TV persona that has endorsed the brand] that is beautiful, Luxurious,
but somehow “comme il faux”.

Overall, Lux is connected with fragrances and the idea of Luxury. However,
we must highlight the fact that in most cases the idea of “Luxurious brand” has
been rejected by Informants as something that is not realistic. As Informant 6
said: “Lux would like to be premium and Luxurious, but it is fake”.

Sanex

Although Sanex is well positioned in Informants’ minds, it does not enjoy high
levels of spontaneous awareness. Sanex identity is very clear. With regard to
the functional benefits, Sanex is considered to be clinically tested, hygiene,
suitable for people with allergies that need something neutral for their
cleansing. People recall it promptly, but rarely include it in their set of products
that they regularly buy. Sanex is more functional (“Neutral, “Clinically
tested”), but lacks emotional associations. During the analogies’ process,
Sanex was described as a doctor or someone that is obsessed with cleanliness
and hygiene, someone that most of the Informants could not relate with.
Nevertheless, Sanex was strongly differentiated versus all other brands in the
category as the expertise in hygiene.

Johnson’s & Johnson’s

In terms of brand awareness, the brand was mainly (8 out of 10 Informants)


promptly recalled by Informants. It is notable that Johnson’s was not
spontaneously recalled since most Informants have associated Johnson brand
more with shampoo or body cream categories rather than the bath foam
category. When they were prompted whether they knew the brand or not, they

78
associated the brand with other product categories. “I know it, but somehow I
recall mostly the baby shampoos” (Informant: 7)

In terms of the performance/ imagery dimension of the brand equity pyramid,


the J&J brand is related to the benefit of “softness on skin”. More specifically,
regarding product related attributes, the Informants recalled the opaque bottle
of J&J along with its creamy texture. The elements of bottle, milky texture and
soft fragrances were described during the free associations’ stage. As
Informant 1 said: “J&J has a very creamy texture, and it has a very nice
moisturizing effect”. Overall, J&J has built strong perceptions in Informants’
minds over the years: “It is creamy, soft, and suitable for babies” as Informant
2 said.

With regards to experiential benefits, it is notable that J&J brand was described
as a brand that respects the skin, but did not evoke multiple descriptions related
to feelings or pictures. Moreover, it is not perceived as something premium (as
in the case of Dove), but as a viable option in the bath foam category.

It is notable that during the analogies’ stage, all Informants described J&J
brand as a baby that is sweet and soft. The J&J brand association with babies
(suitability for kids) is very strong. During this process, it was made clear that
J&J advertisements in all product categories had played a significant role in
building this association. It is worth mentioning that during the analogies
process four out of ten Informants, while describing images and characteristics
of the J&J brand, recalled the Johnson shampoo advertising “No more tears”.
As Informant 2 said “It reminds me of the “no more tears” shampoo
advertisements, with the baby that does not cry.” Johnson’s has a very strong
identity as a brand suitable for the whole family.

Differences and Similarities among brands

During the brand mapping and the analogies phases of the in depth interviews,
some points of difference and /or similarities between the brands emerged.
During the brand mapping process, the Informants clustered the brands
according to their key brand selection criteria. The two dominant criteria upon
which brands were categorized were the following: Skin Care (hydratation),
fragrance and experiential benefits (feelings of cleanliness, relaxation,

79
pureness, freshness). Brands were found to fall largely in two broad categories:
skin care (Dove, J&J, Nivea) and that of fragrances and freshness (Palmolive,
FA, Badedas and Lux).

On the one hand, it was evident that Dove, Johnsons and Nivea brands were
highly connected to hydration. Despite the fact that all these three brands had a
point of parity (the moisturizing benefit), further analysis during the projective
techniques pointed to quite a few points of difference. Dove offers a
moisturizing effect, but at the same time it is premium and more relevant to the
Informants. Dove has a “female” image, a brand that is used by Informants that
take care of their appearance and want to be beautiful and unique. On the
contrary, J&J appears to be a brand for the whole family, a brand relevant to
kids that housewives buy in an effort to “take care of your family”. Nivea
leverages its strong heritage of body lotion category in bath foams and has an
image of a brand that offers skin moisture, but lacks in terms of experiential
benefits and identification.

On the other hand, Palmolive, FA, Badedas and Lux were categorized as
brands that have very strong fragrances. Palmolive and FA were perceived to
be very close as brands that offer refreshing experiences. This finding was
clear during the projective techniques, when Informants were describing Fa
and Palmolive with almost the same pictures of nature and fun. One difference
between these two that emerged during the analogies’ process was the fact that
“Palmolive lady” appeared to be more involved with her appearance, more
relaxed, whereas FA lady was more into sports. Badedas, as already described,
has a more “male” image and lacks the “feminine” side. Lux has strong
variants but it lacks in refreshing experiential benefits.

5.6 Conclusion

This chapter presented the main findings according to the four research
objectives. As emerged through desk research, the majority of brand players
suffer from low discrimination in brand equity terms, which is reflected in the
lukewarm relationship between brand equity and market performance.

From analyses conducted on secondary data and the brand mapping technique
conducted during the qualitative phase of the project it was found that

80
experiential benefits, fragrances and the benefit of moisturization are key value
drivers in the Bath Foams category. Dove was found to be the leading equity in
the Bath Foams market in both equity terms and market performance, which
corroborates Keller’s hypothesis that strong brands cherish higher market shares
and are able to command price premiums. Palmolive was found to perform well
on the experiential benefits equity building block during the qualitative
exploration of brand associations, however consumer perceptions are somewhat
polarized. This is attributed to the existence of different product lines and an
inconsistent brand promise, as against Dove, which has a coherent equity
platform, built on the promise of moisturization and fortified via cross category
promotions.

The next chapter constitutes a reflection on the main findings of the research
against the literature review, while focusing on Dove and Palmolive brands and
attempting to point to directions whereby brand equity may be enhanced.

81
CHAPTER 6: Conclusions and Recommendations for
further research

82
6.1 Introduction

This chapter focuses on advertising and new product development, which


constitute two major sources of consumer based brand equity (cf. Chapters and
2 and 3). Brands with consistent and relevant brand communications and a
clear brand promise across line extensions may sustain fierce competitive
pressure and cherish higher margins. In Chapter 5, this aspect of brand equity
was amply evidenced in the case of Dove, which is a category leader in market
share terms, as well as a brand with a clear, distinctive and relevant
positioning.

This chapter provides an interpretation the main findings of secondary and


primary research, with a focus on Dove and Palmolive brands, while pointing
to relevant areas for further research.

6.2 Integrated Marketing Communications as a way of building and


sustaining brand differentiation, competitive advantage and brand equity
in the Bath Foams category

Secondary and primary research findings clearly pointed to the conclusion that
consumer based brand equity principles apply in the case of Dove.

In particular, Dove was found to be salient in consumers’ minds in terms of its


being able to deliver its brand promise of moisturization; it has the highest
equity scores among the researched brand players; it has strong, favourable and
unique brand associations alongside the key elements of the brand knowledge
structure. It is able to command a price premium over the rest market players
and it is the leading brand in market share terms. All other marketing variables
(distribution, product innovation, new variants proliferation, pricing) held
equal, Dove’s brand strength may be attributed largely to consistent brand
communications, which is key for building and maintaining brand equity. As
Keller (1998) contends, insofar brand equity is primarily concerned with brand
associations in consumers’ minds, and given brand communications’
instrumental role in cultivating these associations, then the effectiveness of
brand communications is key in building and maintaining brand equity.

83
Hence, in this section an attempt is made to demonstrate how brand
communications may be closely integrated with view to producing the
intended brand knowledge structures for the Palmolive brand.

First and foremost, the concept of integrated marketing communications will


be defined prior to illustrating its components and pointing out possible ways
of leveraging brand communications with view to building and maintaining
unique, favourable and strong brand associations.

Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) denotes “all the promotional


elements of the marketing mix which involve the communications between an
organisation and its target audiences on all matters that affect marketing
performance” (Pickton & Broderick, p.3). For many years, advertising
effectiveness analysis in terms of sales and consumer based measures focused
on the performance of TV advertising. The increasing complexity of reaching
effectively and efficiently distinct target audiences in multiple contact points
gave rise to the concept of IMC as a way of systematically accounting for the
synergies that are built when employing multiple communicative vehicles in
the implementation of a marketing communications program.

The quest for possible links between IMC and brand equity is often considered
as a quest for the Holy Grail (according to Ehrenberg, 1997), given that the
ways whereby the effectiveness of various communicative vehicles is
measured differ markedly. For instance, TV advertising effectiveness is
measured in terms of actual GRPs, CPR, reach, frequency, which is not
directly comparable to Outdoor and print advertising (despite the fact that
some measures are commonly used, they are not directly comparable, given the
creative particularities of each medium and the different levels of exposure to
and involvement with each medium). This is further complicated by less
traditional vehicles that fall under the generic term “direct” or “below the line”
marketing, encompassing database marketing, couponing, events, e-advertising
etc.

Pickton and Broderick portray these vehicles in their Wheel of Integrated


Marketing Communications, which depicts “the planned activities of
marketing communications and all the unintended or uncontrolled

84
communications between an organization and its audiences that collectively
affect the outcome of these two core and overlapping management tasks".

Figure 5- The Wheel of Integrated Marketing Communications

adapted from Pickton and Broderick 2001, p.9

Examining the level of integration among the various communicative vehicles


employed by Palmolive would amount to a wholly different area of
investigation. Instead, the focus is on the provision of general guidelines for
optimizing the integration of brand communications based on the diagnosed
equity deficit for Palmolive in Chapter 5. In particular, emphasis is laid on the
qualitative aspect of brand communications, in terms of the consistency and

85
complementarity of the various vehicles employed in the context of an
integrated brand communications plan.
“Consistency considerations relate to the extent to which information conveyed
in different communication options is consistent and thus mutually reinforcing.
Complementarity considerations relate to the extent to which different
communication options are designed in a way such that the strengths in one
option help to negate the disadvantages of another option” (Keller 1998,
p.257). Consistency and cohesiveness of brand image are important because
they determine how easily existing associations can be recalled and additional
associations may be linked to the brand in memory.

As found in the context of secondary and primary research, Palmolive has


multiple personalities due to different product lines and positioning. Let this
phenomenon be termed “multiple brand personalities syndrome”. Achieving
a distinctive positioning among sub-brands is fruitful for differentiating on an
intra brand level, however it is problematic for differentiating on an inter brand
level. This was evidenced from the low level of differentiation of the
Palmolive brand in the context of the double centred normalization analysis.

In contradiction to the multiple brand personae of Palmolive, Dove was found


to have a single-minded and coherent positioning, leading to a high brand
equity score and positive market performance. Also, consumer associations
about Dove that emerged in the context of the projective techniques, are very
clear and in line with the brand’s intended positioning, both among consumers
who endorse the brand, as well as among consumers who reject it. Dove’s
advertising communication has been incumbent since market entry on the
single minded proposition of skin moisturization, a claim that has been
consistently employed in every brand and line extension endeavour, thus
creating homogeneity in consumer perceptions, and gaining sustainable and
differentiated mindshare.

Hence, we may conclude that the multiplicity of discreet product line benefits
and consumer associations should be enacted against a uniform brand promise.
In terms of integrated marketing communications, a uniform brand promise
may be enacted by employing the key brand benefit(s) across all
communicative vehicles. This could be executed by including a respective
pack shot in all TV communication, a tag line in radio communication, as well

86
as an additional line in all POP materials, on pack promotional communication
and PR briefs, stressing the single minded proposition of brand equity. In
addition, an equity enhancing advertising execution might be developed,
focusing on the core brand promise, while depicting all different product lines.
This would run in tandem with discreet product line focused advertising in
order to fortify the uniqueness of the core brand equity. “Therefore, in the long
run, different communication elements should be designed and combined so
that they work effectively together to create a coherent and cohesive brand
image” (Keller 1998, p.257)

All brand-relevant communication should incorporate the key structural equity


elements, encompassing, apart from the logo, brand symbol and colours, the
brand’s single minded brand proposition, thus functioning as an ad retrieval
cue. “By using ad retrieval cues, greater emphasis can be placed in the ad on
supplying persuasive information and creating positive associations so
respondents have a reason why they should purchase the brand” (Keller 1998,
p.260).

In concluding, different advertising executions should not be viewed as


discreet pieces of information geared solely towards generating short term
sales, but as parts of a continuous brand communication program aimed at
generating lasting and memorable brand associations. Without any intention of
toning down any sales oriented objective, and especially in such a fragmented
category, populated by repertoire driven respondents as the Bath Foams one,
the brand communications of Palmolive should have an equity building
objective. This objective may be materialized on the grounds of the above
suggested guidelines.

6.3 New product development as a way of building and sustaining brand


differentiation, competitive advantage and brand equity in the Bath
Foams category

Another customary mode of maintaining brand salience is via innovation.


Innovation is a key aspect of variants and product lines proliferation in the
Bath Foams category, against the background of new fragrances, end benefits
(advanced moisturization, relaxation, sensuality, exfoliation etc.), pack
aesthetics and usage (cf. Chapter 2). However, given the rapid degree of

87
technological advancements, no innovation in the concerned market cannot be
copied within a time span of six months, thus reducing long term competitive
advantage in equity terms to short term sales oriented benefits. “The
increasing speed of technological change is such that there would appear to be
better opportunities for developing stronger, more erosion resistant brands by
allocating a larger share of resources to the so-called softer side of image than
is currently used” (A.Biel, The Brandscape, Converting Image into Equity,
Admap Oct 1991). Hence, the constantly recurring criticism that brands are not
differentiated and that they are increasingly mere commodities.

Nevertheless, if innovation takes place against a concrete equity platform and a


coherent, relevant and credible brand promise, then it may contribute towards
brand equity sustenance. Again, the case of Dove stands as a prominent case in
hand. Over and above the consistency in the structural elements employed in
every new product launched by the brand, that is common pack aesthetics (flip
top, curved bottle shape, logo and the dove symbol, elliptic lines connoting
modernity and openness from a semiotic perspective) what is worth noting is
that all Dove products’ front labels feature in a holistic fashion the
substantiation of the discreet, variant specific benefits (be it refreshment,
firming or softening effects), that is the extra moisturization. This
substantiation is uniformly denoted among a multiplicity of product benefits in
the context of the omnipresent flash accompanied by the key claim “contains ¼
moisturizing cream”. This is not the case with any of the key competitors
reviewed so far. Despite the fact that all of the key competitors’ on pack
communication lays out explicitly the product benefits (be it functional or
emotional, or both), none of them follows a consistent approach in terms of a
single minded brand promise, thus fragmenting their communication and
posing significant barriers in the establishment of a coherent equity platform.

Hence, the importance of a coherent equity platform, in terms of a concrete


brand knowledge structure, may lead to the build up and sustenance of brand
equity.

6.4 Limitations of the research

One of the major limitations of this research is the difference in the periods
covered from the secondary and primary researches, as secondary research data

88
stem from 2004, whereas primary research was conducted in 2005. Given the
high level of new product introductions and the concomitant change in brand
communications, consumer perceptions may change on the grounds of trial of
new products or the exposition to new brand advertising. Hence, despite the
fact that primary and secondary data were congruent in various respects, the
validity of the comparison might be enhanced if all data stemmed from the
same period of time.

As regards the quantitative analyses conducted on secondary data, a more


accurate picture would have been yielded if more data were available prior to
2004. As stressed in the methodology chapter, methods for measuring
quantitatively brand equity often involve time series that extend to at least
three years coverage, thus enhancing the robustness of the output.

As regards primary research, as mentioned in the relevant literature, it takes a


lot of experience in qualitative research in order to be able to unearth latent
consumer perceptions and overcome certain biases, both from the interviewer’s
and the interviewee’s side. The authors of this study are not professional
qualitative researchers, however valuable experiences were gathered in the
process of designing and implementing the qualitative research.

6.5 Recommendations for future research

From the analysis of the results of this research, it has become apparent that
there are several areas that might merit further research, as follows:

1. In the process of seeking to unearth consumer brand associations with


regard to key brand players in the Bath Foams market, several branding
elements were mentioned by informants. It would be interesting to delve
into individual brand histories and attempt to display through which
branding strategies these associations crystallized, through further
qualitative exploration, such as semiotic analysis
2. Focusing on market performance, it would be interesting to conduct a
longitudinal analysis with the application of econometric analyses in
order to discern shifts in brand equity scores and market shares.
3. Since the exploration of links brand equity and integrated marketing
communications has gained in popularity over the last years, it might be

89
useful to explore different communications mix scenarios and the effect
these have on building differential consumer responses, as well as their
impact on the strength, favourability and uniqueness of brand
associations.
4. In terms of methodology, an issue was encountered during primary
research, regarding the indicators that would enable us to classify brand
associations as unique, favourable and strong. It might be useful to coin
a systematic approach for classifying brand associations under these
discreet categories.
5. Last, but not least, despite the fact that brand equity was shown to be a
key factor for sustaining brand leadership (the case of Dove), it might
merit further investigation to demonstrate the effect of brand equity in
terms of short, mid and long term benefits and in the context of return
on brand equity investments.

6.6 Conclusion

This chapter constitutes a reflection on the study’s main findings, with an


emphasis on how brand communications and new product development may
help in creating and/or sustaining brand equity. The case of Dove, the
category’s leading brand, was selected in order to demonstrate how
consistency and complementarity among brand communications and variants
proliferation may lead to clear and distinctive positioning, strong, favourable
and unique brand associations and sustainable brand equity. The reflection on
Dove’s branding elements was used in order to draw guidelines, against the
relevant literature, for optimizing Palmolive’s brand equity, a brand that was
found to suffer from what was termed a “multiple brand personalities
syndrome”.

Last, but not least, further areas of research were outlined in order to enlarge
the exploratory scope and yield more insights in the inherently complex topic
of brand equity.

90
APPENDICES

91
APPENDIX I: Bibliography

92
Aaker, D.A (1991) Managing Brand Equity, New York: Free Press
Aaker, D.A (1992) ‘Managing the most important asset: Brand Equity’
Planning Review; 20 (5), pp. 56-58
Aaker, D.A (1995) Building Strong Brands, New York: Free Press
Baldinger, A (1990) ‘Defining and applying the brand equity concept: Why the
researcher should care’ Journal of Advertising; 30(3), RC2-RC5
Barwise, P (1992) ‘Brand equity: Snark or Boojum?’ International Journal of
Research in Marketing; 10, pp. 93-104
Biel, A., Aaker, D.A. (1993) Brand Equity and Advertising: Advertising’s role
in building strong brands, LEA Publishers
Biel, A. (1991) ‘The Brandscape: Converting brand image into equity’ Admap
Biel, A. (1997) ‘Discovering brand magic: the hardness of the softer side of
branding’ International Journal of Advertising, Vol.16, No3
Blackston, M. (1995) ‘Copy-testing and brand equity: What’s the connection?’
Journal of Advertising Research, 35 (1), RC2-RC7
Blackston, M. (1995) ‘The qualitative dimension of brand equity’ Journal of
Advertising Research, 35 (4) RC2- RC7
Branthwaite, A , Cooper, P. (2001, Oct) ‘A new role for projective techniques:
Tapping the power of imagery’ Esomar Congress Paper
Broadbent S. (1998) ‘Advertising Effects-more methodological issues’ Journal
of Marketing Research Society, 30 (2), pp.224-229
Chaudhuri, A. (1995) ‘Brand Equity or double jeopardy?’ Journal of Product
and Brand Management, 4 (1), 26-32
Chay, Richard F (1991) ‘How Marketing Researchers Can Harness the Power
of Brand Equity’ Marketing Research, v 3, n 2.
Cobb-Walgren, C., Ruble, C., and Donthu, N. (1995) ‘Brand equity, brand
preference, and purchase intent’ Journal of Advertising, 24 (3), 25-40.
Cooper, A. (1998, Jan) ‘Brand equity - a lifestage model’ Admap Publications
De Chernatony, L., Martinez, E. (2004) ‘The effect of brand extension
strategies upon brand image’ Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol 21, No 1,
pp.39-50
De Chernatony, L. (2001) ‘A Taxonomy of Brand-Linkages: the brand-
relationship-interaction (BRI) matrix’ Working Paper, Birmingham University
Business School
Davis, S., and Douglass, D. (1995) ‘Holistic approach to brand equity
management’ Marketing News, 29 (2) 4-5

93
Duncan, T. and Moriarty S. (1997) Driving Brand Value: Using Integrated
Marketing to Manage Profitable Stakeholder Relationships, McGraw Hill,
N.Y.
Dyson, P., Farr, A., and Hollis , N. (1996) ‘Understanding, measuring, and
using brand equity’ Journal of Advertising Research, 36 (6), pp.9-21
Ehrenberg, A. , Barnard, N., Scriven, J. (1997, Nov/Dec) ‘Differentiation or
Salience’ Journal of Advertising Resrearch
Farquhar, P. (1990) ‘Managing brand equity’ Journal of Advertising Research,
30(4), RC7-RC12
Feldwick, P. (1996) ‘What is brand equity anyway, and how do you measure
it?’ Journal of Market Research Society, 38 (2), 85-104
Feldwick, P. (1996) ‘Do We Really Need Brand-Equity?’ Esomar Congress
Paper
Hollis, N. (1995) ‘How to Show the Influence of Advertising on Sales: New
Proof that Advertising Works, at least in the Short-Term’ Admap
Kapferer, J.N. (1999) Strategic Brand Management: Creating and Sustaining
Brand Equity Long-Term, Kegan Page, London
Keller, K. (1990) ‘Consumer Evaluations of brand extensions’ Journal of
Marketing, 54, pp. 27-41
Keller, K. (1993) ‘Conceptualizing, measuring, and managing customer-based
brand equity’ Journal of Marketing, 57 (1), pp. 1-22
Keller, K. (1998) Strategic Brand Management: Building, Measuring and
Managing Brand-Equity, Prentice-Hall, NJ
Khandelwal, M. and McKinney, C. (2003) ‘Comparing Brand Equity
Valuation With In-Market Performance, Truths unfolded’ Esomar Congress
Paper
Krishnam, H. (1996) ‘Characteristics of memory associations: A consumer-
based brand equity perspective’ International Journal of Research in
Marketing, 13, pp. 389-405
Lassar, W., Mittal, B., Sharma, A. (1995) ‘Measuring customer-based brand
equity’ Journal of Consumer Marketing, pp. 11-19
Leuthesser, L., Kohli, C., and Harich, K. (1995) ‘Brand equity: The halo effect
measure’ European Journal of Marketing, 29 (40), pp. 57-66
Low, G.S., Lamb, C.W. (2000) ‘The measurement and dimensionality of brand
associations’ Journal of Product and Brand Management, Vol.9, N.6, pp.350-
368

94
Mahajan, V., Rao, V., Srivastava, R. (1994) ‘An approach to assess the
importance of brand equity in acquisition decisions’ Journal of Product
Innovation Management, 11, pp. 221-235.
Martinez, E, Pina, J.M. (2003) ‘The negative impact of brand extensions on
parent brand’ Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol.12, No 7, pp.432-
448
Morgan, R.P. (2000) ‘A Consumer-Oriented Framework of Brand Equity and
Loyalty’ Journal of Market Research Society, Vol.42, Winter
Morgan, R.P., Carter, I., (1998, Jul) ‘Measuring brand equity- a consumer led
approach’ Admap
Morgan, R.P. (1993) ‘Measuring brand equity: For marketers, it has to include
'desirability' - and involves an intriguing new research toolkit’ Admap
Motameni, R. & Shahrokhi,M. (1998) ‘Brand equity valuation: a global
perspective’ Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol.7, No 4, pp.275-
290
Oakenfull, G., and Gelb, B. (1996) ‘Research-based advertising to preserve
brand equity but avoid ‘genericide’’ Journal of Advertising Research, 36 (5),
pp. 65-72
Parker, I. (1992) Discourse Dynamics, Routledge, London
Parker, I., Burman, E. (1993) Discourse Analytic Research, Routldege, London
Pitta, D., and Katsanis, L. (1995) ‘Understanding brand equity for successful
extension’ Journal of Consumer Marketing, 12 (4), pp.51-64
Romaniuk, J. & Sharp, B. (1996) ‘Using known patterns in image data to
determine brand positioning’ Journal of Market Research Society
Potter, J., Wetherell, M. (1987) Discourse and Social Psychology, Sage
Publications, London
Seetharaman, A., Nadzir, Z. Gunalan, S. (2001) ‘A conceptual study on brand
valuation’ Journal of product and brand management, Vol.10, No 4, pp.243-
256
Silverman, D. (1986) Qualitative Methodology and Sociology, Gower,
Aldershot
Srinivasan, V. (2001) ‘Equitymap: Measurement, Analysis and Prediction of
Brand Equity Sources’ Stanford University Graduate School of Business
Research Paper No.1685
Srivastava, R.K., Shocker, A.D. (1991) ‘Brand Equity: A Perspective on Its
Meaning and Measurement’ Marketing Science Institute Technical Working
Paper, Report No. 91-124

95
Supphellen, M. (2004) ‘Understanding Core Brand Equity: Guidelines For In-
Depth Elicitation of Brand Associations’ International Journal of Market
Research
Teas, K., and Grapentine, T. (1996) ‘Demystifying brand equity’ Marketing
Research, 8 (2), pp. 25-29
Thornley C. and Hill H. (1998) ‘A Strategic Alignment: Ad Evaluation and
Marketing Strategy’ Research Surveys Ltd Working Paper
Van Dijk, T. (1997) Discourse as Structure and Process, Sage Publications
Wood, L. (2000, 38/9), ‘Brand and Brand equity: definition and management’
Management Decision

Web sites
http://www.brandchannel.com
http://www.brandfinance.com
http://www.brandknowledge.com
http://www.warc.com

96
APPENDIX II: Profile of Qualitative
Research informants

97
Informant 1: Joanna, 25 years old, B socio economic class, single.
• Main brand: Dove.
• Spontaneous awareness of the following brands: Dove, Palmolive,
Fa, Johnson
• Prompted awareness of the following brands: Lux, Sanex, Nivea,
Papoutsanis, Badedas
• Brands she has never used: Papoutsanis, Badedas
Informant 2: Maria, 36 years old, B socio economic class, single.
• Main brand: Dove.
• Spontaneous awareness of the following brands: Dove, Palmolive,
Lux, Sanex
• Prompted awareness of the following brands: Fa, Johnson’s, Nivea,
Papoutsanis, Badedas
• Brands she has never used: Papoutsanis, Nivea

Informant 3: Evi, 33 years old, C1 socio economic class, married.


• Main brand: Johnson.
• Spontaneous awareness of the following brands: Dove, Palmolive,
Johnson, Lux, Fa
• Prompted awareness of the following brands: Sanex, Nivea,
Papoutsanis, Badedas
• Brands she has never used: Papoutsanis

Informant 4: Eleni, 29 years old, C1 socio economic class, single.


• Main brand: Palmolive.
• Spontaneous awareness of the following brands: Dove, Palmolive, ,
Lux, Fa, Badedas
• Prompted awareness of the following brands: Sanex, Johnson, Nivea,
Papoutsanis.
• Brands she has never used: Nivea

Informant 5: Katerina, 35 years old, C1 socio economic class, married.


• Main brand: Palmolive.
• Spontaneous awareness of the following brands: Dove, Palmolive,
Lux

98
• Prompted awareness of the following brands: Sanex, Johnson, Nivea,
Papoutsanis, Fa, Badedas
• Brands she has never used: Papoutsanis, Badedas, Johnson, Nivea

Informant 6: Despina, 28 years old, C1 socio economic class, single.


• Main brand: Fa.
• Spontaneous awareness of the following brands: Dove, Fa,
Palmolive,
• Prompted awareness of the following brands: Johnson, Lux, Nivea,
Papoutsanis, Fa, Badedas
• Brands she has never used: Papoutsanis, Sanex, Johnson, Nivea

Informant 7: Maria D, 27 years old, C2 socio economic class, single.


• Main brand: Dove.
• Spontaneous awareness of the following brands: Dove, Fa,
Palmolive, Johnson, Badedas
• Prompted awareness of the following brands: Lux, Nivea,
Papoutsanis, Sanex.
• Brands she has never used: Nivea

Informant 8: Niki, 40 years old, C2 socio economic class, married with 1 child.
• Main brand: Lux.
• Spontaneous awareness of the following brands: Dove, Lux, Fa.
• Prompted awareness of the following brands: Palmolive, Nivea,
Badedas, Johnson
• Brands she has never used: Papoutsanis, Sanex, Badedas, Johnson’s.

Informant 9: Athina, 30 years old, C1 socio economic class, single.


• Main brand: Lux.
• Spontaneous awareness of the following brands: Dove, Lux, Fa.
• Prompted awareness of the following brands: Palmolive, Nivea,
Badedas, Johnson
• Brands she has never used: Papoutsanis, Sanex, Badedas, Johnson’s.

Informant 10: Fofi, 42 years old, C1 socio economic class, married with 2 children.
• Main brand: Palmolive.

99
• Spontaneous awareness of the following brands: Dove, Palmolive,
Johnson’s.
• Prompted awareness of the following brands: Nivea, Badedas, Lux,
Fa, Papoutsanis, Sanex.
• Brands she has never used: Sanex, Nivea, Lux

100
APPENDIX III: Moodboard Technique output
(collages)

101
102
103
104
105
106
107
108
109
110
111
APPENDIX IV: Brand Maps

112