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Associative Networks

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  • 1. International Journal of Market Research Vol. 53 Issue 2Associative networksA new approach to market segmentationCéline Brandt and Charles Pahud de MortangesHEC-ULg Management School – University of LiegeChristian BluemelhuberSolvay Brussels School of Economics and ManagementAllard C.R. van RielInstitute for Management Research, Radboud University Nijmegen This.paper.aims.to.expand.the.domain.of.brand.image.perception.measurement. by. providing. a. method. for. eliciting. brand. associative. networks. and. comparing. it. with. traditional. brand. image. measurement. methods .. This. paper. then. argues. that. these. networks. may. differ. from. one. individual. to. another,. depending. on. the.cultural.background.and/or.the.experience.with.the.brand ..Accordingly,.the. authors.introduce.a.methodology.of.clustering.consumers.with.similar.perceptions. into. distinct. segments,. which. can. be. targeted. differently .. Using. picture. analysis. and.metaphor-based.elicitation.techniques,.Lipton’s.Ice.Tea.brand.associations.are. extracted. and. utilised. as. an. input. for. the. creation. of. 160. individual. associative. networks .These. networks. are. first. aggregated. to. measure. the. brand. reputation. and.subsequently.clustered.into.six.segments ..This.paper.provides.clear.arguments. for.using.associative.networks.as.the.preferred.method.to.capture.the.complete. brand. image .. The. paper. discusses. implications. of. perceptual. segmentation. for. image.management,.brand.positioning,.perceptual.competition.analysis.and.brand. communication .IntroductionFollowing.the.majority.of.cognitive.psychologists,.brand.researchers.believe.that. brand. information. is. organised. as. a. network. in. consumer. memory.(Collins. &. Quillian. 1969;. Collins. &. Loftus. 1975;. Tversky. 1977) .. Such.networks,. which. consist. of. associations. like. product. features,. logos. and.usage. situations,. and. associative. links. (Solomon. 2006),. show. the. unique.value. of. branded. goods. and. services. to. consumers. (Aaker. 1996) .. The.Received.(in.revised.form):.29.April.2010© 2011 The Market Research Society 187DOI: 10.2501/IJMR-53-2-187-208
  • 2. Associative networksgraphical.representation.of.such.a.brand.memory.is.called.a.brand.concept.map.(BCM).(Roedder.John et al ..2005) . Although. BCMs. have. been. discussed. in. the. marketing. literature. since.the. 1990s. (Higie. Coulter. &. Zaltman. 1994;. MacKay. &. Easley. 1996;.Elliot. et al. 2003;. Carbonara. &. Scozzi. 2006),. mapping. methods. and.their.applications.are.still.in.their.infancy ..They.were.developed.not.only.to. analyse,. but. also. to. manage. brand. identity. and. brand. knowledge ..This. requires. improved. methods. that. illustrate. the. ‘real’. brand. as. being.perceived.by.the.customer,.and.that.are.easy.to.use ..Important.ideas.and.techniques. have. been. suggested. by. Roedder. John et al .. (2006),. and. by.Henderson.et al..(1998),.who.pioneered.quantitative.mapping.techniques.and.showed.the.link.to.brand.equity . Our.paper.follows.this.important.research,.and.adds.one.interesting.and.important.aspect:.we.try.to.broaden.the.scope.of.using.BCM.techniques,.using. it. to. segment. the. market .. Based. on. studies. that. have. discussed. the.influences.of.brand.experience.(Bird.et al. 1970;.Ross et al ..1971;.Ginter.&. Bass. 1972;. Barwise. &. Ehrenberg. 1985;. Alba. &. Marmorstein. 1987;.Gaeth et al .. 1997;. Brengman. et al. 2001;. Anchor. &. Kourilova. 2009),.gender. (Bird et al .. 1970;. Bailey. 2005;. Mitchell. et al. 2005;. Sawyerr. &.Strauss. 2005;. Wolin. &. Korgaonkar. 2005;. Bain. &. Rice. 2006),. personal.involvement. (Jacoby. et al. 1978;. Clarke. &. Belk. 1979;. Bolfing. 1988;.Brengman et al .. 2001). and. brand. awareness. (Brengman et al .. 2001). on.brand.perception,.and.have.shown.that.different.subgroups.of.consumers.may. have. different. brand. perceptions,. we. will. introduce. a. segmentation.technique.that.uses.brand.perceptions.as.its.main.criteria .Literature reviewBrand image measurement techniquesIn.the.literature,.qualitative.and.quantitative.methods.are.used.to.measure.brand.image.perception . Several. qualitative. techniques. have. been. developed. to. elicit. brand.associations .. These. are. defined. as. ‘all. brand-related. thoughts,. feelings,.perceptions,. images,. experiences,. beliefs,. attitudes. that. become. linked.to. the. brand. node’. (Kotler. &. Keller. 2006,. p .. 745) .. Marketers. use. freeassociation tasks,.asking.respondents.what.comes.to.mind.when.they.think.of. a. certain. brand. (Gree. &. Srinivasan. 1990) .. Projective techniques,. like.comparison.tasks.(Vriens.&.Frazier.2003).or.interpretation.tasks,.are.used.when.consumers.are.reluctant.to.express.their.feelings ..Brand personality,188
  • 3. International Journal of Market Research Vol. 53 Issue 2i .e ..‘the.specific.mix.of.human.traits.that.may.be.attributed.to.a.particular.brand’. (Kotler. &. Keller. 2006,. p .. 745), is. also. used. to. measure. brand.image.through.open-ended.questions.(Swait et al ..1993).or.ratings.of.the.‘Big.Five’,.a.scale.of.five.factors.developed.by.Aaker.(1997).to.assess.the.brand’s.personality ..Multidimensional.scaling.is.also.used.to.understand.the.beliefs.about.a.brand.and.the.dimensions.that.underline.these.perceptions ..However,.contrary.to.cognitive.network.theories.describing.each.concept.with.nodes.and.links,.all.these.techniques.do.not.consider.the.brand.image.as.a.network,.and.focus.instead.on.the.dyadic.relationship.of.an.attribute.with.a.brand ..Therefore,.these.measurement.methods.do.not.emphasise.which.attributes. are. directly. or. indirectly. linked. to. the. brand,. which. attributes.are.core.associations.and.non-core.associations,.and.which.associations.are.linked.together.and.therefore.interdependent.(Roedder.John et al ..2005) ..Cognitive.network.theories.assume.that.the.structure.of.the.elicited.map.reveals.the.inherent.relationships.between.the.associations.and.the.brand.as. represented. in. a. person’s. memory. (Joiner. 1998) .. According. to. the.spreading.activation.theory.(Anderson.1983),.recall.of.information.is.made.through.the.activation.of.one.node.and.this.activation.spreads.from.that.node.to.other.nodes.connected.to.it.in.memory ..The.spread.of.activation.depends.on.the.distance.and.the.strengths.of.the.link.(Anderson.1983) . Promising.in.this.regard.are.the.existing.qualitative.mapping.techniques,.based. on. cognitive. network. theory,. where. attributes. are. either. directly.elicited. from. the. consumer. (consumer. mapping). or. produced. using.analytical.methods.(analytical.mapping) ..An.example.is.Zaltman.Metaphor.Elicitation.Technique.(ZMET).(Zaltman.1997),.which.uses.multiple.verbal.and. non-verbal. qualitative. attribute. elicitation. methods. to. emphasise.subconscious. attributes .. Using. qualitative. concept. maps,. associations. are.elicited.and.mapped.at.the.same.time,.allowing.great.flexibility.in.the.data.collection. and. efficient. use. of. time .. However,. the. variety. of. associations.elicited. does. not. permit. any. aggregation. procedure,. which. requires.standardisation .. Quantitative. mapping. techniques. are. potentially. more.effective.in.this.regard . While. qualitative. techniques. only. uncover. the. types. of. beliefs. making.up. the. brand. image,. quantitative. techniques. focus. on. their. contribution.to. brand. equity. through. measurement. of. strengths,. favourability. and.uniqueness. (Keller. 2003a) .. If. we. focus. on. the. associations,. the. strength.of. brand. associations. is. obtained. through. the. rating. of. several. brands.(Kardes. 2002) .. As. a. uniqueness. measure,. brand sensitivity,. measured. by.the.number.of.persons.who.recognise.the.brand,.is.considered.as.a.proxy.for. brand. uniqueness. (Kapferer. &. Laurent. 1988) .. Several. brands. can. 189
  • 4. Associative networksalso.be.represented.in.the.multidimensional.space.using.multidimensionalscaling. (MDS),. which. is. a. tool. that. transforms. similarity. measures. into.distances . However,. like. most. of. the. qualitative. measures,. these. quantitative.measures. focus. on. the. dyadic. relationship. between. the. brand. and. an.attribute,. without. taking. into. account. the. network. nature. of. the. brand.image .. Thus,. if. we. want. to. know. if. the. attributes. are. core. or. not,. or.which.attributes.are.first-.or.second-order.attributes,.or.the.types.of.link.between.attributes,.a.network.technique.would.fit.better ..In.view.of.these.impediments,.a.new.qualitative.method.of.measuring.brand.image.has.been.developed,. based. on. knowledge. structures. in. psychology .. This. approach,.first. proposed. by. Roedder. John et al .. (2005),. pioneered. a. valid. and.reliable. quantitative. mapping. technique,. namely brand concept mapping(BCM),. which. offers. structure. at. each. stage,. ease. of. administration. and.aggregation.procedures,.no.need.for.special.expertise,.and.flexibility.in.the.collection.method ..However,.this.technique.is.still.in.its.infancy.and.needs.to.be.broadened ..There.is.a.clear.lack.of.empirical.research.on.quantitative.concept.mapping.techniques.and.their.applications.in.branding .Associative network theoriesBased.on.the.fundamental.ideas.of.Collins.and.Quillian.(1969).and.Collins.and.Loftus.(1975),.we.assume.that.the.structure.of.a.concept.map.reveals.the. inherent. content. (concepts. and. their. associations). and. relationships.(links.between.concepts.and.associations).represented.in.a.person’s.mind.(Joiner.1998) . Researchers.that.have.used.this.technique.in.marketing.(Bird et al ..1970;.Pohlman. &. Mudd. 1973;. Green. &. Devita. 1977;. Boivin. 1986;. Dobni. &.Zinkhan.1990;.MacKay.&.Easley.1996;.Elliot et al ..2003;.Carbonara.&.Scozzi. 2006). apply. methods. that. either. (1). ask. consumers. to. construct.the.network.(consumer.mapping).or.(2).use.analytical.methods,.to.build.a.network.of.brand.associations.that.were.elicited.from.consumers.(network.analysis) . The. best-known. technique. designed. to. understand. cognitive. structures.or. mental. models. is. the. ZMET. (1994),. which. combines. visual. and.narrative.aspects,.and.consists.of.three.steps,.namely.elicitation,.mapping.and. aggregation .. During. the. elicitation. stage,. 15. persons. are. recruited.and. the. topic. is. introduced .. Then,. participants. collect. 12. pictures. about.the. topic. to. prepare. a. two-hour. interview. that. will. take. place. ten. days.later .. During. this. interview,. participants. will. be. asked. to. tell. stories.190
  • 5. International Journal of Market Research Vol. 53 Issue 2about.the.pictures.and.to.sort.the.pictures ..As.a.result,.constructs.will.be.elicited. using. the. repertory. grid. method. and. laddering. process .. During.the.mapping.stage,.respondents.are.asked.to.create.a.map.illustrating.the.connections. among. important. constructs .. Finally,. during. the. aggregation.stage,.data.are.codified.and.constructs.are.chosen.regarding.how.frequently.they.are.mentioned ..ZMET’s.main.strength.is.its.ability.to.reveal.personal.feelings,. irrationality,. illogical. behaviour. and. repressed. attitudes,. which.are. hard.to.obtain.through.conventional.interview.techniques. (Pellemans.1999) ..On.the.other.hand,.the.ZMET,.and.especially.its.elicitation.stage,.is.very.labour-intensive ..Interviewers.must.be.thoroughly.trained.in.cognitive.psychology,. while. respondents. must. be. willing. and. able. to. participate. in.two.interviews.and.in.the.creation.of.the.brand.concept.map ..Up.to.now,.those.maps,.which.are.the.main.outcome.of.studies.using.ZMET,.have.been.analysed.qualitatively . Henderson et al .. (1998). and. Roedder. John et al .. (2005). were. among.the.first.to.develop.quantitative.tools.that.capture.the.brand.image ..Those.methods.are.easier.to.administer,.with.fewer.labour-intensive.processes.in.the.elicitation.and.aggregation.stage,.and.procedures.that.do.not.require.specialised.expertise.and.training.for.interviewers ..Roedder.John’s.method.enables. firms. to. capitalise. on. existing. brand. research. (replacing. the.classical. elicitation. stage). and. allow. data. collection. from. larger. sample.sizes. (Roedder. John et al .. 2005) .. The. main. weakness. of. these. methods.(compared.with.ZMET),.however,.is.the.emphasis.on.the.conscious.parts.of.brand.evaluation ..Therefore,.we.suggest.combining.the.strengths.of.the.quantitative.methods.with.the.elicitation.stage.of.ZMET.(picture.analysis.and. metaphor-based. elicitation. techniques),. which. enables. the. researcher.to.elicit.also.‘hidden’,.unconscious.information .Market segmentation in terms of brand image perceptionMarket. segmentation. and. product. positioning. are. major. strategic. issues.in. companies .. Traditionally,. consumers. are. grouped. into. segments. based.on. demographic,. behavioural. or. psychographic. data. (Kotler. &. Keller.2005) .. Once. subgroups. have. been. identified,. managers. can. improve.their. marketing. efforts. by. more. closely. approximating. the. need. of.each. subgroup .. However,. recently,. some. authors. have. suggested. that.consumers.may.differ.in.their.brand.image.perceptions.depending.on.their.culture,. or. subculture. (Gonzales-Arce. 1975;. MacKay. &. Easley. 1996),.and. their. experience. with. the. brand. (Alba. &. Marmorstein. 1987;. Keller.&. Staelin. 1987;. Brengman et al .. 2001;. Law. 2002) .. Only. a. few. authors. 191
  • 6. Associative networks(Gonzales-Arce. 1975;. Gensch. 1978;. MacKay. &. Easley. 1996;. Buchta.et al. 2000). have. investigated. market. segmentation. in. terms. of. brand.perception,.comparing.perceptions.of.several.brands.on.a.limited.number.of.dimensions ..However,.these.methods.(multidimensional.scaling).do.not.take.into.account.all.the.brand.associations.and.the.connections.between.them . Considering.the.implications.for.positioning,.image,.communication.strategies,.brand.equity.management.and.perceptual.competition.analysis,.we.propose.to.further.expand.and.advance.the.BCM.method.and.cluster.the.network.data.to.reveal.segments.with.different.brand.perceptions .MethodologyWe. will. present. our. methodology. by. applying. it. to. one. special. case:.Lipton. Ice. Tea .. We. have. chosen. that. brand. for. three. reasons .. First,. it.is. a. well-known. brand. with. a. wide. variety. of. associations. and. distinct.user.segments ..Second,.we.had.direct.access.to.proprietary.data.from.the.producer.of.Lipton.Ice.Tea.(Unilever) ..Finally,.Lipton.Ice.Tea.seemed.to.be.heterogeneously.perceived.in.the.Belgian.market.(according.to.the.Lipton.brand.manager) . For.using.the.segmentation.in.terms.of.brand.perception,.we.developed.a.five-step.process,.which.is.summarised.in.Figure.1 .Step 1: selection of the associationsIndividuals.are.asked.to.create.individual.brand.maps ..They.are.provided.with.cards.that.contain.brand.attributes/brand.associations.and.are.asked.in. a. first. step. the. following. question:. ‘Considering. the. brand. and. the.associations.listed.on.the.cards,.what.comes.to.mind.when.you.think.about.this.brand?’.Respondents.are.allowed.to.select.as.many.cards.as.they.wish . The.associations.are.selected.through.two.different.sources:.an.internal.source.and.an.external.source ..As.an.internal.source,.the.brand.manager.provided. us. with. an. initial. list. of. associations. that. ensured. we. covered.the.associations.coming.from.past.research.and.consistent.with.the.brand.positioning ..Since.brand.associations.are.evolving,.we.also.used.an.external.source.(consumers) ..Given.the.continuous.evolution.of.brand.attributes,.we.then.updated.this.list.using.the.ZMET.elicitation.process.(picture.analysis.and. metaphor-based. elicitation. techniques) .. The. goal. was. to. also. elicit.personal.feelings,.irrationality,.illogical.behaviour.and.repressed.attitudes ..We. should. add. that. alternative. elicitation. sources. may. be. considered,.such.as.brainstorming.sessions.or.insights.from.other.research . A.total.of.192
  • 7. International Journal of Market Research Vol. 53 Issue 2 Step 1: Selection of the associations • Internal perspective: brand associations listed by the brand manager based on brand position and past market research • External perspective: brand associations elicited by consumers with ZMET Step 2: Mapping Step 3: Codi cation and aggregation • Core associations: frequency of mention and number of interconnections with other associations • First-order associations: frequency of first-order mention and position in the interconnections Step 4: Clustering based on complete linkage method Step 5: Make clusters vivid, for example through BCMFigure 1 BCM segmentation: five-step process25. students. participated. in. that. ZMET. study .. As. we. reached. theoretical.saturation. after. the. 15th. interview,. this. number. should. be. sufficient.(Zaltman.&.Coulter.1995) . The. respondents. were. asked. to. collect. 12. pictures. that. express. their.brand.knowledge.and.brand.feelings,.from.magazines.or.from.the.internet ..Then,.the.respondents.explained.the.reasons.why.they.selected.them ..From.these. validations. the. interviewer. completed. the. list. of. brand. attributes.by. assigning. abstract. associations. to. consumer. quotes .. The. following.example.illustrates.this.process: Respondent.12:.‘I.chose.this.picture.of.a.river.with.a.cascade.because.I.think.that. Ice.Tea.has.to.be.consumed.very.cold .’ Researcher:.Attribute:.freshness,.ice.cubes Based.on.the.pre-tests,.we.obtained.a.final.list.of.32.attributes,.as.shown.in.Table.1,.that.were.used.in.the.BCM.construction.process .Step 2: mappingHaving. selected. those. associations. (cards). that. represent. the. brand,. the.160. respondents. (see. Table. 2. for. the. sample. description). are. shown. 193
  • 8. Associative networksTable 1 Complete list of attributes 1 Sport, move, mountain bike, clubhouse, fitness, adventure, sensation, effort 2 Wellness, harmony, equilibrium 3 Family, children 4 Fruits, exotic 5 Nature, green, veggies, flowers, plant, leaf 6 Freshness, ice cubes 7 Overweight, obesity 8 Thirst-quenching 9 Sun, heat, beach, swimming pool, holiday, deck chair, sand, scorching heat10 Light, diet, silhouette, figure11 Lemon, yellow12 Break, free time13 Sugar14 Relaxation15 High price16 Soft drink17 Terrace, outdoor, restaurant, between friends, social18 Energy, revitalising, active19 Aperitif, cocktails20 At any time21 Carafe22 Glass ‘balloon’23 Indigestible24 Waste, pollution25 Marketing, advertising, packaging26 Addictive, antidepressant27 Additive, sweetener28 Sparkling29 Peace, rest30 Hedonic31 Cool, fun, trendy, contemporary32 Good qualityone. brand. concept. map. for. another. brand. as. an. example. to. explain. the.construction.process,.and.especially.the.different.links.that.could.appear ..We. used. a. BCM. for. the. Volkswagen. Beetle. (Roedder. John et al .. 2006) ..The. respondents. ascertain. that. some. attributes. are. directly. linked. to. the.brand. (like. ‘German. car’. or. ‘easy. to. park’),. while. others. are. linked. to.each. other. (like. ‘neat. colours’. and. ‘lime. green. or. silver’,. meaning. that.because. of. their. lime. green. and. silver. colours. Volkswagen. Beetles. have.neat.colours),.and.that.BCMs.contain.different.types.of.link.between.the.brand. and. the. attributes,. as. well. as. between. attributes. (single,. double. or.triple.links),.which.indicates.how.strong.the.associations.are,.with.a.triple.link. meaning. ‘very. strong’ .. After. this. ‘respondent. learning. process’,. the.194
  • 9. International Journal of Market Research Vol. 53 Issue 2Table 2 Sample description Frequency % Frequency %Age Sex<20 12 8 Male 70 4420–24 30 19 Female 90 5625–29 37 23 Income30–39 30 19 <10,000 57 3640–49 24 15 10,000–20,000 11 7>50 27 17 20,000–30,000 37 23Users/non-users 30,000–40,000 38 24users 92 54 >40,000 15 9Non-users 68 40respondents. are. asked. to. create. a. personal. concept. map,. using. the. pre-selected.associations/cards,.a.blank.poster.containing.the.brand.name.in.the.centre.and.single,.double.and.triple.lines.to.connect.the.cards.(all.provided.by.the.researchers) ..Respondents.stick.the.cards.with.the.attributes.on.the.poster.and.connect.them.with.single,.double.and.triple.links . In.our.Lipton.Ice.Tea.study.we.collected.BCMs.from.160.respondents ..We. used. quotas. of. age,. gender,. income. and. experience. with. the. brand.(see. Table. 2. for. sample. description. and. demographics) .. All. respondents.confirmed. that. they. understood. the. procedure. and. had. no. problem.following.it . In. the. end,. the. interviewer. asked. the. respondents. to. describe. prior.experiences.with.the.brand.(user.or.non-user).and.to.provide.us.with.his/her. demographics .. The. BCM. construction. and. interviews. lasted. 15–30.minutes.on.average .Step 3: codification and aggregationIn.a.second.step,.the.individual.BCMs.have.to.be.aggregated.in.order.to.show.the.general.perception.of.the.brand ..Figure.2.shows.the.aggregated.BCM.for.Lipton.Ice.Tea.in.Belgium . Therefore.two.independent.coders.(inter-coder.agreement.98%).coded:•. the.presence.or.the.absence.of.each.of.the.32.attributes•. the.types.of.links.between.associations,.and.between.the.brand.and.the. associations.(single,.double.and.triple) 195
  • 10. Associative networks Nature, green, veggies, Marketing, flowers, plant, leaf advertising, packaging Thirst-quenching Fruits, exotic Cool, fun, trendy, contemporary Freshness, Ice Tea ice cubes Soft drink Sparkling Pleasure, Sugar Overweight, relaxation obesity Sun, heat, beach, swimming pool, holiday, Terrace, outdoor, deck chair, sand, restaurant, between scorching heat friends, socialFigure 2 Model: Lipton Ice Tea brand map•. the. level. at. which. each. attribute. was. placed. on. the. map. (1. means. directly. linked. to. the. brand,. 2. means. linked. to. an. attribute. that. is. linked.to.the.brand.…),.and•. the. associations. linked. above. and. below. each. brand. association. on. the.BCM .First,.we.had.to.decide.which.attributes.would.be.‘core’.in.our.aggregated.BCM. and. used. the. following. measures. for. this. purpose:. ‘the. frequency.of. mention’. and. ‘the. number. of. interconnections’ .. The. first. measure. is.calculated. by. dividing. the. number. of. times. an. attribute. is. cited. in. the.individual. BCM. by. the. total. amount. of. individual. BCM .. The. latter.one. counts. the. number. of. times. the. attribute. is. linked. to. all. the. other.associations .. Adhering. to. previous. content. studies. of. brand. attributes,.beliefs. and. values. (Roedder. John et al .. 2005),. we. used. a. 50%. cut-off.measure. to. decide. whether. or. not. one. attribute. should. appear. on. the.aggregated. BCM,. resulting. in. a. brand. map. containing. ten. core. brand.associations . Then,.we.had.to.decide.which.of.the.core.associations.would.be.directly.linked.to.the.brand ..Two.measures.were.used,.namely.the.frequency.and.the.ratio.of.first-order.mentioning ..The.first.measures.the.number.of.times.an.association.is.directly.linked.to.the.brand ..The.second.is.the.frequency.of.first-order.mentions.divided.by.the.frequency.of.total.mentioning ..Finally,.the.type.of.positions,.superordinate.or.subordinate,.indicates.if.most.linked.associations.appear.below.it.(superordinate).or.above.it.(subordinate) ..We.considered.these.attributes.as.first-order.attributes.whose.frequency.of.first-196
  • 11. International Journal of Market Research Vol. 53 Issue 2order. mention. is. higher. than. 50%,. and. whose. number. of. superordinate.connections.is.higher.than.the.number.of.subordinate.connections . The. third. step. involves. an. analysis. of. the. associations’. links. in. order.to. consign. the. remaining. core. brand. attributes .. Towards. that. end,. the.frequency. of. links. between. associations. (for. example,. ‘thirst-quenching’.was. frequently. connected. above. ‘freshness’. and. ‘ice. cube’). is. examined ..We. incorporated. certain. non-core. brand. associations. that. are. frequently.linked. to. core. associations. to. show. which. non-core. brand. associations.drive. consumer. perception. of. core. associations .. We. linked. them. to. core.associations,.taking.the.average.link.used.in.the.individual.brand.maps . Most. of. the. core. associations. were. consistent. with. the. Lipton. Ice.Tea. advertising. messages,. such. as. ‘nature’,. ‘fruits’,. ‘thirst-quenching’,.‘freshness’,. ‘sun’,. ‘pleasure’,. ‘contemporary’. and. ‘terrace’ .. But. we. also.found. attributes. –. like. ‘sugar’. –. that. do. not. correspond. to. the. brand’s.positioning .. Another. example. of. non-company-driven. beliefs. is. the.perception. of. Lipton. as. a. ‘soft. drink’,. which. is. in. sharp. contrast. to. the.intended. ‘fruit. juice’. perception .. We. elicited. three. attributes. with. double.links,. namely. ‘thirst-quenching’,. ‘sun’. and. ‘terrace’ .. Those. attributes.have. the. strongest. links. with. the. brand. and. all. three. correspond. to. the.positioning. and. communication. messages .. The. two. non-core. brand.associations,. which. drive. consumer. perception. of. the. core. associations.‘sugar’. and. ‘cool,. fun. and. contemporary’,. are. respectively. ‘obesity’. and.‘marketing’ .. Of. course,. those. negative. associations. can. also. affect. brand.equity,.for.example,.through.brand.dilution.(Pullig.et al. 2006).(confusion.in. consumers’. minds. regarding. the. features. connected. to. the. brand.(Henderson et al ..1998)).or.the.creation.of.a.Doppelgänger.brand.image.(Thompson. et al. 2006). (disparaging. images. and. stories. about. a. brand.that. are. circulated. in. popular. culture. by. a. loosely. organised. network. of.consumers,.anti-brand.activists,.bloggers.and.opinion.leaders.in.the.news.and.entertainment.media.(Thompson et al ..2006)) . To.test.the.reliability.of.our.aggregation,.we.randomly.split.all.individual.BCMs.into.two.groups,.produced.an.aggregate.map.for.each.of.the.groups,.and. then. evaluated. the. degree. of. consistency. between. both. consensus.maps.(see.Figure.3) ..The.first.aggregate.brand.map.had.ten.core.attributes,.while. the. second. one. had. only. nine .. Seven. attributes. are. shared. by. both.aggregated. BCMs. (six. first-link. associations. with. three. attributes. in.common) ..Comparing.both.brand.maps.based.on.the.presence.of.each.of.the. possible. 32. brand. associations,. we. obtained. a. significant. chi-square.(chi-square.=.16 .7;.p.=.0 .00<0 .05;.N.=.32).and.thus.a.high.correlation.between. the. two. brand. maps. (contingency. coefficient. =. 0 .586) .. Using. 197
  • 12. Associative networks Half 1 Soft drink Thirst-quenching Marketing Lemon Lipton Ice Tea Fruits Sun Relax Freshness Plants Contemporary Terrace Half 2 Overweight Terrace Relax Sugar Fruits Plants Soft drink Lipton Ice Tea Freshness Thirst-quenching Sun ContemporaryFigure 3 Split-half reliability testa. first. link. association. criterion,. we. also. obtained. a. significant. chi-square.(chi-square.=.4 .7;.p.=.0 .03<0 .05;.N.=.32).and.thus.a.sufficient.correlation.between.the.two.brand.maps.(contingency.coefficient.=.0 .4) ..The.high.degree.of.consistency.between.both.brand.maps.should.signify.a.high.reliability . To.test.the.nomological.validity,.we.split.the.individual.brand.maps.into.two.categories.that.should.differ.in.a.predictable.way.(users.and.non-users) ..As.the.aggregated.map.for.the.‘users’.group.has.a.more.complex.structure.with.more.brand.associations.(ten.core.brand.attributes.for.the.‘users’.and.eight.for.the.‘non-users’),.more.interconnections.between.associations.and.more. triple. double. links. (Roedder. John et al .. 2005). than. the. non-user-group.map,.we.can.confirm.a.high.level.of.nomological.validity,.as.shown.in.Table.3 . Our. nomological. validity. analysis. elicited. different. perceptions. of. Ice.Tea. based. on. consumption. and. buying. behaviour .. That. leads. us. to. our.198
  • 13. International Journal of Market Research Vol. 53 Issue 2Table 3 Nomological validity tests Users Non-usersTotal number of beliefs 11.54 (–5.09) 10.35 (–3.32)Total number of first-level associations 6.51 (–2.46) 6.41 (–2.59)Total number of second- and third-level associations 5.03 (–5.19) 3.94 (–3.24)Total number of links 15.39 (–4.8) 13.91 (4.52)Total number of first-order links 10.30 (–3.82) 9.35 (–3.65)Total number of second- and third-order links 5.24 (–3.64) 4.55 (–3.8)Total number of triple lines 1.05 (–1.29) 0.84 (–0.89)Total number of double lines 2.25* (–1.43) 1.60* (–1.32)Total number of single lines 7.89 (–2.5) 8.12 (–3.64)* Values that are significantly different from each other for an α = 0.05 (Kolmogorov-Smirnov Z)Standard deviation in parenthesisnext.research.question:.‘Is.it.possible.to.link.BCM.with.cluster.analysis.in.order. to. effectively. and. efficiently. segment. consumers. according. to. their.perceptions.of.a.brand?’Step 4: clusteringWe.clustered.our.individual.brand.maps.based.on.the.absence/presence.of.the. 32. brand. associations. to. group. objects. based. on. the. attributes. they.possess .. Following. Everitt. et al.’s. (2001) suggestion,. we. used. ‘Sokal. and.Sneath. 4’. as. a. distance. measure. and. the. ‘complete. linkage. method’. (or.further. neighbour). to. cluster. binary. variables .. By. plotting. the. distance.coefficients. (slope. variation),. and. by. using. the. measure. of. heterogeneity.change,.profile.diagrams.and.the.independent-samples.T-tests,.we.decided.how.many.clusters.to.keep.in.the.analysis . For.the.brand.Lipton.Ice.Tea,.we.discovered.a.six-cluster.solution.that.is. described. and. labelled. by. using. mean. scores,. the. profile. diagrams. and.the. independent-sample. T-tests .. The. clusters. differ. especially. in. usage.situations,. in. the. brand. evaluation. and. in. the. perception. as. soft. vs. fruit.drink .Step 5: make clusters vividTraditionally,. managers. have. used. demographics,. behavioural. variables.or,. more. recently,. customer. lifetime. value. (CLV). to. segment. the. market ..By. applying. BCM. segmentation,. we. create. clusters. with. different. brand.perception. in. terms. of. brand. usage. (when?. how?),. brand. features. (e .g .. 199
  • 14. Associative networks CLUSTER 1: After sports CLUSTER 2: Sunny Thirst-quenching Sport Break Terrace Wellness Lipton Ice Tea Relaxation Freshness Sun Obesity Lipton Ice Tea Fruits Antidepressant Freshness Thirst-quenching Relax CLUSTER 3: Sweet and expensive CLUSTER 4: Fruit juice Indigestible Sugar Sun Energy Additive Terrace Sugar Freshness FruitsAddictive Lipton Ice Tea Thirst-quenching Lipton Ice Tea Nature High price Sparkling Freshness Additive Waste Contemporary CLUSTER 5: Quality at any time CLUSTER 6: Light and healthy Good quality Family Sun Relaxation Overweight Light FreshnessThirst-quenching Sugar Thirst-quenching Lipton Ice Tea Wellness Contemporary Quality Energy Lipton Ice Tea At any time Break Family Terrace Lemon Nature FruitsFigure 4 Aggregated BCM for the six segmentssweet,.expensive).or.other.brand.associations.(e .g ..family) ..To.interpret.and.profile.our.six.segments,.we.created.an.aggregated.BCM.for.each.of.the.six.clusters ..The.results.are.described.in.Figure.4 . Cluster.1.(‘after.sports’).considers.Ice.Tea.as.a.refreshing.beverage.that.can.be.drunk.especially.after.sports,.or.relaxing.outdoors.on.a.terrace . Cluster.2.(‘sunny’).considers.Ice.Tea.as.a.beverage.that.is.mostly.drunk.when.the.weather.is.sunny ..This.segment.enjoys.the.freshness.and.the.fruity.side.of.Ice.Tea ..They.also.link.Ice.Tea.to.relaxation .200
  • 15. International Journal of Market Research Vol. 53 Issue 2 Cluster.3.(‘sweet.and.expensive’).has.a.negative.perception.of.Ice.Tea ..This. group. considers. Ice. Tea. as. a. soft. drink,. full. of. sugar. that. causes.obesity ..Customers.of.that.segment.also.criticise.the.price.of.the.beverage.and.the.presence.of.additives,.like.aspartame.(a.sweetener) ..This.group.also.considers.Ice.Tea.as.a.contemporary,.fresh,.sparkling.soft.drink,.associated.with.sunny.weather . Cluster. 4. (‘fruit. juice’). considers. Ice. Tea. especially. linked. to. freshness,.lemon. and. other. fruits .. Of. this. cluster,. 70%. find. it. especially. linked. to.(tea).plants,.but.50%.also.consider.it.as.very.sweet . Cluster. 5. (‘quality. at. any. time’). considers. Ice. Tea. as. a. contemporary.beverage. that. can. be. drunk. at. any. time .. This. is. a. quality. beverage,. but.with.a.risk.of.causing.excess.weight.when.consumption.is.excessive ..This.cluster.also.emphasises.the.healthy.side.of.Ice.Tea . Cluster. 6. (‘light. and. healthy’). emphasises. the. healthy. side. of. Ice. Tea ..This.cluster.mentioned.the.quality.of.the.beverage,.the.link.with.fruits.and.plants,.and.the.energy.contribution ..This.group.also.recognises.the.link.to.freshness,.sun,.relaxation.and.lemon .Conclusions and theoretical implicationsImplications for brand image measurementThis. paper. demonstrates. the. usefulness,. reliability. and. validity. of. the.brand.concept.mapping.(BCM).methodology ..Furthermore,.our.approach.enhances. the. elicitation. stage. of. BCM. by. adding. picture. analysis. and.metaphor-based.elicitation.techniques.to.obtain.a.complete.and.up-to-date.list. of. attributes .. Our. study. augments. the. range. of. BCM. applications. by.employing.it.as.a.segmentation.tool ..Finally,.BCM.is.a.way.of.measuring.brand.image,.but.also.attitude.and.usage ..Therefore,.BCM.could.possibly.replace,.or.at.the.very.least.complement.classical.research.on.attitude.and.brand.usage.(visual.instead.of.figures) .Managerial implications and applications for the informationpresented in the articleImplications for image and reputation managementFrom. a. managerial. point. of. view,. this. study. identifies. the. different.perceptions. of. Lipton. Ice. Tea .. When. the. aggregated. brand. map. is.compared. to. the. intended. brand. positioning. (by. the. company),. we. find. 201
  • 16. Associative networksthe. core. attributes. of. the. consensus. map. consistent. with. the. intended.positioning. of. Lipton. Ice. Tea .. A. single. exception. is. the. attribute. ‘sugar’ ..The. two. negative. non-core. brand. associations,. ‘obesity’. and. ‘marketing’,.need.to.be.carefully.scrutinised .Implications for segmentationTraditionally,.companies.have.segmented.their.potential.customers.on.the.basis. of. similar. sets. of. needs. and. wants. that. should. affect. consumption.habits .. Most. marketers. use. consumer. characteristics. and. customer.response. to. translate. these. sets. of. needs,. or. wants,. into. effective. market.segments . We. suggested. a. method. that. is. not. just. based. on. (more. general).needs. and. wants,. but. more. specifically. on. different. brand. perceptions ..This. method. clusters. customers. with. similar. perceptions. as. expressed.through.BCMs ..Naturally,.these.clusters.can.then.be.linked.with.classical.segmentation. variables,. like. brand. experience,. personal. involvement.or. brand. awareness .. The. cluster. descriptions. provide. managers. with.information. about. the. different. consumption. habits. of. these. subgroups.and. their. consequences. in. terms. of. brand. perception .. Brand. managers.can,. therefore,. more. easily. identify. which. subgroups. are. commercially.attractive. for. the. company. (cluster. number. 3. is. excluded) .. We. suggest.using.this.method.when.the.brand.is.heterogeneously.perceived.and.when.classical.segmentation.variables.do.not.lead.to.successful.results .Implications for brand positioningOn.the.basis.of.the.brand.concept.map,.brand.managers.can.(re-)evaluate.their.brand.identity.by.comparing.consumers’.perceptions.with.the.brand’s.positioning . If. certain. brand. perceptions. are. inconsistent. with. the. intended.positioning,. corrective. action. could. be. taken. to. either. modify. these.perceptions.(if.possible),.or.to.reconsider.the.brand’s.points.of.parity.and.points.of.difference . Another. opportunity. would. be. to. create. different. positioning. to.incorporate.the.variations.in.the.brand.image.perception.and.overcome.the.differences.due.to.the.culture,.brand.experience.or.product.involvement ..Given. the. profiles. of. specific. segments. and. their. consumption. habits,.managers. can. adapt. brand. elements,. such. as. product. benefits,. packaging.202
  • 17. International Journal of Market Research Vol. 53 Issue 2and.other.aspects.of.integrated.marketing.communication,.to.reinforce.the.brand.image.perception.and.build.brand.equity.segment.by.segment .Implications for brand communicationDue.to.selective.distortion,.consumers.pay.more.attention.to.communication.messages. that. are. in. accordance. with. their. previously. acquired. beliefs.stored.in.the. long-term.memory ..Therefore,. the.creative.content.and. the.communication. messages. should. be. adapted. depending. on. the. segments.and.its.brand.image.perception .Implications for brand equity managementAnother. implication. for. brand. management. could. be. an. adaptation. of.the. brand. architecture .. When. some. clusters. describe. Lipton. Ice. Tea. as.‘light. and. healthy’,. while. others. perceive. it. as. ‘sweet’,. we. could. assume.that. consumers. have. different. versions. (line. extensions). in. mind .. A. clear.architecture. is. needed,. to. align. extensions. with. specific. associations,. and.on.the.other.hand.create.more.general.associations,.that.could.be.shared.by.all.consumers/versions ..We.suggest.examining.brand.equity.components.at.the.corporate.level.(Unilever),.at.the.brand.level.(Lipton.Ice.Tea),.but.also.at.the.line.extension.level .Implications for competition analysisManagers. must. take. into. account. that. certain. products. are. considered.as. competitive. products. by. some. segments. and. not. by. others .. Marketers.need. to. adapt. their. competitive. strategy. in. light. of. these. differences. in.perception .Limitations and future research directionsThe.sample.size.(160).disallowed.the.use.of.latent.cluster.analysis.and.led.to.relatively.small.clusters ..However,.the.aim.of.the.study.was.to.present.a.technique.that.is.appropriate.for.solving.certain.types.of.problems.rather.than.to.draw.any.general.inferences.as.to.how.consumers.perceive.Lipton.Ice.Tea ..To.pursue.this.other.goal,.a.replication.with.a.larger.sample.size.would.be.necessary . 203
  • 18. Associative networks For.Lipton.Ice.Tea,.a.five-cluster.solution.is.suggested ..From.a.managerial.point.of.view,.it.would.have.been.easier.to.have.fewer.segments.(two.or.three) . Regarding.the.effect.on.buying.behaviour,.the.uniqueness.of.the.brand.associations.will.have.a.positive.effect.on.purchase.choices.(Keller.2003b) ..However,.Ajzen.(1988).showed.that.perception.is.only.one.component.of.attitude ..The.brand.map.should.therefore.be.interpreted.from.a.contingent.perspective.to.show.the.effects.on.buying.behaviour . Finally,. although. this. methodology. produces. some. interesting. results,.it. still. constitutes. a. complex. (and. costly). process. for. companies. (large.number.of.interviews.and.codification.process).wishing.to.explore.brand.image.issues . As. future. research. directions,. we. suggest. the. application. of. the. BCM.methodology. to. other. managerial. issues. such. as. evaluation. of. the.effectiveness. of. co-branding. strategies,. brand. extensions,. advertising. and.other. promotional. tools .. The. BCM. technique. could. also. be. useful. when.applied.to.brand.perception.issues.such.as.brand.confusion,.brand.dilution.(Pullig et al .. 2006). and. Doppelgänger. brand. image. (Thompson et al ..2006) .ReferencesAaker,.D ..(1996).Building Strong Brands ..New.York,.NY:.The.Free.Press .Aaker,.J ..(1997).Dimensions.of.brand.personality ..Journal of Marketing Research,.34,.8,. pp ..347–356 .Ajzen,.I ..(1988).Attitudes, Personality, and Behaviour ..Buckingham:.Open.University.Press .Alba,.J .W ..&.Marmorstein,.H ..(1987).The.effects.of.frequency.knowledge.on.consumer. decision.making ..Journal of Consumer Research,.14,.1,.pp ..14–26 .Anchor,.J .R ..&.Kourilova,.T ..(2009).Consumer.perceptions.of.own.brands:.international. differences ..Journal of Consumer Marketing,.26,.6,.pp ..437–449 .Anderson,.J .R ..(1983).A.spreading.activation.theory.of.memory ..Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior,.22,.pp ..261–295 .Bailey,.A .A ..(2005).Non-fulfilment.of.promotional.deals:.the.impact.of.gender.and.company. reputation.on.consumers’.perceptions.and.attitudes ..Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services,.12,.4,.pp ..285–295 .Bain,.C ..&.Rice,.M ..(2006).The.influence.of.gender.on.attitudes,.perceptions,.and.uses.of. technology ..Journal of Research on Technology in Education,.39,.2,.pp ..119–132 .Barwise,.T .P ..&.Ehrenberg,.A .S .C ..(1985).Consumer.beliefs.and.brand.usage ..Journal of the Market Research Society,.27,.2,.pp ..81–93 .Bird,.M .,.Channon,.C ..&.Ehrenberg,.A .S .C ..(1970).Brand.image.and.brand.usage ..Journal of Marketing Research,.7,.3,.pp ..307–314 .Boivin,.Y ..(1986).A.free.response.approach.to.the.measurement.of.brand.perceptions .. International Journal of Research in Marketing,.3,.1,.pp ..11–17 .Bolfing,.C ..(1988).Integrating.consumer.involvement.and.product.perceptions.with.market. segmentation.and.positioning.strategies ..Journal of Consumer Marketing,.5,.2,.pp ..49–57 .204
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  • 21. International Journal of Market Research Vol. 53 Issue 2About the authorsCéline. Brandt. is. marketing. assistant. and. postdoctoral. fellow. at. the. HEC.School.of.Management.of.the.University.of.Liège.(Belgium) ..Her.research.focuses. are. in. the. area. of. product. and. corporate. brand. reputation,.branding,. networks. in. marketing. and. consumer. behavior .. Céline. Brandt.is. the. author. of. various. communications. and. a. doctoral. dissertation. in.marketing .. Her. doctoral. thesis. deals. with. the. measurement. of. individual.brand.image.perception.and.brand.reputation.using.associative.networks . Charles. Pahud. de. Mortanges. received. his. BA. (Economics). from. the.University.of.California.and.his.MBA.from.the.California.State.University .. .His.PhD.(Economics).is.from.the.University.of.Groningen ..Currently,.he.is.a.full.professor.of.marketing.at.the.HEC.School.of.Management.of.the.University.of.Liege.(Belgium) ..His.research.interests.are.primarily.in.brand.management.and.brand.valuation . Christian. Bluemelhuber. is. the. InBev. Baillet. Latour. Professor.d’Euromarketing. at. the. Solvay. Brussels. School. of. Economics. and.Management. (Université. Libre. de. Bruxelles) .. His. research. is. devoted.to. the. interpretation. of. consumer. behaviour,. services. and. branding.experiences,. visual. techniques,. and. integrating. European. perspectives.into. the. marketing. landscape .. More. information. on. Christian’s. work. is.available.on.his.website.http://www .bluemelhuber .de . Allard. van. Riel. is. a. full. professor. of. marketing. and. director. of. the.Institute.for.Management.Research.of.the.Radboud.University.in.Nijmegen,.the.Netherlands ..He.holds.a.PhD.in.Service.Innovation.Management.from.Maastricht.University ..Between.2004.and.2009.he.held.the.Arcelor-Mittal.Chair.in.Innovation.Strategy.and.Management.at.the.University.of.Liège.in. Belgium .. His. research. interests. include. cognitive. aspects. of. decision-making. under. complexity. and. uncertainty,. specifically. in. innovation.management,. and. service. operations. and. marketing. management .. He.published. in. the. Journal of Product Innovation Management, IndustrialMarketing Management, Journal of Service Research, Journal of Businessand Industrial Marketing,. and. International Journal of Service IndustryManagement .. He. is. currently. focusing. on. responsible. decision-making. in.health.care.innovation .. Address. correspondence. to:. Céline. Brandt,. HEC. Université. de. Liège,.Department.of.Marketing,.Boulevard.du.Rectorat.7,.Liege,.4000,.Belgium . Email:.celine .brandt@ulg .ac .be 207
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