Master Dissertation




   Interactive Brand Identity Design
Towards a Cross-functional Design Process for Digital Brand D...
© 2006, Ralph Stuyver, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. All rights of this publication, including copyrights
and database right...
TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN




              « propaganda ends where dialogue begins »
      ...
TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN




CONTENTS

FIGURES AND TABLES ....................................
TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN



     2.6        Literature review: Conclusions ...................
TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN




FIGURES AND TABLES

Figure   1. Conceptual Research Model .......
TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN




PREFACE

This thesis forms the final assignment for the Master...
TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN




SUMMARY

The brand is a key asset for most contemporary compan...
TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN




STATEMENT OF ORIGINAL AUTHORSHIP

I hereby certify that this t...
TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN




ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This thesis could not have been written with...
TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN




1. INTRODUCTION

Today, the critical first contact users have ...
TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN




Research also shows that the way consumers experience the onli...
TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN



1.3.1     Research Questions
Based on the above described probl...
TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN



questions 3, 4 and 5 will be answered by the IBID process and i...
TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN



1.6    DEFINITIONS
Most definitions of terms will be given in t...
TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN




2. THEORETICAL BACKGROUND

This Chapter will describe the most...
TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN



and acceptation” of which “the expressions are authentic and re...
TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN



becomes therefor a complex, but important task. Personalisation...
TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN



have their effects on how companies express their brands. The f...
TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN



channels resulting in media saturation and lowered effectivenes...
TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN



2.2     OFFLINE BRAND IDENTITY EXPRESSION
There are many defini...
TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN



•   Corporate identity can be seen in many different ways depen...
TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN



•   Endorsed identity: Several activities take place under a co...
TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN



stakeholders) than product brands (Cheston, 2001). Kapferer (19...
TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN



                                 Figure 10. Image, Reputation a...
TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN



                                              Figure 11. Brand ...
TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN



                   Figure 12. Points of Interaction: Company-th...
TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN



2.3     ONLINE BRAND IDENTITY EXPRESSION
It is remarkable to se...
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design
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The thesis (2006) analyses existing design processes for online (interactive) brand identity design, and shows that none of them is apt to meet the new demands of the interactive Age. A new process is clearly needed, and here proposed and evaluated at several main Dutch Design agencies. This new design process will be applicable for both corporate brands and product brands, and is specifically aimed at the field of interactive brand design, such as website design.

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Ralph Stuyver (2006) Interactive Brand Identity Design

  1. 1. Master Dissertation Interactive Brand Identity Design Towards a Cross-functional Design Process for Digital Brand Dialogues Ralph Stuyver May 2006 Master of Design Management Nyenrode Business Universiteit/ INHOLLAND Graduate School
  2. 2. © 2006, Ralph Stuyver, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. All rights of this publication, including copyrights and database rights, are reserved to the author. No part of this publication may be reproduced by any means, or transmitted, or saved into a automated database, or translated into machine language, without the prior written permission of the author, who can be contacted at: ralph@realaudience.nl
  3. 3. TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN « propaganda ends where dialogue begins » McLuhan, M., Fiore, Q. and Agel, J. (1967). The Medium is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects. New York: Bantam Books, p.142. © Ralph Stuyver 3
  4. 4. TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN CONTENTS FIGURES AND TABLES ............................................................................................................................................. 6 PREFACE .................................................................................................................................................................. 7 SUMMARY ................................................................................................................................................................ 8 STATEMENT OF ORIGINAL AUTHORSHIP................................................................................................................ 9 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS..........................................................................................................................................10 1. INTRODUCTION ...........................................................................................................................................11 1.1 Problem Field...................................................................................................................................11 1.2 Problem Statement..........................................................................................................................12 1.3 Research Approach .........................................................................................................................12 1.3.1 Research Questions ..............................................................................................................13 1.3.2 Literature Review ..................................................................................................................13 1.3.3 Primary Research ..................................................................................................................13 1.4 Purpose, Objectives and Delimitations ..........................................................................................14 1.5 Thesis Outline .................................................................................................................................14 1.6 Definitions .......................................................................................................................................15 1.7 Conclusions .....................................................................................................................................15 2. THEORETICAL BACKGROUND ......................................................................................................................16 2.1 Trends and Changes .......................................................................................................................16 2.1.1 Globalisation, market saturation and product commoditisation .......................................16 2.1.2 Monologue & dialogue communication ...............................................................................16 2.1.3 Active, informed and networked users................................................................................17 2.1.4 Individualisation, customisation and personalisation.........................................................17 2.1.5 Multi-channeling users .........................................................................................................18 2.1.6 User-centric brand experiences ...........................................................................................18 2.1.7 Co-creation of values............................................................................................................19 2.1.8 The future of brands ............................................................................................................19 2.1.9 Trends: Conclusions .............................................................................................................19 2.2 Offline Brand Identity Expression...................................................................................................21 2.2.1 Identity Schools.....................................................................................................................21 2.2.2 Identity structures ................................................................................................................22 2.2.3 Identity, Image and Reputation............................................................................................24 2.2.4 Touchpoints ..........................................................................................................................25 2.2.5 Offline BIE: Conclusions .......................................................................................................27 2.3 Online Brand Identity Expression ...................................................................................................28 2.3.1 Communication.....................................................................................................................28 2.3.2 Interaction .............................................................................................................................29 2.3.3 Three Levels of Value Interaction.........................................................................................31 2.3.4 Key Brand Interaction aspects, work definition...................................................................31 2.3.5 Online BIE: Conclusions........................................................................................................33 2.4 Brand Design Processes..................................................................................................................34 2.4.1 Birkigt and Stadler (1986) ....................................................................................................34 2.4.2 Aaker (1996) .........................................................................................................................35 2.4.3 Stuart (1999) .........................................................................................................................36 2.4.4 Balmer & Grey (2003) ...........................................................................................................37 2.4.5 Van Erp (2004a) ....................................................................................................................38 2.4.6 Andrews (2004).....................................................................................................................39 2.4.7 Manning (2005).....................................................................................................................40 2.4.8 Existing brand design processes: Conclusions ...................................................................41 2.5 Design Management .......................................................................................................................42 2.5.1 Design process as strategic resource ..................................................................................42 2.5.2 Managing the webdesign process........................................................................................43 2.5.3 User experience webdesign .................................................................................................45 2.5.4 Design management: Conclusions ......................................................................................47 © Ralph Stuyver 4
  5. 5. TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN 2.6 Literature review: Conclusions .......................................................................................................48 3. FRAMEWORK: THE IBID PROCESS ................................................................................................................50 3.1 IBID: Goals and Delimitation...........................................................................................................50 3.2 IBID Process: Explained...................................................................................................................51 3.2.1 Brand Identity phase - explained .........................................................................................53 3.2.2 Brand Identity Manifestations phase – explained................................................................57 3.2.3 Interactionpoints phase – explained....................................................................................60 3.2.4 Quadrants II, III and IV – explained......................................................................................61 3.2.5 Three Cycles of Value Interaction ........................................................................................63 3.3 IBID Process: Conclusions...............................................................................................................64 4. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY .........................................................................................................................65 4.1 Problem Definition & Research Questions .....................................................................................65 4.2 Research Approach .........................................................................................................................66 4.3 Data collection procedures.............................................................................................................66 4.3.1 Participants ...........................................................................................................................66 4.3.2 Materials................................................................................................................................69 4.3.3 Procedure ..............................................................................................................................69 4.4 Data Analysis Procedures ...............................................................................................................70 4.4.1 Processing the data ..............................................................................................................70 4.5 Research Methodology: Conclusions .............................................................................................71 5. PRIMARY RESEARCH: ANALYSIS AND RESULTS ...........................................................................................72 5.1 Quantitative Research .....................................................................................................................72 5.1.1 Topic 1: The IBID process in general ...................................................................................72 5.1.2 Topic 2: Reactions on Statements........................................................................................73 5.1.3 Topic 3: IBID relevance for brand Types..............................................................................74 5.1.4 Topic 4: IBID relevance for brand Phases and Stakeholders...............................................75 5.1.5 Topic 5: IBID relevance for business Functions and Groups ..............................................75 5.2 Qualitative Research .......................................................................................................................76 5.2.1 Extra Topics ..........................................................................................................................76 5.3 Quantitative & Qualitative combined .............................................................................................77 5.4 Primary Research: Conclusions ......................................................................................................79 6. THESIS CONCLUSIONS .................................................................................................................................81 6.1 Introduction.....................................................................................................................................81 6.2 Conclusions .....................................................................................................................................81 6.2.1 Conclusions from the literature review ...............................................................................81 6.2.2 Conclusions from the proposed IBID process .....................................................................82 6.2.3 Conclusions from the Primary Research..............................................................................82 6.3 General discussion ..........................................................................................................................83 6.3.1 Limitations & improvements ................................................................................................83 6.3.2 Theoretical Implications .......................................................................................................83 6.3.3 Practical Implications............................................................................................................83 6.4 Further research ..............................................................................................................................84 7. REFERENCES .................................................................................................................................................85 8. APPENDICES .................................................................................................................................................90 8.1 Referenced Brand identity design processes .................................................................................90 8.1.1 Boer (2003) ...........................................................................................................................90 8.1.2 Corporate Identity Framework (Brandt et all., 2003) ..........................................................91 8.1.3 Brand Identity Prism and Pyramid (Kapferer, 1995)............................................................91 8.2 Primary Research.............................................................................................................................92 8.2.1 Questionnaire........................................................................................................................92 8.2.2 Quantitative research variables..........................................................................................102 8.2.3 Descriptive statistics...........................................................................................................103 8.2.4 Questionnaire Explanation-sheet .......................................................................................104 8.2.5 Open Interview FAQ-sheet ..................................................................................................105 © Ralph Stuyver 5
  6. 6. TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN FIGURES AND TABLES Figure 1. Conceptual Research Model .................................................................................................................12 Figure 2. Thesis outline and Chapters ................................................................................................................14 Figure 3. Multi channel user paths ......................................................................................................................18 Figure 4. Towards user-centric experiences .......................................................................................................19 Figure 5. Monolithic identity structure (after van den Bosch, 2005) .................................................................22 Figure 6. Two different Endorsed identity structures (after van den Bosch, 2005) ..........................................23 Figure 7. Branded identity structure (after van den Bosch, 2005) .....................................................................23 Figure 8. Framework for brand identity structures.............................................................................................23 Figure 9. Stakeholders weights for corporate/product brands..........................................................................24 Figure 10. Image, Reputation and Interaction ....................................................................................................25 Figure 11. Brand Touchpoint Wheel ....................................................................................................................26 Figure 12. Points of Interaction: Company-think vs. Consumer-think...............................................................27 Figure 13. Monologue communication................................................................................................................28 Figure 14. Dialogue communication ...................................................................................................................28 Figure 15. Websites as dynamic centers of brand building ...............................................................................30 Figure 16. Three Levels of Value Interaction.......................................................................................................31 Figure 17. Corporate Identity and Image ............................................................................................................34 Figure 18. Brand Identity Planning Model (Aaker, 1996)....................................................................................35 Figure 19. Corporate Identity Management process (Stuart, 1999) ..................................................................36 Figure 20. Corporate Identity & Communication (Balmer & Grey, 2003) ..........................................................37 Figure 21. Firm personality based products .......................................................................................................38 Figure 22. Product-User personality match.........................................................................................................38 Figure 23. User Experience (Andrews, 2004)......................................................................................................39 Figure 24. Consumer Web Brand Experience (based on Manning, 2005) .........................................................40 Figure 25. Business Concept Innovation .............................................................................................................42 Figure 26. User experience webdesign process .................................................................................................43 Figure 27. Business functions concerned with the brand ..................................................................................44 Figure 28. Progression of Economic Value..........................................................................................................46 Figure 29. Conceptual Research Model ...............................................................................................................48 Figure 30. Interactive Brand Identity Design (IBID) process ...............................................................................51 Figure 31. Brand Identity phase...........................................................................................................................53 Figure 32. Brand Identity Manifestations phase .................................................................................................57 Figure 33. Brand Identity Interactionpoints phase..............................................................................................60 Figure 34 User Identity phase ..............................................................................................................................61 Figure 35. Three Cycles of Brand Value Interaction............................................................................................63 Figure 36. Means and StdErr of general IBID characteristics..............................................................................72 Figure 37. Means and Std Err. of reactions on Statements ................................................................................73 Figure 38. Analysis of relevance for brand Types...............................................................................................74 Figure 39. Analysis of brand Stakeholders..........................................................................................................75 Figure 40. Analysis of branding Phases ..............................................................................................................75 Figure 41. Analysis of brand Groups...................................................................................................................76 Figure 42. Analysis of brand business Functions ...............................................................................................76 Figure 43. IBID Implications & further research..................................................................................................84 Figure 44. Possible causal interactions between interaction aspects................................................................84 Figure 45. Brand Design Process (Boer, 2003)....................................................................................................90 Figure 46. Corporate Identity Strategic Framework (based on Brandt et all., 2003) ........................................91 Table 1. Online channels and phases..................................................................................................................18 Table 2. Eight Key Changes .................................................................................................................................20 Table 3. Naming issues: Corporate Brand and Product Brand ...........................................................................24 Table 4. Eight Key Changes .................................................................................................................................49 Table 5. Key Interactive Brand aspects................................................................................................................49 Table 6. Existing Brand Design Processes...........................................................................................................49 Table 7. Eighteen Questions on five Topics, and 46 variables ........................................................................102 Table 8. Additional information (57 variables in total).....................................................................................102 Table 9. Descriptive Statistics ............................................................................................................................103 © Ralph Stuyver 6
  7. 7. TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN PREFACE This thesis forms the final assignment for the Master of Design Management (MDM) at Nyenrode Business Universiteit/INHOLLAND Graduate School, the Netherlands. The MDM programme focuses on the power of design in the business management context, from strategic design to tactic design and operational design. A brand is a strong contributor to business performance and 96 percent of all senior executives rate brand building as vital to their firms future success (Davis & Dunn, 2002). Successful brand performance also depends upon the critical interactions stakeholders have with the brand values (Davis & Dunn, 2002). Design affects all aspects of brand performance, since “design penetrates all of the assets that make brand value: mission, promise, positioning, expression, notoriety and quality” (Borja de Mozota, 2003, p.113). Design also creates “differentiation through brand identity development, building brand equity and brand architecture”(ibid.). Furthermore, design is “the only business discipline that has the process of idea development at the core of its education program and practise” (Powell, 1998). This thesis analyses existing design processes for online brand identity design, and shows that none of them is apt to meet the new demands of the interactive Age. A new process is clearly needed, and here proposed and evaluated. This new design process will be applicable for both corporate brands and product brands, and is specifically aimed at the field of interactive brand design, such as website design. © Ralph Stuyver 7
  8. 8. TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN SUMMARY The brand is a key asset for most contemporary companies, and the process of designing, communicating and managing the brand identity is important for a strong brand image and reputation. Most companies have strong offline brand communication, but when it comes to online brand communication, e.g. through their websites, they often loose sight (Letts, 2003). A recent Forrester report (Manning, 2005) found only 15 percent of all researched top US companies successfully delivering an online brand experience, yet most decision makers rated ‘building the brand’ of near critical importance for their websites. This thesis therefor focuses on why this big gap might exist between aim and reality of interactive brand expression, and it researches and suggest design management solutions for improvement. Just like human relationships, the brand-user relationship can be complex, subtle and highly individual. Two-way communication (true personal dialogue) is an important aspect of interactive brand communication. The process of interactive brand identity design was identified as an potential area of improvement within the field of strategic design management (Cooper & Press, 1995). Theoretical backgrounds were explored in the literature in order to gain insight in the process of interactive brand identity design. Models for offline and online brand identity expression, brand design processes, specific characteristics of interactive media, and main future trends were explored. On the basis of this literature research, a new process is proposed that facilitates an open brand-user dialogue, facilitates cross-functional communication, and allows for multiple levels of interactive brand experience. The here proposed Interactive Brand Identity Design process (IBID process) is then evaluated by means of a quantitative research (questionnaire, Lickert scale scoring, statistical analysis) and qualitative research method (open-ended expert interviews). The experts opinions about the IBID process were analysed about the relevance for different brand types, phases, stakeholders, brand groups and business functions. The results of this mixed-method research suggests that the proposed IBID process is clear and detailed, and that it can be most relevant for customer driven, corporate or product/service brands, especially in the retainment phase, where customers and brands share a personal dialogue trough their websites. This new IBID process seems furthermore most relevant for brand designers and brand owners especially in marketing, branding, communication and design functions. It is therefor concluded that the IBID process could in principle help brand designers to narrow the gap between offline and online brand expression, and improve the interactive brand identity experience. Future research can focus on exact implementation of the proposed IBID process, e.g. guidelines and implementations for specific interactive brand identity design practises. © Ralph Stuyver 8
  9. 9. TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN STATEMENT OF ORIGINAL AUTHORSHIP I hereby certify that this thesis is my original work, created specifically for the purpose of obtaining a Masters of Design Management title. At no times this thesis has been reproduced from any person or legal entity without the proper acknowledgements, nor have I committed plagiarism to my knowledge. I further state that I have personally carried out the research and investigations and finally achieved at what you are about to read. However, if any of the referenced authors feel that they have been incorrectly paraphrased or interpreted, please contact me at the below mentioned address. All figures and tables have been created specifically for this thesis, with the exception of the cover image, for which a written permission is granted by the owner: materialise-mgx.com, Belgium. Furthermore I want to state that most authors mentioned here are included for their specific line of thought, and at no place I want to restrict those authors to only one singular place in my IBID process. In fact, most of the authors have significant contributions to many different areas in my field of interest. Amsterdam, 25 June 2006 Ralph Stuyver, ralph@realaudience.nl © Ralph Stuyver 9
  10. 10. TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This thesis could not have been written without all of the help and support of many friends, colleges, experts and other dear people. I like to thank Marco Bevolo, design director at Philips Design and my thesis supervisor. Marco critically challenged my ideas, thoughts and findings, and gave access to relevant people and information. But above all he supported me in his own personal style, and I hope we can continue our lively (lunch)discussions about brands, cultures, innovations, inventions, interactions and the good food. Thanks to Nyenrode Business Universiteit and all of the people (previously) working for INHOLLAND Graduate School. A very special thanks goes out to Jos van der Zwaal, Rik Riezenbosch, Schelte Beltman and Aart Goud for setting up, providing high quality content, coordinating and trying to manage this dynamic MDM programme. A special thanks also goes to the inspirational main lectors Ralf Beuker, Marco Bevolo, Frans Joziasse, Rob van Gullik and Jos van der Zwaal. And a very warm thank you goes to Marije Duijf and Barbara Vlot for providing and solving the many important daily MDM issues. A big thanks also goes to all the people I spoke to, interviewed, had lively discussions with, that provided me information, visions, experiences, business cases, helped me, motivated me, challenged me and truly inspired me: Jurgen Baart (Clockwork), Eugene Bay (VBAT), Joke van Beek (University of Utrecht), Gert Hans Berghuis (Fabrique), Edo van Dijk (Eden), Jeroen van Erp (Fabrique), Eileen van Essen (Identitydoctor), Tirso Frances (dietwee), Monique Fransen (Eden), Paul Gardien (Philips Design), Marlon Heckman (Clockwork), Rik Heijmen (Satama/Oer), Willem Kars (Metrostation), Dingeman Kuilman (Premsela), Michiel Lammertink (dietwee), Sophia Lancia (Lancia Automobili), Joost van Liemt (.bone), John Lippinkhof (Design Platform Eindhoven), Erwin van Lun (Mensmerk), Monique Mulder (Mattmo), Frederik Nijsingh (Mattmo), Paul van Ravestein (Mattmo), Rik Riezenbosch (BrandGenetics), Mitch Roedoe (Qi), Matthijs Tammes (Mattmo), Koen Verhagen (.bone), Piet Westendorp (Delft University of Technology), Elma Wolschrijn (Eden), Jos van der Zwaal (TakePart); my Master of Design Management cohort 3 colleagues and soul-mates: Erik Roscam Abbing, Verena Baumhögger, Marc van Bokhoven, Katja Claessens, Barbera Evers, Kees de Vos, Madeline Maingay, and my other dear MDM colleges: Alfred Jansen, Ada van Dijk, Joris Funcke, Rob Mulder and Edwin Rooseman. And above all, I want to thank Ilse Verstijnen, just, for everything. © Ralph Stuyver 10
  11. 11. TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN 1. INTRODUCTION Today, the critical first contact users have with a brand is usually via it’s website. Their positive online experience affects their brand image and attitude in every context, including those offline (Bradford, 2004). Moreover, competitive brands are only one mouseclick away, even for loyal customers. Meanwhile there is a clear shift in media strategy and budgets from above-the-line mass communication towards integrated online dialogues. So, how will brands embrace this new reality, and what will be the added value of interactive brand design? Brand- and trend analysts see that future users want much more interactivity with the brand, across different channels, at times they desire. Future users demand a shorter, quicker and more direct brand interaction. Business decision makers regard ‘the way firms interact with customers’ as the area of greatest change between now and 2010 (Franklin, 2005). This greatly impacts their business strategy and brand-, communication- and design- strategies. While most traditional media were designed for the specific aim of one-way mass communication (monologue media) and hence provided poor means for feedback, the internet and other digital media were intentionally designed for two-way communication (dialogue media) and interaction. So the question is: how can today’s companies better express their brand identity online? What aspects will enhance the online brand identity, how to integrate it with the offline brand identity, and how to cross- functionally design it? Does the process of interactive brand development fundamentally differ from offline brand development, or is online ‘just another brand channel’? And what can be the design implications for brand identity owners and brand design agencies in creating, expressing and managing interactive brands? While ample literature shows the contribution of design to offline brand identity expression, there is little written about its specific contribution to interactive brand identity expression. Early research indicates that creating an effective interactive brand expression “is far more complex than the application of line- extension methods” and “what is needed is a new interactive brand development process” (Mauro, 2001). This thesis tries to find answers to the above questions, and the main problem appears to be that most firms have an articulated offline brand identity, but most of them under-express their brand identity online. A theoretical framework for Interactive Brand Identity Design (IBID) will be developed, based on the literature review combined with ideas of main brand identity practitioners and researchers. This framework will then be tested on a number of Dutch offline and online brand identity design practitioners by means of questionnaires and interviews, and its usefulness for online brand identity designers will be evaluated. 1.1 PROBLEM FIELD Current research shows that today most brands have an articulated offline brand identity expression, yet most firms under-articulate their brand identity online (Letts, 2003). Forrester recently reported that only 15 percent of the researched US global brands scored good on online brand expression, yet most decision makers rated ‘building the brand’ of near critical importance for their websites (Manning, 2005). © Ralph Stuyver 11
  12. 12. TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN Research also shows that the way consumers experience the online brand strongly influences their brand image and purchasing behaviour (Bradford, 2004). While trend research shows that online channels will gain importance (as compared to TV and radio); the way future firms interact and create value with customers will be crucial (Prahalad & Ramaswamy, 2004; Franklin, 2005); design will play a strong role in the differentiation of brands and products; and the way firms handle ICT is critical for their future success (van Dijk, 2004; Franklin, 2005). If design can positively affect interactive brand expression, then why is there still such a big gap between the aim and the reality of interactive brand identity expression? 1.2 PROBLEM STATEMENT To summarise the above described problems, one could state that firms have an articulated offline brand identity expression (C, see Figure 1), yet most of them under-articulate their brand identity online (D), while most consumers today interact with the online brand on a near daily basis. Or, more compactly written: “There is an unwanted gap between the offline and the online brand identity expression” 1.3 RESEARCH APPROACH This research aims to narrow this gap between offline and online brand identity expression, by researching why it exists, what the difference is between offline and online brand identity expression (BàC ∩ BàD in Figure 1), how online brand identity could be designed (B), what strategic design resources (A) possibly hamper an articulated online brand identity expression (D), and what the result could be for the users (E). Figure 1. Conceptual Research Model BRAND IDENTITY BRAND IDENTITY BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN FACTORS EXPRESSION (BIE) EXPERIENCE PHASES Design OFFLINE Assets OFFLINE BIE A C aspects CHANNELS Firm Strategic B DESIGN User Strategy Resources PROCESS E Experience D ONLINE BIE ONLINE aspects Design Competencies ENVRONMENTAL FACTORS (F) Based on Hamel’s (2002) business model, internal design factors will be researched, i.e. design processes as strategic resources (AB, in Figure 1), as well as external factors, e.g. changes in user behaviour (E), the environment, media, communication and technologies (F). The research specifically focuses on online brand identity expression through websites (D), with brand identity designers (agencies) as primary stakeholders. © Ralph Stuyver 12
  13. 13. TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN 1.3.1 Research Questions Based on the above described problem statement and research approach, a first set of research questions were formulated about Brand Identity Expression (BIE): RQ1: “Why is there a big gap between online and offline brand identity expression?” RQ2: “How can this gap be reduced?” The literature review indicated that possible answers on the first two research questions could be found in a new process for Interactive Brand Identity Design (IBID), since most existing identity design processes were still mainly one-way communication processes, based on monologue, mass-media channels. Therefor, this thesis will propose a new process, which could reduce the gap between online and offline brand identity expression. The primary research will specifically focus on the following research questions: RQ3: Is the proposed IBID process clear and detailed enough? (content) RQ4: Is the proposed IBID process relevant for brands, users and brand phases? (context) RQ5: Is the proposed IBID process relevant for brand identity designers? (target group) RQ6: Does the proposed IBID process enable cross-functional communication (function) RQ7: Can the proposed IBID process be used in practice? (applicability) 1.3.2 Literature Review In order to find possible answers to the first two research questions, the literature review will focus on: • External changes in consumer behaviour, the business environment, technological, sociological trends and changes in media characteristics (subsection 2.1) • Offline brand identity properties, where main identity principles are described (subsection 2.2) • Online brand identity properties, where unique website characteristics are described (subsection 2.3) • Existing brand identity processes, where processes and ideas for brand identity design by main authors will be compared and evaluated (subsection 2.4) • Design factors, where mainly design processes as strategic resources are reviewed (subsection 2.5) The literature review will focus on brand identity expression through websites, and how processes for brand identity expression could contribute specifically to interactive brand identity design. The conclusions of the literature review lead to the proposal of a new design process, which is the focus of the primary research. 1.3.3 Primary Research Since the literature review reveals that there is a lack of apt design processes for interactive brand identity design, this thesis proposes a new interactive brand identity design (IBID) process, which will be the focus of the primary research. This IBID process will be evaluated by a structured questionnaire (quantitative) and open interviews (qualitative) with brand identity design experts from Dutch design agencies. Research © Ralph Stuyver 13
  14. 14. TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN questions 3, 4 and 5 will be answered by the IBID process and its evaluation in the primary research. 1.4 PURPOSE, OBJECTIVES AND DELIMITATIONS The research aims to find answers as to why companies under-articulate themselves through online media (websites) while usually fully expressing their brand identity offline, and to find better ways to express a brand identity through interactive media. In order to achieve these objectives, a new IBID process is proposed and evaluated by experts: brand identity design agencies. The primary research focuses on brand identity design agencies, so the proposed IBID process is not intended for direct use beyond this scope. The research also tries to apply the theoretical (from literature) and practical (from interviews) knowledge to the practise of interactive brand identity design for webdesign agencies. The IBID process is specifically researched with respect to it usefulness in daily brand identity design practise. The reader is referred to Chapter 5 for comments and restrictions regarding this issue as provided by the interviewees. 1.5 THESIS OUTLINE This first Chapter introduced the thesis, and described the problem field, the problem statement, the research approach and research questions. It also provided the objectives and delimitations (see Figure 2). Figure 2. Thesis outline and Chapters RESEARCH CONTEXT CHAPTER 1 PROBLEM DEFINITION & RESEARCH QUESTIONS CHAPTER 1 RQ 3 RQ 4 RQ 5 RQ 6 RQ 7 2 RQ 1 RQ 2 METHODOLOGY 4 2 LITERATURE REVIEW PRIMARY RESEARCH 5 3 FRAMEWORK: IBID PROCESS ANALYSIS & RESULTS 5 THESIS CONCLUSIONS CHAPTER 6 THESIS RECOMMENDATIONS CHAPTER 6 The second Chapter contains a literature review based on the first two research questions, and concludes that a new design process might answer the first two research questions. In the third Chapter such a design process will be described, which will form the main subject of the primary research. In the fourth Chapter the research methodology is described for finding answers on research questions 3 until 7. In Chapter five, the results are analysed and presented. In final Chapter six, the conclusions for the research on questions 3 until 7are provided, in combination with research questions 1 and 2, and recommendations are given. © Ralph Stuyver 14
  15. 15. TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN 1.6 DEFINITIONS Most definitions of terms will be given in the following chapters. However, some general terms need to be defined beforehand, because these terms are not explicitly explained in the thesis: • Firm: the organisation as the origin and responsible for creation and/or delivery of products and values. • Products: all of the physical and digital objects, environments and services, the firm offers to the users. • Users: any legal entity, group or individual that can affect or is affected by the firm • Values: all of the firms principles and qualities that are manifest to the users, and all of the users principles and qualities that are manifest to the firm. The choice for the term ‘user’ instead of e.g. ‘stakeholder’ is made in order to underline the active role that most of today’s stakeholders have with the firm. 1.7 CONCLUSIONS In this first chapter an introduction was given about the thesis research, the problem field, problem statement, research questions and research approach. It described the scope of the research, its aims, the structure of this thesis, and it provided key definitions that are not given elsewhere in the thesis. Next chapter two will present a literature research of the first two research questions: RQ1 “Why is there a big gap between online and offline brand identity expression?” and RQ2 “How can this gap be reduced?”. Chapter 2 will also give a theoretical background and work definitions of the main elements of the research. © Ralph Stuyver 15
  16. 16. TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN 2. THEORETICAL BACKGROUND This Chapter will describe the most relevant literature and authors for this thesis, regarding: • Trends and changes (external factors; section 2.1) • Offline brand identity aspects (section 2.2) • Online brand identity aspects (section 2.3) • Existing brand design processes (section2.4) • Design management & processes (section 2.5) The theoretical background forms the basis for this thesis, and Chapter 2 will summarise and conclude on the findings in section 2.6. Based on these conclusions, a new process for Interactive Brand Identity Design (IBID) will be proposed in the next Chapter 3, which forms the subject of the primary research. 2.1 TRENDS AND CHANGES 2.1.1 Globalisation, market saturation and product commoditisation Because of the globalisation, the number of newly entering brands in combination with the already high number of locally existing brands, has lead to an overcrowded market of products and services (Kapferer, 2001). However, this has not lead to an increased quality (Prahalad & Ramaswamy, 2004). Furthermore, traditional product features and attributes are no longer sufficient to differentiate the firm or meet the new needs (Andrews, 2004).The blurring of national boundaries therefor has fuelled product commoditisation, and market saturation (Rijkenberg, 2005). Competition between brands has changed too. Especially recently in Europe a global opening of boundaries of people, goods and labour increased the rivalry between brands (Fombrun & van Riel, 2003) and new competitors come from complete different market segments or even industries (Buschman & Schavemaker, 2004). The media are also changing. Most western consumers have been overloaded by TV, radio and printed ads (Fombrun & van Riel, 2003). As a result, some media became less effective and “advertising has hit a brick wall” (Lindstrom, 2005, p.16). Kapferer concludes “Today we have 1001 product variations within one product range, 1001 media channels and 1001 different types of consumers” (Adformatie 52, 2004). 2.1.2 Monologue & dialogue communication The direction of communication has changed too. Modern communication facilities such as the internet and mobile phones, made consumers no longer passive recipients of one-way targetting from companies. Instead, monologue communication is supplemented by two-way communication. Or, as Prahalad & Ramaswamy (2004, p.13) put it: “communication once flowed almost entirely from companies to consumers. Now consumer feedback is beginning to overwhelm the voice of the company“. In their opinion firms are not prepared for this feedback that needs a totally different kind of communication infrastructure. Brandt (2003) contents that two-way communication will become the essence. He also stresses that this two- way communication should be considered as a natural ongoing dialogue that is “characterised by equality © Ralph Stuyver 16
  17. 17. TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN and acceptation” of which “the expressions are authentic and recognisable from a shared value pattern” (ibid., p.20). It is clear that monologue communication will grow towards a dialogue with people, which was even underlined by the worldwide advertising agency Wieden + Kennedy (Vincent, 2002). 2.1.3 Active, informed and networked users The content of the dialogue not just concerns feedback on existing products as stated above. From the end of the 20th century, design agencies suddenly found people knocking on their doors asking to design new products for them “telling them what they wanted and how much they wanted to pay for it” (van Erp, 2004). And it is not just two-way communication between customers and companies. Customers communicate with other customers too. Prahalad & Ramaswamy (2004, p.2) see a shift “in the role of the consumer –from isolated to connected, from unaware to informed, from passive to active”. The internet has created a class of almost perfectly informed citizens (Hamel, 2002). The drawback of unlimited information access is that it makes it more difficult for them to distinguish between different firms qualities (Fombrun & van Riel, 2003). In the Netherlands, most citizens have an internet connection at home (75%) or at work (91%), mostly via broadband, and most citizens (92%) have one or more mobile phones (CBS, 2004). These connected, informed and active citizens put high pressure on firms to be transparent and truthful towards their stakeholders. "In an Internet-connected, media-saturated world, developing high negative visibility can happen overnight -witness the Enron-Worldcom executive scandals" (Fombrun & van Riel, 2003, p.107). Most brands were born during the era of incomplete and imperfect information and they used to be in control of the mass media. But due to the internet, the power balance will shift from the brand to the consumers, leading to the rise of consumer power in their transactions and relationships with brand on the Web (Kapferer, 2001). The connected, informed and active users therefor increasingly control the dialogue. 2.1.4 Individualisation, customisation and personalisation The western world consumer individualises and is in search for brands and products that can support his own identity (Rijkenberg, 2005). Consumers increasingly dislike predefined lifestyles, and want to create their own world by combining all sorts of styles and brands. Mass consumption will change from one product for many towards one individual chooses from a plenitude of experiences (ibid.). Three levels of personalisation were found. On a first level, users can individualise products and services by selecting from a number of firm-defined options (e.g. choosing between different coloured products or combinations). On a second level, customisation can take place as a support for an individual experience. But often, this kind of customisation suits the firms supply chain rather than the users unique desires and preferences (Prahalad & Ramaswamy, 2004) thereby regarding the user more as a 1:1 ‘marketing target’. The third level will allow personalisation of interactions. Here, the user can engage in a meaningful brand experience and create relevant personal brand values and stories together with the firm (co-creation). Experience environments such as (flagship) stores, theme parks but certainly also websites, allow for such personalisation. These environments allow individual users to interact with the environment, and support individual users to change in relation to time and events (Prahalad & Ramaswamy, 2004). Designing such an experience environment in which a multitude of different users can enjoy a truly personalised experience © Ralph Stuyver 17
  18. 18. TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN becomes therefor a complex, but important task. Personalisation is key to individual experiences, and it will put the user at the heart of the value creation process, as will be explained further below. 2.1.5 Multi-channeling users Users make increasingly use of multiple channels. Research shows that 80% of all Dutch consumers orient across different channels before they buy, and 50% of all Dutch consumers are fully multi-channelled in both the orientation- as well as the buying-process (MarketResponse, 2005). They use these multiple channels to interact with the brand, and most Dutch citizens are connected to the internet. Some individual multi-channel paths for orientation, buying and using, across offline and online channels and phases, are shown in Figure 3, below: Figure 3. Multi channel user paths based on de Wilde (2004) The relative importance of interactive media therefor will grow, which will put more emphasis on delivering relevant brand experiences across a multitude of channels. Online channels can support all of the different brand phases in many ways, as is shows in Table 1. Some online channels are more suitable for the earlier phases, but websites in general can suit all phases of the branding process. Table 1. Online channels and phases online channels E-mail marketing • • • • • Database marketing • • • • Online advertising • • Mobile marketing • • • • Search engin. optimalis. • • Website(s) • • • • • based on Kars (2003) 2.1.6 User-centric brand experiences The active, informed, networked and multi-channeled users that require personalised value interactions, © Ralph Stuyver 18
  19. 19. TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN have their effects on how companies express their brands. The firm’s focus will need to shift from firm- centric supply/demand, towards user-centric experiences: “the experience is the brand” (Prahalad & Ramaswamy, 2004, p. 132). Future brands will evolve through personalised experiences and new user-firm interactions, as is shown in Figure 4. Figure 4. Towards user-centric experiences FROM FIRM-CENTRIC SUPPLY/DEMAND Suppliers Firm Channels ERP, CRM, SCM Consumer segments TOWARDS USER-CENTRIC EXPERIENCES Nodal Firm Nodal Firm Individual Nodal User Firm EXPERIENCE ENVIRONMENT USER COMMUNITIES Based on Prahalad & Ramaswamy (2004, p.97) 2.1.7 Co-creation of values Prahalad & Ramaswamy (2004) see the firm-user interaction as the locus of value creation, and individual co-creation experience as the basis for value. Multiple channels will be the gateways to experiences, and the firms infrastructure must support heterogeneous experience co-creation. Finally, according to Prahalad & Ramaswamy, the firms core competence will be based on experience networks including user communities. There has to be a clear focus on the co-creation of values of the firm with the user (Prahalad & Ramaswamy 2004; Bevolo, 2005). Value can be defined as a co-created experience for a specific user, at a specific point in time, in a specific location, and in the context of a specific event. Increasingly complex patterns of firm- user interactions will emerge at every point in the firm-user network (ibid.), as is summarised in Figure 4. 2.1.8 The future of brands In the future, firms will allow the brand to be transformed by users, while brands transform users lives too (de los Reyes, 2002). Identities will move in a more dynamic direction, towards constant evolution and away from the five-year cycle (Kraft; in: Cheston, 2001). Brands will emphasise individual fulfilment of personal values and aspirations (Bevolo & Brand, 2003). Firms will build brands through personalised experiences and new interactions together with user communities, instead of the firm-centric staging (Prahalad & Ramaswamy, 2004) or pre-packaged user-experiences (Andrews, 2004). Future brands will evolve to complex interactions between the firm, people, culture and technology (Bevolo & Brand, 2003). 2.1.9 Trends: Conclusions The business context of most western firms shows high levels of instability and change. Due to the globalisation, modern communication means and other factors, there will be 1001 product variations within one category resulting in a market saturation and product commoditisation; there will be 1001 media © Ralph Stuyver 19
  20. 20. TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN channels resulting in media saturation and lowered effectiveness; and there will be 1001 different types of consumers (Kapferer, in: Adformatie 52, 2004). Monologue communication (from firm to consumers) will be enhanced by dialogue communication (between firms and users), across multiple channels. Users changed from isolated to connected, from unaware to informed and from passive to active, putting high pressure on firms to be transparent and truthful. The internet created a class of almost perfectly informed citizens and the power balance shifts from the brand to the user. Rijkenberg (2005, p.112) concludes “the consumer = the brand = the firm”; and Prahalad & Ramaswamy 2004, p.135) conclude the “firm = competitor = partner = collaborator = investor = consumer”, and Brandt et all. (2003, p.19) state that in a future approach “the sender will not be central, but the values shared with consumers and relations”. As western society individualises (level 1) and mass consumption moves towards individual choice of many experiences, customisation (level 2) will support the individual brand experiences. But to allow users to engage in a meaningful brand experience, the next level (3) will be the personalisation of interactions with the experience environment. The firms focus will have to shift from firm-centric supply/demand towards consistent user-centered experiences. The firm-user interaction will be the locus of the value creation process, and individual experiences will be the basis for value. Future brands will evolve from interactions between the firm, people, culture and technology, across multiple places in the firm-user network. All of the above information can be summarised in Eight Key Changes, see Table 2. In the next section we will specifically focus on offline brand identity expression. Table 2. Eight Key Changes THE ENVIRONMENT CHANGES (F) 1. Globalisation, Market saturation and Product Commoditisation 2. Monologue and Dialogue Communication THE USERS CHANGE (E) 3. Active, Informed and Networked users 4. Power-balance shifts from brand to user 5. Individualisation, Customisation and Personalisation 6. Multi-channeling users 7. User-centered Experiences 8. Value Co-creation © Ralph Stuyver 20
  21. 21. TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN 2.2 OFFLINE BRAND IDENTITY EXPRESSION There are many definitions of a brand. From very compact definitions as “an idea people live by” (Grant, 2002) or “a product/service + aura” (Ellwood, 2000, p.11), to the more elaborate: “incorporation of a combination of promises made to customers, based on the multiple experiences over time, delivered with a consistently high level of quality and value, that are perceived to be unparalleled relative to the competition, ultimately resulting in deep, trust-based relationships, which garners great amounts of loyalty and profits over time” (Davis & Dunn, 2002, p.15). Kotler (2000, p. 396) defined a brand as: “the name, associated with one or more items in the product line, that is used to identify the source of origin or character of the item(s)”. The American Marketing Association defines a brand as: “a name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them, intended to identify the goods and services (Guzmán, 2005, p. 404). Many authors describe their process of brand identity design. The most relevant ones for this thesis will be discussed in section 2.4. Most of these processes share some elements, but many differ on parts too, also depending on the authors view or ‘school’. At least three main schools were identified, which all have different definitions of a brand and brand identity. These will be described in subsection 2.2.1. Brands cover a wide spectrum from brand identity structures, through corporate brands and product brand, to brand width and depth, for a wide group of stakeholders. These are described in subsection 2.2.2. The perceived brand identity by stakeholders – the image and reputation – are described in subsection 2.2.3. Brand identity is experienced at the touchpoints, as will be described in subsection 2.2.4. Final conclusions about the key aspects of offline brand identity expression (Offline BIE) will be given in subsection 2.2.5. 2.2.1 Identity Schools Three main identity visions or ‘schools’ exist, mostly independent of each other (van Riel, 2003; van den Bosch 2005; Borja de Mozota, 2003), emphasising different aspects of corporate identity: 1) the design school, 2) the organisational school and 3) the communication school. These will be outlined below. 1. The design school has the longest tradition in corporate identity, and mainly concerns authors and practitioners in the field of design. One of the earliest was Ollins (1978), who defined corporate identity as “the totality of the way the organisation presents itself”, expressed in “the names, symbols, logos, colours and rites of passage which the organisation uses to distinguish itself, its brands and its constituent companies”. Authors of this school usually emphasised the visual expression and the symbolic qualities of the corporate identity. They also developed strategic choices for an identity structure (see section 2.2.2).. 2. The organisational school emphasises the organisational culture and changes the firm undergoes, and its implications on the corporate identity. Practitioners of this school are typically found internally in the firms organisation management functions and externally in change management and organisation consultancies. A widely used definition of corporate identity from the organisational school can be found by Birkigt and Stadler (1986; in: van Riel, 2003, p.42): “the planned and operational self-expression of a company, both internal and external, based on an agreed company philosophy”. This school added four new insights to the earlier design school (van Riel, 2003, p. 37): • Corporate identity involves more than visual and symbolic qualities alone. Birkigt & Stadler (1986) gave a corporate-identity mix of symbolic, communicative and behavioural aspects, with a central personality. © Ralph Stuyver 21
  22. 22. TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN • Corporate identity can be seen in many different ways dependant on the value (dimensions) that have been chosen to be most typical for the organisations identity. • There are five types of identity: the actual-, communicated-, conceived-, ideal- and desired corporate identity. This school added strategies for bridging the gap between the actual-, desired- and conceived. • Research methods for quantitative measurements of the corporate identity, next to –or in addition to – the already existing qualitative research methods. 3. The communication school This school was usually propagated by communication consultants and marketing- or advertising experts, emphasising the communication needed to express the chosen identity towards all internal- and external stakeholders. In the firm, this expertise is usually found in the PR-, marketing-communication and corporate-communication functions. A typical definition from the communication school can be found in Franzen & van der Berg (2001, in: Boer, 2003, p. 27): “Brand identity is the unique set of physical, social and mental components of a brand, being authentic, differentiating, central, sustainable and salient”. According to van Riel (2002, p. 38) the communication school developed and implemented a ‘sustainable corporate story’ and other ‘content driven messages’, and its contribution to the above schools is: • A clear process of execution of the corporate identity programme. • The translation of the chosen corporate identity aspects into paid publicity (advertisements) and unpaid publicity (public relations and public affairs). • A focus on the ‘red thread’ in the overall approach to the identity programme, integrating the symbolic, communicative and behaviour identity aspects, trying to bridge personnel activities and communication. In current research and practise, these three ‘schools’ somewhat overlap or flow into each other, and actual ‘schools’ are not found in reality either, they are spread over many business functions within the firm and its external agencies. But it is to the firms interest that all functions work together towards one integrated brand identity design, expression and experience. The take home message from this section is that a shared identity design process should be appreciated by design, organisation and communication schools. 2.2.2 Identity structures A brand identity is usually closely related to the way the firm is structured in a parent company, daughter companies and different units (or companies) active in different industries, categories or segments. According to Ollins (1989; 2002) the identity of most companies can be divided into three main identity structures: 1. monolithic identity, 2. endorsed identity, and 3. branded identity structures: • Monolithic identity: Everything the firm does has one name, one style and character, each subsidiary supports the other. People primary think of the firm, and secondary of its products or services (Figure 5). Figure 5. Monolithic identity structure (after van den Bosch, 2005) © Ralph Stuyver 22
  23. 23. TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN • Endorsed identity: Several activities take place under a common name, and the parent company allows subsidiaries to operate under their own names. The parent endorses its subsidiaries with the corporate visual style (Figure 6, left example) or only by an added corporate name (Figure 6, right example). BLOGGO BLOGGO BROWNS SMITHS JONES CLARKS Engineering Chemicals aerospace plastics BROWNS SMITHS JONES CLARKS Engineering Chemicals Aerospace Plastics part of BLOGGO part of BLOGGO part of BLOGGO part of BLOGGO Figure 6. Two different Endorsed identity structures (after van den Bosch, 2005) • Branded identity: The parent company works with several ‘child’ identities, visually unrelated to each other and to the parent. Some companies separate their corporate identity from the brand identities they own. Those brands have names, identities, reputations and personalities of their own (Figure 7). BLOGGO BROWNS SMITHS JONES CLARKS Engineering Chemicals aerospace plastics Figure 7. Branded identity structure (after van den Bosch, 2005) Boer (2003, p.102) added two extra levels in between (see Figure 8): • Semi-monolithic identity: Restricted uniformity with the parent identity, like Canon or Philips. • Multi-branded identity: Combination of two (or more) parent identities, like Sony-Ericsson. Figure 8. Framework for brand identity structures Siemens Philips Hi, Sony- Motorola by KPN Ericsson Monolithic Semi-monolithic Endorsed Multi-branded Single-branded Based on Boer (2003, p.103) The width of a brand is defined by the number of product categories the brand is connected to. The depth of a brand defines the amount of variants within one category (Boer, 2003, p. 98). Some brands are very wide, but not very deep. Other brands can be very small, yet deep. Kapferer (1992) differentiates between range-brands (width) and line-brands (depth). The above framework for brand identity structures (Figure 8) facilitates comparing different brand identities. Its two extremes, the corporate brand on the left and the product brand on the right, interact with their stakeholders in different ways (Kapferer, 1995). Usually corporate brands address a broader audience (more © Ralph Stuyver 23
  24. 24. TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN stakeholders) than product brands (Cheston, 2001). Kapferer (1995) made an stakeholder analysis for the corporate brand ICI and its product brand Tactel of the relative weights for all stakeholders, see Figure 9: Figure 9. Stakeholders weights for corporate/product brands CORPORATE BRAND PRODUCT BRAND share- financial gouvern schools local interest press/ suppliers personnel partnerscustomers holders market ment community groups media Based on Kapferer (1995, p.222) There appears to be some confusion between Dutch authors about naming both extremes of the brand identity structures, and some terms for both extremes are listed in Table 3. Many Dutch authors name ‘corporate identity’ and ‘brand’ as two opposing extremes. This can lead to confusion. The division in ‘corporate identity’ and ‘brand’ could originate from different views between different schools (Bos, 2002). But today, the peaceful co-existence between the two schools is perceived to be to the benefit of the client (Bos, 2002). For clarity reasons, this thesis uses ‘corporate brand’ to indicate the left side of the brand identity framework of Figure 8, and ‘product brand’ at the right side. And when the brand identity is concerned, the thesis uses ‘corporate brand identity’ (left side) and ‘product brand identity” (right side). Table 3. Naming issues: Corporate Brand and Product Brand Corporate Brand is also called: Product Brand is also called: THE IDENTITY THE BRAND Corporate Identity Brand Identity Corporate brand Product brand Organisation Identity Brand 2.2.3 Identity, Image and Reputation Where Identity describes the authentic constituents of the brand that make it identifiable, unique and coherent, the image could be described as the way users imagine a certain product, brand, political figure or country. Image results from users decoding all signals that the brand sends through its products, services and communications (Kapferer, 1996). Image was historically based on communicating the product brand image, and was later also used for the corporate brand image (van Riel, 2003). Users can have different images of different elements of the brand: the product, the business (unit), the corporation (company), branch or country of origin (see Figure 10). The image is formed by all individual associations as received over time, primarily based on 1) the users direct personal experiences with the brands touchpoints (van Riel, 2003). However, people generally do not experience all different brand touchpoints, and people are personally involved with a limited number of touchpoints only. Therefor, the information received stems also from 2) friends and colleagues, and 3) paid information (advertising) and unpaid information (PR). These strongly influence the users image too. But today, product associations are more strongly influenced by other information than product advertising (van Riel, 2003). © Ralph Stuyver 24
  25. 25. TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN Figure 10. Image, Reputation and Interaction REPUTATION AS INTERACTION BETWEEN BRAND - USER CHARCTERISTICS INTERACTION INGREDIENT PRODUCT INDIVIDUAL USERS BUSINESS CORPORATE BRANCH COUNTRY OF ORIGIN Based on van Riel (2003, p.90, p.111) and Kapferer (2002) Reputation, according to van Riel (2003), is the users overall evaluation of all of the different images and perceptions as compared to competitors. Reputation results from all interactions between the characteristics of the brand, and the characteristics of the individual user (van Riel, 2003). This reputation can be measured e.g. by the Reputation Quotient™ (Harris Interactive/RI), that measures how users see the: • Social image – How socially en environmentally responsible is the brand? • Emotional Image – How does the brand appeal to users, makes them feel? Do users admire it? • Product Image – High quality, innovative, value for money products and services • Leadership Image – What is the brands vision of the future, market opportunities and leadership? • Financial Image – What is the brands financial performance? What is its growth? • Workplace Image – Does the firm supply a well-managed, good place to work ? The image/reputation can be adjusted in two ways: either by changing its constituents (product-, business-, corporate, etc.) or by changing the user communication, in order to change the users beliefs, ideas, feelings and impressions (van Riel, 2003, p.111). Furthermore, image consists of two distinct parts (Kapferer, 1992): • Reflection – Not the target buyer, but how users can use the brand to convey their own identity • Self Image – The users own internal mirror, the users inner relationship with the brand Based on the above, in combination with the conclusion that the power balance shifts from the brand to the user (see subsection 2.1.3), we conclude that both images contain how the brand sees itself and its users, and how the users see themselves and their brands. We envision four image types: 1) Brand SelfImage: how the brand sees itself 2) Users Reflection: how users like to see the brand and identify with it 3) Users SelfImage: how users like to see themselves, 4) Brand Reflection: how the brand likes to see the users and identify with them. 2.2.4 Touchpoints Davis & Longoria (2003) state that every brand has between 30 and 100 touchpoints, which can be defined as “all of the different ways the brand interacts with, and makes impressions on, customers, employees and all other stakeholders” (Davis & Dunn, 2002, p.58). Every time a stakeholder interacts with the brand, an impression of the brand will result, whether the firm wants it or not (ibid.). Actively influencing the design of each brand touchpoint can strengthen the brand, give a higher degree of customer satisfaction, higher loyalty, better reputation, higher levels of profitability and a firmer grip of the brands destiny. © Ralph Stuyver 25
  26. 26. TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN Figure 11. Brand Touchpoint Wheel Loyalty Advertising Programs Viral mkt Newsletter UserBlogs DirectMail & Billing eLetter iAdvertising PR PR E- CE My Pages U N S eGames eMail E SearchEO Blogs E FAQ I R Customer Updates MyAccount Coupons& EX PE Service eMail Incentives PE USE EX RIENCE PERSONAL Downloads Manuals Communities MyCoupons BRAND live Webcam EXPERIENCE Product/ MyPrice Deals & Service VoIP MyShop Promotions Use Chat Messager SMS Product Sponsored Profile Configuration Content C E matching PU N R SelfService CHA RIE S E E X P E Quick3D Product/ Salesperson Peer rating Pano360 Service eShop Assortment P-O-P Purchase Displays Environment Based on Davis & Longoria (2003) and Davis & Dunn (2002) Based on Davis & Dunn (2002), above Figure 11 shows some offline touchpoints (in blue), and we added a number of online touchpoints (in white). We envision that from the outer side towards the inner side, the relevance of the experience increases as the level of personalisation and interactions increases. This will be explained in more detail in subsection 2.5.3, on page 45. Davis & Dunn (2002) name two phases ‘pre- purchase experience ’ and ‘post-purchase experience’. We prefer a more user centered approach so we’d rather name these the ‘pre-use experience’ and ‘use-experience’ phases. Determining the relative importance of each touchpoint is usually a task for a strategic- and brand/ marketing manager of the firm rather than for a webdesign manager. However, since webdesign managers – within a firm or in an external webdesign agency –are most familiar with the existence and possibilities of these new interactive touchpoints, the choice of touchpoints and the incorporation of the brand vision, positioning, identity, design, development, testing and tracking, should preferable be a joint effort. Prahalad & Ramaswamy (2004, pp. 37-40) urge firms to understand the difference between ‘company think’ and ‘consumer think’ in order to be successful in the 21st century, see Figure 12. Many firms were misled by company think and cluttered the market with feature rich but experience poor products. This mismatch between company think and consumer think specifically arises at the touchpoints, or ‘Points of Interaction’ , “where choice is exercised and the consumer interacts with the firm to co-create an experience” (ibid.). It is crucial for firms to deliver consistent and professional interactions with all stakeholders at all times, across all points of interaction (Davis & Dunn, 2002), and to deliver a constant quality of experiences (Prahalad & Ramaswamy, 2004). Success in operationalising the brand strongly depends on controlling these critical interactions that brands have with all stakeholders (Davis & Dunn, 2002). © Ralph Stuyver 26
  27. 27. TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN Figure 12. Points of Interaction: Company-think vs. Consumer-think. Company Think Consumer Think Desires R&D The co-creation of value exposes the disconnect between company-think and consumer-think Life stage Logistics at points of consumer- company interaction Technology Distribution Socialisation platforms Hopes Word-of-mouth Family Systems Call centers integration Points of Needs Lifestyle CRM Channels Channels ERP Sales Interaction Manufacturing Expectations Workstyle Customer service Communities Aspirations Procurement Marketing Education Engineering Privacy Prahalad & Ramaswamy (2004, p. 38). 2.2.5 Offline BIE: Conclusions There are many definitions of a brand, strongly depending on the ‘school’ or view towards the brand. Three main schools were identified: the design school, the organisational school and the communication school. In order to overcome an apparently Dutch confusion of terms, we prefer to use the terms ‘corporate brand’ and ‘product brand’, as the two extremes of the brand identity structures. Although the design process for corporate brands or product brands is quite different (Cheston, 2001), and the diversity of stakeholders with which the two brand structures communicate differs too (Kapferer, 1999; Ind, 1997), all brand structures do have in common that they interact with various stakeholders. Websites, and other forms of interactive communication, can be regarded interactive touchpoints or interactionpoints. Choosing and optimising the different offline and online brand touchpoints should be an integrated effort of the firms strategic- and brand/marketing manager and the (web) design manager. For successful brands of the future, in order to maintain a consistent quality of experiences, it is crucial to design, deliver and manage consistent interactions with all stakeholders at all times, across all points of interaction. Success in expressing the brand identity depends on controlling these critical interactionpoints. Next section 2.3 focuses on online brand identity expression (online BIE), where interaction plays a key role. © Ralph Stuyver 27
  28. 28. TOWARDS A PROCESS FOR INTERACTIVE BRAND IDENTITY DESIGN 2.3 ONLINE BRAND IDENTITY EXPRESSION It is remarkable to see how many books are written on brand, identity and communication, yet very few handle the specific subject of interactive brand identity for websites. Brand identity as a communication process will be described in sub-section 2.3.1. In sub-section 2.3.2 interactivity will be described, along with other unique properties of interactive brand identity. Three levels of interaction were found and described in subsection 2.3.3. The results of both subsections 2.3.2 and 2.3.3 were then combined into five key interactive brand identity aspects in subsection 2.3.4, and a preliminary definition of interaction is given. Subsection 2.3.5 concludes with the main findings about online brand identity aspects (online BIE). 2.3.1 Communication Communication can be divided into monologue communication (mainly one-way, see Figure 13) and dialogue communication (mainly two-way, see Figure 14). Figure 13. Monologue communication channels SENDER message RECEIVER (firm) (user) no/poor feedback Most mass media today, like TV, radio and print, were not designed for feedback between the sender and the receiver (van Lun, 2005, p. 21). This lack of feedback was regarded unfortunate, but inevitable (ibid.). Later attempts used some feedback means, like teletext, telephone or SMS, were still very poor in quality. Furthermore, the receivers identity was usually unknown (TV, radio) and feedback was cumbersome. Together with an increasing number of communication channels and advertisements, this resulted in an overflow of one-way communication (Lindstrom, 2005), media clutter (Cristol & Sealey, 2002), making most consumers anonymous. TV ads became dramatically less effective (Levi, 2005; Lindstrom, 2005; Ritson, 2003) and the viewed time per channel decimated (Booz, 2003; Forrester, 2005). In short: the monologue mass media were less and less effective in reaching people and triggering their attention (Bevolo, 2005). Figure 14. Dialogue communication channels Rich, pers. SENDER message RECEIVER ID = known ID = known Message history Message history channels Rich, pers. RECEIVER feedback SENDER Interactive media like the internet however, were intentionally designed for a dialogue (see Figure 14). Furthermore, internet is the only mass-communication medium that allows full interactivity (Ries & Ries, © Ralph Stuyver 28

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