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Hugo Boss New Concept Store in Milan: an Analysis of Customer Reactions

As a major subject, this paper addressed the profound renovation of retailing strategies in the upscale fashion industry and the gradual shift from promoting the product to capturing and retaining the customer through Experiential Marketing – cognitive communication through providing of experiences (Schmitt, 1999; Ben-Ze’ev A., 2000, and Elster J., 1999). The overcrowdness of the specific industry (Burns, Enright et al., 2007) and the perpetual search for differentiation (Porter, 1985) have been described as antecedents of this retail renewal. “The store has become the hero” . An assessment of the background served to demonstrate how this phenomenon is particularly pertinent in the Italian market, where the modern customer has the peculiar characteristics for appreciating an emotional approach, rather than an utilitarian one (Holbrook et al. 2001): for instance, his hedonism and individualism, and his poor time availability. In particular, Experiential Marketing was assumed to be effective when dealing with branding issues, such as a substantial lack of brand awareness and a weak brand image. With the intention of examining its effectiveness, the paper focuses on some limited areas of investigation, but still eligible to be extended to a broader context. Hugo Boss Italia has served as a perfect study case, given its peculiar branding issues that the paper was intending to address. The Concept Store – a multidimensional media delivering emotions (Pine, Gilmore, 1999) - has been investigated as a particular Experiential Marketing application, for recently arising as an interesting but yet not very well known branding tool. This has been defined as characterised by 4 elements: Structure, Assortment, Service and Interactions. Its theoretical effectiveness is immediately clear and further enhanced by an extensive review of the relevant literature. In particular, some propositions on the antecedents and consequences of brand awareness and brand image in retailing have been drawn. Brand awareness - the ability to recognise, or recall, that a brand is a member of a certain product category, and the ability to identify the brand under conditions of complexity and time pressure (Aaker, 1991) - antecedents have been found in information (Sharma et al., 2001), and store location and environment (Donovan, Rossier at al., 2006), whereas its main arisen consequence has been store loyalty (Reichheld, 2006). Brand image - a synthesis of a consumer’s brand perceptions which depends on the strength of the cognitive and emotional associations evoked by the brand, and even on the impact they have on each others (Keller, 1998) - antecedents have been found in service quality (Duckler, 2001), and “multisensoriality” of the store (Holbrook, 2001), whereas its main arisen consequence has been brand loyalty (Aaker, 1991; Keller, 1993). For enriching the latter evidence with a practical insight from real life, a research design is presented and the hypothesis are validated by means of an empirical study. served as research issue. In order to determine the Concept Store effectiveness with respect to the relevant two branding issues, the following interrelated research questions have been formulated: what is the impact of each Concept Store factor on brand awareness and brand image, and what are the retail antecedents and consequences of brand awareness and brand image. 12 in-depth interviews have been conducted on individuals that showed peculiarities that make them similar to the Hugo Boss target customer, through the use of Autodriving technique. Its results have been quantitatively and qualitatively analysed through the use of 3 different approaches: cluster analysis, concordance – KWIC analysis, and word frequency analysis. Key findings have been finally summarized in an empirical model.

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Hugo Boss New Concept Store in Milan: An Analysis of Customer Reactions. - 6 - ABSTRACT Given the profound renovation of retailing strategies in the upscale fashion industry inspired by its overcrowdness and need for perpetual innovation, Experiential Marketing has served as a new way of emotionally involving the customer for a more effective brand communication. After having drawn some theoretical propositions about the impact of retail elements on brand awareness and brand image, a research design has been presented by means of an empirical study. Aiming to examine the effectiveness of the Concept Store – Experiential Marketing application tool – on the two core concepts, the following interrelated research questions have been formulated: what is the impact of each Concept Store distinctive factor on brand awareness and brand image, and what are the retail antecedents and consequences of brand awareness and brand image. In particular, a real study case has served as an actual example of a worldwide successful company facing a low brand awareness and weak brand image in a specific geographical market: Hugo Boss in the Italian market. 12 in-depth interviews have been conducted and their results summarized in an empirical model. Interviewees’ profile has reflected the Hugo Boss target customer. Found antecedents of brand awareness are a coherent and consistent layout, which extensively communicates a single and unique concept, the Brand Universe; the presence of a relax area where customers can access information about the Brand Culture and consult some educational material; the providing of Entertainment Services, such as café/restaurant, or hair dresser/spa. Consequences of brand awareness are Store Loyalty and positive Word-of- Mouth. Found antecedents of brand image are a peculiar architectural structure (open space, large surface, city centre), the presence of relax area and Entertainment Services as above. Consequences of brand image are Brand Loyalty and Store Loyalty. Some managerial suggestions will conclude the paper: the Concept Store should be located in the Milan city centre, be a multiple floor and open space; it would be strategically relevant to keep the Hugo Boss well known product categories separated from the remaining

Laurea liv.II (specialistica)

Facoltà: Interfacoltà Scienzae della comunicazione - Economia

Autore: Sara Concetti Contatta »

Composta da 108 pagine.

 

Questa tesi ha raggiunto 1473 click dal 02/10/2008.

 

Consultata integralmente 2 volte.

Disponibile in PDF, la consultazione è esclusivamente in formato digitale.