Which NBA players redefined the middle position

Characteristics of brand management in the market for computer and video games



1 Object of the work and procedure

2 Basic contexts of the industry-specific brand analysis
2.1 brand understanding; Development and working definition
2.2 Identification of sector-related areas of influence on brand design
2.2.1 The influence of the “company” area on brand analysis
2.2.2 The influence of the “competition” area on brand analysis
2.2.3 The influence of the “Demander” area on brand analysis
2.2.4 The influence of the “product” area on brand analysis

3 Structural branding in the computer and video game industry
3.1 Sector-specific influences of the "Company" area
3.1.1 Company-specific understanding of the relevant market
3.1.2 Company resources
3.1.3 Brand transfer processes
Excursus: Model for determining compensation in brand transfer processes
3.1.4 Brand architecture
3.2 Sector-specific influences in the area of ​​"competition"
3.2.1 Demand-oriented competition strategy
3.2.2 Competitive Competitive Strategy
3.2.3 Stakeholder-oriented competitive strategy Competitive strategy in relation to society Competitive Strategy Regarding Trade The sales channel decision using the example of three selected alternatives
3.3 Sector-specific influences of the "Demander" area
3.3.1 Consumers as individuals
3.3.2 Consumers as a group
3.4 Industry-specific influences of the "Product" area
3.4.1 Service typology Object and service-oriented performance typology Information-economic performance typology
3.4.2 Online Games
3.4.3 Product categories
3.4.4 Packaging design




The concept of computer and video games in the present work can essentially be compared to that of the “screen games” by Fritz[1] as a collective term for computer games, video console games (= video games) and handheld[2] -Games are equated. Fehr adds: "Screen games are games that the players can influence and the course of which is determined by a computer program."[3]. A definition from a business perspective is:

Computer and video games (hereinafter referred to as CuV) are digital products that are subject to a charge, the primary use of which is to provide interactive entertainment for consumers.

This definition excludes freeware and shareware (free) games as well as educational games (whose service primarily consists of imparting knowledge), advertising games and infotainment games.

That in 1972 by Nolan Bushnell[4] "Pong" developed is considered the first computer game in the world, the aim of which was for one or two players to use the vertical movement of a bar to keep a "ball" from hitting the side of the screen. After that, computer games began their triumphal march from the USA and Japan and have long since reached Europe. In doing so, they have generated a market in Germany in a very short time that is already larger than the cinema market. While the total turnover of theatrical films in Germany in 2003 was still 850 million euros[5], it was already one billion euros for computer and video games[6]. The programmers have long since given up the marketing of the games and professional marketing strategies accompany every major new release. Sony Corporation has already had the marketing campaign for its new game "Ratchek & Clank" cost ten million dollars[7]. Given these numbers, it is of interest to examine the specifics of marketing in the CuV market in more detail, addressing a number of questions: What role do brands play in this market? What special features result from the requirements of this industry? Can a theoretical examination of factors influencing brand design explain the realities in practice and maybe even help to identify new approaches?

Another message from the CuV industry gives an indication of the topicality and importance of this topic for practice: Industry leader Electronic Arts spends ten million dollars on a TV and print campaign (plus additional expenses for the Internet campaign), "only" around the To communicate the reorganization of its brand architecture[8].

1 Object of the work and procedure

The present work deals with the consideration of the market for computer and video games in Germany from a brand-theoretical perspective. In a qualitative manner, it is examined to what extent industry-specific framework conditions affect the brand structure.

The market-specific framework conditions are divided into four categories; the sphere of influence of the company, the competition, the customer and the product. The effects on brand design are also linked to four areas. These are the brand carrier (developer, publisher or game), the brand personality (cognitive or emotional), the target group focus (rather broad or rather narrow) and the origin of the brand (indogenous or exogenous).

The first area of ​​brand design in which the framework conditions of the various areas (company, competition, customer and product) can be reflected is the brand carrier. A product can be in the foreground, a product group, the dealer or the manufacturer.

The second area corresponds to the brand character. A distinction is made here between a cognitive or an emotional orientation of the brand towards its environment.

The third area is the focus of brands. A narrow focus concentrates on a small group of customers, a broad one is aimed at a large group or even several.

The fourth area identifies the origin of the brand, whether it originated in the company or is even outside the company.

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Table 1: Overview of the schematic structure of the thesis

Source: Own illustration

Concerning the structure, this introduction is followed by the chapter "Basic context of the industry-specific brand analysis", which initially deals with a basic understanding of the brand. Subsequently, individual (as yet non-industry-specific) areas of influence on brand design are identified and examined in more detail. The following chapter deals with the application of the previously developed theoretical principles to the sample market of CuV. The four areas of influence are examined in the order company, competition, customer, product, as this, as will become clear, corresponds to a view from the general to the specific. This procedure was chosen because the knowledge of superordinate relationships becomes more important the more detailed the consideration becomes. The results of each chapter are summarized in the form of a table based on the template in Table 1. Figure 1 provides an overview of the interdependencies considered within the scope of the thesis.

Figure not included in this excerpt

Source: Own illustration

2 Basic contexts of the industry-specific brand analysis

2.1 brand understanding; Development and working definition

So much has been written about the essence of the brand, its characteristics and functions that it is all the more surprising how the current understanding of the brand is approaching its origins again. This is relatively undisputed in Domizlaff's work[9] to see. He vividly described the origins of brand thinking using the example of a local dealer and a traveling dealer. He also identified the head of the consumer as the central point of action of brands, in which the idea of ​​a brand alone should take shape and reduce uncertainty and decision-making complexity: “The crowd is happy when they first use name and shape instead of uncertainty can confidently use it as a mental hold in their imagination. "[10]. Restrictions that both Domzilaff and Mellerowicz made with regard to the status of the general understanding of marketing at the time with regard to the properties to be fulfilled by branded products (e.g. only finished products), however, only allow parts of their explanations to apply today[11]. The concept of positioning Ries / Trout, which is inseparable from brand policy today[12] also focuses on the fact that products occupy a certain position in the minds of the consumer and deals with ways of reinforcing or redesigning them. It is not yet recognized here that this can be used not only for existing products, but also for new products with considerable advantages. Definitions or brand understandings today focus on various aspects[13]. Sometimes brands are defined by their functions, as is the case with Koppelmann[14]Sometimes the focus is on the effect achieved with the consumer, as with Berekoven, who classifies everything that consumers describe or perceive as branded articles as such[15]. The cancellation of the reservation of brands for products as opposed to services or companies has already taken place here. This paves the way for questions relating to the connection of different types of brands - the topic of brand architecture will be examined in detail in the course of the work using examples. This approach also makes it clear what difficulties practical brand management has to struggle with if it is to create the same thing in the minds of many individuals with a single appearance.

The strategy-oriented approach of Haedrick / Tomczak[16], which, based on a situation analysis, describes the brand (brand management) as the entirety of the means to achieve the purpose (repurchase of the brand by the consumer), and thus comes very close to a competitive strategy (at Haedrich / Tomczak, brand = strategic business unit[17]) an approach that is too mechanistic and complaints about objectivity can be accused[18].

A brand can thus be summarized and appropriately shortened as "an unmistakable image of a product [, a person] or a service that is anchored in the psyche of the consumer"[19] (Additions by the author).

The goals of brand management are basically identical to the global corporate goals. These global goals include economic goals, which in turn can be achieved by achieving behavioral goals (Fig. 2). These behavioral science goals are on Brand knowledge instructed by the consumer as a basic requirement. This brand knowledge is through the Brand awareness and the Brand image operationalizable[20]. Brand awareness, subdivided into depth (how easily the brand comes to mind for consumers) and breadth (in which purchase or usage situations, consumers think of the brand) is the necessary condition for brand success, the brand image as the sufficient condition[21].

Figure not included in this excerpt

Figure 2: Target pyramid of brand management

Source: Esch 2003, p. 62

The behavioral science goals are pursued by the following Brand functions to be able to benefit[22]. They are generally to be understood as opportunities. The degree of utilization of each function depends on the quality of the implementation and external conditions. The brand should serve as an orientation aid through easy identifiability in order to differentiate the brand from others. Due to its awareness and reputation (image), it can inspire trust in order to reduce the perceived purchase risk of the consumer. This function becomes all the more important, the higher the perceived purchase risk of the consumer is or, in other words, the higher the proportion of trust properties (in contrast to search and experience properties) of a service[23]. This also supports the view that the responsibility for the performance is made clear by the marking[24]. The quality aspect that defines a brand also results in a competence or safety function that can be important for the consumer during the usage phase. Furthermore, a brand can provide additional psychological benefits. It can fulfill a prestige function for the consumer in the social environment, but it can also serve the consumer for self-realization regardless of the social structure. Overall, in addition to differentiating from other products and brands, it is about forming preferences among consumers.

From a company perspective, functions or opportunities can also be named. The sales-increasing effect is to be seen as a general function, whereby the emphasis here is on the long-term nature of the brand. Too often the view is still held that a brand is an operational instrument for increasing sales in the short term[25]. Brand loyalty can result in more consistent sales[26]. Large corporate brands always base their brand strength on one or more products that serve or have served as the basis of a positive company image. This allows the function of platform formation for new products or brands to be derived[27]. The starting point for a price premium or larger sales volumes can be set via the formation of preferences among consumers through independent profiling or positioning as well as a differentiation of offers from competitors. Targeted market cultivation by addressing individual market segments is possible through brands. These are internally homogeneous and externally heterogeneous groups of consumers who can be addressed by a brand that fulfills them on the basis of common benefits. Market entry barriers can also be built up through strong brands. In vertical competition, brands gain in importance with a multi-level distribution system for both manufacturers and retailers. Brands make it easier for the manufacturer to sell them into the trade, as they can offer secure sales, larger trade margins or image advantages. For the retail sector, there is the possibility of building up brands and supporting these brands in a targeted manner. Figure 3 summarizes the functions of the brand for buyers and suppliers.

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Figure 3: Functions of brands

Source: Own illustration

In order to be able to achieve the essential functions of the brand, the formation of preferences among consumers and the differentiation from the competition, a brand must be in the minds of the consumer positioned become. For this purpose, the ideal idea of ​​a service is determined within a demand segment and in one Positioning space shown. The decisive factor here is the survey of the dimensions relevant to the demand. On the one hand, one should not only think in terms of established dimensions; the inclusion of new dimensions enables, for example, the identification of new uses by the consumers in order to occupy a niche. On the other hand, there must be a clear focus on a few positioning properties. A brand quickly becomes implausible if it wants to stand for the latest, best and cheapest products. For this reason, a graphic positioning space is ideal, since it can comprise a maximum of three dimensions. This is also confirmed by the statement that the industry average, the overall positioning properties conveyed by all brands, is around six[28]. After the relevant property dimensions and the ideal position of the “perfect product” have been ascertained, the position of all brands in this space must be examined. In the best case, the distance between the examined brand and the ideal position must be smaller than that of the competing brands. It is also important to ensure that there is a sufficiently large distance from other brands in order to ensure the ability to differentiate. Furthermore, with regard to the distance to the ideal position, it has to be considered whether this originates from wrong ideas about the consumer wishes on the part of the company, or whether the brand is just “wrong” with the consumers. Merffert / Burmann's approach specifically deals with this problem by completely detaching the brand from performance and giving it a life of its own, as it were, by using Brand identity and Brand image speaks as self-image or external image. The brand identity can then be made tangible by presenting the brand as a personality[29]. The image is the perception of the brand held by the consumer, i.e. the impression he gets of the brand. This builds up only slowly, which can only be achieved through a temporal constancy of the brand identity. The reasons for this can be found in the human learning, memory and knowledge structures[30], as well as in the prevailing information and media overload[31].

When taking a detailed look at decision-making processes, one assumes the existence of a " evoked set of alternatives[32], an "awareness set"[33] or a "processed set"[34] which contains all the (brand) alternatives of a consumer that were spontaneously remembered and judged. The aim of the brand managers must be that the brand is included in this "set" as an alternative through the brand knowledge already mentioned.The knowledge is about cognitive networks[35] necessary, with the help of which consumers store information. In a simplified example, a coke can can be stored as “drink-caffeinated-tasty” for one consumer, while another has it stored in his cognitive network as a “symbol of globalism-environmentally harmful packaging-unhealthy”. The judged alternatives can now focus on brands within a Product category or to product categories that compete with one another for the consumer based on his current situation. The latter corresponds to the already mentioned attempt to create brands through new usage times[36] or purposes and a corresponding positioning from their product category and their previous positioning space.

Kotler / Bliemel[37] take a similar approach. They put the communicatively conveyed associations in the foreground, which can be found in the areas of properties, benefits, values, culture, personality and user identification of a brand[38]. With this conceptual approach to consumers as the target objects of any branding effort, the importance of their imagination, their psyche and their personal individuality are increasingly taken into account. This perspective is also important here because it gives rise to the concept of " Image transfer “, Which will be discussed in more detail in the course of the work. The following Figure 4 illustrates the relationships in a simplified manner.

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Figure 4: Relationship between brand identity, positioning and image

Source: based on Esch 2003, p. 87 with changes

In this context are still Personal brands mentioned as a phenomenon that although it has existed for a long time, it has not yet received sufficient attention from marketing theory. Not to be confused with testimonial advertising, in which known or unknown people are supposed to bring about a transfer to a brand, personal brands should rather be seen as the unity of brand and product, as is the case with music stars or professional athletes. That kind of service marks[39] could be seen as the most consistent form of the identity approach, in which the brand already has a personality per se.

Aaker examines the brand identity in even more detail, but without explicitly including the external image. The brand identity here consists of a concise sentence that reflects the brand essence and the extended brand essence, levels above, which become increasingly variable in terms of time and content[40]. What is interesting here is the requirement that the ideal brand should represent a consistent structure from four perspectives. When considering the brand as a product, as an organization, as a person and as a symbol, the brand claim should be reflected in each case[41].

The task of brand management is made more difficult by a number of factors. The inflation of communicative measures, increasing brand equality in the eyes of consumers, hybrid, situation-dependent brand behavior, and variety-seeking behavior, i.e. the brand change for the sake of variety and not out of dissatisfaction, are just some of the developments that have to be dealt with. Solutions can be found in filling a niche, including new property dimensions (under the above conditions) or by creating additional psychological benefits[42].

What most approaches have in common are the conditions of high traffic validity, ubiquity and constant or better quality of the underlying service over time[43]. However, restrictions must also be made for the latter two requirements. Quality must be seen as a quality defined by the supplier, since the customer-side quality is the subjective perception of the suitability for use on the part of the consumer. It is evident that the perception of consumers can change, and with it the perceived quality of the brand. As a result, the demand for quality that remains constant over the long term could not be upheld. Nevertheless, the Importance of temporal constancy highlighted when building a brand. In order for consumers to be able to develop an image of the brand for themselves, it must have a consistent brand essence. The condition of ubiquity in the sense of “everywhere availability” is to be seen against the background of a possible, legally required, geographical limitation of the brand or brand protection. The legal aspect is briefly discussed in a following section. In connection with brand understanding, on the other hand, it can be stated that many brands owe their success precisely to their non-ubiquity, in that they achieve an extremely exclusive image in this way. Features such as “consistent presentation” of the underlying service, not to be confused with the brand name or brand, can also be excluded from a definition, as some brands, for example, are currently successfully marketing the change in their service (such as fashion brands).

From the legal point of view, which is not primarily considered here, brands are understood as legally protected signs to differentiate between products and services[44]. The trademark law[45] from 1995 defines a brand:

"As a trademark, all signs, in particular words including personal names, images, letters, numbers, audio symbols, three-dimensional designs including the shape of goods or their packaging, as well as other presentations, including colors and color combinations, that are suitable for the goods or services of a company can be protected to distinguish from those of other companies. "[46]

Company identification[47] are just as protectable as work titles[48] (including computer programs), but both can be protected as trademarks at the same time[49]. The ability to be protected worldwide is of particular interest for the present work. This can be applied for on the basis of the Madrid Trademark Agreement (MMA) or on the basis of the protocol to the MMA, which also does not allow member states of the MMA to protect trademarks.

The interface from a theoretical and legal definition of the brand term can be found in the question of brand valuation. The above-mentioned function of a brand to increase the value of the company and thus to support the company's overall goal requires a method for the monetary measurement of brand values. (Company) brand evaluations are of interest in a large number of cases[50]. The starting point can be internal interest for situation analysis or external interest due to takeover intentions. The granting of licenses requires an assessment basis for the license fee, as does the claims for damages in the event of unlawful use of the trademark. Finally, external sales agents are also interested in an evaluation when they decide whether to include products in their range. Depending on the interests involved, different factors are used to determine the value, so it is not surprising that in practice there are over 30 valuation methods[51]. Table 2 shows the size dimensions that brand values ​​can assume.

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Table 2: World's leading brands by brand value

Source: Business Week August 4, 2003

2.2 Identification of sector-related areas of influence on brand design

After explaining the variety of decisions that brand managers are confronted with in the strategic area, the range of options for implementation should now be addressed.

As already stated, a brand manifests itself in the minds of the consumers, whereby these elude direct access. A brand cannot be “manufactured” like a product, rather a way has to be found that transports the desired image of the brand to the minds of consumers. The entire spectrum of decisions in the marketing mix must be used for this purpose. The ban on questions of branding in the area of ​​communication politics is long out of date. In addition to communication, price positioning and distribution policy as well as product and packaging design must be coordinated across the mix. Would Cartier watches still have the same self-portrayal benefit for their buyers if they were to be obtained from Lidl while maintaining all other measures of communication, price and product policy? According to the identity approach, the organization as a whole must also contribute to the brand image. Factors here can be the corporate culture, the demeanor of the employees or the company's external involvement.

With a coordinated and coherent overall concept, a brand can be managed in such a way that it reaches the position in the minds of the customer that serves to achieve higher-level goals. So that this overall structure is not endangered by short-term thinking, the long-term nature of brand control must be guaranteed from a high hierarchical level.

In the following, it will now be considered which variables an industry-specific brand design depends on, whereby these are aggregated into four areas of influence. These are the areas of the company, the competition, the demand and that of the product.

2.2.1 The influence of the “company” area on brand analysis

First, the influences on the part of the Company considered on the brand analysis. Here, the specified corporate strategy (the question of core competence with connection to the desired product-market combination) as well as long-term corporate goals must be taken into account. The goals of the strategic business unit (SBU) derived from this[52] are specified externally. In this way, a relevant market is also specified in which the brand should fulfill certain tasks. Determining this relevant market is a complex process for which no generally applicable procedure is given in the literature[53]. In agreement, only a strong customer orientation can be assumed, although it remains open whether this should be implemented using psychological or behavioral methods. The company also provides a limited amount of resources. In addition to material (e.g. exclusive sales structures), financial and personal (e.g. management competence as an important, limiting factor for brand effectiveness and efficiency), these also include immaterial values. Strictly speaking, existing brands of the company (= all brands that can be economically assigned to the company, i.e. product / service brands and company brands) are part of the company's resources, but as will be seen, it is important to emphasize this aspect for the further development of the work.

For example, the existence of several brands within a SBU has far-reaching consequences for the management and coordination of the same. Also higher-level corporate brands, provided that they are to be associated with the SGE[54], must be taken into account. Existing know-how in the company is also considered to be immaterial resources. If the decision on product-market combinations and SGE has already been made in the case of existing companies, the decision to maintain the chosen path or to restructure can also be mentioned. This will also be met on the basis of market potential and market shares.

A decision has to be made as to what the company's core competencies represent and what the depth of added value implies. Even if an expansion of the added value may attract with large sales and high returns, this should only be tackled if the tasks can be solved by your own company as well or better than by external cooperation partners.

The country of origin of the company is usually synonymous with the first country market that is processed in a certain way. In the case of nationally active companies, it can therefore be assumed that the country of origin provides a certain cultural framework for branding. Exceptions are export companies. Of course, this cultural orientation changes with the increasing expansion of the markets served. The Sony brand, for example, only shows its Asian origins to a limited extent.

2.2.2 The influence of the “competition” area on brand analysis

The next area is that competition to be considered in terms of fundamental competitive strategies. In marketing literature, the term competitive strategy is often equated with demand-oriented competitive strategy, but it was originally defined much more broadly and should be understood here according to its original understanding[55].

In this context, Becker differentiates between the four decision-making areas market field, market stimulation, market parceling, and market area[56]. The market area roughly corresponds to the product-market combination that has already been defined, but has to be examined in more detail here. Market stimulation refers to the type of competitive advantage with which a market is worked. The parcelling is closely related, it determines the way of differentiation and coverage of the market. It is thus also part of the consideration and selection of target groups that takes place in Section 2.2.3. The market area is limited to Germany by the title of the work, apart from a few further thoughts.

A Market stimulation In the sense of competitive advantages according to Becker, this is limited to the observation of the consumers, while the behavior of the organization or the SBU with regard to different participants or stakeholders of the competition can be observed[57]. In detail and below, these are first the demand, then the competition and finally the most important influencing groups or stakeholders. First of all, the group of Enquirer To be received. The options available here correspond to the newer and narrower definition of competitive strategy. In this way one can try to have a quality advantage in the eyes of the customer compared to the competition. An attempt is made to realize a price premium through a superior value proposition. Cost leadership, i.e. a price-volume strategy, is another option. Here, through fixed cost degression and through the implementation of experience curve effects, the attempt is made to partially pass the cost advantage on to the consumer in the form of a price advantage. Another option is the innovation orientation. The attempt is made to be the first provider of an innovation to “skim off” the market. This can represent a complete innovation, the acceptance of which by consumers is not yet assured, or it can be a matter of the rapid implementation of existing customer requests, i.e. an "ordered" innovation. For the pioneer, it is advantageous that no direct comparisons are possible for consumers. Experience can also be gained in this way, which in turn enables cost savings (without these having to be passed on to consumers). The lead over the competition is thus preserved to a certain extent, since although they can imitate the innovation, they will always lag behind the experience of the pioneer. In addition, a pioneering status perceived as such by consumers has a beneficial effect on both the attitude towards a brand and the credibility of an organization, and the supplier is certified as having a high level of technological competence and greater experience[58]. The program breadth orientation[59] Another option is the flexibility to be able to offer the customer numerous product variants quickly and profitably. With a wide and deep range, the aim is to achieve as comprehensive a market coverage as possible. The advantages that can be achieved in this way are offset by risks such as a high use of resources and - with increasing program breadth - often disproportionately increasing complexity costs. As solutions for this, the literature offers variant management and modular concepts for realizing synergies[60].

In all demand-oriented competitive strategies, the question of how which competitive advantages influence the positioning of the brand should be answered in connection with brand design[61].

In addition to demand-oriented, competitive strategies, behavior towards the Competitors can be seen as important for the strategic orientation of the competition[62]. A fundamental distinction can be made here between active and passive behavior. Most market-dominating companies behave passively, i.e. without taking into account the activities of competing companies. Active behavior can be differentiated in the two dimensions “similarity to the competitor” and “competitive intensity”. The first dimension determines whether the behavior and technologies of the competitors are imitated or an attempt is made to drive a process of discovery. The second dimension determines whether you consciously face competition or try to bypass it by finding niches or similar.The four possible combinations of these characteristics are briefly explained in the following paragraph.

Innovative strategies with high competitive intensity are often against the background of the desired market leadership. This can be observed in stagnating or shrinking markets in which market shares can only be realized at the expense of competitors. When the intensity of competition is intended to be low, attempts are often made to find a niche and to make it difficult to enter through experience and specialization effects. Imitative strategies that face the competition can be summarized under "Cooperations". This often tries to compensate for non-existent competitive advantages or insufficient resources of any kind. Anti-competitive and at the same time imitative strategies aim to maintain the market position that has been achieved, but are usually only maintained as long as competitors do not endanger it.

On the alignment of the demand-oriented competitive strategy according to the inherent role in a market (market leader, persecutor, follower, etc.) as by Kotler / Bliemel[63] propagated, the relatively arbitrary classification of the role-determining criteria can be criticized. Furthermore, in a market in which the balance of power is very dynamic, this would mean that a strategy that should actually be pursued over the long term may often have to be discarded, which is contrary to the essence of long-term constant brand management.

In markets in which sales intermediaries play a role, a sales intermediary-oriented competitive strategy must also be set up, depending on the prevailing balance of power[64]. Basically, possible strategies can be differentiated on the basis of the criterion whether a manufacturer-side recognition of the market power of the trade takes place or not. If this is the case, power toleration or power evasion can be sought. The former increases the risk of becoming even more dependent on trade. If the supremacy of trade is not accepted, a conflict or cooperation strategy can be developed. Conflict strategies are naturally only suitable for manufacturers with great market power.

Another way of looking at competitive strategy is to look at the social one Stakeholders of the market[65] (see Figure 5). Depending on the individual case, they have more or less power, as does the company. Based on these variables, the decision about a general behavior towards the stakeholders is made. Adapt, evade, withdraw or find a "real" solution to existing problems are the main alternative courses of action.

Figure not included in this excerpt

Figure 5: Stakeholder-oriented competitive strategies

Source: Meffert 2000, p. 301, with omissions

A company will not align its competitive strategy exclusively to one of the perspectives shown here (from the point of view of customers, competitors or stakeholders). Rather, specifications for future behavior must be made for each field, which together result in the actual competitive strategy.

2.2.3 The influence of the “Demander” area on brand analysis

The third area with a significant influence on the design of a brand is the intended target groups, consisting of individual customers. Based on the company's situation (Section 2.2.1), decisions are made about the competitive strategy (Section 2.2.2), which is geared towards one or more target groups. The selection of target groups implies the division of a market into segments that are as homogeneous as possible internally and as heterogeneous as possible in relation to one another. The similarities within a segment are then used to address this in a targeted manner. The prerequisite is that the segment is sufficiently attractive due to its size and purchasing power, as well as its promotional accessibility. Whatever target groups are targeted, they can be viewed from many different perspectives and thus result in additional independent variables that are relevant for branding. This multitude of perspectives is divided into the consideration of consumers as groups and as individuals.

Consumers as individuals

Segmentation criteria can be of various kinds, e.g. demographic. Age, gender, education, origin are such simple criteria for subdivision. They can be determined relatively easily and reliably in order to then adapt the design of the brand message in all areas of marketing policy (product, price, distribution, communication). In addition to considering this very aggregated information, the consumer as a person must also be dealt with in detail. Due to increasing cost and success pressure, “trail and error” is no longer used to search for simple causal relationships in the reaction to marketing stimuli. An attempt is made to understand the processes in the minds of the customer in every phase of dealing with the product. This is synonymous with the transition from behaviorism to more recent consumer psychology. The internal processes are no longer viewed as an opaque "black box". Rather, it plays here personality as a construct in the sense of Trommsdroff plays a decisive role. It is described as a "holistically complex state of characteristic feeling, knowledge, motivation, attitude, value and behavior patterns of a person"[66] described, which is genetically, socially and shaped by living conditions. It already offers a large number of possible starting points for branding. As is clear from this definition, personality is characterized by a large number of constructs that build on one another. Starting with the terms Activation and Involvement who, without the influence of cognition, specify the level of awareness and the intensity of the downstream constructs, are followed by feelings or Emotions. These states of inner excitement of varying intensity and quality (e.g. joy) can be caused by psychological processes or external stimuli. Particularly in markets where products are no longer noticeably different for the average consumer due to their complexity or similarity, the emotionalisation of brands is becoming increasingly important. Are built on emotions Knowledge and cognitionthat describe a state of subjective knowledge about properties and relations of objects. The next higher construct is called motive described, which as a latent state drives behavior with a certain strength and direction. These motives are updated by feelings of deficiency or external stimuli, so that motives for explaining the same can be defined for any human behavior[67].

In this context, Maslow's pyramid of needs or motives should be mentioned[68], which identifies five needs that build on one another. The Attitude, the next higher construct is defined as the "state of a learned and relatively permanent readiness to regularly react more or less positively or negatively to the object in question in a corresponding situation"[69]. Attitude is of central importance for the impact of brands. Many functions of the brand, such as shortened decision-making paths or minimizing uncertainty, can be directly associated with it. Brands aim to ensure that consumers develop a positive attitude towards them in the sense mentioned above. It is traced back to motives and related knowledge of the matter. Solomon / Bamossy / Askegaard examine the formation of attitudes for this reason in more detail and subdivide them into the three components cognition (C), affect (A) and behavior (V).[70]. They come to the conclusion that differences in the formation of attitudes arise from differences in the chronological order in which the three components take place in the consumers. There are three effect hierarchies[71] differentiated, the three different combinations (of course more are conceivable, but these three are considered to be the most common) and thus characterize consumer types. In addition to the process of creating attitudes, it must also be taken into account that consumers do not appear unencumbered. You have already saved brand images that may need to be collected and taken into account.

Only one level below the all-encompassing personality are ultimately the values. They describe super attitudes, as it were, in that they represent the willingness to react consistently positively or negatively to a whole class of attitude objects. As already mentioned, the overall personality depends on genetic prerequisites and the specific living conditions of social factors, so that at this point the consumer must be seen as part of a group. It is also important that the personality affects the entire process of dealing with a brand, as well as the pre- and post-purchase phase.

Given the multitude of information that different segmentation criteria can provide, the meaningful combination of psychological and demographic characteristics seems to allow the most meaningful conclusions. For this reason, this procedure is chosen in the corresponding chapter 3.3.

Search process

When considering the pre-purchase phase or the search phase, it is important to know about the following relationship. If a differentiation is made between target groups on the basis of product knowledge, the search effort follows an inverted U-curve with increasing product knowledge (see Figure 6). This means that both consumers with very little or no product knowledge and those with very extensive product knowledge invest the least amount of effort in the search. Even if the behavior shown is similar, the motives are quite different. Consumers with little product knowledge are unsure where to start their search and which criteria play a role for them, which is why disorientation prevails. When making a first purchase (because there is usually little product knowledge when making a first purchase), they are more geared towards prices and brand names than all other groups of seekers. Consumers with extensive knowledge do not search more expensively, but more effectively and efficiently[72]. So your motive is completely different for the same behavior, and is more to be sought in the best possible satisfaction of very concrete ideas of benefit. How they should be addressed despite their knowledge of brands is part of the investigation. The greatest efforts are made by those consumers who have intermediate product knowledge. As long as consumers are at this level of product knowledge, it can be assumed that they are most intensively involved with branded content. This is to be seen as an opportunity for brand management, as it is subjected to intensive consideration here and a holistic brand concept can show its advantages here.

Figure not included in this excerpt

Figure 6: Relationship between the level of information search and product knowledge

Source: Solomon / Bamossy / Askegaard p. 258

Consumers as groups

Since an arbitrarily small group of consumers could be stylized into a target group by carefully considering all individual factors, a detailed study of the individual is sometimes not the optimal way to narrow down the desired target group. In this case, there are also more holistic approaches such as social milieus, also lifeworlds[73] called, or segmentation according to scenes[74] Use. Even more broadly, culture-specific characteristics can be identified on country markets, which must be taken into account. In this context, culture can be broken down into "values, ethics, rituals, traditions, material goods and services that are produced or valued by members of a society"[75]. Since the present work is limited to Germany, only special features from the comparison with other markets that are useful to illuminate a situation are used here.


[1] See Fritz 1997, p.81

[2] Mobile video consoles with an integrated screen

[3] Fehr 1997, p.99

[4] Nolan Bushnell later founds the Atari company

[5] See o.V. 2004 b

[6] See paper on the business press conference of the Society for Electronic Entertainment, June 3, 2004 at http://www.gfu.de/pages/news/news_030826_tab.html

[7] See Biddle 2003

[8] See Wasserman 2000

[9] See Domizlaff, 1939

[10] Domizlaff 1939, p. 15

[11] See Meffert 9, pp. 846-847

[12] For the entire concept, see Ries / Trout 1982

[13] Overview of the various approaches partly taken from Merten 2003

[14] See Koppelmann 1994, pp. 219-238

[15] See Berekoven 1961, in: Merten 2003, p. 27

[16] See Haedrich / Tomczak 1996

[17] See Haedrich / Tomczak 1996, p. 29

[18] See Merten 2003, p. 28

[19] Meffert 9, p.847

[20] See Esch 2003, p. 63; Keller 1993, p. 1 ff.

[21] See Esch 2003, pp 71 + 75

[22] For functions of the brand, unless otherwise stated, see Meffert 2000, p.847-848

[23] See Meffert 9, pages 54 and 848

[24] See Fezer 1999, p.73

[25] In 1995, for example, Kotler / Bliemel only added their chapter on brands in the “Planning Marketing Programs” section, and not in the previous “Planning Marketing Strategies” section.

[26] See Esch 2003, p. 25

[27] See Esch 2003, p. 25

[28] See Esch 2003, p. 137

[29] Meffert / Burmann 1996, p.31

[30] See Solomon / Bamossy / Askegaard 2001, p. 89 ff., Kapferer 1992, p. 111

[31] See Sattler pp. 30-31

[32] Solomon / Bamossy / Askegaard 2001, p. 262, Trommsdroff, p. 92

[33] Sattler 2001, p. 136

[34] Kotler / Bliemel 1995, 1995, p. 310

[35] See Trommsdorff 1993, p. 87 f.

[36] For example, through the introduction of "Pepsi A.M." as an alternative to morning orange juice or a campaign by Schöller with the aim of encouraging the consumption of ice cream in winter too.

[37] See Kotler / Bliemel 1995, pp. 679-680

[38] See Kotler / Bliemel 1995, p. 681

[39] The original service can only be provided in the presence of the consumer. Regardless of this, there are recording methods that cause a lack of definition by trying to turn the service into a product. However, this results in a separate product, the character of the original performance remains untouched (for example, listening to a CD will never be comparable to going to a concert).

[40] See Aaker 1996, pp. 90 f

[41] See Aaker / Joachimsthaler 2000, p. 44 f

[42] See Meffert 2000, p. 853

[43] See Sattler 2000, p. 39

[44] Sattler 2000, p. 39

[45] As a merger of previously separate laws such as the Trademark Act, the Act against Unfair Competition, as well as regulations from the Commercial and Civil Code

[46] § 3 Trademark Protection Act

[47] Section 5 (2) sentence 1 of the Trademark Protection Act

[48] Section 5, Paragraph 3 of the Trademark Protection Act

[49] See Sattler 2000, page 45

[50] See Kotler / Bliemel 1995, p. 682

[51] For an overview of 28 tools for brand valuation with a brief description, see Berdi 2003, p.116-119

[52] According to Kotler / Bliemel 2000, p. 98, an SGE has the following characteristics: an SGE comprises a single or several related business areas for which its own planning can be drawn up, it has its own group of competitors, as well as its own management with decision-making power relevant success factors and responsibility for the results of the SBU. The management assigns a part of the total resources to each SBU.

[53] For an overview, see Meffert 2001, pp. 37-46

[54] For example, in addition to the well-known chocolate bar brands, Mars also owns the dog food brand Pedigree. A reference to the actual manufacturer would lead to fear of a negative image transfer. The terms image transfer and image transfer, as well as the existence of such negative transfers, will be discussed in detail.

[55] Term developed by Porter in 1980, worked out for marketing strategies by Becker in 1983

[56] See Becker 1998, p. 147

[57] See Meffert 2001, p. 267 ff .; Tomczak 1989, pp. 111-143

[58] See Niedrich / Swain 2003, p. 469

[59] See Meffert 2001, p. 278

[60] See Meffert 2001, p. 278

[61] For example, the technical pioneering status can be highlighted, whereby it should be noted that a “sleepy” development could affect the credibility of the positioning and thus that of the brand. In addition, it must be decided whether an additional positioning as e.g. the cheapest provider (due to the already mentioned cost advantages associated with the position of the pioneer), in itself also a competitive advantage, makes sense in the connection.

[62] For the explanations of competitive strategies see Meffer 2001, p. 282 f.

[63] See Kotler / Bliemel 1995, pp. 597-617

[64] See Meffert pp. 288-294

[65] See Meffert pp. 296-301

[66] Trommsdorff 1993, p. 31

[67] See Trommsdorff 1993, pp. 29-31

[68] See Maslow 1970

[69] Trommsdorff 1993, p. 137

[70] See Solomon, Bamossy, Askegaard 2001, 155

[71] See Solomon, Bamossy, Askegaard 2001, p.156 ff.

[72] See Alba / Hutchinson 1989, p.451

[73] Regularly updated study by the Sinus Institute in Heidelberg on the status and development of social milieus in Germany. Customers are grouped into overlapping segments on the basis of the dimensions “social situation” and “value orientation”. The comparison with previous studies is one way of observing the change in values.

[74] For the entire concept, see Nöthel 1999

[75] Solomon / Askegaard / Bamossy p.568

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