Branding and consumers in the kitchen appliances industry context : An exploratory study with a focus on customer experience

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Industriell teknik; Uppsala universitet/Industriell teknik

Abstract: Researchers have shown that strategies focused on building long-term competitive advantage tend to be more profitable for businesses. Further, companies have traditionally put their focus on strategies and on marketing tangible attributes of products and services such as quality, price and so on to differentiate from the competitors (Mascarenhas et al, 2006). Nonetheless, researchers have studied that consumers do not put any more emphasis in those characteristics when purchasing product or services underlining the needs to put the consumer as central aspect of a firm’s strategy (Morrison & Crane, 2007). In addition, it has been found that focusing on customer experience and use of correct brand management techniques and marketing initiative nowadays drives the company to have a competitive advantage and long-term economic sustainability. All being said it is true both generically speaking and in the specific context of kitchen appliances. In fact, market research suggests that in the kitchen appliances industry companies have begun to compete along new dimensions, whereby putting the consumers and their experiences as a central aspect of the business has become increasingly important for actors who wish to stay and be competitive in the business. However, in the existing literature, there is not accordance on how to define customer experience and scholars identified that it depends on the context, which makes it difficult and confusing when marketing experts and firms want to identify the key aspects to improve the experience of their customers. On top, it has been found that brand identities are more or less relevant depending on the context, country culture and such, where the brand market its product and services. In according to what said, the purpose of this study is to explore and identify the most important dimensions and touchpoints in the specific kitchen appliances context that has more impact on the customer experience, with the aim to better define customer experience in the kitchen appliances context that could give indication to companies operating in the market how to address to some extent those problematics. The research adopted an exploratory qualitative study design. Interviews were used to gather primary empirical data that together with secondary empirical data and insight from the literature review had allowed the researchers to explore and address the research questions and state conclusions that however cannot be considered conclusive according to the nature of the study. In addition, the research reveals that consumer experience is a broad topic that accounts for and depends of many different aspects all interconnected one to another. In addition, it has been found that the aspects around brands, consumer experience and its touchpoints vary not only in relation to the context in study, but as well according to different stakeholders that deal with them. In addition, in the consumer journey, critical aspects reside in both tangible attributes of products and services and intangible attributes that together become critical and in the specific context shape how people think about the brand, and consequently their experiences. Finally, a possible definition of customer experience according to what found was given

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