Case Analysis: Research Problem Identification
Accenture: The accent is in the name
Accenture was originally the consulting division of Arthur Andersen. Initially called Andersen Consulting, Accenture was formally established in 1989 when a group of partners from the Consulting division of the various Arthur Andersen firms around the world formed a new organization focused on consulting and technology services related to managing large-scale systems integration and enhancing business processes.
That same year Accenture formalized Business Integration, its framework for aligning a client’s people, processes and technology in support of its overall strategy to enable all components of the client organization to work to enhance business performance. During its first 10 years, Accenture evolved from a systems integrator to a global management consulting and technology services company, providing the full range of consulting, outsourcing and related technology services. By 2000, Accenture had achieved more than a decade of tremendous growth, with net revenues exceeding US$9.5 billion and more than 75,000 professionals in 47 countries delivering to clients a broad range of consulting, technology and outsourcing services and solutions.
On Jan. 1, 2001, the company changed its name to Accenture (from Andersen Consulting) as the result of an arbitrator’s decision in August 2000 that severed the contractual ties between Accenture and Andersen Worldwide Société Coopérative (AWSC). Accenture then launched one of the largest and most successful re-branding campaigns in corporate history. The new name reinforced Accenture’s new positioning and reflected the organization’s further growth and broadened set of capabilities.
Management Decision Problem
Accenture was originally named Andersen Consulting. It was created in 1989 as part of Arthur Andersen. In 2000, Andersen Consulting won the right to divorce itself from Arthur Andersen. However, this required that it change the company’s name from Andersen Consulting. The challenge for the company was to come up with a strong corporate identity. The new company needed to project a favorable identity and reputation in maintaining corporate health and wealth.
Marketing Research Problem
A company can build intangible assets starting from the breeding of external signals with the company's internal resources and capabilities. It can also invest in reinforcing its capacities to manage the types of signals it sends outside, through its products, services, image and identity. The principal constraint here is that of differentiation, with regard to other signals that are or might be produced by the organisation's immediate competitors, but also in comparison to customers, suppliers, and all other players, likely to offer a product or service and more generally to deliver a message, likely to exert a threat of substitution to the company's current supply. This requirement for differentiation, of an external nature, goes hand in hand with another requirement, of internal nature: the requirement for mobilisation. The integration of multiple - intangible - dimensions for differentiation amounts to considerably widening the field of competition, which can no longer integrate the competition between more or less homogeneous products or services. More precisely, a product or a service, in other words the output of the company, is only one means among many to diffuse the company's signals out towards its various environments. The key factors that must be considered are:
1. The name and the identity of the company
2. The brand name
3. The outputs (products or services)
4. Advertising and image building
5. Assertion of specific performances
The Marketing research problem is the creation and implementation of a strong and effective Corporate Brand.
Corporate brands are found in organizational bodies of every category. While the construct is equally applicable to countries, regions, cities, etc., it is more usually applied to corporations and to their subsidiaries. Corporate brands also boundary-span organizations. The corporate branding philosophy, at its core, represents an explicit covenant between an organization and its key stakeholder groups, including customers. A corporate brand, although it creates awareness and recognition via a name or logo, needs to articulate its accord with key stakeholders by demonstrating, unceasingly and over time that it has kept its corporate branding pledge. As such, it became a mark of assurance.
Corporate branding represents a related, but manifestly distinct, corporate-level construct to that of identity, reputation, and communication. It is another manifestation of corporate meaning; another way of comprehending and revealing, the organization ( and 2003).
Research Objective: Corporate Brand Positioning (Distinction)
The objective of the research is to create a strong positioning strategy by designing and executing a marketing technique that will form a particular mental representation of a product or brand in the consumer’s mind.
Repertory Grid was devised by based on his Personal Constructs theory of personality. It is an interviewing method which uses factor analysis in the determining the idiographic measure of personality.
The Repertory Grid is useful in determining the distinctions consumers make among products. The Repertory Grid Begins with a triadic sorting task in which the respondent is given three products and asked to think of some overall way of thinking about the three products in which two of them can be considered the same but yet different from the third. The intent of this method is to uncover the basic distinctions an individual uses to classify products. The respondent is asked to specify both poles of distinction he or she is making as well as to which pole each of the three products belongs.
Exploratory Research Technique
Positioning offers marketers the potential to meaningfully differentiate their brand in the marketplace, because it provides consumers with reasons to choose the brand. But identifying the right combination of images and characteristics to associate with a brand is an extremely difficult task given the number of possible variations that exist and the competitive pressures in the marketplace. Consider the automobile industry, for example. Potential positioning classifications include quality, technical sophistication, driving performance, style, luxury, utility, value, and even popularity. Each broad classification contains additional subtypes as numerous as the car models themselves. The critical question for the marketer is which positioning is best? How can a brand be positioned, or repositioned, to motivate more consumers to purchase?
Positioning, above all else, must strive to differentiate a brand as special and superior to the competition. To do this, the position must be based on the same criteria that consumers use when choosing a brand in a given category. This is the most direct path to gaining marketplace success and long-term equity for the brand. Thus, effective positioning begins with understanding the consumer because the position must become an integral part of the consumer's brand choice process ( 2001, ).
Brand Relations Constrained by Current Usage
Brand relations constrained by current usage differences are a type of method for eliciting brand distinctions. Focusing the respondents on their perceived behavior allows the researcher to directly probe the reasons for the behavior. This makes brand comparisons and distinctions relatively easy for the respondent. Questions in the research instrument can be crafted so that distinctions are recorded based on reported behavioral differences, on rank order or scale methods, or on constant sum-allocation methods. Three of the methods used in this design are contextual environment; preference, usage, and preference-usage differences; and timing of purchase or consumption.
1. The contextual environment includes predetermined physical or psychological occasions of brand purchase or use. Physical occasions are generally described by the time, place, and people when usage occurs. A psychological occasion is a mental need or inner desire that can span many physical occasions. Psychological occasions are also called need states.
2. Comparing consumer's reported brand preferences and usage is one of the most direct and commonly used methods for eliciting brand distinctions. Brands can be ranked or scaled on both preference and usage frequency. Then, brands can be directly compared against each other based on these scales using questions such as: “Why did you give brand A a higher preference rating than brand B?” and “Why do you use brand A more often than brand B?” Investigating the disparity between preference and usage evaluations is another useful technique. For example, a consumer might give brand A a higher preference rating yet use brand B more often. The interviewer might then ask why. When using this technique, selecting the appropriate set of considered brands to include is an important step to avoid overemphasis on price criteria.
3. Timing issues can affect product choice and usage for some products. This technique is similar to that described by Contextual Environment except that time is the primary criteria that determines the occasion. For example, a consumer might be asked, “Why do you use brand A during the initial stage of a flu, but you use brand B during the full-blown stage?” or “Why do you use brand A only in the morning, but you use brand B at any time of the day or night?” Of course, using this technique, as well as the previous two, assumes the researcher has a good understanding of the step-by-step behaviors associated with product purchase and consumption.
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