This paper aims to demonstrate that the retailer as a brand is more than just the sum of a number of disparate parts and that it has a role to play in shaping the retailers strategy not just impacting upon it. When a retailer has a strong brand image, the brand will rise above the vicissitudes of individual outlets and will in effect become another selling tool. Our research has shown that brand imagery provides added value through its effect on consumers perceptions of the offering ie the same product/service is experienced differently dependent upon pre-conceived views stemming from the brand image. This imagery can and should be used to shape new product/service development strategies. Brand imagery has a major impact on the effectiveness of staff recruitment and training which in themselves are a major source of added value through service. But we have found that the brand image itself can be rewarding and a source of satisfaction and pleasure for consumers who use the brand to project their own self image and feed their self esteem. These issues touch subtle emotional areas and cannot be tapped by blunt research methods. Research needs to (a) examine unconscious behaviour, (b) explore emotional responses and (c) be able to measure these not simply describe and explain them through qualitative research. This paper serves to air the issues, argue the case for investing in brand development, and gives examples of the research methodologies available to aid in this process.
- This could also be of interest