This multi-national case study describes the harnessing of consumer bonding measurements to optimize the likelihood of successfully launching new products or services. The study introduces a new research discipline; Brand Keys. Based upon established psychological theory, it enables marketers to measure the emotional bond consumers exhibit for product categories, brands within those categories, and new product concepts. The system reveals fresh insights into consumer-brand bonding through personification, with profiles of the items measured examined on the basis of four, bi-polar attitudinal and behavioral dimensions, expressing the consumer bond. Since emotional bonding measures have been shown to be one of the best predictors of sales, an understanding of potential target audiences and their reactions to new product concepts becomes an invaluable tool for the marketer. The Brand Keys methodology can be applied to any product or service, new or established, with equal validity. To illustrate the capabilities of Brand Keys, a survey was initiated in the camcorder category. In this study we were able to isolate differences between the American and Japanese consumer and develop new product insights which addressed the various consumer bonding elements. Within the context of the camcorder category, we are able to define those dimensions which are important to the consumer in the purchase of a camcorder, understand how specific brands fit those dimensions, and utilize that understanding to develop new products (and advertising) which will be bonded to, and purchased. By comparing bonding levels on a country-to-country basis we are able to determine whether or not there exist country differences in the consumer bonds which might effect new product development and introduction.
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