Project #60781 - Principles of Marketing

The background readings for the module introduce you to ways of analyzing products and brands and the case reading relates to a study of the relationship consumers have had with brands. These are related to one another and you should apply the former in this case assignment.

Write a paper of no more than four pages in length (excluding title and reference pages and any appendices) addressing the following question:

In her 1998 paper identified in the background readings, Susan Fournier argues that customers have relationships with brands.

  1. Explain what Fournier means by "having a relationship" with a brand.
  2. Using two brands chosen from the categories below, explain whether or not you believe that customers have relationships with those brands.
  3. Expand your thinking and explain whether, based on Fournier's paper, your own experience and your knowledge of other people, customers have relationships with all brands.

Case Readings

Fournier S. (1998). Consumers and their brands: Developing relationship theory in consumer research. Journal of Consumer Research. 24:4(March).

Available through Library Portal/Proquest, March 7, 2013

Vargo, S.L., and R.F. Lusch (2004). Evolving to a new dominant logic for marketing. Journal of Marketing, 68(January):1-17. Available through Library Portal/Proquest, March 7, 2013

Ensure that on the title page of your paper you both repeat the assignment in bold above in full and verbatim and state the two product categories and brands you are examining.

There are three case readings, Susan Fournier's 1998 article in which, amongst other things, she argues that consumers have relationships with brands and an article reporting the results of a study by a market research firm saying that mostly they don't. Other marketing academics have also said that they don't, (e.g. Vargo and Lusch, (2004), in a Journal of Marketing article state that "inanimate items of exchange cannot have relationships"). Ah but is a brand an "inanimate item of exchange"? Perhaps they do but only under certain circumstances? That is for you to consider.

In order to answer this question you are required to identify ONE brand from each of TWO of categories shown below and explore Fournier's idea that consumers have relationships with them.

Sources of information for this case may include:

  • Introspection, though you should not rely solely on anecdotal evidence.
  • Questioning friends and colleagues - strongly recommended.

While you may be tempted to simply rely on anecdotal personal information and write about your own relationship (or non-relationship) with a chosen brand, you will learn a lot more by broadening your horizons and thinking like a marketer, which means going beyond your own perceptions and understanding the way other people perceive products. When sourcing friends and colleagues make sure to reference them as sources, (just as you should with personal sources used for your SLP), e.g. "Smith, John, personal communication dated March 10th. 2011" if you received an email or "Smith, Mary, interview held on March 10th. 2011" if you had a conversation with the person.

You should also bear in mind that a fundamental goal, as with all the cases in MKT301, is to stimulate your learning and your answers should therefore aim to demonstrate that learning. In answering the question ensure that you demonstrate your understanding of products and branding, and in particular the concept of "having a relationship", as well as your learning from the previous module.

The three categories are:

  • Brand of AUTOMOBILE.

Select ONE brand from TWO of these product categories, (e.g. you might choose a brand of AUTOMOBILE and a brand of fast food restaurant, and a brand of chewing gum and so on).

Apart from the information you normally put on your title page (see Module 1 case guidance for a reminder), also list there the two brands you have examined. That is a requirement.


Subject Business
Due By (Pacific Time) 03/10/2015 12:00 am
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