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The use of longitudinal case studies and semiotics for analysing brand development as process of assimilation or accommodation

Abstract : Purpose: Starting from the premise that brands must be managed in a consistent way over time, but also need to be expanded, the purpose of this paper is to define and understand the different models of brand development, according to the evolution of a brand’s identity and the introduction of brand extensions. The second aim of this article is to introduce a specific methodology for studying the development of brands with a long-term approach. Design/methodology/approach: The concepts of assimilation and accommodation as defined by Piaget (1983) provide an in-depth understanding of how and why brands evolve. This article is based on a multiple case study. Four luxury brands were studied longitudinally. Brand chronologies were drawn and images of brand communications and brand extensions were gathered. Structural semiotic analysis was then used to highlight the different processes of brand development. In addition, qualitative interviews with two experts were conducted. Findings: Hermès and Louis Vuitton develop their brands according to the assimilation model. Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana follow the accommodation model. There is a link between the brand’s identity type (symbolic / functional) and the model used for brand development. A detailed analysis of each model is presented highlighting the main features. Research limitations/implications: To reinforce the distinction between the two models of brand development, it would be interesting to look at other brands. The choice of these brands depends on their country of origin and their age. Originality/value: The main contributions of this paper are the dynamic and longitudinal analysis of brand development and the introduction of the assimilation and accommodation concepts. The use of semiotics constitutes another original feature of this research.
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Submitted on : Saturday, May 20, 2017 - 9:32:07 PM
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Nathalie Veg-Sala. The use of longitudinal case studies and semiotics for analysing brand development as process of assimilation or accommodation. Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, Emerald, 2014, 17 (4), pp.373-392. ⟨hal-01525471⟩

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