Anno 2014, consumers have more possibilities for doing shopping than ever before, due to the increased use of Internet shopping. For companies, the increased competition has created a need for greater focus on their branding, which must be unique and capture the consumers’ interest, in order to separate themselves from competitors. Further the consumers have changed their incentive to shop. Earlier, consumers engaged in shopping mostly for economic reasons, whereas today it is mainly done with reference to the symbols and the status that is associated with the products. Furthermore, today more organisations do not only brand and sell a specific product, but brand the entire organisation through Corporate branding. As an attempt to differentiate from competitors in the minds of consumers, many organisations are using different symbols as part of their Corporate branding. The symbols thus function as cues in the consumers’ decision-making process. This means that the consumer not only buys a physical product, but also a symbolic value, which gives the organisation a new tool to differentiate their products by giving their brand a personality created by means of symbolic values and meanings. This thesis will examine how branding with symbols function within the Danish skin care industry, investigated through the Danish case company Karmameju. Furthermore, it will be examined how the company’s use of symbols can be strengthened in order to create a strong Corporate brand. The empirical research includes interviews with the CEO from Karmameju and two consumers (one who is a loyal customer and one who does not know the brand). Additionally, a questionnaire responded by 224 persons was created, as well as a netnographic analysis, which together seeks to investigate the company’s image in the mind of the consumers. To understand how Karmameju's vision and culture is communicated to stakeholders, an observation of two retailers is made, as they are the direct link to the consumers. The collected empirical data shows that the image of Karmameju is positive, which among other things is seen through the way in which the consumers ‘like’ and sympathize with the company’s symbols online. However, many of the consumers are still confused about the Natascha Rasmussen Copenhagen Business School Speciale efterår 2014 2 values and the identity of the company, as well as Karmamejus previous history in the textile- and furniture industry. This gap between the company’s identity and image influences the strength of the Corporate brand, and hereby also the revenue of the strength of the symbols. Moreover, the choice of symbols does not represent the complete set of values of the Karmameju brand. The study shows that Karmameju’s external communication is one of the main reasons for the lack of compliance between vision, culture and image, and thus/therefore also the company’s identity. In connection with the use of symbols, Karmameju’s symbols represent many of the values of the company, such as ‘nature’, ‘health’ and ‘design’, but still miss the values as ‘karma’ and ‘holistic lifestyle’, which would be helpful in differentiating the brand from competitors. It is suggested that the company focuses on the communication of their identity and past through their choice of symbols, in order to get a strong Corporate brand and eliminate the gap between identity and image. If Karmameju manages to create consistency between their identity and image, their symbols will be even more valuable and useful for the company, as the consumers hereby hopefully will understand and sympathise with the brand, and consequently buy their products. A strong Corporate brand and exquisitely selected symbols, will therefore help Karmameju engage in an even closer relationship with their customers, as well as hopefully obtain competitive advantages on the Danish market of natural skin care.
|Uddannelser||Cand.merc.kom Erhvervsøkonomi og Virksomhedskommunikation, (Kandidatuddannelse) Afsluttende afhandling|