Identity mismatch: When brands fail to speak to consumers

Quynh Tuyet Lam & Aida Merdanovic

Student thesis: Master thesis


In this paper we have pursued to investigate the underlying reasons for Tempt cider’s lack of significance/relevance held by consumers – the so-called ‘blandness predicament’ that largely is attributed to being a phenomenon that concerns many low-involvement consumption goods. Essentially, in an everyday, ordinary purchasing situation, consumers are primarily driven by two factors: 1) the awareness/familiarity with a brand and 2) the price (and naturally availability). In the case of Tempt, we find that consumers belonging to Tempt’s primary target segment are well-familiar with the brand as it remains amongst the top three most recalled cider brands with our investigated respondent group, however, comparison with Somersby is unremitting and by means of familiarity and price, the two contenders seem to stand head to head. Given the fact that Somersby holds a dominant, unwavering position in the Danish cider market as well as with the Danish consumers, respectively, granted its pioneering role of having been the driving force behind the recent cider-drinking tradition in Denmark, they remain a hard competitor to beat and its folksy appeal, in essence, embraces a large and wide consumer segment, including those of Tempt. Thus, we contend that being “one of the followers”, by simply endeavouring to hold high brand awareness with consumers is a strategy rendered unsustainable in the long run. Taking the example of low-involvement consumer goods products, such as Budweiser, testifies to the fact that endowing the brand with symbolic relevance and cultural significance that contribute to consumers’ identity formation process, can lead Tempt cider out of its downward spiral of being a bland brand. Hence, in our attempt to unveil the underlying reasons for the assigned irrelevance to the brand, we turn our focus onto the consumers in our theoretical discussion as well as in our empirical research conducted. Fundamentally, we need to profoundly and holistically understand consumers’ life worlds and social reality before we can establish symbolic cues and appeals that they consider imperative to their self-perception. Consumer identity theory, thus, serves as the theoretical groundwork from which we can assess the consumer-brand image congruence to predict consumer purchasing behaviour. To this end, we found that the symbolic properties and associations of Tempt’s brand image proved to be deviating from consumers’ desirable self-images (actual-, and ideal self) and taking that consumers predominantly engage with products/brands that correspond with their own ideals, ambitions, emotions and self-definitions, a subsequent lack of involvement on their part is prevalent. Granted that Tempt cider is neither placed higher nor lower in consumer preference than other cider brands available in the supermarket, ultimately, leaves price as the final selection criterion. To overcome such inauspicious competitive circumstances, Tempt must therefore better reflect and convey the ideals that speak to consumers on a personal level by building congruence into the company’s internal as well as external processes. In line with this, we urge Tempt cider to better integrate the brand concept into the core of the organisation or with the respective team managing the Tempt brand on a daily basis. A concord between the different processes and functions must be installed to generate a coherent brand image that is clear and unmistakable to consumers. Secondly, Tempt needs to endow its brand with symbolic values and ideals that consumers can embrace and actively use to project their self-held images and express their identity. Taking point of departure in our assessments made of Tempt’s inhabited imagery world, from which Tempt’s brand image transpires, intrapersonal values, i.e. personal qualities, comprise significant indicators of the target segment’s self-understanding, consequently, we advocate a heavy emphasis laid on these in Tempt’s future conducts. Lastly, we suggest that Tempt takes patent on a particular situation or sentiment that provides a frame of consumption that differentiates the brand from other cider alternatives, herein the “folksy” Somersby. Surely, our suggestions put forth build on one another providing for a greater coherence, and we believe that by means of adopting such propositions, greater relevance/significance will be granted by consumers to the Tempt brand in the time to come.

EducationsCand.merc.smc Strategic Market Creation, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2011
Number of pages137