Executive summary: This thesis will explore the brand equity of Microsoft. Brand equity in this thesis is used as a term for the added value that the Microsoft brand is perceived to contribute by the consumers, as opposed to the strict financial definition of the brand equity term. Brand equity exists of several underlying dimensions. These dimensions are affected by a wide range of different brand associations – such as price, differentiation, trust and credibility etc. The initial aim of the thesis is to uncover and measure these parameters relative to the private Danish Microsoft consumer. This perspective is interesting to explore, as Microsoft’s brand value has dropped significantly in the recent years as new and highly innovative companies seem to challenge them head on. How does the, maybe, biggest player in the high-tech industry repair on and improve their brand equity in the mind of the Danish consumers? The authors seek to enlighten this by creating a conceptual model for the company’s brand equity. This will initially be based on secondary sources and primary qualitative data and, thereafter, statistically tested using quantitative data derived from a thorough questionnaire. The results of the analysis suggest that Microsoft, in regards to their private Danish consumers, especially should focus on increasing two variables – one that defines brand loyalty and another, which defines differentiation. Brand loyalty was found to be particularly influential in terms of brand equity. This was to be expected though, as it is highlighted as one of its main dimensions throughout the general theory. Brand loyalty is mainly increased by affecting its underlying variables – among these the variable that concerns differentiation. The results also indicate four consumer segments that are distinctive through demographic and attitude-related characteristics. This allowed for the authors to distinguish the more loyal consumers from the less frequent customers. From this, a set of strategic recommendations are proposed; a general strategic direction, as well as more specific strategic actions tailored for each of the segments. The general strategy proposes that Microsoft redistribute their resources and focus more on differentiation, fulfillment of promises, their general design and ease-of-use as well as acquiring positive word-ofmouth. A few specific approaches are proposed in order to meet these recommendations. Among these a CLP that aims to attract the light-user segments further, but also increase the incentive for the heavy-user segments to become even more loyal. Furthermore, attention should be directed to the branding strategy in regards to whether Microsoft emphasizes its master- or its under-brands. A more streamlined and exposed master-brand is proposed, in order to increase Microsoft’s goodwill in regards to the brand and thereby increase the overall brand equity.
|Educations||MSc in Economics and Marketing, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis|
|Number of pages||228|