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Title: Engineering the Brand: Automotive attribute management based on the cognitive categorisation of the branded product
Authors: Abbott, Marcus
Keywords: Automotive;Branding;Cognitive psychology;Attribute managment
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: Brunel University School of Engineering and Design PhD Theses
Abstract: In mature product markets competitive advantage is increasingly realised by the careful design and engineering of product attributes that emphasise a brand’s values. In the high-luxury automotive segment, user satisfaction appears to be particularly influenced by products that are perceived to be typical to the brand’s lineage. This research aims to explore the links between product specifications and the categorisation of the product as belonging to the brand, by studying the effect with the Bentley brand’s interiors. The research uses cognitive categorisation theory and related methodologies as a basis for understanding the cognitive processes that operate between the input of specific multisensory stimuli and assessments of typicality and therefore satisfaction. These processes are interpreted through Semantic Differentiation techniques in a number of studies of Bentley products and competitor vehicles. The results suggest that by identifying and defining a number of product properties, of varying importance, and measuring subject’s responses to them, brand-based categorisation effects can be visualised and quantified. The research investigates if these effects have been stable over time and finds that some patterns exist that might be used to predict how future products might be categorised. The benefits of the resulting assessment and measurement tool to the product development process appear to be at least two-fold; firstly, by informing the process, product specifications may be set and designs developed, that are considered more accurate, good and right for the brand, resulting in controlled development time and costs and increased consumer satisfaction. Secondly, by enabling the process, property strengths, weakness and competitive threats may be understood that facilitate experimental and actual design modifications to optimise brand distinctiveness.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and was awarded by Brunel University
Appears in Collections:Design
Brunel Design School Theses

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