At many new consumer capabilities, marketers need to

At
the dawn of the Internet, scholars began predicting a shift in power
from the marketer to the consumer, suggesting a new form of
consumer-brand relationship (Bernoff and Li 2008; Bruce and Solomon,
2013; Hennig-Thurau et al. 2010; Labrecque et al., 2013).
Empowered by social networking sites, blogs and wikis, consumers can
share, co-create, discuss and modify their own perspective on
companies and brands, a view that is often in conflict with the image
a brand wishes to convey (Christodoulides, 2009). Furthermore,
consumers are able to influence other consumers’ consumption
activities on a level not previously seen (Kim et Johnson, 2016).
Consumers, in fact, are more likely to trust their peers rather than
sponsored commercial messages (Kohli, Suri and Kapoor, 2015; Kim and
Johnson, 2016).

With
these changes in the marketing environment, brand managers are losing
control over their brands (Gensler, et al., 2013). Therefore, they
can no longer be considered the custodian of brand knowledge and
brand image. Marketers and consumers build a brand together. This
means that the brand, as Fournier and Avery explain, is a sort of
open
source
cognitive construal “embedded in a cultural conversation in which
consumers gain an equal, if not greater, say than marketers in what
the brand looks like and how it behaves” (Fournier and Avery, 2011:
194). The technology that was supposed to empower marketers has
empowered consumers. Social media, for example, was made to link
people together, not to sell branded products: marketers with their
advertising campaigns, messages and contents risk to become uninvited
guests in the real-time online conversation flow (Fournier and Avery,
2011).

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With
so many new consumer capabilities,
marketers
need to verify if their beliefs and practices are still valid today
and, if not for any reason, what they should change in brand building
and management techniques. Therefore, this
article seeks to contribute to the extant knowledge about branding in
digital era exploring how brands should strategically react to
possible
consumer-generated
negative
social media messages, actions such as online petitions or brand
retaliation which, according with Hegner
et al., (2017), can be triggered by
negative past experience, symbolic incongruity and ideological
incompatibility.
To this purpose we conduct a case
study analysis of Carpisa an Italian manufacturer and retailer of
luggage, handbags, wallets and accessories with over 600 direct
stores worldwide owned by the Private Company Kuvera S.p.a.
Specifically, the attention is focused on a recent marketing campaign
launched by the brand Carpisa which has produced among consumers and
the internet users a profound sense of anger, irony and indignation.
The
rest of the paper is organized as follows. First, we present a
theoretical overview of the main issue pertaining brand management in
the current marketing landscape.
Thereafter, we present our
research methods and a detailed explication of data collection and
analysis. Finally, we discuss the main findings of this study,
as well as the study’s
theoretical and practical implications, limitations, and ideas for
future research.

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