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Critically discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected contemporary consumer culture and consumer behaviour in one of the following fields and how branding or strategic communication to consumers should respond accordingly.

An individual assignment in the form of a 3000-written word essay. The 3000-word limit does not include the list of references and appendices (if used).

Assignment question:

Critically discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected contemporary consumer culture and consumer behaviour in one of the following fields and how branding or strategic communication to consumers should respond accordingly.

  1. Digital marketing
  2. Tourism
  3. Retail
  4. Consumer ethics

In this essay, please focus on one consumer behavior or consumer culture manifestation and discuss how it is affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Then, discuss how branding and strategic communication to consumers should be updated accordingly. Contextualize your discussions in the field you choose (one of the four mentioned above).

The topics of behaviors or cultural manifestations could be, but are not limited to, resource sharing, emotional reaction such as anxiety, DIY, hoarding, social distancing, online shopping, dynamics of social groups, interpersonal trust, information seeking, and so on. Please use theories, frameworks, analytic tools, and/or concepts introduced in the module materials to support your argument. These theories/frameworks/concepts include:

Consumer Segmentation

Consumer characteristic segmentation variables

  • Demographic
  • Geographic
  • Socio-economic
  • Personality

Behavioural variables

  • Purchase behaviour
  • Purchase occasion
  • Benefits sought
  • Consumption behaviour and user status
  • Attitude to product

Relevant elements for effective market segmentation

  • Measurability
  • Accessibility
  • Substantiality

Brand Management

Brand components

  • Laforet (2010) – Brand identity/brand image/brand positioning/brand equity
  • Kapferer (1992) - Brand identity prism
  • Brand physique
  • Brand personality
  • Brand culture
  • Brand relationships
  • Brand reflection
  • Self-image
  • Hard associations and soft associations (Keller et al. 2008)
  • Brand positioning

Commercial and non-commercial brands

  • Swaminathan et al. (2020) – Non-commercial brands
  • Baines et al. (2019) – Commercial brands

Brand portfolio management

Brand building and brand equity

Brand equity

  • What is brand equity
  • Lafont (2010) - Financial-based brand equity and customer-based brand equity

Brand equity dimensions

  • Aaker (1996) – Brand equity elements (Brand awareness/brand associations/brand loyalty/perceived quality/other proprietary brand assets)

Brand building

CBBE Model

  • Keller

Place branding and tourism

The place branding process

Place branding controversies

Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC)

Marketing communication tools

  • Advertising
  • Sales promotion
  • Public relations
  • Event marketing
  • Direct marketing
  • Personal selling
  • Interactive marketing

How advertising works

  • AIDA (Awareness/Interest/Desire/Action) (Strong, 1925)
  • ATR (Awareness/Trial/Reinforcement)

The IMC process (Caemmerer, 2009)

  • Situational analysis
  • Identification of marketing communications
  • Agency selection
  • Campaign development and implementation
  • Campaign evolution
  • Future planning

Please make sure that you draw on academic literature beyond the module materials while justifying your rationale, which reflects your independent study. You should also draw on real-life examples.

You may want to consider the following guidance to help structure your essay.  

  1. Introduction: Begin with a brief introduction outlining the structure of the essay. Clearly indicate the field of your choice and the behaviour or cultural manifestation that you are going to discuss and provide justifications (500 words). Please note that you will choose only one consumer behaviour and one field (e.g., DIY and Retail, or hoarding and consumer ethics).
  2. Main body part 1: Briefly review scholarly perspectives and academic discussions on the subject and contextualize your discussion in the field you choose (1000 words).
  3. Main body part 2: Critically discuss how the relationship between the subject and the field has been influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic, draw on evidence and examples to support your argument. Suggest solutions, development, opportunities, and/or risks for developing strategies of branding or communication in such circumstances (1000 words).
  4. Conclusion: Conclude with a summary of key points and perhaps indicate future directions for scholarly endeavours (500 words).
  5. References, appendices, diagrams, charts, or tables.

Further guidance

  1. You are expected to show ability to synthesise theory, literature and examples. In other words, you should critically discuss the theoretical aspects learnt in class and expand upon this to include a range of literature that you have identified as relevant (through exploring recent journal articles and recent debates around your topic) and also referring to relevant examples.
  2. Use the Harvard style for references.
  3. Some advisable academic journals and proceedings for consultation include:

California Management Review; Consumption, Markets and Culture; European Journal of Marketing; Harvard Business Review; International Marketing Review; Journal of Advertising; Journal of Brand Management; Journal of Business Ethics; Journal of Consumer Culture; Journal of Consumer Research; Journal of Customer Behaviour; Journal of International Marketing; Journal of Macromarketing; Journal of Marketing; Journal of Marketing Management; Journal of Marketing Research; Journal of the Association for Consumer Research; Journal of Product and Brand Management; Marketing Letters; Marketing Theory; Place Branding and Public Diplomacy; Tourism Management


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