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Wacker, Veronika: The impact of acquisitions on consumers brand perception. An analysis in the specific sector of ethical brands. Diplomarbeit, 2008. * *http://textfeld.ac.at/text/1396/

Leopold-Franzens-Universitt Innsbruck | Fakultt fr Betriebswirtschaft | Institut fr Strategisches Management, Marketing und Tourismus
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Day by day it seems companies are either taking over other companies or are being taken over themselves. That is nothing new or astonishing, but what catches the eye is something that seems to be a recent strategy for various enterprises which are rather known for the contrary than for their ethical image, namely the take over of other companies who have such a status. The sector of ethical products and brands itself, has been growing heavily in the last years. With its starting point approximately 30 years ago with enterprises such as The Body Shop or Toms of Maine a whole new sector of the market has opened up, a market for ethical brands. As examples for such delicate acquisitions - like mentioned above - one could name e.g. Aveda, a "highly social responsible acting cosmetics company, nowadays owned by Estee Lauder, Ben & Jerrys, known as the former ice-cream with a "social mission now part of Unilever. Furthermore, Cadbury Schweppes who is the new owner of Green and Blacks the "worlds first organic chocolate, Colgate Palmolive buying Toms of Maine, one of the first to develop natural personal care products or one of the latest examples The Body Shop former "soul of the green cosmetics movement now owned by one of the world biggest cosmetic giants LOral . The provocation here is the merger of companies, mainly global players, with smaller enterprises of the ethical brands sector. And many reactions - be it on internet boards, be it through protest and boycott calls - show the urgency and sensibility of this topic. Objectives and Contribution This thesis will provide more insight into the behaviour of customers after such acquisitions. Do consumers know and care about such change in ownership? Do they see it as a provocation? How do they react to such changes in ownership? And could it actually change the way a brand is perceived? Contribution: To gain a better insight into how brands are perceived after change in ownership - specific focus on ethical brands Provide knowledge of what defines "ethical brands" Give implications on how to deal with such changes in ownership.
Hans Mhlbacher

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