Text design as a communicative means to represent corporate identity on company websites
An analysis of two companies from the health and beauty sector
Master's Thesis 2009 62 Pages
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1.2 The companies
1.4.1 Literature review
1.4.2 Text design and its place in theory
1.4.3 Theoretical framework
1.4.4 Practical Analysis
1.5 Limitations ofthe study
2. Literature Review
2.1 Professional text production & text design
2.2 The role of the communicator
2.3 Audience analysis
2.4 Multimodal analysis
2.5 Design for electronic media
2.6 Visual Communication
2.7 Marketing & Corporate Identity
3. Text design and its place in theory
3.1 Clarification of terminology
3.2 Communication and linguistic theory
4. Establishing a theoretical framework
4.1 Audience analysis
4.2 Visual design
4.3 Use of Language
4.5 The reflection of corporate identity
5. Practical Analysis
5.1 The companies' explicitly stated philosophy
5.2 Evaluation and Implications for the text design
5.3 Applying the framework
5.3.2 L'Oreal Home
6.1 Findings of the analysis
6.2 effectiveness of the theoretical framework
7. Conclusion & Outlook
OBJECTIVE: Text design is a notion, which has so far not been investigated extensively in communication theory. However, or just because of that, it provides an interesting field of research. This dissertation focuses on the perspective of the communicator, the copywriter, who has to manage multimodal elements to achieve an inherently coherent design. Thereby an important part of business communication is included: the representation of corporate identity. Beiersdorf and L'Oreal are successful companies in the global health and beauty sector and are both market leaders in their respective countries. Using the example of their homepages, the main aim of this study is to show, how text design contributes to the purpose of image representation. Moreover, the perspective of the communicator is foregrounded, establishing a concept for copywriters to approach a text compilation process.
METHOD: Under the aforementioned premise of showing to what extent text design features contribute to the purpose of presenting an intended image, the front pages of the two websites are analysed and compared. In order to initiate the analysis, a theoretical framework is constructed, which simultaneously serves two purposes: firstly, it is used as an analysing tool to approach the homepages in question and secondly, it is evaluated in order to ascertain whether or not this framework might be applied by professional copywriters in a text compilation process for websites.
RESULTS: The practical part shows that the intended image has a crucial impact on the way text is designed. The constructed framework proves useful as an analysing tool. However, the results emphasise that the focus in this project is far too narrow for practical implementation in a professional context. The outlook suggests an extension of the created framework in order to make it applicable as a supportive tool for copywriters.
Appendix 1: Ranking of competitors - European health & beauty sector
Appendix 2: Beiersdorf press release
Appendix 3: Theoretical framework established in part
Appendix 4: Screenshot Beiersdorf Home UK
Appendix 5: Screenshot L'Oreal Home UK
Appendix 6: Beiersdorf company profile
Appendix 7: Summary of sustainability report Beiersdorf
Appendix 8: L'Oreal company profile
Appendix 9: Summary of sustainability report L'Oreal
Appendix 10: Beiersdorf e-mail response
I would like to thank my supervisor Dr. Paul Rastall for his constant support and useful suggestions. Overall I found the teaching staff at the University of Portsmouth very helpful and dedicated to the students in their care.
Furthermore, I want to express my gratitude to my family, especially my parents, who did not only stand by me in terms of financial support, but also through their firm belief in me and my abilities. I also want to thank my aunt, who substantially contributed to my dream of spending a year abroad.
The reason for choosing the topic for this dissertation was motivated by my wish to become a copywriter. Professional text production is therefore a field of personal interest for me. Which factors have to be considered when producing texts in a professional environment? This is one question I hope to answer in my dissertation. For this purpose I will look at an interesting field in business communication. In the focus of interest is the representation of companies with regard to the realisation of their company philosophy and image in the corporate design.
"Design is not decoration. It is communication." (Evans, 1973 in Bucher, 2007, p.50)
The statement above reveals an essential assumption, which underlies this dissertation: Texts do not only communicate throughout their content, but also through the way they are designed. My studies made me aware of text design as an important dimension of text production, which is often neglected or not considered thoroughly enough. Likewise, the literature states that this particular field is not yet well explored. In particular, resources for professional writers are presently hard to find (Schriver, 1997, p.14). Although there has been research on professional writing, text design as an integrated notion, including other factors rather than purely aesthetical ones, did not establish itself before the 1990s (Bucher, 2007, p.50) and is still not empirically investigated enough.
While writers and designers have been considered as different types of communicators so far, a shift or merging of responsibilities seems to now be developing (Schriver, 1997, p.362; Roth/ Bucher, 2007 p.49). This, along with the management of multimodal communicative means, implies a challenge for text producers.
From our own experience in everyday text encounters it can be assumed that the design is nothing we perceive consciously. The assumption that text design contributes to a large extent to the perception of a piece of text, while yet not being consciously consumed by the reader, stresses the valuable resource it provides for producers. It could even be argued that the design of a document is a covert source of conveying meaning. Metaphorically speaking, it is the secret weapon writers are equipped with in order to get across a certain message. The attempt to prove the validity of this assumption and the fact that text design addresses a gap in research makes the topic of this dissertation an exciting field of investigation.
1.2 THE COMPANIES
In order to approach the topic of text design in relation to corporate identity and image reflection, two companies serve for the analysis. The plan was to choose companies from the same sector and with a similar product range. The global health and beauty sector is governed by several leading producers. Companies like Procter and Gamble or Unilever for example provide a range of personal care products, while also producing goods in the field of house & home or nutrition. The choice for Beiersdorf and L'Oreal was evoked through the wish to narrow the focus down to skin care and cosmetics, in which these two companies are leading in their countries. In the international comparison however, L'Oreal appears as market leader. Unfortunately, professional market surveys are not meant for private use and are only accessible against a high charge. However, a chart from euromonitor international, a service provider for global market comparison, was included into a recent investor presentation made by L'Oreal (see appendix 1). In an overview of main competitors to the French company, Beiersdorf appears as the biggest German competitor in the markets of all depicted European countries in 2008. Another factor, which makes this choice attractive, is the fact that the website representation of the companies is fundamentally different. It will be interesting to investigate how this may be ascribed to image design.
The aim of the study is supposed to be threefold:
Firstly, the notion of text design shall be clarified not only in terms of terminology, but also concerning the different factors which constitute it. In the course of this, a general concept of the notion text design is recognised. As a result, a framework is to be established, which includes communicative means in professional text production.
Secondly, the aim is to investigate how text design contributes to the realisation of intended image though explicit and implicit design features. For this purpose the homepages of two company websites are analysed. With the help of the framework, communicative means are to be identified and evaluated in terms of image representation. This consideration is prominent at all times in the analysis.
Thirdly, after applying the framework in the analysis, it shall be evaluated as to whether or not it can be used as a functional tool for copywriters in a professional text compilation process.
1.4.1 LITERATURE REVIEW
The first step to approach the field of discussion is a critical literature review. Relevant sources and key notions are presented and evaluated. Thereby a broad overview is created, giving an idea about the notions, which come into play with regard to the subject of investigation. However, not all of these notions are addressed in the practical part and the limitations within the scope of this project need to be pointed out clearly.
1.4.2 TEXT DESIGN AND ITS PLACE IN THEORY
As the review will reveal, there has been controversy about the terminology concerning the field of textual design in the relevant literature. That is why terms like text design, document design or information design appear as competing notions with slightly different focus. Thus, it is essential to differentiate between these notions in order to clarify the terminology, which is used as a working title for this dissertation.
As a next step, the subject of discussion must be placed into the context of communication theory. In the course of this, it needs to be pointed out, which theories are relevant and which are to be excluded.
1.4.3 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
As the aforementioned aims show, establishing a theoretical framework serves two purposes: firstly, it shall be used as a means to analyse the websites in question and secondly, it shall be evaluated whether or not this framework is useful for future application when compiling texts for websites. The literature review will help to get an overview of essential topics to be addressed when dealing with textual design. Based on these findings, the next intended step is to create a catalogue of simplified questions to build up the framework and initiate the analysis.
1.4.4 PRACTICAL ANALYSIS
In the practical part of this dissertation, the established framework will be used as an analysing tool to identify the main communicative means of text production being used on the two company homepages. This will always be done under the premise of revealing the function of those means with regard to the reflection of corporate identity and intended image. Looking at two leading companies in the health and beauty sector it is assumed that a team of professionals has created the website purposefully under consideration of the company's guidelines. In the course of the analysis it is therefore always implied, in which ways the designer interprets the company image. This is why a depiction of the companies stated intention and values precedes the analysis, including an evaluation and assessment of expectations, which are evoked concerning the text design. The practical part hence includes the explicitly stated company image as well as the associative messages conveyed by the text design.
It should be mentioned at this point that Beiersdorf recently relaunched their whole website representation. However, changes have mainly been made for reasons of usability (see press release in appendix 2), which are of minor interest in this dissertation. For this reason, the previous version shown in the screenshot (appendix 4) will serve for the analysis. In the case of the L'Oreal website, the most current version (August 2009, appendix 5) is analysed.
1.5 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
Within the scope of this dissertation it is essential to maintain a narrow focus and reduce the field to specific points of interest. This is why the analysis mainly pays attention to graphics and written text, including their interrelation. It should be emphasised that the analysis is merely qualitative and not based on extensive data collection. Certainly it is essential to maintain a critical viewpoint at all times, in order to avoid overgeneralisations. However, the findings shall be treated as representative and results are supposed to give indications, which might reveal characteristics of this genre. Drawing general conclusions from the findings must be done with caution, since the analysis only looks at two companies from one specific field.
Furthermore, this project does not evaluate the effectiveness and usability of the website. Although these factors shall be addressed in the literature review for reasons of completeness and to create an overview of the research field itself, these are secondary and therefore will not be considered in the analysis. Likewise to this, the dissertation does not aim to critically assess, whether or not the intended image is reflected in the public response. Although it might be interesting to critically compare the companies' intended image with statements or criticism, which might appear in the public discourse, the analysis merely aims on the companies' intentions and their implementation in text design.
2. LITERATURE REVIEW
Doing research for the subject of discussion leads to several fields of study, which must be taken into consideration. The review is intended to give an overview of this research field. Yet, many points are connected to the effectiveness of textual design, which is not relevant in this dissertation. Thus, not all factors eventually find reflection in the practical analysis.
2.1 PROFESSIONAL TEXT PRODUCTION & TEXT DESIGN
As Schriver points out, there are limited resources, which are geared towards professional writers (1997, preface). Indeed, the literature is full with writing guidebooks, which give advice about how to approach text production, while not being sufficiently based on research. Books such as "Technical Writing and Professional Communication" (Olsen/Huckin, 1991) as well as "Effective technical communication" (Eisenberg, 1991) and "Professional Writing" (Marsen, 2003) are meant to provide support for the writing process and can indeed be used as valuable sources for this purpose. However, from a professional viewpoint, resource books like Burnett's "Technical Communication" provide a far more scientific approach and therefore perfectly serve the purpose of establishing a general framework, which is the first aim of this dissertation. Burnett's book also provides illustrative examples and refers to web-articles, which help to get a clearer idea of design features.
According to Burnett's elaborations, very basic requirements are the foundation for effective text production. She brings across a general guideline for texts, which is used and exemplified throughout her book. This guideline consists of three parameters: accessibility, comprehensibility and usability. The first refers to physical factors that might influence the reader's perception of a text, e.g. the quality of images, legibility, space or the medium itself. Secondly, it has to be ensured that the text is easy to understand. Factors to be considered for this point might be the lexis, coherence or the underlying purpose to be conveyed. Thirdly, the text needs to be used easily, which primarily focuses on the interactions between readers and the text. The structure, its navigation or the use of signposting might be considered as such elements (2005, pp. 13,14).
With the development of electronic media, the notion of usability is increasingly discussed within the literature. Besides Burnett, Lannon also focuses on this topic, depicting why usability is important and how it can be achieved. Moreover, he suggests how documents can be tested for their usability, for example by clearly defining the purpose of the document, meanwhile critically assessing and questioning the content as well as design features: is the information in any respect irrelevant, inaccurate, confusing etc. (2006, pp.365-377)? The same applies for Marsen, who provides a guide for website evaluation, in the course of which he includes the testing of usability (2003, p.201). Although the resource is geared towards web-designers, Horton (2006) can be consulted for the topic of usability in web-creation as well. She provides a number of useful links, which help to investigate this concept in further detail.
A valuable and current resource to approach the topic of text design as an intentional means of conveying information is provided by Roth and Spitzmuller (2007). As the editors of this book state in the preface, it is meant to give an introduction, overview and an impulse of further research with regard to text design. The latter is a main goal, as this field still lacks empirical studies (2007, p.ll). Although the book focuses on media rather than business communication, it provides a good insight into the current state of discussion concerning the topic of text design and therefore helps to put the dissertation into the context of contemporary research. Various authors approach the topic from different perspectives and thereby show the scope of this field. Very useful in the basic reading is the chapter "What is text design" (Antos/Spitzmuller, pp. 35-47).
Another very valuable source to establish the concept of text design is provided by Schriver (1997). Her elaborations are particularly interesting because she presents empirical studies that have been done in the field. Thus, besides being informative concerning several notions, these studies also give inspiration on how to approach the topic of text design in an empirical way.
2.2 THE ROLE OF THE COMMUNICATOR
For the question in what respects the communicator is important, some controversy in the literature can be identified. Bucher claims that text design was unsuccessful, if it did not evoke any reaction at the part of the reader (Bucher, 2007, p.63). To what extent can this be attributed to the responsibility of the writer? Bernstein (1984, p.l) emphasises the importance of the communicator by saying that he is responsible and "misconceptions are the fault of the transmitter, not the receiver" (1984, p.l). Yet, Antos / Spitzmuller point out that the intention and the effect of a communication are never entirely controllable. They further state that the intended effect of a text design might in some instances fail to be conveyed, while in other instances, an interpretation is drawn from the text design, which was not intended by the communicator (2007, p.46). Although the different perceptions are not entirely contrastive, it shows that the importance of the communicator is seen from different angles. As the controllability is highly questionable, piloting designs might be essential before the final implementation.
With regard to the mentioned controllability, it is undoubtedly true that the perception of a text depends on a wide range of factors, which cannot all be anticipated. However, it appears as if the art of text compilation seems to lay in the writer's ability to anticipate the readers' expectations and reactions. This is why the following part needs to be ascribed a very high significance.
2.3 AUDIENCE ANALYSIS
Audience analysis must be considered in every single step of the writing process and therefore is a key point to effective writing in most of the identified sources. Schriver places the audience in the foreground of all her elaborations. She makes clear that the perspective of the reader should be the first premise in all respects. Writers must understand "how readers think and feel as they interact with documents" (1997, p.152). What is interesting about Schriver's statement is the formulation that readers "interact" with documents, which implies that they often do far more than only consuming texts in a linear way. This is especially true for hypertexts in electronic media, as readers browse through a website and decide how they sequence the information according to their interest. This leads back to the importance of text usability and shows the complexity of compiling documents for audiences. Besides the identification of audiences, Olsen and Huckin point out the importance of knowing the purpose of the communication in relation to it (1991, pp.69-70). A content related point of view is presented by Marsen, who claims a "writer-reader complicity" to be essential for effective communication. He thereby points out that readers must feel a response to their interest and needs rather than being ascribed to a general category (2003, p.5). This is another indicatorforthe complex significance of successful audience analysis. Burnett refers to audience based documents and dedicates a whole chapter to it. Thereby, she addresses the issue of identifying audiences and adjusting texts to their needs. She also suggests that websites should be analysed according to their audience address. Lannon also presents a whole chapter on audience analysis (2006, ch.3). He gives a number of aspects, which have an impact on the audience and summarises them in an audience profile sheet (2006, p.36).
In fact, the identification of audiences is a very problematic issue, since they mostly are heterogeneous and cannot be grouped easily. As Olsen and Huckin point out, human communication is based on interpretations, which rely on personal backgrounds and experiences (1991, p.17). Kotler also extensively dwells on factors, which have an influence on consumer behaviour (pp. 179-97). As every person has different backgrounds, identifying common characteristics of a specific audience is a challenging task for the communicator. However, a crucial point here is that especially in business life there are intended audiences, which the company aims to address. Kotler not only deals with the identification of target audiences, but with the effective management of customer relationships (2004, pp.9,11,15-22).
2.4 MULTIMODAL ANALYSIS
Multimodality of communicative means is a key notion in this dissertation. According to Bucher, it becomes increasingly important, since texts make use of a variety of modes (2007, p.53). His chapter on text design and multimodality represents a valuable approach to this topic. The same certainly applies for Kress and van Leeuwen, who dedicate a whole book on multimodal discourse.
Furthermore, although being rather abstract, O'Halloran's approach (2004) provides some notions in his multi-semiotic model (chapter 9), which can be taken into consideration. The examples in the preceding chapters of this book give advice on the approach as well.
As Schriver puts it, "document design is the act of bringing together prose, graphics, illustration, photography and typography for the purpose of instruction, information or persuasion" (1997, p.10).
Burnett presents another approach and identifies five elements of document designs: textual, spatial, graphic, color and dynamic (2005, p.378). It becomes clear that there are several multimodal factors, which need to be looked at. The textbooks on technical and professional communication dwell on these modes, which is why besides Burnett and Schriver, Eisenberg, Lannon, Olsen and Marsen can also be consulted to gather notions for the analysing framework. In these sources, characteristics of verbal language can be found as well. Useful ideas concerning the field of verbal communication are furthermore provided by Jago (1999). He dwells on effective language use and depicts important linguistic notions, which might be valuable for the analysis of verbal features.
2.5 DESIGN FOR ELECTRONIC MEDIA
As the practical part of this dissertation relies on the analysis of web-contents, the specific characteristics of this medium have to be depicted as well. Burnett again presents a whole chapter dedicated to this topic, illustrating it by assessing website examples (2005, pp. 470-510). Storrer (2004) also dwells on text production for websites with a focus on hypertexts. By far not as extensive as Burnett's or Storrer's elaborations is Lannon's approach on designing on-screen documents. He rather refers to literature on web design and recommends reading in this realm to be informed about on-screen text creation at large. A comparison of characteristic differences between print vs. on-screen media can for example be found in Marsen (2003, pp.195-196). Like Burnett, he also presents key points that help to evaluate websites with regard to content, appeal and usability, before giving advice as to how to plan your own website production.
The part of electronic design is again more concerned with assessing the effectiveness of a website and therefore less important in this dissertation. However, one relevant difference is stressed by Burnett, who states that reading from electronic resources is about 25% slower than from print media (2005, p.378). This implies that other than verbal means must be considered in depth, which leads to the topic ofvisual communication.
2.6 VISUAL COMMUNICATION
Lannon dwells on page design and points out that readers scan documents first and perceive them in a top-down process: from the overall impression to individual words and phrases (2006, pp.340, 344). Following this argumentation, this would mean that in the correlation between verbal and visual communication, the visual effect seems to be prominent.
Bucher refers to what is sometimes called "visual turn" - the increasing importance of text-image cooperation (2007, p.53). In general, the high significance of visual communication as an element of text design is apparent. Therefore it should constitute a major part of the analysis in this dissertation. The importance of it is also reflected in the relevant literature, in which the majority of authors, concerned with text compilation, dwell on effective integration of visuals in texts. Lannon introduces the topic of visual communication by explaining why visuals are important, how they work and when to use them, before he dwells on different types of visuals and their characteristics (2006, pp.289-338). A very similar approach is provided by Olsen/Huckin (1991, pp.135-156).
In Marsen's practical writing guide, the topic of visuals is only briefly addressed. In a short outline he lists important facts in a kind of to-do list and concludes with another list of different types (2003, pp.144-147). This source does no justice to the actual importance of verbal and visual correlation, however it gives a number of very practice oriented recommendations that might be helpful in the text production process. Far more useful is again Burnett. The focus is placed on technical visuals and its incorporation in verbal text. She reflects more on the integration of several types of visuals and the functions they comprise (2005, pp.410-460). The interplay between words and pictures is also the centre of interest for Schriver. As most of her elaborations focus on the audience, she reflects on the way readers perceive images in relation to texts from a psychological and scientific point of view and therefore provides another useful perspective. Her approach is more theoretical and the only source, which displays empirical evidence in related studies (1997, pp.362-441). The significance of audience analysis has been mentioned above. Both Burnett and Lannon reflect on the use of visuals in relation to audience adaption (Burnett p. 415, Lannon, p.296).
Certainly, the use of images or graphics is not the only element within the scope of visual communication. The text arrangement as well as colours and typography are influential factors as well. While focusing on the effective balancing of verbal and visual means, most of the authors named above also dwell on layout and page design in general. This includes for example the chunking of texts into paragraphs and highlighting for instance through headings. Space is also an important factor and so is the effective use of colours. For the latter, Pitchford and Biggam can be considered and also the websites "colour matters" and "About.com: Desktop Publishing" are worthwhile looking at to investigate the functions and symbolism of colours. Although all the mentioned factors are crucial aspects of text design, their analysis would by far exceed the scope of this dissertation. For instance only the topic of typography constitutes a broad field of research in itself. Therefore the analysis of visual representation will be reduced to graphics, but also colours are briefly addressed.
Schroder's book on "Visual Consumption" introduces a more economic dimension. How are visuals perceived and how can they be effectively applied to promote a certain product or business? This leads to the final part of business communication, which should be addressed in the following.
2.7 MARKETING & CORPORATE IDENTITY
Schriver states that text producers do not only need to consider their target audience but they also have to create a balance between the readers' needs and the organisation the writer is working for (1997, pp.166, 67). There are guidelines and constraints, which limit the creative freedom for the text producer. Lannon provides one example for this by remarking that these restrictions most plainly can be given through the costs for a specific publication (2006, p.344). He thereby addresses one important factor - some companies simply might not have the financial means to invest in the establishing and designing of their public appearance than others. However, despite the fact that these financial means might be provided, the text producer still has to consider a range of principles prescribed by a company. The organisational point of interest in this dissertation is the concept of corporate identity. Very briefly, corporate identity can be defined as the "visualisation of the company's characteristics" (Bernstein, 1984, p.157). It is hence a reflection of the image, the company wants to convey, including its philosophy and stated values.
This leads to the wide realm of marketing and external business communication. In the scope of this dissertation, this field has to be narrowed down to the focus of realising stated company values. Although this source is relatively old (1984), Berstein's book on "company image and reality" provides some helpful information concerning this topic. He refers to the importance of image communication in various business parts, as for example advertising or personal encounters. One important point he makes is that product image can be manipulated easily, whereas corporate image is not that easy to be controlled (1984, p.13).
Kotler's book on the "Principles of Marketing" is more current and particularly valuable. It serves as the main source to cover this part of the dissertation and hence deserves more detailed attention in this review. It is valuable for both, an introduction into the marketing dimension itself as well as specific factors, which influence the representation of the company in public. Several aspects come into play with regard to the topic of company image and representation. Besides the stated values, the presentation of brands and products as well as customer and employee relation has an impact on the overall image. Kotler explains in what ways successful marketing can help to establish a positive customer relation. Of special interest is his explanation of strategic planning. He mentions the importance of a company's mission statement, which incorporates the purpose and aims of the company. According to Kotler, this statement functions as an "invisible hand" (2004, p.41), a guideline for all marketing operations. For the products, Kotler recommends a clear market positioning with a strong slogan in order to be distinguished from competitors (2004, p.55). He further points out the importance of the employees to fully support a brand and its image (2004, p.298). Another point worth mentioning is his evaluation of media types. To the internet, which is of interest in this dissertation, he ascribes the advantage of high selectivity, low costs, immediacy and interactive capacity (2004, p.503), which means that information can be grouped for the interest of specific audiences, who are also able to interact with the medium; furthermore it is topical and economical. On the contrary, he depicts the disadvantages of small, demographically skewed audiences, who control the exposure and therefore the medium has a relatively low impact. However, it can be argued that a customer, who visits the website, already has a self-motivated interest in the company and is able to browse the website accordingly without too much information he is not interested in being imposed upon him. As a result of this medium evaluation the importance of effectively using this initial interest on the website is a crucial issue affecting the text design.
Of special significance are the different angles, marketing strategies have to include. Bernstein cites former fortune magazine editor Max Ways:
"The public needs to know more...about business - about its products, its processes, its performance, its motivations, its internal relations and the ways all these are changing." (In: Bernstein, 1984, p. 4)
This corresponds to Kotler's elaborations concerning "enlightened marketing", a philosophy, which comprises principles to support the best long-term performance (2004, p.647). These principles address five types of marketing. Consumer-oriented marketing entails that the company should carefully choose its target audience and see the world through their customers' eyes in order to guarantee a long lasting relationship with them. This corresponds to Schiever's viewpoint of always adopting the audience's perspective (see 2.3). Innovative marketing refers to the strategy of always seeking product and marketing improvement, in order not to lose customers to competitors. Similar to this is the value marketing, which aims to consistently invest in the improvement of a product's quality features. Sense-of-mission marketing refers to a company's mission statement, which should not only be product centred but communicate a social responsibility in their integrated image. The denotation in broader social terms is also exemplified by Kotler in a comparison of product and market oriented business definitions (2004, p.44). Similarly Bernstein points out that companies often choose to sell ideas rather than products (1984, p.17). Societal marketing further takes society's concerns into account. Besides the company's requirements, marketing decisions in this approach are based on consumer needs as well as societal benefit. Placing the consumer in the foreground Kotler further points out the importance of customer value, which means that a product has to provide a clear value for the customer, which justifies its cost. Moreover, he refers to customer satisfaction, which is achieved by fulfilling their expectations through this value (2004, p.9). Another factor, which becomes important in the public presentation, is the notion of "brand personality". Kotler stresses that products need to imply a meaning and brand experience, in order to be sustainable on the market.
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