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"There is no Spoon": Towards a Framework for the Classification of Virtual Brands and Management of Brand Precession

Laurent Muzellec

Theo Lynn
This paper considers the case of two fictional brands (‘Duff Beer’ and ‘Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans’) and one computer-synthesized brand (‘Aimee Weber’) and the attachment of these brands to physical products in the real and virtual worlds. The authors contend these cases are not merely manifestations of the "reverse product placement" process but are representative of a wider phenomenon, labelled “brand precession”. The three cases illustrate three orders of brand precession. In the first two orders, the virtual brands foment an aura in the fictional world, which will be leveraged through “tangibilisation” or “productisation” in the real world. In the third order of brand precession (Aimee Weber), commercial translation of the computer synthesised brand is not necessarily dependent on a physical existence in the real world. The authors contend that should such brands be capable of legal protection, the implications for marketing practitioners and researchers may be profound. The paper provides an embryonic classification and framework for the management and the articulation of virtual brands.



A Case Study Analysis of Transferred Practices Within MNCs: The Actor Network Theory

Janis Hilaricus
This paper investigates how transferred practices influence regular work practices within MNCs. The author studied knowledge transfer within a French multinational corporation (MNC) using the Actor Network Theory (abbreviated as ANT). ANT offers a suitable framework for analyzing the process of adoption of a transferred practice by subsidiaries of MNCs. Findings indicate that the adoption of transferred practices by foreign subsidiaries is a very uneven process. Some units and managers support adoption and use of the technology; others do not. There are also some surprising side effects of using Lotus Notes software, particularly increased communication between the Brazilian and Mexican subsidiaries.



The Click Chain

Des Laffey
This article analyses the methods of attracting customers to retail websites and then satisfying their needs. Porter’s value chain is adapted to the online retail environment to create a model termed “the click chain”, which analyses how users, termed “clicks”, come to a website identifying a variety of sources. The model builds on the ability to identify the source and associated costs of such clicks and measures their behaviour once at the website. In doing so it highlights the variety of methods which can be employed to attract visitors, distinguishing between paid clicks, which involve payment to a third party, and free clicks, which do not. Practical advice is given to e-commerce managers, including the key issues in measuring the sources and behaviour of clicks, the importance of increasing free clicks and the crucial role of loyalty.



The Adoption of Peer-to-Peer Networks and the Structure of Entertainment Markets: The Example of Music in Europe

Francesco Sandulli
This study explores the existence of different P2P adoption rates across countries. Focusing on the supply side of the entertainment markets, the paper analyses the relationship between concentration in the music industry and the P2P rate adoption. Using country-level panel data, the research finds empirical evidence supporting an inverse relationship between P2P adoption and music market concentration in Europe. Therefore, P2P networks and online distribution of music and other entertainment products may be more valuable to music consumers in fragmented markets.



Network Effects - Managerial Implications and Recent Trends in the Empirical Literature

Daniel Birke
Network effects, the increase in value of consuming a product if many other consumers use the same product, are a feature of many markets and in particular of many markets of high-technology products. This paper discusses managerial implications of network effects. It further introduces some recent insights gained from the analysis of how consumers interact with each other in a social network. The paper argues that a closer analysis of the network structure of consumer interaction promises fruitful future research avenues and advances in our understanding of how network effects operate.



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