How symbolic value can be instilled in products

January 6th, 2008 - 2:53 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, Jan 6 (ANI): Varied products have different values and they carry altered meanings. A person might feel sexy in designer clothes but that doesnt imply that non-designer outfits are below standards.

According to Davide Ravasi, associate professor in the Institute of Strategic Management of Bocconi University, Italy, brands help us to express who we think we are and who we want to be.

Whether its Levi jeans, BMW cars or Nokia phones, we know the brands we like. These are more than products; they are symbols, or in other words, they are objects carrying meaning.

In a recent ESF Exploratory Workshop organized by Ravasi, the affect of symbolic attribute of products on their adoption and evolution was discussed.

The idea that goods and services hold symbolic as well as functional value has been poorly understood in the context of business management.

Management theory and practice tends to focus on business processes: the most efficient and economic way to deliver good quality, functional products. Indeed, management studies prefer to shy away from topics like branding, considering it more of a sloppy marketing concept.

Branding is just one way of endowing products with meanings. But there are others, such as product design or even process innovation. However, little research has been done on how business processes and activities, like customer service and production, can systematically create symbolic value in products. This is such an unexplored field that we don’t even have our terms and definitions and methodologies agreed on yet. The workshop was just the beginning of researchers in this field to come together and start work on developing a common language and concepts, Ravasi said.

As a group of scholars we are trying to generate new forms of management knowledge, giving enterprises more awareness of the importance of symbolic value so they do not underestimate the resources and competitive advantage they have, Ravasi concluded. (ANI)

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