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Timberland's Response to Their Unexpected Non-Target Consumers

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In the early 1990’s, outdoor apparel brand, Timberland received an unexpected growth in its consumer base and its sales. The brand’s popular waterproof leather boots, generally used for outdoor activities and moving through rugged terrain, were being worn by inner-city youth as a fashion statement. These new consumers wanted to keep their boots as clean as possible and some even wore the boots in the heat of summer, an incongruous contrast to how the target market used the boots in rough, messy weather conditions. While Timberland enjoyed the unexpected sales, they were faced with a decision. Should they try to further exploit this unintentional market; if so how would Timberland’s outdoorsmen target market respond? In this case, it…show more content…
Why does remixing occur? How does the target market react to the remixing? And in response, how should the brand react? For the purposes of this proposal, I focus on the second question: How does the target market react to brand remixing and what is the net effect? Is the reaction of the target market positive, negative, or one of indifference? Also, what mechanisms influence the response of the target market and how large are these responses. The literature has mainly looked at target marketing as having negative effects on non-target consumers. The unintentional, positive outcome of a brand being adopted by a non-target market has been minimally analyzed, and the resultant effects on the target market have not been studied. Conventional marketing wisdom, would have us believe that additional customers means more sales, but is every customer good for the brand? Is it possible for the brand to have a bad customer?
Literature Review(see Table 1 & 2 for summary)
Defining Brand Remixing
Brand remixing is the public adoption of a brand by non-target market consumers, who attach their own unique set of associations to the brand. Past research suggest that consumers construct their self-identity and present themselves to others through their brand choices based on the congruency between brand-user associations and self-image associations (Escalas and Bettman 2003). Brand re-mixing involves consumers choosing brands
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