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Netra Shetty
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netrashetty
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Marketing Research of Dereon - April 1st, 2011

House of Deréon is a ready-to-wear fashion line introduced by singer and actress Beyoncé Knowles and her mother/stylist Tina Knowles. The style and concept is inspired by three generations of women in their family, with the name "Deréon" paying tribute to Beyoncé's maternal grandmother, Agnèz Deréon (Mother of Tina Knowles). House of Deréon is not to be confused with its sister and partner line, a junior line simply titled, Deréon.

ide range of research from simple methods done spur of the moment to extensive, highly developed research projects that take months or even years to complete. While lower-level research rarely requires a formal plan, research projects that are intended to offer critical information to support marketing decisions generally involve a formal plan outlining how research will be conducted.

This research plan consists of multiple steps which under most conditions are developed before research takes place. For instance, a researcher hired to perform work for a client presents the client with a written description of what is to be done prior to undertaking the work. This serves the purpose of making sure the client agrees with what is being done and also understands the commitment needed (e.g., costs, time, personal involvement) to complete the project.

In this part of the Principles of Marketing Tutorials we examine a two-part discussion of the process researchers follow to acquire information. Understanding this process is not only important for anyone carrying out marketing research but is also of value for marketers purchasing research from third-party sources. As we discussed in the Marketing Research Tutorial, relevant research must meet tests for research validity and reliability. For those purchasing research the material presented in the Planning for Market Research tutorials will help in that assessment.

gn shapes the product's quality. It defines the way that good and service functions. Quality has at least two components. First, the product must be designed to function with a high probability of success, or reliability; that is, it will perform a specific function without failure under given conditions. When product reliability increases, the firm can extend the product's warrantee without increasing customer claims for repairs or returns. Warrantees for complex and expensive items such as appliances are important selling points for customers. Second, quality improves when operating or performance characteristics improve even though reliability does not. The goals of product design should be greater performance, greater reliability, and lower total production and operating costs. Quality and costs should not be viewed as a trade-off because improvements in product and process technologies can enhance quality and lower costs.

Quality function deployment is being used by organizations to translate customer wants into working products. Sometimes referred to as the house of quality, quality function deployment (QFD) is a set of planning and communication routines that focus and coordinate actions and skills within an organization. The foundation of the house of quality is the belief that a product should be designed to reflect customers' desires and tastes. The house of quality is a framework that provides the means for inter-functional planning and communications. Through this framework, people facing different problems and responsibilities can discuss various design priorities.

PROTOTYPING

Engineering and operations combine to develop models of products called prototypes. These may be working models, models reduced in scale, or mock-ups of the products. Where traditional prototype development often takes weeks or months, the technology for rapid prototyping has become available. Some companies are using the same technology that creates virtual reality to develop three-dimensional prototypes. Other firms employ lasers to make prototypes by solidifying plastic in only a few minutes; this process can produce prototypes with complex shapes. Prototyping should increase customer satisfaction and improve design stability, product effectiveness, and the predictability of final product cost and performance.

COMPUTER-AIDED DESIGN

Currently, business managers and engineers perceive computer-aided design (CAD) as a tool to assist engineers in designing goods. CAD uses computer technology and a graphic display to represent physical shapes in the same way that engineering drawings have in the past. It is used in the metalworking industry to display component parts, to illustrate size and shape, to show possible relationships to other parts, and to indicate component deformation under specified loads. After the design has been completed, the engineer can examine many different views or sections of the part and finally send it to a plotter to prepare drawings. This capability greatly reduces engineering time and avoids routine mistakes made in analysis and drawing. It significantly increases productivity and reduces design time, which allows faster delivery.

Applications of CAD systems are not limited to producing goods. While it's true that services do not have physical dimensions, the equipment and facilities used to produce services do. For example, the service stalls in an automotive center or rooms in an emergency medical center have physical characteristics that can be represented by the interactive graphics capabilities of a CAD system.

LEGAL AND ETHICAL ISSUES
IN PRODUCT DESIGN

What is the responsibility of an organization and its managers to see that the goods and services they produce do not harm consumers? Legally, it is very clear that organizations are responsible for the design and safe use of their products. Consumers who believe they have been damaged by a poorly designed good or service have legal recourse under both civil and criminal statutes. Often, however, only the most serious and obvious offenses are settled in this way. More difficult ethical issues in product design result when the evidence is not as clear. For example, what responsibilities does a power tool manufacturer have with respect to product safety? Does a power saw manufacturer have the responsibility to design its product so that it is difficult for a child to operate? Suppose a parent is using a power saw and is called away to the telephone for a few minutes. A ten-year old may wander over, press the trigger and be seriously injured. Designing the saw so it has a simple and inexpensive lockout switch that would have to be pressed simultaneously when the trigger is pressed would make it more difficult for the accident to happen. What is the responsibility of the parent? What is the responsibility of the company?

PRODUCT DESIGN
AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Organizations consider product design a critical activity to the production of environmentally friendly products. Organizations increasingly recognize that being good corporate citizens increases sales. Fast-food restaurants have begun recycling programs and redesigned packaging materials and systems in response to customer concerns. In other cases, being a good corporate citizen and protecting a company's renewable resources go well together; there are win-win opportunities where an organization can actually design products and processes that cut costs and increase profits by recapturing pollutants and reducing solid waste.

OVERVIEW OF PRODUCT
DESIGN PROCESS

Product design time can be reduced by using a team approach and the early involvement of key participants including marketing, research and development, engineering, operations, and suppliers. Early involvement is an approach to managing people and processes. It involves an upstream investment in time that facilitates the identification and solution of down-stream problems that would otherwise increase product design and production costs, decrease quality, and delay product introduction.

Time-based competitors are discovering that reducing product design time improves the productivity of product design teams. To reduce time, firms are reorganizing product design from an "over-the-wall" process to a team-based concurrent process. Over-the-wall means to proceed sequentially with the limited exchange of information and ideas. When this approach is used, problems are often discovered late because late-stage participants are excluded from decisions made early in the process. As a result, poor decisions are often made.

Product design is a labor-intensive process that requires the contribution of highly trained specialists. By using teams of specialists, communications are enhanced, wait time between decisions is reduced, and productivity is improved. Participants in this team-based process make better decisions faster because they are building a shared knowledge base that enhances learning and eases decision-making. By sharing development activities, design decisions that involve interdependencies between functional specialists can be made more quickly and more effectively. This reorganized process creates a timely response to customer needs, a more cost-effective product design process, and higher-quality products at an affordable price.

There are several reasons why early involvement and concurrent activities bring about these improvements. First, product design shifts from sequential, with feedback loops that occur whenever a problem is encountered, to concurrent, where problems are recognized early and resolved. The ability to overlap activities reduces product design time. Second, when a team of functional specialists works concurrently on product design, the participants learn from each other and their knowledge base expands. People are better able to anticipate conflicts and can more easily arrive at solutions. As a result, the time it takes to complete an activity should decline. Third, fewer changes later in the process results in faster and less expensive product design. When problems are discovered late, they take more time and money to solve.

Product design requires the expertise and decision-making skills of all parts of the organization. Marketing, engineering, operations, finance, accounting, and information systems all have important roles. Marketing's role is to evaluate consumer needs, determine potential impact of competitive pressure, and measure the external environment. Engineering's role is to shape the product through design, determine the process by which the product will be made, and consider the interface between the product and the people. Operations' role is to ensure that the product can be produced in full-scale production. Finance's role is to develop plans for raising the capital to support the product in full-scale production and to assist in the evaluation of the product's profit potential. Accounting and information systems provide access to information for decision making. Cross-functional teamwork and knowledge sharing are thus keys to success.
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