Date of Award

2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Business (Honours)

School

School of Marketing, Tourism and Leisure

Faculty

Business and Law

First Advisor

Dr Stephen Fanning

Second Advisor

Dr Alicia Stanway

Abstract

Brand ambassadors are often employed to perform important marketing roles such as influencing product adoption and creating brand awareness (Livesley, 2009; O’Leary, 2010; Voight, 2007; Wragg, 2004). Brand ambassadors provide personalised customer service, including educational, experiential and relational roles and as a result propagate trust, minimize perceived risk and create familiarity and involvement (Belch & Belch, 2007; Chiou & Droge, 2006; Elliot & Percy, 2007). Whilst studies highlight benefits to businesses in general, there is limited research to the role of brand ambassadors within the Australian cosmetic industry. Cosmetic brand ambassadors are a traditional feature of the cosmetic industry and are employed as beauty advisors, demonstrators, and sales representatives in Australian specialty stores and department stores. Brand ambassadors are more prevalent amongst upmarket, premium priced cosmetic brands where the communication of product qualities and product value is more complex and where the consumer is more involved with their purchase decision. In consideration of the trend from in-store shopping to online shopping within Australia, the relevance of brand ambassadors is now being questioned (Zehner, Bradley & Sanders, 2011). Today, customers are often interacting with the brand in an online forum rather than receiving face-to-face interaction with cosmetic brand ambassadors (Indvik, 2011). The changes to cosmetic retailing and the behaviour of consumers of cosmetic products provided the motivation for this qualitative study. This qualitative study explored the consumption patterns of cosmetic consumers and in particular the relevance of the marketing roles performed by cosmetic brand ambassadors. Ten semi-structured interviews were conducted with female cosmetic consumer’s aged between 18 and 30 between September and October in 2012 in Perth, Australia. The results suggested that for some consumers, the online environment has satisfactorily provided services previously undertaken by the cosmetic brand ambassador. The study also suggested that some consumers perceived the online shopping experience to be less variable, and less risky than interactions with cosmetic brand ambassadors. The recommendations are that a strategic review of the role of cosmetic brand ambassadors is needed to ensure that the traditional cosmetic brand ambassador is a feature of the industry in the future.

Included in

Marketing Commons

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