Psychographic target group analysis on the basis of an empirical research for the brands Adidas, NIKE and Puma using the innovative approach of the Semiometrie

Master's Thesis, 2007

164 Pages, Grade: 1,0


Table of Content

I. Executive Summary

II. Preface

III. List of Figures

IV. List of Charts

V. List of Appendix

VI. Glossary

1. Introduction
1.1. Structure and background of Master-Thesis
1.2. Issue
1.3. Goal of Master-Thesis

2. Theoretical Background of the study
2.1. Origin of Semiometrie
2.2. Basic Principles
2.2.1. Semiometrie
2.2.2. Theories of consumer behavior
2.2.3. Denotation and connotation
2.2.4. Distinguishing between Typology-Models
2.3. Theory and Method
2.3.1. Semantic Space
2.3.2. Reference Map
2.4. Survey
2.5. Analyzing Tools
2.5.1. Brand Pentad and Program Triad
2.5.2. Positioning Options Individual Positioning Combination Positioning General Positioning
2.5.3. 14 Value Fields Condensation of information about the 14 value fields Concrete Relevance of the 14 value fields

3. Differentiation of selected models
3.1. Semiometrie in addition to Socio-demographic
3.2. Semiometrie vs. Sinus-Milieus
3.2.1. Brief description of Sinus-Milieus
3.2.2. Comparison of the two methods
3.2.3. Similarities and differences
3.2.4. Advantages and disadvantages of both models in comparison

4. Concept of research design
4.1. Overview about the process of information
4.2. Definition-Phase
4.2.1. Problem formulation
4.2.2. Target group definition
4.3. Design-Phase
4.3.1. Creation of hypotheses
4.3.2. Research instruments and research approach
4.3.3. Sample Size
4.3.4. Basic statistics about demography in Germany
4.3.5. Concept and explanation of questionnaire

5. Reporting and Interpretation of Results – Analysis-Phase
5.1. Adidas
5.1.1. Commentary of results from the Two-Dimensional Reference Map concerning Brand Pentad in connection with Adidas’ value fields
5.1.2. General Positioning of Adidas in relation to TV broadcaster and programs
5.1.3. Interpretation of results for Adidas in interaction with socio-demographic data
5.2. Nike
5.2.1. Commentary of results from the Two-Dimensional Reference Map concerning Brand Pentad in connection with NIKE’s value fields
5.2.2. General Positioning of NIKE in relation to TV broadcaster and programs
5.2.3. Interpretation of results for NIKE in interaction with socio-demographic data
5.3. Puma
5.3.1. Commentary of results from the Two-Dimensional Reference Map concerning Brand Pentad in connection with Puma’s value fields
5.3.2. General Positioning of Puma in relation to TV broadcaster and programs
5.3.3. Interpretation of results for Puma in interaction with socio-demographic data

6. Conclusion

7. List of Literatures

8. Appendix

I. Executive Summary

It seems that the mass of consumers break up into many heterogeneous sub-groups. Researchers and marketing experts strongly believe that in the near future, homogenous customer groups will split up into more and smaller target group segments – and each of those segments demand for a unique and certain communication. Against this background and the fact that enterprises have to struggle on homogenous markets with multinational companies in a hard competition; the identification of the exact target group becomes more and more important. The more information the decision-makers have about their target group, the better they can communicate with them. Consequently, an increase in sales is the result.

For this reason, the Master-Thesis copes with the innovative psychographic target group approach – the Semiometrie. Hereby, 210 selected words reconstruct the psycho-cultural models that constitute the subconscious system of choice and of the identification of desires of respondents. Beside an extensive explanation of the method, a differentiation from selected models is undertaken by the writer.

It is the author’s greatest concern, on the one hand to provide a very in-depth understanding of Semiometrie from the theoretical point of view. On the other hand, he is anxious to present a well- and novel understanding of Adidas’, NIKE’s and Puma’s target group by using the Semiometrie. Consequently, the concept of research design is included within the empirical research.

Due to collected and provided data by SevenOne Media and TNS Infratest as well as an in-depth analysis and interpretation of these data, the Master-Thesis offers a detailed description of each of those target groups. These results are as well supported by illustrations of the Two-Dimensional Reference Map including a connection with value fields. Moreover, the nearness of the researched brands to TV broadcaster is demonstrated as well as socio-demographic cognitions. Hereby, it has been discovered that the brands and various target groups have some commonness. However, the differences between each brand and several target groups overbalance the results. Thus, it is evident that Semiometrie is able to provide a terrific and novel understanding of the researched brands with its target groups because at first sight the brands and their target groups still seem to be similar.

Beside the vast benefits of this approach with its definitely interesting results about consumers of Adidas, NIKE and Puma, it is noticeable that Semiometrie does not underlie any scientific evaluation yet due to its relative newness. Critics also presume a loss of information because of a reduction of factors. However, the results of the empirical research prove this assumption wrong. Thus, the research can also strengthen the validation of the Semiometrie since the thesis represents a complete independence.

II. Preface

The present Master-Thesis is address to Professor Dr. Josef Neuert and Prof. Achim Opel who are in charge for evaluating the written composition concerning its content, objective approach and benefit.

The Master-Thesis represents the final exam performance for the author at the University of Applied Sciences in Fulda. It provides general information about the innovative psychographic target group segmentation – the Semiometrie – as well as results of an empirical research. The theoretical part enables the reader a full understanding of this method. The practical part offers a deep insight into the needs and wishes of consumers of Adidas, NIKE and Puma.

The basic content is presented without any unneeded ballast. The Master-Thesis focuses the clearness, structuring, completeness and the relation between content and relevance. Beside the presentation, which is supported by many illustrations, the reader will find a conclusion with the most important results at the end of the Master-Thesis.

With the creation of the thesis a number of persons were involved directly or indirectly. My greatest thanks are addressed to Ute Klingemann from SevenOne Media and Eric Möller from TNS-Infratest who provided the collected data of the survey. Without their help I could not have written this Master-Thesis with all its insightful results. Moreover, I would like to say thank you to Cathleen Bürger and Maxi Kirchner. They helped me to correct some typing errors. Further, I like to say thank you to my professor Dr. Josef Neuert who helped me to get a clear structure for the thesis. A special thanks goes to my girlfriend Cathleen Bürger again. She supported me with all her love and patience during the hard time of writing the thesis when I could not dedicate the time for her she deserved.

If somebody likes to make some comments on the Master-Thesis – either in a positive or negative way – is explicit welcome. Your comments will reach me under the following eMail address:

Fulda, 26th of August, 2007

The author

Robert Tönnis

III. List of Figures

1. The Approach of Semiometrie, own creation

2. The Semantic Space, basic structure

3. Reference Map

4. Individual Positioning of Coca-Cola

5. Combination Positioning of Coca-Cola regular customers and constant viewers of “The Simpson”

6. General Positioning of Levis-User and several broadcasts

7. Value Fields “familiar” and “sozial”

8. Value Field “religiöse”

9. Value Field “materielle”

10. Value Field “verträumt”

11. Value Field “lustorientiert”

12. Value Field “erlebnisorientiert”

13. Value Field “kulturell”

14. Value Field “rational”

15. Value Fields “kritisch”, “kämpferisch” and “dominant”

16. Value Field “traditionsverunden” and “pflichtbewusst”

17. Correlation of gender and value orientation

18. Sinus-Milieus in Germany – Social Status and Basic Values

19. Individual Positioning of Adidas’ „Main User”

20. Individual Positioning of Adidas’ “User”

21. Individual Positioning of Adidas’ “Relevant Set”

22. Individual Positioning of Adidas’ “Affinity”

23. Individual Positioning of Adidas’ “Affinity”

24. General Positioning of Adidas and TV Broadcaster

25. Individual of NIKE’s “Main User”

26. Individual Positioning of NIKE’s “User”

27. Individual Positioning of NIKE’s “Relevant Set”

28. Individual Positioning of NIKE’s “Affinity”

29. Individual Positioning of NIKE’s “Awareness”

30. General Positioning of NIKE and TV Broadcaster

31. Individual Positioning of Puma’s “Main User”

32. Individual Positioning of Puma’s “User”

33. Individual Positioning of Puma’s “Relevant Set”

34. Individual Positioning of Puma’s “Affinity”

35. Individual Positioning of Puma’s “Awareness”

36. General Positioning of Puma and TV Broadcaster

IV. List of Charts

1. Value Fields

2. Socio-demographic of Beer consumers

3. Set of Value of beer consumers

4. Aging-effect within Boss users

5. Direct comparison between Sinus-Milieus and Semiometrie, own illustration

6. Advantages and disadvantages between Sinus and Semiometrie, own illustration

7. Value Fields Adidas’ “Main User”

8. Value Fields Adidas’ “User”

9. Value Fields Adidas’ “Relevant Set”

10. Value Fields Adidas’ “Affinity”

11. Value Fields Adidas’ “Awareness”

12. Value Fields: Adidas - “Constant Viewer”

13. Socio-demographic distribution of Adidas

14. Value Fields NIKE’s “Main Users”

15. Value Fields NIKE’s “User”

16. Value Fields NIKE’s “Relevant Set”

17. Value Fields NIKE’s “Affinity”

18. Value Fields NIKE’s “Awareness”

19. Value Fields: NIKE – “Constant Viewer”

20. Socio-demographic distribution of NIKE

21. Value Fields Puma’s “Main User”

22. Value Fields Puma’s “User”

23. Value Fields Puma’s “Relevant Set”

24. Value Fields Puma’s “Affinity”

25. Value Fields Puma’s “Awareness”

26. Value Fields: Puma – “Constant Viewer”

27. Socio-demographic distribution of Puma

V. List of Appendix

1. List of 210 words in English

2. TV stations and their broadcasts in the Semantic Space

3. The competing brands in an overview

4. E-Mails: Koschnick,

5. The questionnaire

VI. Glossary

- Basic Mapping

As a result of a Principal Component Analysis on the basis of term evaluations in a Two-Dimensional visualization of the Semantic Space. In this Semantic Space terms are placed due to their relation to other terms. The terms receive a fix coordinate as well.

- Brand Pentad

Brand Pentad is a creation of the German Market- and Media Research and it is without any further explanation not understandable in English[1]. It is a term for different close target group definitions for brands. Usually it stands for: “Awareness”, “Affinity”, “Relevant Set” and “Usage of a Brand” and “Main Usage of a Brand”.

- Combination Positioning

Compares the value systems of two target groups in the Semantic Space, respectively in the Basic Mapping. For that purpose, both target groups will be compared with the complementary group on the basis of the evaluation of the 210 terms (see Individual Positioning). Just the significant overrated terms are visualized for both target groups.

- Coverage waste (media planning)

That portion of the circulation of a medium which cannot be considered to reach logical prospects for a product, because they are unable to use it or unable to pay for it. Further, for instance, any advertising in a geographical area there the advertiser has no distribution for the advertised product.

- General Positioning[2]

General Positioning compares the value systems of multiple target groups in the Semantic Space respectively in the Basic Mapping. The overrated terms of each target group are represented by an individual point (= target group core). This target group core is calculated with the median of each overrated term per target group.

- Individual Positioning

Visualization of the value system of a target group in the Semantic Space. For that purpose the target group will be compared with the complementary group on the basis of the evaluation of the 210 terms. With a t-test for independent samples[3], significantly overrated or underrated terms in a target group will be identified. After that, the overrated and underrated terms will be highlighted with colors in the Basic Mapping.

- Omnibus survey

A syndicated research service consisting in a survey conducted periodically by a commercial marketing research supplier. Client organizations insert one or more questions of their choosing into the survey ("tack-on questions").

A representative, national sample of consumers usually constitutes the omnibus survey base. Participating organizations purchase one or more tack-on questions, plus standard demographic analysis for a relatively low cost. In an omnibus survey, data collection costs are relatively low and data can be obtained quickly and with minimum effort. Unlike the typical monitoring service that provides identical research data to all subscribers, data from an omnibus survey are highly confidential[4].

- Principal Component Analysis (PCA)

Principal Component Analysis is a multivariate method which can identify redundancy or correlation among a set of measurements or variables for the purpose of data reduction. This powerful exploratory tool provides insightful graphical summaries with ability to include additional information as well[5].

- Program Triad

Program Triad is a creation of the German Market- and Media Research and is without any further explanation not understandable in English[6]. It is a term for different close target group definitions for broadcasts. Usually it stands for: “Recognition”, “incidental viewer” and “constant viewer”.

- Semiometrie-Model

Psychographic Positioning Analysis that is used for qualitative target group descriptions and media planning.

- Semiotic

The theory and study of signs and symbols, especially as elements of language or other systems of communication and comprising semantics, syntactics and pragmatics.

- T-Test

Statistical test that helps to show if there is a real difference between different treatments being tested in a controlled clinical trial.[7]

- Typology

Identification and Definition of society groups, due to attitudes, spare time behavior, hobbies and lifestyle. The Sinus-Milieus are the most famous Typology in Germany that are integrated into the AGF-Panel and other big market-media-studies.

- Value Fields

Visualization form that enables a description of target groups on the basis of 14-value fields each with 10 terms. One value field is defined by correlated and content similar terms which are summarized to a category.

- Value orientation

The ideas and desires, ideals and motivations as well as outlook and assumptions which an individual cherishes and prizes highly. The value systems of the individual members of the top management serve as important inputs in strategy development.

- Value System

This term describes the socio-cultural value system that influence the entire behavior and thus, also the buying patterns and media behavior of persons.

It is a set of values adopted by an individual or society governing the behavior of the individual or the members of the society[8].


1.1. Structure and background of the Master-Thesis

The present Master-Thesis copes with the challenges of consumer behavior on homogenous markets and the reachability of the right target group in a consumer environment of an increasing number of product innovations everyday. Today, it is more important for a company than it ever was to define its proper consumer in consideration of the communication an enterprise has to do. With a stronger interactivity of media use and the intensivation of the dialog between brand and customer, there is also an increasing risk to talk in a wrong way to the aim customer[9].

Especially, the sport fashion market fulfilled the mentioned requirements. All companies are forced to stay in contact with its customers continuously. Apart from that, all enterprises almost produce the same products considering the use of a product. They also have the same customers regarding them in a socio-demographic way – ages from one year to 99 years old, independently of man or woman, rich or poor etc.

For that reason, the Master-Thesis presents a potential solution by using an innovative target group segmentation model – the Semiometrie. ‘”The quest for Semiometrie is to go beyond the surface clichés and prejudices, to break through the barrier of consensus – to identify subconscious associations“[10]. How it works explicitly will be explained in the theoretical background of this paper. The thesis is well-structured and provides all information to understand the empirical research of the sport fashion market that follows in the second half of the Master-Thesis.

The following Chapter two is divided into five parts and starts with the origin of Semiometrie. Afterwards, the reader explores the basic principles of Semiometrie before theory and method is elucidated. Next, the survey in the theory is discussed before the author closes this chapter by offering different analyzing tools.

Chapter three provides an overview on other selected target group segmentation models. The Master-Thesis indicates explicitly the differences to the most used segmentation models – the socio-demographic and the Sinus-Milieus-Research.

Chapter four describes the concept of the research design. It represents the cornerstone to the analysis of the target groups on the sport fashion market in Germany and includes three sub-chapters. The author starts with an overview about the process of information. After that follows the Definition-Phase before the Design-Phase is explained.

Chapter five includes the reporting and interpretation of the results from the empirical research and represents the Analysis-Phase. It is divided into three sub-chapters and differs just in the brands – Adidas, NIKE and Puma. Each sub-chapter commentary results from the Two-Dimensional Reference Map with regard to Brand Pentad in connection with value fields. Besides, the author considers the General Positioning of each brand in relation to TV broadcasters and their broadcasts. The Analysis-Phase completes with an examination of the socio-demographic data.

Chapter six finishes the Master-Thesis with a conclusion in general. Furthermore, the author would like to note the Master-Thesis represents its final exam performance at the University of Applied Sciences in Fulda. However, the Master-Thesis is also written for everybody who is interested in the field of Semiometrie or in target group profiles of the sport fashion market.

Apart from that, the present paper is written in English in order to gain the requirements for a Master-Thesis of the study “International Management”. Due to the topic with its psychological background and the special circumstances of the Semiometrie, the author has to provide the Reference Map with its 210 words in German, otherwise the research and its results would be falsified. It is definitely not possible to translate it literally because some words have different meanings in German and English. It explains that an English speaker would probably associate something different with a word than a German would do. Further, the array of the words must be different in the Reference Map.

In addition to that, the empirical study with its survey took place in Germany and the respondents received a questionnaire amongst others with 210 words in German. Therefore, the results with their graphical visualizations have to be presented in German as well to guarantee the scientific aspect of the Master-Thesis.

For that reason, the author decided to attach a list of the 210 words with a translation that an English speaker can get at least an idea. However, under consideration of the scientific aspect that has to be fulfilled in this paper, the Reference Map has to be in German.

1.2. Issue

Socio-demographic data has given us many insights into consumer behaviors. We know for instance parents buy baby foods and young people buy skateboards. We know women buy mascara and men rather not, but in turn around men buy more shaving foam than women.

Socio-demographic data are easily to collect and they almost have all characteristics we can expect from target group segmentations: They are well-defined, temporal stable and correlate with consumer preferences in many cases.

However, with the beginning of the 21st century the whole world has become a huge market. Within this market companies are in competition with many other international enterprises which are make inroads into their markets. Companies are faced with an increasingly competitive environment and consumers are constantly faced with more choices of products. Socio-demographic data can provide information about the kind of consumer groups that buy a certain product - split by age, gender, profession or income, but socio-demographic data will not identify the influences behind their aspirations and choices[11]. How can we explain a 53-years-old Managing Director buys his daily food in a discounter like Lidl while he takes dinner with his family outside in a luxury restaurant at the weekend?

However, especially this information is needed for companies who struggle to act successfully on markets with extreme homogenous products. On these markets it becomes more important to aim at the right target group because most companies concentrate their ad budget to a certain target group which has a special importance due to its future relevance. A good, unexplored and interesting example delivers the sport fashion market with its big three international acting enterprises Adidas, NIKE and Puma. Their common main products are sport shoes and sport apparels, but each of them represents another image and different values. Usually, we can say women prefers sport shoes with a female touch e.g. a color mix of white and pink, while men prefer a masculine touch e.g. a color mix of white and dark blue. Most of the sport goods manufacturers stock these different articles. However, they do not exactly know why a 21-years-old female student from Munich prefers a white sport shoe with the “three stripes” (Adidas trademark) in pink and the same socio-demographic person prefers a white sport shoe with the “Swoosh” (NIKE trademark) in pink.

Nowadays, there are little different psychographic segmentations of consumers in addition to the socio-demographic method that try to get to the bottom of these different individual consumer behaviors. In the literature you can find the “Sinus-Milieus-Research”[12], the “Rokeach-Value-Survey”[13] or the “List of Values”[14].

The latest and most promising method but also still largely unknown method is the Semiometrie[15]. It reveals the values and affiliations that lie in the subconscious mind formed by individual experiences and cultural background. Therefore, it is a powerful research technique, widely used throughout Europe to understand and communicate more effectively with consumer groups.

In general, there are already many researches about the consumer behavior in the sport fashion market. Most of the studies use socio-demographic segmentation, due to its convenience and inexpensiveness how to collect the data. Moreover, there even exist some studies that take advantage of the Sinus-Milieus-Research, but there do not exist any research publications that use the Semiometrie until today due to its complexity and expensiveness. Apart from that, the Semiometrie is a legally protected product of TNS-Infratest.

1.3 Goal of the Master-Thesis

The present Master-Thesis follows two main goals:

a) The method of Semiometrie is relative’s new and still not widely-used in the field of psychographic target group analysis. However, it is a very promising method to identify customers and to place commercials, advertisings etc. in a more effective way. Furthermore, the topic of Semiometrie is very complex, difficult and it is based on psychological studies and knowledge. For that reason, the author considers detailed explanation as necessary to understand the presented research with its results of the brands Adidas, NIKE and Puma. Therefore, the first half of the thesis deals with a full description of the Semiometrie to provide the reader a well understanding of this method. Hereby, all facts like basic principles, method, survey and analyzing tools will be explained. Generally, the main goal is to present the reader a sufficient understanding of Semiometrie.

b) The second goal is the practical appliance of the Semiometrie in regard to the target group of Adidas, NIKE and Puma. Due to the complexity and potentials of the research the author uses the opportunity to present many insights regarding the crucial goal: “How does the target group exactly look like of the researched brands Adidas, NIKE and Puma and how can one imagine a typical customer of these brands?” This is the main question in the second half of the present Master-Thesis. Hereby, the author will visualize the values and attitudes of the target groups by using the instruments of the Semiometrie.

Besides, there are many sub-goals which will be answered in this research, because there is a difference who one considers as target group, who one would like to reach and what is the latest strategy. On the one hand, one has main customers. These are people, who buy the brand mainly. On the other hand, there are people, who just know the brand but one could not convince them yet to buy the products. Between them there are three more groups. There are people, who use and own the brand; who would probably buy the product and who have an affinity with the brand. In general, the goals of the Brand Pentad are reached.

Further, the thesis tries to identify the nearness of the researched brands and also its five target groups to TV broadcaster and their programs.

Another goal is to provide the reader an idea, how the results can be used in connection with socio-demographic insights about the target group. The results can also be used in connection with the knowledge about the media behavior in Germany. Thereby, an effective communication to the relevant target group could be reached.


2.1 Origin of Semiometrie

In 1985, Jean Francois Steiner developed the method that is based on terms and words which are associated with its emotional meanings. The basis was established by an analysis of different secondary literatures and works that exert an profound influence on the west civilization. One of these scriptures was amongst others the bible. Approximately, 16 years ago in France the researches received in a multiply step process a huge amount of terms which could be empirical summarized with the help of a factor analysis[16].

The result was a value cosmos with 210 terms and words (substantives, adjectives and verbs but no fashion terms) that was validate in few European countries (France, Germany, Italy, Great Britain and Spain). Since 1993 TNS-Infratest operates readings in Germany with the intention to obtain on the one hand, results regarding to the Semiometrie and on the other hand, in order to prove the international reliability. The results could be confirmed so that the instrument is applicable in west- and middle Europe. TNS-Infratest qualifies the operated Semiometrie studies as reliable. By the way: The researcher tried to reduce the amount of 210 words, but the result is a noticeable loss in information. Therefore, they kept the value cosmos that is valid until today[17]. Every word is chosen in a way everybody can understand it clearly. The emotional level is touched and a controversy reaction is excited.

2.2 Basic Principles

2.2.1 Semiometrie

Semiotics is a science concerned with signs. It copes with all processes of information interchanges in which signs are featured. Semiotic explores all such processes with regard to common structures. The scientific disciplines are concerned with different aspects of culture, nature and technology that are integrated in Semiotic by exploring the examined sign character of the cultural, natural and technological phenomena[18].

The Semiometrie linked the Semiotic with the statistic to identify attitudes, basic settings and ideals of target groups[19]. Human produce and interpret signs in a conscious and unconscious way. The Semiometrie is based on the assumption moral concepts of humans that can be illustrated by the evaluation of terms[20]. One reason for this assumption is the fact that humans rebut, reason, confirm, accept, abolish or talk about their conservation of value in daily conversations. Communication provides the opportunity of exerting an influence about the expression of the own conservation of value[21]. These particularly, are results of personal nature, education and social conventions. The influences can create different sets of value characteristics for different persons. The analysis of the moral concept of different customer groups is especially interesting for enterprises, because different attitudes and behaviors influence the purchasing- and media patterns. With the knowledge of these sets of value characteristics a better sales approach is possible[22].

2.2.2 Theories of Consumer Behavior

One finds the general assumption: The human behavior is exceedingly controlled by individual value structures, which are deep-seated in the subconscious mind of every person. To receive a better understanding of the term “value”, the author would like to give some definitions from the science[23]:

- Values are imaginations of desires, (…) that determine a multiplicity of attitudes and motives and in depending on these a multiplicity of observable behaviors[24].
- One value is the willingness to behave oneself in a following way: accepting or neglecting the objects of attitudes, meaning a balanced system of content related or stable attitudes (…). Indeed, a value influences an entire spectrum of behavior, but values are almost unchangeable through the marketing due to their implantation in the subconscious mind. Because of their stableness, values are well qualified for market segmentations, especially on international markets due to their cultural specific and homogenous characteristic[25].
- The knowledge of value systems of consumers can increase a precise application of marketing instruments and their detailed adjustment concerning the target group segmentation[26].

An exact knowledge of the term value is important because the approach of Semiometrie is based on the assumption that values are crucial for the consumer- and media behavior. Thus, the approach of Semiometrie is visualized in the following figure:

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthaltenFigure 1: The Approach of Semiometrie, own creation

2.2.3 Denotation and Connotation

The Semiometrie tries to identify the sociocultural value system of the respondent, on the basis of the affective evaluation of terms and words. Important for the sense of a term are the denotative and the connotative meaning. Under denotation one understands the immediate meaning that the term has in a certain culture. Therefore, it is a matter of cultural agreed facts that is clearly understands from each person of this culture.

In contrast, the connotative meaning depends on the individual, cognitive and emotional ability as well, as the experience and events that are in an immediate connection with the term[27]. The immediate meaning of the term “Liebe”[28] is e.g. clearly understandable for every German. However, inside of a group there can also exist unlimited different facets of meanings. On the one hand, “Liebe” could mean for some people sex and on the other hand, some persons interpret the term “Liebe” with a feeling of security that exists between two persons. For that reason, the term “Liebe” excites different more or less positive feelings for the individuals of a society.

The term “Geburt”[29] e.g. is generally understood by every person as an event in which a new life was born (same denotation). If this term excite a positive or negative feeling clearly depends on experiences the person had made regard to this event (different connotation).

Another example for a term in the German culture that has more denotative meanings is the term “Bank”[30]. On the one hand, it is the term for furniture and on the other hand it is an institution in which people trade money and manages funds. The explicit meaning of these terms can just be identified within the whole context. Therefore, in the Semiometrie-Model there just exists terms with a clear denotative meaning and terms that can excite different connotations, particularly connotations those build the bridges to the target group[31].

2.2.4 Distinguishing between Typology-Models

Sociocultural value systems determine the lifestyle of societies and individuals. They are the basic for every judgment that is done by an individual or a society to a certain topic. These values develop from culture by interaction of the individual members of a society. Every person that is born into a society or affiliate oneself with a society, growths up with these historical values. Thus, the socialization for every individual has a significant function during the development of the individual values. The value systems of several cultural societies are basically stabile and maybe change in exceptional cases like war.

Typology- and respective Milieu-Models are not based on causal moral concepts – in contrast to the Semiometrie. They are based on attitudes, hobbies, spare time behavior or the lifestyle of society members. However, these indicators for describing and explaining social connections depend on individual ideals. For that reason, they are dependent indicators of value systems. Attitudes and behaviors are in contrast to ideals less stabile. Thus, they vary more with stronger and faster fluctuations.

Both models– the typology and the value based – have the common goal to explain the media- and consumption behavior of persons and deem the socio-demographic models as not sufficient.

From the marketing point of view, there is an important difference between the Semiometrie- and the typology approach: The Semiometrie-Model is a value based approach and distinguishes oneself that it describes the user of products, services and media[32]. In contrast, the typology approaches characterize several clusters. Within these clusters, there are the most users of products, services and media[33]. The outcome depicts not all users can be reached e.g. in the media planning, because not all the users of a product can be assigned to just one milieu. The users of the other milieus will be perforce ignored[34].

Therefore, the product usage is an indicator to describe a milieu, if the typology approach is used. If the Semiometrie-Model is used, the product usage is a criterion to define and describe target groups.

2.3. Theory and Method

2.3.1 Semantic Space

The Semiometrie-Model is an instrument for a qualitative target group description. By using Semiometrie, decision-makers receive more knowledge about persons without founding on demographic features. It is a matter of sociocultural value systems of target groups and maps the mindsets of brand users, rather than the image of the brand itself. The model is based on the assumption that the evaluation of 210 terms can represents the individual value system of a person. Semiometrie uses those 210 words as stimulus material to convey in-depth emotional responses. The words are deliberately abstract and derived to point to the inner workings of their minds. Two years of extensive qualitative and quantitative analysis of 20.000 people has been done to validate and fine-tune this innovative method. Respondents are asked to rate the words in terms of their personal warmth to them and to score the 210 words on a seven-points “positive to negative feeling” scale according to how they make them feel. The scale ranges from “-3” (very bad feeling) over “0” (no feeling) to “+3” (very positive feeling)[35]. It is an established method for collection depth information. Moreover, the selection is a result of comprehensive pre-studies. Amongst others, the researchers eliminated redundant and low discriminatory words.

After the reduction to 210 words and its validation regarding their qualification to the value measuring the researchers could create the Semantic Space. The exact meaning of the Semantic Space will be explained in the next chapter.

2.3.2 Reference Map

The Semiometrie Reference Map is a way to visually illustrate where values are placed according to four opposing factors: “Pleasure” and “Duty”, “Community” and “Individual”. With a special multivariate data analysis – the principal component analysis - and on the basis of the word evaluation the researchers could develop the Two-Dimensional Semantic Space. Due to the mathematic calculated coordinates every word has - by means of its relation to other words – a fix location in the Semantic Space. Anyhow, there are words with a relative low or a relative high distance to other words. Explicitly, two words are relatively close to each other, they represent relatives, high correlated value patterns and inverse. In the Reference Map of 2001 e.g. the terms “intim”[36] and “das Sexuelle”[37] are very close to each other.

All the 210 words are between the both central value-dimensions “Community” – “Individual” and “Duty” – “Pleasure”. On the horizontal axis are terms like “Vaterland”[38], “gehorsam”[39] or “Disziplin”[40] and will lead to terms on the opposite side like “lustvoll”[41] and “Feuer”[42]. On the veritical axis are terms like “Blume”[43] or “mütterlich”[44] very close to each other on one side and terms like “Schrei”[45] or “Gewehr”[46] are a long way away from each other on the opposite side[47]. Thus, both semantic axes are interpretable by its pole[48].

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 2: The Semantic Space, basic structure[49]

The exact positioning of the individual words is presented in form of a Reference Map. Within this Reference Map, terms are highlighted that are overrated or underrated by the respondents. Thereby, it clarifies the overrated terms as the specific ideals. The exact array of the 210 words in the Semiometrie Reference Map is visualized in the following figure:

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 3: Reference Map[50]

Key facts Reference Map:

- Due to the graphic presentability, the illustration of the positioning of a target group is just possible on both main dimensions. However, there are still some more dimensions that can be used for a characterization of a target group (see chapter “14 value fields”).
- The Reference Map - respectively the over the mathematical coordinates calculated arrays of the words - is constant in every analysis, independent of the target group.

2.4. Survey

Since November 1998, a panel of 4.300 persons exists. The survey of the 210 words and other back data, takes place once a year in form of a written questioning. With this panel are continuous Semiometrie-checks possible as well. Thus, TNS-Infratest can offer its customers the opportunity, to collect data one time per month to receive special information. These data can be linked with the basic data. TNS-Infratest guarantees for these omnibus surveys a number of sample units of 3.000 respondents. The 210 words will not be collected again because of the link to the basic data.

For the basic survey, the respondents have to fill out a questionnaire that includes in the first part information to approximately 450 brands of 40 product categories and 110 TV-formats. In addition to that, there are questions about spare time behavior or the attitudes to certain topics.

The second part copes with the feelings where respondents face the 210 words. The evaluation of these words happens absolutely irrespective of the first part of the questionnaire. It means that the respondents do not make any connections between the terms and their statements to consume- or media behavior. Thus, the questionnaire does not identify images of brands or broadcasts but value systems of the user and viewer[51].

Regarding to the several brands and services, the questionnaire identifies the Brand Pentad that consists of “brand awareness”, “brand affinity”, “relevant set”, “usage of a brand” and “main usage of a brand”. Regarding to the broadcasts, the questionnaire identifies the Program Triad that consists of “awareness”, “incidental viewer” and “constant viewer”.

With the basic questionnaire you can on the one hand create the Reference Map and on the other hand you receive information on consume- and media behavior[52].

2.5 Analyzing Tools

2.5.1 Brand Pentad and Program Triad

The Brand Pentad allows five different target group examinations for researched brands. In doing so, it is structured rather hierarchically. The brand awareness is a pre-condition for brand affinity, relevant set and usage. Just on the affinity – level, the hierarchical structure is not fulfilled completely because sometimes customers use a product, although they do not like it that much. This situation takes place if a customer is confronted with a supply-side monopoly or -oligopoly. Further, nice products are mostly more expensive so that customers make their decision due to the price argument.

The five target groups examinations are[53]:

- Target group: Main User
- Question: “Please mark the brands/services that you use mainly in the respective product category”
- Meaning: This question characterizes those customers who use the brand and services primarily à Regular customer
- Strategy: The appropriate strategy would be “loyalty marketing”[54]

- Target group: User (a: consumer goods / b: durable goods)
- Question for a: consumer goods: “Please mark the brands/services that you use at least sometimes in the respective product category”
- Question for b: durable goods: “Please mark the brands that are in your possession”
- Meaning: This question characterizes user (a: consumer goods) and owner (durable goods) of a brand. This target group is very important if a company intent to increase its market shares, since here are potentials that can promote the product to the main brand. à Potential
- Strategy: The appropriate strategy would be “marketing efforts aimed at holding new customers”[55]

- Target group: Relevant Set
- Question: “Please mark the brands/services that are considered in the respective product category”
- Meaning: This question characterizes the most potential user. Products which are situated in the relevant set of a person are considered for the purchase. The goal for the company is to induce the potential customer to buy the promoted product/service. à Potential
- Strategy: The appropriate strategy would be “marketing efforts aimed at gaining new customers”[56]

- Target group: Brand Affinity
- Question: “Please mark the brands/services that seems to have a friendly impression on you”
- Meaning: This question characterizes people with an emotional closeness to the product. The brand affinity is explicitly important in markets with a homogenous product use (e.g. cigarettes, chocolate or beer). These markets are usually marked by a strong competition because customers are not able to differentiate between the products in such markets. Therefore, the brand affinity represents a good basis of differentiation. Apart from that, a positive brand affinity reflects in many “low-price” markets the inducement to buy. à Potential
- Strategy: The appropriate strategy would be “marketing efforts aimed at gaining new customers”

- Target group: Brand Awareness
- Question: “Please mark the brands/service provider you know at least by name”
- Meaning: This question characterizes persons who know the brand and are aware of the product physically. As an indicator to describe a target group, the brand awareness is only successful under certain conditions.

The target group in the program triad is rather hierarchically as well and for the several TV-formats one can differ between three target group examinations.

The three target group examinations are:

- Target group: Constant Viewer
- Question: “Please mark every broadcast you watch constantly that means at least every second episode”
- Meaning: Main target group of a broadcast that represents the broadcast profile in the best way and also generate the smallest coverage waste[57] = Semiotic media target group[58]

- Target group: Incidental Viewer
- Question: “Please mark every broadcast you watch incidentally that means less than every second episode”
- Meaning: relative large selected TV-target group. Usually used just for low-audience programs[59] because of sample size reasons.

- Target group: Awareness
- Question: “Please mark every broadcast you know at least by name”
- Meaning: This question characterizes people who know the broadcast – independently of the usage.

2.5.2 Positioning Options Individual Positioning

Individual Positioning means that the target group is compared with the comparison group on the basis of 210-rated-words. Hereby, persons with the main brand X are compared with the population. Beside, there is a special focus on the different rated words. Which words were overrated or underrated by the persons of the main brand X? With help of T-tests, the medians of every group and of each term are being analyzed concerning their significant differences. In order to visualize the significant differences the overrated words are shown in red in the created mapping, while the underrated terms are shown in blue. It means that the medians of the red colored terms have a higher value; the term excites a more positive feeling in the target group. In turn around, the medians of the blue colored terms have a lower value; the term excites a more negative feeling. In addition to that, the size of the highlighted term reflexes the amount of deviation[60].

In the present example, terms are highlighted in red that are overrated by Coca-Cola customers. These terms were felt more positively compared to these people who are not the main consumers of Coca-Cola products. In order to get an impression of the value structure[61] of Coca-Cola customers it is recommended to consider the red colored terms. Here, one can recognize Coca-Cola customers have a clear value focus on the section of “Pleasure” and “Individual”. Furthermore, one can recognize Coca-Cola costumers that significantly underrate the area of Duty. It means that the experienced words from the section of “Community” and “Duty” clearly arises more negative feelings compared to the complementary group.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 4: Individual Positioning of Coca-Cola[62] Combination Positioning

The Combination Positioning compares the value systems of two different target groups. Thus, it is possible to visualize the similarities and differences between both target groups. Besides, one can state if the viewers of a certain broadcast and the users of a certain brand have similar value systems. Only the overrated terms are being depicted in both groups, which are a result of the comparison with the complementary group. Assuming Coca-Cola would like to place a commercial at “the Simpsons”, then - with the help of the Combination Positioning - Coca-Cola can recognize similarities with that broadcast concerning the value spectrum[63].

In the present example, terms are highlighted in green that were overrated by Coca-Cola regular costumers. Terms are highlighted in yellow that were overrated by constant viewers of the broadcast “The Simpsons”. The highlighted terms in purple represents an overlapping in the evaluation of terms. That means that these terms clearly show where explicit similarities in the value system of both target groups are given. One can recognize many overrated words of one target group that are matched with overrated words of the other target group. For that reasons, many overlapping are presented in this Combination Positioning. It is to state that there is a tendency to the section of “Pleasure” of both target groups.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 5: Combination Positioning of Coca-Cola regular customers and constant viewers of “The Simpson”[64] General Positioning

The General Positioning can be used to visualize the nearness of other target groups to the considered brand. It is possible to demonstrate the own brand in an environment with its competitors in the Semantic Space or a media planer is able to find the best environment for a special broadcast or a certain brand. Thus, information about the value systems of multiple target groups can be illustrated condensed with the help of the General Positioning. Only the cores of target groups are visualized but no unique terms are being shown. Due to this main focus, one obtains an impression of the nearness of the target groups to each other.

Therefore, General Positionings are well qualified in order to receive an overview of the matching of multiple target groups. However, they always should be supplemented with the Combination Positioning, because only the nearness of the main focuses can not guarantee a high amount of common terms.

In the next illustration, the highlighted points present the main focus of Levis- Users and the viewers of selected broadcasts. Target groups whose points are situated very close to each other have similar positions. Target groups whose points are situated farer away from each other can be depicted more different. Recommended broadcasts for Levis users are marked with a black circle. The main brand Levis is marked with an orange circle[65].


[1] Koschnick, Subject: “Ihre Anfrage”,, 09/27/06

[2] In the English language there is still not an exact translation for this term in matters of the Semiometric target group positioning because the Semiometrie-Model is not well known yet in the Anglo-Saxon world[2]. For that reason the author used the present translation due to the suggestion of Wolfgang Koschnick – author of several books like the “Encyclopedic Dictionary Marketing English – German / Deutsch – Englisch”.

[3] “If statistical tests are to be valid, certain assumptions about the data must be satisfied. The most important of these is statistical independence of observations”, source: “Focus Medialine: Enzyklopädisches Wörterbuch”

[4] Focus Medialine, Enzyklopädisches Wörterbuch

[5] Training Creascience, 2006, published in:

[6] Koschnick, Subject: “Ihre Anfrage”,, 09/27/06


[8] Koschnick, 2000

[9] Allgayer in: markt und media, 12/05

[10] Marks/Evans, 2001 in: Admap, p. 26

[11] TNS-Media, 2006, published in:

[12] Sociovision, 2006, published in:

[13] Rokeach, 1973

[14] Kahle/Kennedy, 1988

[15] Steiner/Auliard, 1992

[16] statistical technique to a summarization of complex amount of data

[17] TNS-Infratest 2000, p. 7

[18] Arbeitsstelle für Semiotik, 2006,

[19] Koschnick, 2003

[20] TNS-Infratest 2006,

[21] Schlöder, 1993, S. 95

[22] TNS-Infratest 2006,

[23] Marks/Evans, 2001 in: Admap, p. 26

[24] Krober-Riel, 2003

[25] Trommsdorff, 2004

[26] Gaus, 2000

[27] Koschnick, 2003

[28] „love“ in English

[29] “birth” in English

[30] „bench“ or „bank“ in English

[31] Rochau/Teichmann/Burst/Möller, 2006, p. 8

[32] Allgayer in: markt&media, 12/2005, p. 9

[33] Allgayer in: markt&media, 12/2005, p. 5

[34] Allgayer in: markt&media, 12/2005, p. 11

[35] TNS dimarso, 2006, published in:

[36] “intimate” or “hobnob” in English

[37] “sexual” in English

[38] „fatherland“ or „home country“ in English

[39] „dutiful“ or „obedient“ in English

[40] „discipline“ in English

[41] „full of relish“ in English

[42] „fire“ in English

[43] „flower“ in English

[44] „motherly“ or „maternal“ in English

[45] „Cry“, „hoot“ or „scream“ in English

[46] „gun“ or „rifle“ in English

[47] Koschnick, 2003

[48] Koschnick, 2003

[49] TNS-Infratest, Basispräsentation 2005, p. 12

[50] TNS-Infratest, „Semiometrie Basisbefragung 2005“

[51] SevenOne Media, 2006, published in:

[52] TNS-Infratest, 2006, published in:

[53] Rochau/Teichmann/Burst/Möller, 2006, p. 14-15

[54] Koschnick, Subject: “AW: Ihre Anfrage”,, 08/15/2007

[55] Koschnick, Subject: “AW: Ihre Anfrage”,, 08/15/2007

[56] Koschnick, Subject: “AW: Ihre Anfrage”,, 08/15/2007

[57] Koschnick, 2000, p.

[57] Koschnick, 2000, p.

[58] Koschnick, Subject: “AW: Ihre Anfrage”,, 08/15/2007

[59] Koschnick, Subject: “AW: Ihre Anfrage”,, 08/15/2007

[60] Rochau/Teichmann/Burst/Möller, 2006, p. 16

[61] Koschnick, Subject: “AW: Ihre Anfrage”,, 08/15/2007


[63] Rochau/Teichmann/Burst/Möller, 2006, p. 17


[65] Rochau/Teichmann/Burst/Möller, 2006, p. 18

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Psychographic target group analysis on the basis of an empirical research for the brands Adidas, NIKE and Puma using the innovative approach of the Semiometrie
University of Applied Sciences Fulda
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Robert Tönnis (Author), 2007, Psychographic target group analysis on the basis of an empirical research for the brands Adidas, NIKE and Puma using the innovative approach of the Semiometrie, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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