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Review of Managerial Science

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 661–682 | Cite as

Innovation through tradition in the Italian coffee industry: an analysis of customers’ perceptions

  • Michele Gorgoglione
  • Antonio Messeni Petruzzelli
  • Umberto Panniello
Original Paper

Abstract

The extant literature reveals how firms may innovate by exploiting past competencies and resources, hence proposing innovation through tradition as an emerging strategy to compete. Previous research largely demonstrates that the effectiveness of an innovation strategy is strictly dependent on the capability of firms to communicate the right message to their customers. Therefore, leveraging products’ attributes becomes fundamental to strategically position their commercial offerings in the minds of the target audience. Nevertheless, despite the well-known relevance of this issue, scant attention has been devoted to investigate the product attributes that consumer’s associate with innovation and with tradition when companies deploy strategies based on “innovation through tradition”. Accordingly, our study aims at covering this gap, by empirically analyzing the consumers’ perception of innovation and tradition in the Italian coffee industry through a positioning analysis. Our research allowed us to identify two sets of product attributes that consumers associate with innovation and tradition. The results show that in many cases the innovation-related and tradition-related attributes are strongly negatively correlated, but in some case the correlation is weak or close to zero. These attributes reveal that in some cases innovation and tradition can be combined in the perception of consumers, rather than representing opposite constructs. This result suggests that companies can effectively communicate the strategy of innovation through tradition to the consumers’ minds, but this must be done by choosing the right attributes.

Keywords

Innovation Tradition Customer perceptions Positioning 

Mathematics Subject Classification

91C99 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Politecnico di BariBariItaly

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