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Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Case

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Flore VALLET (exchange student)

CONSUMER BEHAVIOR MKTG 650

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Case

1. Brand associations refer to the images and symbols associated with the brand. Martha Stewart embodies the perfection dream of the American middle class. The primary associations include words such as « homemaker », « domestic arts », « American lifestyle», « home», « tasty », « stylish », « improving quality of leaving », « do-it-yourself », « how to info », « inspiration ». Other associations refer to Martha Stewart the person, with conflict: « working, self-sufficient woman », « inspirational » vs « businesswoman » and « maniacal perfectionist ».

These associations were created leveraging numerous channels to multiply effect. Martha Stewart is omnipresent in people’s daily life: publishing (Martha Stewart Living etc), TV (Martha Stewart Living series…), Omnimerchandising through mass market, national department, specialty stores, Internet (Martha by Mail…). The big entity association (ie Martha Stewart’s personality and the myth that was drown up about her) as well as customers’ special contact/link with Martha greatly participate in shaping such brand associations. Martha Stewart grabs people’s attention. To her, whether people speak well or ill of you, the main thing is that they speak of you!

2. MSLO could support non-profit organizations by sponsoring or giving donations: Martha Stewart’s commitment in a charity could create new associations in consumers’ mind: “generous”, “aware”, “altruist”, “empathic”, “accessible”. MSLO could also support organic farming and sustainable living especially in Martha Stewart living TV shows. MSLO could capture new associations: “Environmentally responsible”, “aware of the world issues”, “with a global outlook”. Another key challenge for MSLO is to remove the mystique surrounding Martha Stewart: Being “perfectly perfect”, Martha Stewart gives people complexes. They feel inadequate when comparing to her. MSLO should try to humanize Martha Stewart, with quality AND faults. For example, Martha could confess her daily blunders to her public. Thus, she could be “closer to people”, people could more “easily identify”. On the other hand, if Martha Stewart is embroiled in a scandal, it could damage MSLO’s reputation. For instance, if Martha cheated on her husband, harmful associations may be captured. She would dramatically fall in people’s esteem: “dishonest”, “immoral”, “inappropriate”. People’s opinion is really ambiguous: On one hand, they want Martha to be closer, more “human” but on the other hand they would be intransigent should she commit a blunder.

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