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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Guest editorial From: International Journal of Wine Business Research, Volume 21, Issue 1.
About the Guest EditorsDr Eli Cohen is Senior Lecturer at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Guilford Glazer School of Business and Management. He is also a Visiting Senior Lecturer at the School of Marketing of the University of South Australia. Dr Cohen worked with the faculty members of the School of Marketing applying the best-worst scaling method in the area of wine marketing and conducted the design and the analysis of the study on consumer behaviour in choosing wine in a retail store and in restaurants, with Dr Steve Goodman and with Professor Larry Lockshin. His research interests cover the fields of menu analysis and restaurant profitability, restaurant practice, customer behaviour in the selection of food and beverages, wine marketing and consumer behaviour in wine choice. He also adapted the best-worst methodology to wine tourism and consumers' perception of important issues in restaurants and consumers' choice of olive oil.
Dr Steve Goodman is a Senior Lecturer in Marketing at the University of Adelaide Business School. His research examines decisions and choices amongst wine businesses and consumers. He is currently using the best-worst method to map decision influencers at exchange points along the wine industry supply chain. He has extensive experience prior to academia, in advertising sales and marketing and also operating his own wine marketing consultancy for six years.
This special edition of IJWBR presents a selection of papers demonstrating the use of the best-worst method within the wine industry. Since the presentation of a paper in Sonoma in 2005 (Goodman, Lockshin and Cohen) at the second conference of what is now the Academy of Wine Business Research (AWBR), there has been a growing network of researchers around the globe exploring the use of the method, the interpretation of results and other aspects. The method has many benefits, functional, logistical and analytical, that are highlighted in the papers. Although five of the six papers presented here have a consumer marketing focus, the method, its usability, rigour and ability to discriminate amongst attributes lends itself to many situations; supply chain decision making, investment decisions – even technical winemaking. In fact we argue that the method is positioned to be used wherever a decision is made, where understanding what influences a decision or process is important.
This edition of IJWBR is a good opportunity to present a selection of the work being done in order to open up this method to researchers and also to demonstrate the beneficial outcomes of the collegiate nature of the academy. The papers are a selection of papers presented in earlier drafts at the AWBR conference in Siena 2008, and have been further developed based on feedback received and further reviewed. We would like to take this opportunity to thank reviewers from the Academy who provided critical and collegiate feedback on the papers as well as those in attendance at the Siena conference for their encouragement and thoughtful comments on the future direction of the papers.
The first paper (Cohen) is a thorough overview of the best-worst method based on reflection of over four years use in a variety of different settings and approaches. It enables the presentation of a paper drawing on the experience and knowledge gained as this new method was trialled, piloted, analysed and examined. The paper discusses some advantages and limitations of rating and ranking scales and leads the reader through the best-worst scaling approach, choosing the attributes for the study, constructing the choice sets, analysing the data and presenting the results. The method is demonstrated using data on selecting wine in a retail store collected in two nations, Australia and Israel. The method overcomes most of the limitations of other scaling method. As a paper on this relatively new method it is balanced between statistical explanation and “user” demonstration and a guide for researchers working with, or moving into, the use of this method.
The second paper (Mueller and Rungie) pushes analysis past much of what has been undertaken to date and explores what may be contained and overlooked in best-worst data. Latent cluster analysis is used to identify the various utility aspects and therefore model the relative differences in strengths of the choice influencers, offering researchers and practitioners a manner to develop more insight and strategy for implementation – and demonstrates that this relatively new approach (best-worst) might offer many different avenues of statistical analysis and empirical enquiry. This work assists in moving beyond simple description of differences between market segments to understand the nuances and affects of key drivers of choice within specific segments.
The third paper (Goodman) presents the results of a 12-country study to identify and map the influencers of choice for wine in a retail setting. It demonstrates the suitability of using the BW method in different international markets, how it enables the comparison of various markets and how identifying different influencer strengths might assist in the development of strategies for implementation. The simple strength of the approach is shown in the ease of comparison between markets, where the choice influence results are shown for 12 countries; the ease of recognising key difference is evident and assists in conceptualising where the method might be used in further research.
The fourth paper (Cohen, d'Hauteville and Sirieix) use the method to explore the existence of a “cultural” unit between countries. Using the choice influence results from an on-premise study and submitting Best minus Worst results to factor analysis, maps are presented that show that the country may represent a “culti-unit” and its meaning for future research is discussed. Whilst the results display what many would regard as “expected norms” this is the first empirical modelling of a cultural difference in wine choice between New World (UK and Australia) and the Old World (France). It assists researchers in the area of wine as well as demonstrating an empirical approach to cultural researchers.
Whilst the strength of the BW method is shown at the inter-country market level, the fifth paper (Casini, Corsi and Goodman) presents results and comparisons intra-country. Results are shown from two regions within Italy. The usefulness of the method in identifying heterogeneity within a market is demonstrated. The ability of the method to be used to compare across cultural markets without bias is demonstrated in other papers, but the same strength offers much in terms of “culture” segmentation within what is, at a macro level, “one” cultural unit.
The versatility of the method is demonstrated in the final paper in this special edition (Remaud and Lockshin). The method is used to identify attributes associated with a wine region by wine writers and consumers, to identify possible opportunities and positioning for developing a regional branding strategy. Using BW, which is essentially a choice modelling tool, the authors demonstrate its suitability for use in a strategic sense – the “brand” positioning of a wine producing region. This is what we hope will be one of the first papers, but not the last, to use this method outside the “typical” consumer behaviour setting.
The work being undertaken in various parts of the globe using this method has grown exponentially in the past four years and we are beginning to see how varied the situations and uses are. It is hoped the presentation of reviewed papers in this special edition will assist those embarking on use of the method, as well as those looking for a method to explore their own area of wine business research. As a special edition we would like to comment on the roles played by a collegiate network of researchers in assisting the data collection and replication of research. There has been a large group from the AWBR who have enabled the development of research using the best-worst method since we began trials in 2004 – thank you.
For those involved in Wine Business Research interested in using best-worst please feel free to contact us, or any of the authors for further collegiate advice.
Eli Cohen and Steve GoodmanGuest Editors