Building on a brand
A HMV UK case study

Below is a list of Business Case Studies case studies organised alphabetically by company. To view more companies, please choose a letter from the list below.



HMV, brand, customers, retailers, store, market, recognition, technology, games, heritage, shopping, importance, artists, purchase, brand image.


Few, if any companies, have been more successful at establishing a brand image and associating it with its trading heritage, quality and service.

This case study considers the importance of branding and the value of an established brand name when a company is looking to expand and to adapt its business in response to changing market conditions.

Shopping in HMV's first store was very different from today's retailing experience. The shop sold mainly HMV branded goods. It was also fairly exclusive; some customers had accounts and were often served on a one-to-one basis. By the late 1950's and early 1960's all this changed: The 45-rpm single format was introduced and artists like Elvis and The Beatles heralded the start of a rock 'n' roll revolution.

The company has a 25share of the domestic music market (source: CIN based on unit deliveries), and also accounts for over 20of all DVD's and VHS videos sold as well as approximately 10of computer games.

HMV's customers are broadly based and have a wide range of 'eclectic' tastes rather than being confined to a particular niche market - many modern consumers want to dip into several different types of music.

Spending time in a music store is something we are all familiar with from an early age.

Indeed, you probably still have an affectionate memory of your first record or CD purchase, and of the excitement and anticipation of that experience.

Consistency brings with it recognition and reassurance, the kinds of feeling that cause many people who are 'out shopping' to drift into music stores rather than walk on by.

Successful marketing involves providing customers with the best possible combination of product, promotion and price.

Learning outcomes:

As a result of carefully reading this case study, students should be able to:

  • describe the scope and importance of HMV as the UK's leading specialist retailer of music, DVD's and computer games
  • explain the terms brand and logo, and show how these apply to HMV
  • outline ways in which HMV has built its brand over time e.g. through building customer relationships, and stocking the widest ranges of items
  • describe the increasing polarisation of retailers in the music, DVD's and games market i.e. into discount and premium retailers
  • identify key features of the HMV retail experience that have been developed to enhance the experience for the customer of shopping with HMV
  • explain the key challenges to retailers in the music industry, i.e. the developments in technology and new products and the changing nature of customers' expectation
  • identify major opportunities for retailers in the music industry
  • give examples of ways in which HMV has embraced new technologies and developed new approaches to meeting customer requirements.

HMV UK | Building on a brand