چارچوبی از ارزش برند در بازارهای B2B : نقش مشارکتی اجزای کاربردی و احساسی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|1935||2012||9 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Industrial Marketing Management, Volume 41, Issue 1, January 2012, Pages 106–114
The creation of value is admittedly a critical task for marketers regardless of industry. This paper focuses on a type of value that has traditionally been perceived as irrelevant to industrial markets and argues that brand value facilitates the progression from goods and services value to relationship value. To address the limited amount of research on B2B branding from the suppliers' point of view, we complement insights gained from a literature review with ten exploratory interviews with B2B supplier managers, and develop a framework of brand value applicable to industrial markets. This identifies both the functional (i.e., quality, technology, capacity, infrastructure, after sales service, capabilities, reliability, innovation) and emotional qualities (i.e., risk reduction, reassurance, trust) important for the development of industrial brand equity. Situational (e.g. nature of the purchase) and environmental factors (e.g. the economic situation) affecting suppliers' perceptions of the importance of brand in a B2B context and the role of functional versus emotional brand qualities are discussed. The value of the brand as a driver for the development of business to business relationships is also highlighted. The framework provides a basis for B2B practitioners to build their brands in such a way as to make a functional as well as an emotional connection with buyers that is more likely to lead to a supplier–buyer relationship.
The significance of creating value for buyers and other stakeholders is well documented in the marketing literature (e.g. Doyle, 2000 and Lindgreen and Wynstra, 2005). Indeed, the creation of value is prominent in AMA's latest definition of marketing as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large” (Gundlach & Wilkie, 2010, p.90). The (added) value of a brand is widely accepted in the B2C domain (e.g. Aaker, 1991, Aaker, 1996 and Miller, 2007) and there has been a considerable amount of research identifying and measuring brand equity (e.g. Keller, 1993, Sinha et al., 2008 and Srinivasan et al., 2005) in different consumer contexts including tourism (Sanchez, Callarisa, Rodriguez, & Moliner, 2006) telecommunications (Turel, Serenko, & Bontis, 2007), not-for-profit (Sargeant, Hudson, & West, 2008) and e-tail (Christodoulides, de Chernatony, Furrer, & Shiu, 2006). While in the past little attention was paid to branding in a B2B context, more recently there has been a surge in the studies addressing various elements of B2B branding including B2B brand equity (Kuhn et al., 2008, Lindgreen et al., 2010 and Persson, 2010), internal B2B brand equity (Baumgarth & Schmidt, 2010), brand value and performance (Han & Sung, 2008), and global brand leadership (Beverland, Napoli, & Lindgreen, 2007). It is notable that although a considerable amount of this B2B stream of research has been carried out from the buyers' perspective (e.g. Bendixen et al., 2004, Cretu and Brodie, 2007 and Zablah et al., 2010) there is little undertaken from the suppliers' perspective. Research on B2B branding has yet to answer fundamental questions. B2B marketers have traditionally been more skeptical about the benefits of branding (Leek & Christodoulides, 2011) with the conventional view being that the organizational decision making process is rational and focused on the functional qualities with no place for the introduction of the emotional qualities used in the B2C context. This view has more recently been challenged by research showing that B2B brands also need to establish trust and develop affective as well as cognitive bonds with stakeholders (Andersen and Kumar, 2006 and Lynch and de Chernatony, 2007). With the exception of human intensive services, in a B2C context there is usually minimal personal interaction between the consumers and sellers. The situation is very different in a B2B context where there is an emphasis on interpersonal interactions (Håkansson, 1982). The value of relationships in B2B has been widely researched (e.g. Anderson and Narus, 1998, Lindgreen and Wynstra, 2005, Morgan and Hunt, 1994, Ravald and Grönroos, 1996, Ulaga, 2001, Ulaga and Eggert, 2006 and Walter et al., 2001), however it remains unclear whether part of a B2B brand's value is driving the development of relationships. While several criteria used during the process of organizational buying have been examined (e.g. Bendixen et al., 2004 and Mudambi et al., 1997) there is little research investigating how situational factors such as risk (Bennett, Hartel, & McColl-Kennedy, 2005) influence the perceived value of B2B brands. Environmental factors outside of the organization may also affect the perceived value of a B2B brand. For example, a significant number of industrial organizations faced with the prospect of commoditization and increased lack of differentiation in their respective markets have deployed brand development strategies in an attempt to create a competitive advantage. This has led B2B brands such as IBM, Cisco, Oracle and Intel to be currently amongst the most valuable brands globally (Interbrand, 2010). While other types of value including the value of goods and services and the value of buyer–seller relationships have been investigated extensively in the B2B marketing literature (for a review, see Lindgreen & Wynstra, 2005), brand value remains largely unexplored (Leek & Christodoulides, 2011). We argue, in this paper, that brand value in a B2B context facilitates the progression from goods and services value, which is predominantly associated with functional benefits to relationship value, which is closely associated with emotional needs. Brand value encompasses the value of goods and services and also some added values (functional and emotional) resulting from the brand name. The paper opens by reviewing the literature on brand equity, a concept developed to tap the added value endowed by the brand to the product (Farquhar, 1989). We review relevant models and discuss the role of functional and emotional qualities and the importance of relationships in the creation of industrial brand equity. We then explain the methodology followed by the findings of the interviews with the B2B managers on the supplier side culminating in the presentation of a framework of brand value applicable to B2B markets.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
5.1. Theoretical implications Interestingly, the interviewees had a mixed response as to the importance of brand value in a B2B context, which may reflect their different views of how a brand is defined and what branding constitutes. The literature shows as many as twelve different views of a brand (de Chernatony & Dall'Olmo Riley, 1998). An interesting avenue for future research would be to investigate B2B brand managers' definitions of a brand and the key components to creating a successful B2B brand. It is argued that perhaps the limited history of branding in a B2B context resulted in the respondents' relatively narrow perspective of a brand as compared to a B2C context where branding has a longer history of practice. The tentative theoretical framework of brand value in industrial marketing is developed from the findings of both previous research and the exploratory interviews with managers (see Fig. 2). It examines brand value from a suppliers' perspective while previous models have examined it from the buyers' perspective. Fig. 2 shows how brand value and company characteristics can be conceptualized as leading to relationship value. Brand value cannot be deconstructed into goods and service value and added values (resulting from the brand name alone) as the brand supervenes on and cannot be separated from the product (Grassl, 1999). Our framework also takes into account situational and environmental factors which affect the influence of branding in purchase decisions.In Fig. 2 the functional and emotional qualities are at the core of B2B brand value. In the creation of industrial brand equity, managers perceived functional values including quality, technology, and after sales service as encompassed by Mudambi et al. (1997) to be of importance to the buyers. Innovation, a functional factor was also found to be of importance which has not been found in previous research. In this research, functional values emerged as the primary factors considered by buyers in the decision making process. This is in line with previous research (e.g. Abratt, 1986; Bendixen et al., 2004 and Kuhn et al., 2008) highlighting the rational approach taken in a B2B context. However, the managers also highlighted the emotional qualities of risk reduction, providing reassurance and trust as being significant for the development of their brands. This provides support to previous research (e.g. Andersen and Kumar, 2006, Jensen and Klastrup, 2008 and Lynch and de Chernatony, 2007) advocating the importance of emotion for industrial markets. Despite the dominant role of functional values in this context it is suggested that there is an interrelationship between the functional and emotional qualities of an industrial brand. The provision of the functional qualities obviously contributes to developing the emotional qualities. For example, the presence of a service infrastructure reassures buyers and reduces their perceived risk. Future research could focus on identifying interactions and a possible hierarchy between functional and emotional elements. This research has found certain characteristics of the supplier company to be instrumental to the development of a branding strategy. These characteristics are likely to be considered in conjunction with the functional and emotional elements of the product/service. While only experience and age of the company were identified, future research needs to determine what other company characteristics could be contributing to the purchase decision. These company characteristics could be incorporated into the B2B branding strategy. Within a company the significance of consistent internal communication to convey brand message has been highlighted in the interviews. Adhering to the functional and emotional values encapsulated by the brand enables employees to deliver coherent interactions that are likely to contribute to developing buyer relationships. Consistent with previous literature in B2B (e.g. Kuhn et al., 2008) and B2C (e.g. Keller, 1993) the managers regard relationships the pinnacle of industrial brand equity. Developing stronger buyer relationships with the brand, employees and the organization leads to the creation of exit barriers which has been mentioned in this study and reiterates previous research (Low & Blois, 2002). Future research may try to deconstruct the value of relationships and assign a relative value to different aspects such as the product, the employees, and organization. Further research could also determine the importance of each element, product, employees and organization throughout the relationship lifecycle. It would be useful to identify whether brands drive the initial development of relationships and whether their importance is sustained, enhanced or diminished throughout the relationship lifecycle. This study has found that suppliers' perceptions of the importance of branding may be determined inter alia by situational factors such as the nature of the product and environmental factors such as the economic situation both of which have not been mentioned in past research. With regard to situational factors branding was found to be more important for commodity products, however it is necessary to investigate further which of the functional and emotional elements are most influential in creating a strong brand for such a product. With regard to environmental factors the current economic situation seems to be negatively affecting the role of branding. A priority for buyers is to obtain the quality required at a lower price rather than paying a premium for a brand. Emotional qualities of a brand are less valued in a recession where quality and fitness-for-purpose are the primary concerns. Further academic research needs to systematically determine the effect of these situational and environmental factors on buyers' perceptions of branding including whether the importance of branding in decision making process varies between straight rebuys, modified rebuys and new tasks. This research has argued for the role of brand value in a B2B context and has put forward a tentative framework for generating brand value which highlights the importance of the links between the functional and emotional brand attributes, the contribution of the supplier company characteristics and considers the moderating role of situational/environmental factors. It also emphasizes the importance of communicating the brand strategy within the organization and the potential of the brand to drive the development of relationships. This framework has emerged from the literature review and exploratory interviews with managers from a wide range of B2B industries. Due to the small sample size across a range of industries, further research needs to be conducted (both quantitative and qualitative), in various contexts, with both suppliers and buyers to confirm the robustness of the model. 5.2. Managerial implications Managers of B2B brands are advised to use the model as a point of departure to identify the importance of various functional and emotional attributes to their buyers, which will obviously vary from buyer to buyer. For each functional attribute there will associated problems if the product fails to perform. The supplier needs to be aware of the potential areas where the product may fail and address this through the incorporation of emotional qualities in the branding strategy which will alleviate the buyers' perception of risk. This approach to branding should be incorporated into the training of the salespeople in order for them to be able to address not only the customers' functional requirements but cater to their emotional needs which may prove to be a vital differentiating point in the decision making process. The brand's ability to address the buyers' emotional leads, reinforced by consistent communication from the salespeople provides the initial building blocks for the further development of a relationship and the loyalty of the buyer.