Purpose – The paper aims to explore how brand orientation impacts brand equity via internal branding, presented brand, word-of-mouth and customer experience from stakeholder interaction perspective in industrial services context. Brand orientation has emerged as an attractive business philosophy for industrial service companies who believe that brand plays an influential role in delivering customer value and improving firm’s performance. However, the impact of brand orientation upon brand equity is not clear yet, and the active roles of multiple stakeholders in co-creating brand equity are largely neglected in business-to-business (B2B) branding literature. Design/methodology/approach – A questionnaire survey was conducted among 258 pairs of firms located in mainland China. A total of nine research hypotheses related to how brand orientation impacts B2B service brand equity were examined by structural equation modeling technique. Findings – The research findings indicate: a company with high level of brand orientation will both actively communicate its brand to customers and implement internal branding among employees; internal branding enhances willingness and skills of service employees so that they can provide customers with excellent service experience, which will lead to positive word-of-mouth; effective brand communication, pleasant customer experience and favorable word-of-mouth can result in positive brand association in the mind of customers and finally build up corporate brand equity. Research limitations/implications – The major limitation of this paper is that some other potential stakeholders and additional interactive processes among organization, employees and customers, which have potential to impact brand equity, are not included in the model. Originality/value – This study makes theoretical contribution by addressing the gaps in the branding literature with respect to industrial services context and stakeholder interaction perspective. It also provides practical implications for B2B service firms as to how to develop a strong brand by implementing brand orientation within the network of core stakeholders.
Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 1, 2016
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