Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to understand the internal branding process from the employees' perspective; it will empirically assess the relationship between internal branding and employees' delivery of the brand promise as well as the relationships among their brand identification, brand commitment and brand loyalty. Design/methodology/approach – On a census basis, a quantitative survey is carried out with 699 customer‐interface employees from five major hotels. Findings – Internal branding is found to have a positive impact on attitudinal and behavioural aspects of employees in their delivery of the brand promise. As employees' brand commitment does not have a statistically significant relationship with employees' brand performance, it is not regarded as a mediator in the link between internal branding and employees' brand performance. Furthermore, the study shows that brand identification is a driver of brand commitment, which precedes brand loyalty of employees. Practical implications – A number of significant managerial implications are drawn from this study, for example using both internal communication and training to influence employees' brand‐supporting attitudes and behaviours. Still, it should be noted that the effect of internal branding on the behaviours could be dependent on the extent to which it could effectively influence their brand attitudes. Originality/value – The results provide valuable insights from the key internal audience's perspectives into an internal branding process to ensure the delivery of the brand promise. It empirically shows the relationship between internal branding and the behavioural outcome as well as the meditational effects of employees' brand identification, commitment and loyalty.
Journal of Service Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 24, 2009
Keywords: Brand management; Brand identity; Brand loyalty; Customer service management
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