Towards a client-based brand equity framework for selected business-to-business services

Steenkamp, Pieter (2016-03)

Thesis (D.Phil)--Stellenbosch University, 2016.


ENGLISH SUMMARY: The customer-based brand equity (CBBE) model was developed to guide brand building in a consumer product or individual brand context, but the model is proposed to be applicable to any context, including business-to-business (B2B) and service contexts. However, consumer branding strategies are not directly transferable to B2B markets and there are documented differences between the B2B and business-to-consumer (B2C) contexts. There is also doubt regarding the validity of the claim that the CBBE model is applicable, as is, to the B2B sector. In addition, research is needed to develop a tailored branding model for B2B services. Using a qualitative interpretivist approach with a non-probability sampling design, the researcher tried to understand and make sense of the demand side clients’ (research participants’) world regarding the construction of B2B short-term insurance brands in their minds. The present research aimed to identify the brand-building blocks and sub-dimensions of the CBBE model that are confirmed, those that are not confirmed and to establish what other brand-building blocks and sub-dimensions may be relevant to a short-term business insurance context. Data were gathered by means of semi-structured interviews with participants from selected accommodation providers of demand side short-term business insurance. This allowed for sensible investigation of the drivers of brand equity in a specific B2B services context. Atlas.ti was used to assist with coding and analysing the transcribed interview data. Based on interpretation of the data, an amended brand equity framework for short-term business insurance was developed, which is called the client-based brand equity (CL-BBE) framework. The present research contributed to the body of academic knowledge by expanding the limited existing B2B services branding theory through the proposed CL-BBE framework. This enhances and extends classical brand management. The insight that has been gained from the present research, regarding the sources of brand equity, should assist marketing practitioners and brand decision makers (brand managers and consultants) to improve the effectiveness of brand building and strategic brand management strategies for B2B services. The present empirical research contributes to three areas of brand equity research, namely 1) the offering type – by investigating service offerings rather than product offerings; 2) the brand level – by investigating organisation-level brands rather than product-level brands; and 3) context – by investigating a B2B context rather than a B2C context. The proposed CL-BBE framework should improve the effectiveness of brand building strategies for selected B2B services (short-term business insurance) by only enhancing dimensions that have been confirmed and the dimensions that have been added.

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