Evolution, development, and communication of branding in B2B markets

2017-02-26T23:24:51Z (GMT) by Seyedghorban, Zahra
While, branding was traditionally viewed as having limited significance in business-to-business (B2B) markets, existing research not only acknowledges its existence, but emphasises its strategic importance in enhancing organisations’ competitive positions and financial performance. Given the fragmented research on B2B branding, there is a need to first provide a comprehensive review of B2B branding literature as a field of study by conducting a bibliometric investigation (Essay 1). The results of the bibliometric review analysis suggest that studying the development of B2B brand equity, as well as how branding can be extended into the buyer-supplier relationship – from the procurement decision-making process – are among important issues to be addressed in B2B branding literature. To address these gaps, the primary focus in Essay 2 is on the exploration and empirical investigation of the development of B2B brand equity from the perspective of the buyers’ procurement decision-making process. The results in Essay 2 indicate that traditional Hierarchy-of-Effects theory might not be able to fully capture the development of brand equity in B2B contexts. Findings indicate the importance of some conventionally examined factors in the development of B2B brand equity (brand awareness, brand association, brand attitude, brand sensitivity, and brand loyalty), and point to the additional emerged factors during the exploratory phase. These factors include competitive intensity, brand’s country of origin image, and procedural control during the procurement decision-making process. Further, the main emphasis in Essay 3 is on the investigation of the buyer-supplier relationship through a branding perspective demonstrated by how supplier brand representatives convey brand messages to establish trust and loyalty between buyers and suppliers during the buyers’ procurement decision-making process. How buyers’ trust in brand representatives is established, and how this influences their procurement decision-making process are examined in Essay 3. Results indicate that trust in brand representative has both functional (ability and credibility) and emotional (benevolence and persona) roots. In addition, findings suggest that trust in brand representative influences brand loyalty directly and indirectly through the mediating role of risk reduction. Accordingly, this doctoral dissertation consists of three essays. The first essay is titled “Intellectual Structure and Evolution of Business-to-Business Branding Literature”. A manuscript extracted from Essay 1 titled: “Advancing Theory and Knowledge in the Business-to-Business Branding Literature”, has been published in the Journal of Business Research. The second essay is titled “The Hierarchical Development of Brand Equity in Business-to-Business Procurement Process”. Essay 2 consists of a qualitative exploratory study and a quantitative study. The findings of the exploratory study have been published as an industry White Paper by CIPS UK (in February 2015). The findings of Essay 2 will be submitted to the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science in 2016. Finally, the third essay is titled “The Role of Trust in Brand Representatives in the B2B Procurement Process”. A manuscript extracted from Essay 3 is currently being prepared for submission to the Journal of Operations Management.