Branding New Service Dominant Logic 50 pages

Branding in Service Markets

Amp Aim And Objectives

Themes for AMP

Characteristics Composing Branding Concept

Branding Evolution

S-D Logic and Service Markets

Branding Challenges in Service Markets

Considerations for Effective Service Branding

Categories and Themes

Branding Theory Evolution

S-D Logic and Service Markets

Branding Challenges in Service Markets

Considerations for Effective Service Branding

Branding Concept Characteristics

Characteristics Composing Branding Concept

Sampling of Studies Reviewed

Evolution of Branding Theory

Evolution of Marketing

Service-Brand-Relationship-Value Triangle

Brand Identity, Position & Image

Just as marketing increasingly influences most aspects of the consumer’s lives, brands and branding have become significant components in the contemporary progressive marketplace. Organizations like WTO as well as many organizations regularly utilize branding marketing and management practices. In turn, branding has become critical to structuring commercial and economic activities throughout the world. Organizations need to augment the understanding not only of branding in service markets but also service-dominant (S-D). Brands and branding have not only become significant components in the contemporary progressive marketplace, the marketing of them will likely continue to increase its impact on most aspects of the consumer’s lives brands. The organization needs to design company brands to not only identify its brand and mirror the company’s message but also reflect consumers’ concerns and value.




No “brand” or global economy exists in a vacuum. In countries throughout the world, significant evolving, fiscal components vitally contribute to as well as link to long-term trends occurring in both brands and economies the developing world; particularly sizeable emerging economies (Vargo & Lusch, 2006; Haig, 2011). Although Branding Theory has been primarily developed in the context of consumer products, most economies demonstrate that the majority of companies sell services rather than products. “Branding ‘presells’ the product or service to the user” (Haig, p. 3). Through the AMP investigating the evolution of the branding theory in the service realm, the researcher seeks to enhance the understanding not only of branding in service markets but also service-dominant (S-D).

Just as marketing increasingly influences most aspects of the consumer’s lives, brands and branding have become significant components in the contemporary progressive marketplace. Organizations like WTO as well as many organizations regularly utilize branding marketing and management practices. In turn, branding has become critical to structuring commercial and economic activities throughout the world. Some marketers even argue that brands rank among the most significant ideoscapes in the globalization processes (Heding, Knudtzen, & Bjerre, 2009).

Research Questions

The AMP addresses the primary research question: How may branding be effectively implemented in service markets? The following four sub-research questions support the primary research question.

1. What characteristics compose the concept of branding?

2. How does S-D logic correlate with service markets?

3. What are a number of challenges to effectively implementing branding in service markets?

4. What considerations may strengthen branding in service markets?


The aim of the AMP purports to address the primary research question: How may branding be effectively implemented in service markets?


Objective I. Conduct a literature review to identify:

a. Characteristics that compose the concept of branding;

b. The evolution of the branding theory in the service realm;

c. S-D Logic and its relationship to service markets;

d. A number of challenges to effectively implementing branding in service markets;

e. Considerations that may contribute to making branding more effective in service markets.

Objective 2. Analyze data retrieved during literature review and discuss findings; include similarities and contrasts the literature reveals.

Objective 3. Present conclusions relating to the findings the literature indicates.

Objective 4. Make recommendations for effectively implementing branding in the service market as well as recommendations for future AMP research.


Bad branding may cause good products to fail. Similarly, bad branding may negatively impact good services. Consequently, understanding how branding works in service markets as well as what differentiates good branding from bad comprises credible concerns for research. Just as no “brand” or global economy exists in a vacuum, no study, including the current AMP, can materialize without reaching out and drawing from other relevant studies. During the next section of the AMP, the review of literature, the researcher encompasses and examines a sampling of contemporary data relating to branding in service markets.



Themes for AMP

During the review of literature, the researcher presents a sampling of contemporary data relating to branding in service markets to address the primary research question and the four sub-research questions. The researcher utilizes the following themes to organize the chapter:

Characteristics Composing Branding Concept

Branding Theory Evolution

S-D Logic and Service Markets

Branding Challenges in Service Markets

Considerations for Effective Service Branding

Characteristics Composing Branding Concept

Even though consumers may not be able to purchase youth, they can buy products. Consequently, commercial messages routinely assert that particular products will convey what consumers really want. TV commercials typically represent the product as something more than the actual product; things important to the consumer like sex, success, and youth. For example, the context for the marketing of a car may include a “successful crowd of people in an upscale neighborhood, or the man who buys the car gets the woman, or the woman who buys the car is young, beautiful, and desirable while she’s driving It” (Sharpe, 2005, p. 657). Marketing attaches those and other meanings to products.

Marketing sells a benefit or an image more attractive and bigger than the actual product. Attaching a benefit or an image to a product can allocate that proposed larger meaning to what the organization desires to sell. As the car manufacturers and dealers desire to sell cars, they design their marketing efforts to first sell something bigger first, and then by association, they sell the cars. This concept relates to branding (Sharpe, 2005). The majority of brand definitions have been based on the following which Aaker proposed during 1991(Pike, 2010):

… a distinguishing name and/or symbol (such as a logo, trademark, or package design) intended to identify the goods or services of either one seller or a group of sellers, and to differentiate those goods from those of competitors. (Pike, 2010, p. 129)

A brand constitutes a design, a name, sign, term, or a unifying combination of them designed so consumers may readily distinguish and identify the product or service from competitors. “Brand names communicate attributes and meaning that are designed to enhance the value of a product beyond its functional value” (McDowell & Batte, 2005, p. 17). The brand provides a symbol that makes it easy for the consumer to rapidly identify the product as it simultaneously facilitates the repurchase process.

Pike (2010) asserts that branding constitutes more than the presentation of symbols like those Aaker noted. The concepts of brand identity includes the self-image the organization desires for the brand; while brand image depicts the actual image if the brand consumers hold. The marketer uses brand positioning elements like the product’s name, symbol and slogan “to cut through the noise of competing and substitute products to stimulate an induced destination image that matches the brand identity” (Pike, p.130). Analyzing the level of congruence between brand image and brand identity effect with brand performance measurement presents a measure of brand equity.

Branding depicts a concept inherent in marketing. “[B]because the customer perceives the product as being valuable . . ., branding is more about the customer than it is about the product. It’s the personality of the product that people relate to” (Sharpe, 2005, p. 657). People readily relate Allstate Insurance, to the tagline: “You’re In good hands” (Ibid.), and link State Farm Insurance, Allstate’s competitor, with: “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there” (Ibid.). This reflects an emotional relationship which customers experience with the product’s personality of the product.

Name recognition as well as the familiarity of a company logo often helps promote sales of a particular product. Branding, however, encompasses more than a particular company name, logo, product, or customer service. “It’s about the customer’s perception of the product and the relationship with the personality of the product. . .. It’s more about loyalty and confidence and all of the things that make a relationship good” (Sharpe, 2005, p. 657). According to Warnaby (2009), place branding, an emerging field of branding, not only draws from classical branding theory, but also from relationship marketing, services marketing, tourism marketing and urban planning.

Whether the marketers design promotions to sell the customer on the idea of visiting particular places, purchase certain cars, or buy another product, they must ensure customers do more than recognize the brand. Customers must be motivated to travel to a designated destination, purchase the featured car, or buy the nominated product. The easy to understand marketing message speaks to the customer, nevertheless, the message must be consistent to be effective. To build a brand, and more significantly, brand loyalty, the message must be repeated over and over. When repeated loud and repeatedly enough, the message begins to not only sound right to customers it begins to resonate in their minds (Sharpe, 2005). Consequently, the message starts to stimulate customers starting to consider making a purchase.

The brand also serves as a substantial financial and political power in the macro-level focus of culture; particularly as it relates to issues and discussion regarding globalization concerns. As noted in the first chapter of the AMP, just as the growing impact of marketing touches most aspects of the consumer’s lives, brands and branding have likewise become “an increasingly dominant market economic and commercial ideoscape” (Heding, Knudtzen, & Bjerre, 2009, p. 210).

With organizations like WTO implementing branding in its marketing and management practices, branding will likely remain central to structuring commercial and economic activities — in large as well as in small countries globally.

Branding Evolution

The process of branding reportedly even existed during the Stone Age as hunters chose particular “brands” of weapons to help ensure their hunting would be successful. According to Hampf and Lindberg-Repo (2011), however, brands similar to contemporary ones did not begin to materialize until the 16th century. Knowledge, procedures, and theories within branding began to substantially develop in the 18th-century in England and France. “On a very practical level consumers like brands because they package meaning. They form a kind of shorthand that makes choice easier” (McDowell & Batte, 2005, p. 17). The development of commercials in mass media largely contributed to current branding theories originating and beginning to evolve during the mid-20th century.

Prior to the advertising industry fully organizing as an institution, the following two diverse principles or strategies guided branding:

One principle, consistent with economic ideas of branding, was to establish a name to represent an ongoing business; to convey the legitimacy, prestige, and stability of the manufacturer; to educate the consumer about the product’s basic value proposition; and to instruct on the use of novel products.

The second principle . . . was to treat consumers as gullible dupes who could be swayed if only product claims were inflated enough. (Holt, 2002, p. 80)

During the 1920s and forward, specialists began to replace the above two strategies; ushering in the contemporary branding paradigm built on the following two pillars:

Abstraction and cultural engineering

Advertising typically highlighted product benefits; functional results strongly related to the product’s attributes or made incredible claims. Earnest Elmo Calkins, reported to be one the earliest branding leaders, constructed the concept that manufacturers needed to attempt to position their brands as solid expressions of esteemed moral and social ideals. He “championed a new style of advertising that proposed that products materially embodied people’s ideals (e.g., their aspirations concerning their families, their place in society, their masculinity and femininity), which were only tenuously linked to functional benefits” (Holt, 2002, p. 80). Advertising renovated allegories, metaphors, and brands to symbolize psychological and social properties.

Instead of magical messages praising product benefits, marketers started to blatantly reveal their intentions regarding branding efforts. They meticulously promoted a relationship linking product attributes with a package of enviable personal characteristics that when conjoined “declared to constitute the modern good life. . .. They [advertisers] directed consumers as to how they should live and why their brand should be a central part of this kind of life” (Holt, 2002, p. 80). Compared to contemporary concepts, the approach to advertising during this time period appears adolescent yet moralistic. Also at the time, companies assumed the role as cultural authorities.

During the 1920s, firms adapted scientific management principles used to organize workers to try to orchestrate their customers’ preferences. Behaviorism also started to influence advertisers, who consequently began to perceive that their expertise replicated methodical science. In time, marketing progressed from a low-profile function primarily focusing on distribution to “a significant strategic tool for senior management and from a quasi-professional trade to an institutionally legitimated science supported by academic research, education, expanding doctoral programs, and licensing organizations” (Holt, 2002, p. 81). The erroneous belief, albeit, prevailed that marketers could methodically utilize sophisticated academic theories and methods as tools “to direct consumers to value their brands” (Ibid.). Although Holt significantly contributed to describing the evolution of branding, nevertheless, a dearth of literature exists to explain branding’s evolutionary development. Little research also identifies the cause and effect inherent in the evolution of branding theories. Consequently, as the causal connections among the various theories had not yet been explored, Hampf and Lindberg-Repo (2011) extended their research beyond the current literature to examine this realm.

Prior to the 1970s, significant consumer movement contested the utilization of brands. As companies were not secure as to how to best highlight their brands as well as whether and if so, how much the typical consumer cared about those brands. As a result, marketers considered it critical to employ research to ascertain the significance of brands in the purchasing process. Research on everyday products during this time indicated that consumers preferred products with a well-known brand. Only 25% of the respondents participating in a study by Marquardt et al. “did not pay attention to the brand at all (Hampf & Lindberg-Repo, 2011, p. 2). These consumers reported they perceived price not brand to be the primary consideration when purchasing the product. Hampf and Lindberg-Repo (2011) explain that the marketing mix which Neil H. Borden constructed during the1950s depicts a well-known term in contemporary marketing. Hampf and Lindberg-Repo also note E. Jerome McCarthy promoted the popularity of marketing mix, however, when he proposed the following four P’s as vital to the process: Product; Price; Place; Promotion. These components “symbolize marketing tools that companies could use to achieve their goals” (Hampf & Lindberg-Repo, p.2). Ironically, more recently, these four P’s, do not explicitly link to branding. The idea supporting the postmodern branding paradigm purports that brands prove more valuable when proffered as cultural resources; when presented as cultural blueprints, as functional elements for one to produce the self as he or she chooses. Consumers, however, must perceive resources to be authentic. “To be authentic, brands must be disinterested; they must be perceived as invented and disseminated by parties without an instrumental economic agenda, by people who are intrinsically motivated by their inherent value” (Holt, 2002, p. 83). Because most postmodern consumers see contemporary branding efforts to reek with their sponsors’ commercial intent, they do not typically perceive modern branding efforts as authentic. After approximately a decade of experiments, however, a number of effective strategies started to evolve.

Due to recession constraints during the 1970s, these branding techniques fell lower on the marketing agenda until the mid-1980s. They resurfaced at that time; augmented with numerous extensions and refinements (Hunt, 2010). Holt (2002) asserts that five new branding techniques emerged by the 1990s that aimed to present brands as pertinent as well as genuine cultural resources. Holt, however, only presents the following four:

Ironic, reflexive brand persona. The ironic, reflexive brand persona diametrically opposed the fatherly voice contemporary ads. These ads attempted to detach the brand from blatant attempts to influence the consumer, a common practice during the 1990s.

Coattailing on cultural epicenters. The coattailing on cultural epicenters technique wove the brand into cultural epicenters like the “arts and fashion communities . . . ethnic subcultures (e.g., the African- American ghetto for Tommy Hilfiger, Nike, Sprite, and Fubu), professional communities (e.g., professional sports for Nike, commercial arts for Apple), and consumption communities ” (Holt, 2002, p. 84). When the brand builds an ongoing, credible relationship within a community, it crafts an impression of the brand as a vested community member, worthy of its standing within that community.

Life world emplacement. Life world emplacement asserts that the brand’s value stem from unbiased daily life circumstances, not from commercial sponsorship. “Consumers[, nevertheless,] recognize that marketers promiscuously stitch stories and images to their brands that may have nothing to do with the brands’ real history and consumption” (Holt, 2002, p. 84). Consequently, consumers search for proof that indicates a brand has actually earned its status.

Stealth branding. Stealth branding permits marketers to break away from consumer ascriptions of cultural coercion. Rather than implementing branding efforts, companies access the allegiance of tastemakers to invest efforts to distribute the concept of inherent cultural value in the brand. “The promise of stealth branding has stimulated a publishing and consulting frenzy, promoting concepts like grass roots, viral, tribal, and buzz” (Ibid). In the past, marketers would place their products in popular films or television shows as well as contract celebrities to use their particular products (Holt, 2002, p. 85).

According to Hunt (2010), the trend toward social marketing which asserts the marketing challenges for nonprofit organizations to be nonprofit, micro, or normative depicts one of the two trends which also materialized during the 1970s. “The second can be termed the societal issues trend. It concerns topics as diverse as consumerism, ethics, marketing and ecology, the desirability of political advertising. social responsibility, and whether the demand for public goods should be stimulated” (Hunt, p. 15). Both these trends tried to calculate the allure or correctness of particular marketing techniques.

In 1985, results of the debate that occurred within the American Marketing Association (AMA) resulted in a committee evaluating the way marketing could best be defined. The AMA Board ultimately approved the following recommended definition:

“Marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational objectives” (Bennett as quoted in Hunt, 2010, p. 115).

Hunt (2010) further explained:

The definition did not completely satisfy all those who participated in the debate [regarding the official definition of marketing proposed]. For example, I believe that the words “in organizations and society” should he inserted after “the process.” Nonetheless, most agreed that ii was a substantial improvement over its predecessor. . . . [One] should note in particular the emphasis on exchange and the ‘broadening” of marketing to include “ideas.” . . The American Marketing Association returned to the issue of how to define marketing in 2004 and 2007. (Hunt, 2010 p. 15)

During the l980s and continuing through the 2000s, the following seven research streams evolved which view marketing as both an economic as well as a social practice.

1. Market orientation

2. services marketing

3. relationship marketing

4. quality management

5. value and supply-chain management

6. resource management

7. network analysis. ((Hunt, 2010 pp. 15-16)

Holt (2002) explains that in contemporary marketing promotional efforts:

In sum, marketers work with a palette of techniques derived from the foundational principle of the postmodern branding paradigm: consumers will view brands as valuable resources for identity construction when brand meanings are perceived to be authentic-original and disinterested. (Holt, 2002, p. 85)

Baker and Saren (2010) purport the following four conclusions evolved from both qualitative and quantitative research regarding branding:

1. Changes have occurred across all five content themes indicating significant evolution in the concept of marketing since its earliest definition.

2. The greatest change has occurred in the nature of the relationship (i.e. between provider and user), from one-way narrow, discrete transactions to the recognition and positioning of relationships as a key strategy resource. This change is also reflected in the other themes, particularly ‘philosophy or function’, and marks the moderation of economic explanations of consumption behavior through the admission of concepts derived from psychology and sociology.

3. Changes In the marketing environment have resulted in a broadening and softening of the original concept and its transfer to other domains – services, not-for-profit, etc.

4. Marketing has shown itself to be adaptable, flexible, international, and open. (Baker & Saren, 2010, p. 20)

The flexibility and openness that has encompassed the definition of marketing has at times contributed to confusion. In the future, Barker and Saren (2010) stress, it is critical that a clear definitional concept of marketing be determined. Vargo and Lusch (2004) report that “marketing moved from a goods-dominant view, in which tangible output and discrete transactions were central, to a service-dominant view, in which Interchangeability, exchange processes, and relationships are central” (p. 2). These authors define services as:

. . . [T]he application of specialised competences (knowledge and skills) through deeds, processes, and performances to the benefit of another entity or the entity itself … Thus, the service-centred dominant logic represents a reoriented philosophy that is applicable to all marketing offerings. (Vargo & Lusch as cited in Baker & Saren, 2010, p. 21)

Firms have begun to recognize more and more that brands rank among their most valuable assets. In turn, they have begun to augment the level of resources they invest in building their brands. With the evolutions of brand and branding meanings, a new conceptual logic in marketing converged. In terms of the stakeholders’ collectively perceived value-in-use this innovative logic includes collaborative, value co-creation activities of firms as well as all stakeholders and brand value. Consequently, according to Merz, He, and Vargo (2009), their research suggests that “marketing managers might benefit from investing resources in building strong brand relationships with all of their stakeholders and a service-dominant firm philosophy built around brand value co-creation” (p. 1). This conceptual logic corresponds to and mirrors S-D logic in marketing.

S-D Logic and Service Markets

S-D Logic


Services have been conceptualized as similar to tangible goods; however, the four following characteristics differentiate them:

Intangibility (lack a tactile quality of goods),

inseparability (simultaneously produced and consumed),

heterogeneity (cannot be standardized), and perishability (cannot be produced ahead of demand and inventoried). (Merz, He, & Vargo, 2009, p. 2)

Although no scientific justification confirms the differentiations between services from goods, intangibility, heterogeneity, inseparability, and perishability (the IHIPs), these four alleged differences introduce most textbooks and/or chapters regarding service. “Services are intangible, goods are tangible. The idea is that services are activities and processes that cannot be touched” (Gummesson, Lusch, & Vargo, 2010, p. 15). Examples of services include “the service of an opera performance” (Ibid.) and the service (operation) a surgeon in health care service performs when conducting surgery.

In services, inseparability (also expressed as simultaneity) exists between production, delivery, and consumption. In goods manufacturing, however, separability typically exists as manufacturers produce goods without the presence of the customer. This contributed to the concept of the service encounter; “characterized by interaction between the customer and the supplier’s contact personnel, service scape and systems, and between those customers who are present at a specific place and point of time (customer-to-customer interaction)” (Gummesson, Lusch, & Vargo, 2010, p. 15). This encounter from an S-D logic perspective does not depend on the existence of goods or services but depicts a value co-creating network. Gummesson, Lusch, and Vargo (2010) explain that based on the concept that human beings perform service while machines produce goods, heterogeneity, variability, or non-standardization characterize services. Like the service that cash machines perform, for example, more and more services are being performed in a stringent standardized mode. “Services are characterized by perishability[;] . . . they cannot be stored; goods by non-perishability. Activities and processes can be stored in products (. . . like a car), people, systems and equipment and a provider’s preparedness to perform the service when a customer requires it” (Gummesson, Lusch, & Vargo, 2010, p. 15). This knowledge and skills content of IHIPs proves central in S-D logic.

The IHIPs qualities which differentiate services from goods and in a sense made them a bit less desirable than tangible goods require that to some extent they be marketed differently (Merz, He, & Vargo, 2009). Unlike the marketing illogic evolving from economics more than 100 years ago emphasizing the exchange of operand resources, emphasis has begun to transition to operant resources. Operand resources generally depict tangible, inert resources, while operant resources represent “dynamic resources that act upon other resources” (Vargo & Lusch, 2006, p. 43). S-D Logic mirrors the contemporary transition of economy from an industrial era to a services era. Vargo and Lusch define service as benefits individuals obtain from “the application of operant resources to operand and other operant resources” (p. 45). As service currently dominates goods in a growing number of economies, marketing can benefit by adopting models that reflect this transition.

S-D logic portrays one critical contemporary component of a country’s economy. S-D logic, “rests on the premise that, in order to improve their individual and collective well-being, humans exchange the service – the application of specialized skills and knowledge – that they can provide to others for the service that they need from others” (Vargo & Lusch, 2006, p. 43). This concept challenges the conventional exchange logic which perceives goods involved in the exchange as mechanisms for service provision.

According to Lusch (2011), S-D logic contains the following ten foundational premises.

1. The fundamental basis of exchange;

2. Indirect exchange masks the fundamental basis of exchange;

3. Goods are a distribution mechanism for service provision;

4. Operant resources are the fundamental source of competitive advantage;

5. All economies are service economies;

6. The customer is always a co-creator of value;

7. The enterprise cannot deliver value, but only offer value propositions;

8. A service-centered view is inherently customer oriented and relational;

9. All social and economic actors are resource integrators;

10. Value is always uniquely and phenomenologically determined by the beneficiary. (Lusch, 2011, p. 14)

G-D logic to S-D logic constitutes the shift from perceiving business to focus on things (nouns) to focus on actions and processes (verbs). Lusch stresses that S-D logic asserts service to be the foundation of economic activity. “S-D logic focuses on the process of service vs. A goods-dominant (God) or manufacturing logic that focuses on the production and provision of outputs. For instance, computers, forklifts, pallets and transportation equipment are all appliances for service provision” (Lusch, 2011, p. 14). Customers may not necessarily want the output or particular product an organization produces. They want to be able access the service the good facilitates.

Merz, He, and Vargo (2009) explain that S-D logic:

1. Perceives that service constitutes the universal denominator of exchange,

2. Recognizes that instead of an output orientation (“goods and services”); holds a process orientation (“service”), and

3. Argues that value always evolves from the process of being co-created with customers (and others) (Merz, He, & Vargo, 2009).

SD logic asserts that although goods remain important, however are acknowledged as mediums for providing service. Just as marketing has been evolving from God logic to S-D logic, Merz, He, and Vargo (2009) assert branding to also be evolving and that’d.D. logic reflects this emerging brand logic.

Maclaran, Stern, Tadajewski, and Saren (2009) suggest that marketers could benefit from considering the following reformulation of fundamental marketing. assumptions and marketing models:

Shifting the focus of exchange from goods to service

Shifting the unit of analysis from products to value creation

Understanding that the essential drivers for all value creation are operant resources, rather than operand resources

Elimination of the producer-consumer distinction and adopting a relational, collaborative understanding of value creation

Moving from a linear (e.g. supply chain) perspective of value creation to a network perspective

Understanding the resource integration, contextual and phenomenological nature of value. (Maclaran, Stern, Tadajewski, & Saren, 2009, p. 231)

In SD logic, marketing orientation transitions from a “market to” philosophy, in which the company targets, captures, and promotes the customer to a “market with” perspective. In this philosophy, the customer and supply chain partners collaborate during the total marketing process. When customers and suppliers interact, they co-create solutions. In turn, the unified effort generates value. Co-creating the function and “the meaning of its experience, customers co-construct value for themselves: ‘The customer is always a co-creator of value.’ . . . [S]uppliers only create the resources or means to make it possible for customers to create value for themselves” (Lusch & Vargo as quoted in Cova & Dalli, 2009), p. 320). In addition, SD logic also distinguishes customers as resource integrators (as well as suppliers). This proves consistent with the co-creation of value concept. Basically, suppliers do not bring value to customers. As suppliers generate value processes of the customers, they support customers’ value creation (work).

Three criteria may be considered as “tests” to assess whether a human activity constitutes work.

A sociological criterion: Work is a social connection;

an economic criterion: Work creates value for the company and the stakeholders;

an ergonomic criterion: work is an organized activity which has an impact on the milieu. (Cova & Dalli, 2009, p. 325)

In light of these criteria, the consumer’s production does constitute work.

Whether or not consumers realize they comprise “workers” in marketing to build a brand – they actually do work. Cova and Dalli (2009) assert consumers perform work as they:

Contribute to the pleasure they experience when they consume a product or service so that the value of a particular experience evolves from their contribution.

Collaborate with salespersons to customize the products or services that they as the consumer need and/or desire.

Critically interact with the market to renovate it into a more valuable product or service for them as the consumer from an economic — functional as well as a cultural and ideological point of perception.

Utilize the resources companies provide to augment the exchange value of resources that they as the consumer need and/or desire (Cova & Dalli, 2009).

Cova and Dalli (2009) argue that consumers undertake several activities that, directly or indirectly enhance the market value of whatever products or services companies offer on the market. “Positive (co-creation), critical (resistance), tangible (product transformation), and intangible (appropriation) activities provide value to market offerings” (Cova and Dalli, p. 326). Three criteria may be used to categorize a human activity as work:

1. . . . [A] sociological criterion: . . . [W]ork is a social connection;

2. . . . [A]n economic criterion: . . . [W]ork creates value for the company and the stakeholders; and

3. . . . [A]n ergonomic criterion: . . . [W]ork is an organized activity which has an impact on the milieu. In this light, the consumer’s production is work. (Cova and Dalli, 2009)

The working consumer concept asserts that consumers perform diverse activities that may be labeled immaterial work. Even though consumers typically “work” at the primary level of sociality (interpersonal relationships) which makes them beyond producers’ control, they increase the value of product and branding as well as market offerings. As consumers contribute cultural and affective value to service and product market offerings through their immaterial labor, however, for more effective service branding, marketers need to consider and encourage the various facets of the consumers’ productive role (McDowell & Batte, 2005).

Branding Challenges in Service Markets

Intangibility depicts the most significant difference between goods and services. Chernatony, McDonald, and Wallace (2010) suggest that just as tangibility is not limited to goods “intangibility is not limited to services” (p. 208). Brands significantly contribute to value creation as they “involve all those who create value: this incorporates the customer as well as employees and stakeholders” (Ibid.). The company constitutes the primary brand in services. Customer interactions with employees who deliver the service brand establish the brand meaning. Chernatony, McDonald, and Wallace assert:

Increased competition in services markets has made many companies realize that a strong service brand is an essential part of their competitive advantage.

Unfortunately, the understanding of service branding has not kept pace with the growth of the services sector. For example, an overview of the top 10 brands in the world . . . shows that just three – McDonalds (number 6), Google (number 7) and Disney (number 10) – are ‘pure’ service brands. Further examination of these brands also shows that the product component of their offering has helped to build brand strength: for example, lnterbrand, 2009) credits the McCafe and healthy food offerings provided by McDonalds in opening new target markets and creating sales growth for the brand; Google’s android phone software has helped to sustain the brand’s innovative image; and Disney spinoffs such as video games and theme parks have helped to retain the brand’s position. (de Chernatony, McDonald, and Wallace, p. 208)

Chernatony, McDonald, and Wallace (2010) pose a number of considerations relating to why service brands struggle as well as some of the unique challenges services brands routinely counter. “Brands are even more important for services than for goods since consumers have no tangible attributes to assess the brand. It is harder to communicate the values of service brands” (de Chernatony, McDonald, and Wallace, p. 208). The way the company conducts its business depicts one successful way it can express the values of a service brand. Consequently, the company’s culture serves as a source of demarcation as well as a primary venue for a company to transmit its values.

The personality of a brand or its culture cannot simply be communicated through an internet or television advertisement. This makes it vital that the company train staff to help ensure “a greater likelihood of consistent delivery of the service brand. Building and sustaining brands needs to be undertaken by everyone in the firm and involves a profound understanding of every aspect of the interaction between consumers and the company” (de Chernatony, McDonald, and Wallace, 2010, p. 208). De Chernatony, McDonald, and Wallace (2010) stress that as staff serve as an integral part of service brands, the reflection of a brand’s personality critically depends on each person in the company.

According to Gummesson, Lusch, and Vargo (2010), a number of the claims regarding challenges in service quality from mainstream service marketing and management do not stand true over time. Several contentions still being taught in some marketing courses, which still appear innumerous textbooks include:

Service quality proves challenging, while goods quality proves simple (Ibid.).

“Service quality cannot be assessed before consumption while goods quality can” (Gummesson, Lusch, & Vargo, 2010, p. 16).

Better service quality costs more.

Service productivity does not improve whereas goods productivity keeps improving at a rapid rate.

The disconfirmation paradigm states that customers have expectations on services and that customers compare these expectations with the actual experiences (Ibid).

The contention that service quality proves challenging, while goods quality proves simple evolved from that idea that manufacturers produce goods in standardized components by readily regulated machines but that people “handmade” services. Goods and manufacturing quality may not be easily attained as manufacturers invest enormous resources into simultaneously enhancing and maintaining quality in productivity (Gummesson, Lusch, & Vargo, 2010). When measuring quality in this realm, however, the customer’s role in co-creation is not measured.

The concept that goods quality can be assessed prior to consumption but that service quality cannot build is fabricated on the misconstruction that one may assess the product’s quality because it is tangible. Realistically, consumers do not understand much regarding a car’s technical quality and consequently they purchase their vehicle on trust for the brand. “In light of the definition of service where the customer is co-creator the quality of a car is variable and dependent on the way each customer creates value for himself or herself” (Gummesson, Lusch, & Vargo, 2010, p. 17). Frequently, customers do not think out their expectations well. In addition, as their expectations may continually change, they may not explicitly map out their expectations and/or develop these from faulty information.

Additional alleged challenges for services that have developed from misinformation regarding goods/service differences include the following two:

The pure goods-pure services continuum.

Manufacturing requires heavy investment whereas services do not. (Gummesson, Lusch, & Vargo, 2010, p. 17)

Gummesson, Lusch, and Vargo (2010) report the depiction of the pure goods-pure services may be found in most service textbooks. One continuum positions clothing on the purely goods side and places a session with a psychiatrist on the entirely service side. Nevertheless, service obviously encompasses clothing through retail venues, fashion exhibits, and branding. The psychiatrist’s remedy also routinely encompasses goods when he or she prescribes pills the drug companies produce. The value proposition concept S-D logic utilizes, however, diminishes or dispels this distinction.

In the past, the mis-contention that services do not require heavy investment similar to that of manufacturing asserted that manufacturing firms are capital-intensive, but that service firms are people-intensive. Prior to IT significantly changing this concept, however, service often required intensive investments of capital. The gargantuan investment companies made in capital goods of an airport and an airline to fascilitate the flying service depicts one example (Gummesson, Lusch, & Vargo, 2010).

In the service realm, the company brands need to reflect that consumers do not purchase particular services (e.g. financial) as an actual end in themselves but as the venue to accomplish other goals. A person booking a vacation package at a popular resort, for example, wants a dream environment in addition to a place to sleep at night. “A service brand has to be based on a clear competitive position, which in turn has to be derived from the corporate strategy. This requires a holistic approach involving everyone in the company” (de Chernatony, McDonald, and Wallace, 2010, p. 209). The following reflects considerations for a more effective brand strategy:

High quality top management – The commitment of high caliber management is fundamental to guarantee excellent service brand delivery.

Vision – All employees need to understand and be committed to the brand vision. Long-term rather than short-term plans are required to ensure the development of meaningful relationships with consumers.

Results driven – The vision should he translated into clearly defined goals for all staff.

Competitiveness – The company should benchmark its performance against best practice, both inside and outside the sector.

Use of technology – Effective exploitation of new technologies is a fundamental source of sustainable competitive advantage.

Consumer focus – The consumer needs to be regarded as central to everything the organization does. (de Chernatony, McDonald, & Wallace, 2010, p. 209)

Other challenges to service branding evolve from the actual services. These include that it is intangible, heterogeneous, and has inseparable components of production as well as consumption. In addition, a service may dissipate (de Chernatony, McDonald, & Wallace, 2010).

The fact that consumers deal with intangible offerings depicts primary challenge for service brands. To address this concern, marketers emphasize the company as a brand. The intangible nature of service brands position them to potentially be perceived as commodities. Thus, the company needs to make services brands tangible to give consumers clear reference points. To surmount this quandary, encourage positive perceptions among consumers, and help strengthen its brand, the company needs to ensure it reflects a clear set of values. Using a number of physical elements, like office decor, uniforms, and even the kind of music customers hear when placed on hold on the telephone depicts another way to make service brands tangible (De Chernatony, McDonald, & Wallace, 2010).

Considerations for Effective Service Branding

Instead of attempting to try to change a person’s opinion, according to Pike (2009), reinforcing positively held perceptions proves to be an easier way to stimulate positive opinions about a particular product or service.

A service brand can project its values through physical symbols and representations. . .. The first points of contact with a service organisation, such as car parking, design of building and appearance of the reception area, all interact to give consumers clues about what the service brand will be like. Other ways that brands communicate with consumers are through tangible elements such as stationery, the way employees dress and brochures. (Chernatony, McDonald, and Wallace, 2010, pp. 223-224)

Currently, as marketing perceptions and practices continue to evolve from a primarily goods-dominant logic to a S-D logic, Lusch, R. And Webster Jr. (2011) argue that an S-D grounded logic proves particularly pertinent in the contemporary, vastly networked world. Enterprises need to recognize and manage their business as if marketing does not constitute a separate business function but depicts a general management responsibility. A co-creation concept of strategy proves critical as it perceives value as not simply something the business develops but a component customers create as they integrate resources. This not only encompasses firm-supplied resources but also other resources the customer can access to improve their well-being and/or contribute to help co-develop solutions to problems. “Consistent with the S-D logic of marketing, the firm has to think not about optimizing the sales and/or profit of the firm and its activities but how to support customers in their resource integration and value co-creation activities” (Lusch, R. & Webster Jr., p. 129). Enterprises benefit when they serve as a support system; starting with the customer, to help all stakeholders effectively and efficiently co-create value.

McDowell and Batte (2005) assert:

Because consumers often lack the motivation, capacity, or opportunity to process all product information to which they are exposed in a thoughtful or deliberative manner, they opt for quick resolution techniques stored in memory. Strong brands assist in this heuristic process. (p. 17) . . . [W]hat sets apart brand equity from other marketing concepts is that brand awareness relates to the likelihood that a brand will come to mind when given different types of clues. (p. 59)

Educational Considerations

Educational institutions possess an inimitable responsibility to absorb and assess the new logic. At this point, Gummesson, Lusch, and Vargo (2010) purport that S-D logic does not appear to significantly impact textbooks students use in their earlier educational pursuits. Even though academic journals strongly cite S-D logic, the majority of textbooks on “general marketing, service marketing, B2B marketing, relationship marketing and CRM, do not mention it at all” (Gummesson, Lusch, & Vargo, 2010, p.19). Instead, typical books appear to maintain a “textbook theory”; at times based on a fragmented, encyclopedic record of conventional concepts, cases, models, theories, and conclusions; years behind contemporary academic publications. Consequently, professors need to augment textbook packages with updated research and articles; local, national, and international material; relevant media news; guest lectures by business, government, and other organizational practicing professionals as well as students; personal experiences.

Practice Considerations

Many of the considerations regarding education also aptly apply to contemporary practice. Practitioners like professors have a professional as well as ethical responsibility to allocate time, listen, reflect, and consider long-term beyond the short-term, bottom line in service. Old, out-of-date philosophy may negatively influence and utterly control the thinking of some practitioners who consider themselves as “hands-on” as well as on-target with reality. “Official statistics and their underlying categories are still driven by the 300-year-old goods/service and supplier/customer divides from a goods-centered, industrial logic. Thus, they give the impression of the service sector growing” (Gummesson, Lusch, & Vargo, 2010, p.20). Business managers as well as governments, and politicians could benefit from not only on refocusing on service and value, but moreover transitioning from the supplier, goods, and cost centric worldview. Taking into account the role of as well as the impact on all stakeholders, and statistics pertinent to monitoring these roles and impact also needs to be considered and developed. IBM has initiated a service science program that constitutes a role model other companies could start to support new perceptions of service in industry. In turn, this and other noted considerations could constructively contribute to cultivating effective service branding.

Branding Theory in Service Realm

Each year, Business Week publishes Interbrand’s annual ranking of the reportedly most valuable brands in the world. “The report consistently shows that the value of the brand is the dominant component of an organization’s financial assets, particularly for service businesses” (Brodie, Glynn, & Little, p. 364). Although brands constitute primary contributors to the value of service businesses, they appear to merit little recognition in the service realm. Instead, the service literature frequently only indirectly references branding; typically implying the branding concept more relevantly relates to consumer goods marketing. Brodie, Glynn, and Little (2006) purport that:

Service brands facilitate and mediate the marketing processes used to realize the experiences that drive co-creation of value. They provide sign systems that symbolize meaning in the marketing network, and hence are a fundamental asset or resource that a marketing organization uses in developing service-based competency and hence competitive advantage. Elevating the role of the service brand to a fundamental premise in the S-D logic provides an alternative perspective to the customer equity approach. . .. (Brodie, Glynn, & Little, p. 364).

Typically, to develop a suitable, strong support for research in the field as well as for expanding knowledge, a solid theoretical foundation proves critical. Accordingly, organization theory proves particularly relevant in contributing to strategic marketing concepts. Organization theory can help marketing and management researchers better understand organizations as it simultaneously can help fascilitate the achievement of the following three critical goals:

1. [T]heory can provide description of relationships between variables.

2. Second, theory can enable prediction of important outcomes such that, if certain antecedent conditions are identified, expectations can be offered about what subsequent events will be observed.

3. Third, theory can allow explanation of why variables are related in certain ways. (Ketchen Jr. & Hult, G.T. 2011, p. 481)

As theory provides descriptions of relationships linking variables, it can help researchers identify which significant variables to consider as well as determine the types of relationships exist between these variables. Theory can also help stimulate forecast of significant outcomes so that, if the researcher identifies definite precursor conditions, he or she can offer more credible expectations regarding subsequent observable events. In addition theory can permit explanation as to the reason variables prove similar or differ in particular ways (Ketchen Jr. & Hult, G.T. 2011).

McDowell and Batten (2005) explain that the distinction between a product category and a product brand constitutes the core of branding theory. “A category refers to the generic commodity with no differentiation among brands” (McDowell & Batten, p. 18). Numerous motivational factors relating to a particular need or want may cause a consumer to choose a category of product with no thought of brands. In another buying scenario, however, the consumer may carefully compare and assess the qualities a number of alternative brands purport to determine the best brand for him or her to purchase. During a third scenario, the consumer deliberately seeks a particular brand without considering any other category alternative. This consumer has determined that only this one specific brand will do. McDowell and Batten (2005) further explain:

In a cluttered marketplace, in which consumer products are often more similar than they are different, proper brand management increases the probability of consumer brand choice. Brand management is the reason why consumers want a Big Mac not just a hamburger, a pair of Nikes not just a pair of sneakers, a Harley rather than just a motorcycle,. In media terms, . . . media brand management is the reason why audiences tune to Law and Order rather than just any television drama; Sex and the City rather than just any television sitcom, Eyewitness News rather than just an local television newscast.

An important assumption for any practical measure of brand strength is thatthe brand under study should be a direct competitor coming from the same product category. In other words, mouthwash should not be compared to deodorants, nor should television sitcoms he compared to newscasts. (McDowell & Batte, 2005, p.p. 18-19)

Warnaby (2009) asserts that place branding relates to classical branding theory as well as relationship marketing, services marketing, tourism marketing and urban planning. DePoy and Gilson (2010) argue that:

Contemporary literature reveals a more complex analysis and debate about the directionality of the choice — adoption – display sequence of branding. Some scholars adhere to the classical view that choice of style and design brand is a self-determined effort to align one’s identities with preferred cultural-media images . . . while others suggest that branding is surreptitiously ascribed to groups and individuals by market forces. (DePoy & Gilson, 2010, p. 127)

According to DePoy and Gilson (2010), individuals and groups do not autonomously choose their identities but that the post-postmodern purposive character of branding and design directs them to believe that they can and do so. Founded on design and branding theory, the “explanatory importance of this conceptual framework lies in the processes and purposes of design and branding as deliberate, complex, and potentially able to manipulate meaning of self, others, and categories” (DePoy & Gilson, 2010, p. 127).

Research reveals that in repetitive decision-making scenarios, habits save time as well as reduce the mental effort a person invests in making decisions. When the repeated outcome from using a branded product proves to be positive, the consumer will likely continue to purchase that particular brand. Because habits generally simplify people’s lives, people regularly become “creatures of habit” *McDowell & Batte, 2005). Consequently, strong brands nurture habits.

As habits prove difficult to break, habitual behavior works in favor of the brand manager of the incumbent leading brand. “For a brand challenger, however, consumer habits are the enemy. Instead of examining and conscientiously evaluating each brand, habitual buyers simply bypass all this effort and retrieve from memory a preferred brand and hand over the money!” (McDowell & Batte, 2005, p. 19). When a preferred brand becomes established in a person’s memory, his or her purchase decision becomes automatic or routine. Generally, consumers will make a point to go out of their way to purchase what they consider the best brand. In extreme perceptions, the consumer considers any competing brand as unsatisfactory and will only purchase a product other than his brand choice when he cannot secure his brand.

Transitioning Branding and Economic Interests

In time, the relationship a person experiences with a brand transitions with the knowledge he or she possesses pertaining to the product or service the brand represents. Modern branding primarily evolved for the category of fast-moving consumer goods (fmcg) to help ensure consumers could spend less time determining which grocery products to place in their shopping baskets to purchase. As networked digital information continues to currently change things, including marketing, contemporary branding has transitioned to currently comprise a system moving toward a crisis. Networked digital information reportedly “is the lifeblood of the economies in which brands operate, it flows through the markets they serve, it forms and amplifies the culture they reflect, and it connects the societies in which their customers live” (Clifton et al., 2009, p. 217). Clifton et al. argue that today’s digital connectivity will mandate the need for a new brand due to the following five factors:

The end of information monopolies. The shift from an industrial to a digital information age is changing the relationship between consumers and brands.

Go with the flow. People sit at the centre of their social networks and information webs, into and around which all things swirl – including brands.

Be a verb not a noun. Brands need to find active roles to play in this constantly agitating environment and generate a stream of innovations that connect with the passions of their communities.

Be a guide not a gatekeeper. Brands need to interpret information when they can no longer be stand-ins for it.

Brand new world. It’s a time of accelerating and destabilizing change and future consumers may choose to embrace or reject brands just as quickly. (Clifton et al., 2009, p. 217)

Despite the likely projected changes in the ongoing evolution of branding, many people are expected to continue to define themselves by what they purchase. Nevertheless, climate change concerns, environmental empathetic interests, and an expected inevitable shift to a low-carbon economy will probably contribute to an increase in conspicuous non-consumption. In turn, many individual product brands consumers purchase will become much more disposable. Future branding will likely include the creation of mega-brands. Clifton et al. (2009) assert: “There will be increasing power invested in the few higher-order mega-brands that can stay on top of this fast-moving flow and advise, guide, aggregate, consolidate, curate and innovate with a stream of products, services and brand novelties” (p. 232). The majority of individual product brands are expected to be temporary, throwaway types in the projected world of pdcb: Perpetually disposable consumer brands. Regarding the interests of transitioning branding and economies in service branding, co-creating with customers constitutes a primary aspect of services innovation. Chesbrough (2011) recounts that, a company which markets their custom-designed T-shirts to customers through the Web differs from the majority of other clothing makers as invites other individuals to submit a design for a shirt. The company then displays a number of the designs on their Web site for visitors to vote for the preferred designs. Economies of scope reflects another transitioning branding and economic interests. “Economics of scope enable a firm to perform a wide variety of activities for its customers, and often with relatively little additional cost for doing so. . .. In the banking world, [this constitutes] cross-selling additional services to clients” (Chesbrough, 2011, p. 80). A bank may offer its checking account customer a savings account, for instance, or offer a client with a savings account a home equity or mortgage loan. Department or discounts stores now also provide customers with an extensive assortment of goods — the concept of one-stop shopping all under one roof. Regardless of the organization’s offerings, however, for Transitioning Branding and Economic Interests to prove profitable for both the company and the customer — a positive mutual relationship must not only be developed, it must be nurtured and maintained.


Prior to the mid-1950s, brand academics primarily addressed questions relating to the number of people using a particular brand, their primary motivation for using a certain brand, and the perceived advantages and disadvantages of using different brands. The reported ultimate benefit for discovering the consumer’s perceptions regarding brands was to endure potential customers considered the brands effective. In turn, the accessed information could help customers “satisfy their very utilitarian needs: Getting clothes clean, grooming the hair, quenching thirst, preventing tooth decay, tasting good etc.” (Merz, He and Vargo 2009, p. 6).

In the 1990s, research routinely reflected on enhancing the understanding of the relationship between the customer and firm. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, researchers focused on investigating the customer-brand relationship; with particular interest in the role brands comprise in customers’ lives and the relationship that customers develop with brands. “This focus contributed to an understanding that brand value co-creation is relational and thus requires a process orientation, rather than an output orientation, similar to S-D logic. Brands were seen as ‘relationship partners'” (Merz, He and Vargo 2009, p. 8). Contrary to the customer-firm relationship focus which views customers as exogenous, the evolving focus perceived customers as endogenous; as active brand value co-creator; significantly contributing to the process of creating the brand value.

Brand satisfaction directly links to the consumer’s trial, evaluation, usage, and expectation. Brand satisfaction asks the following question: “Does this brand live up to its promises?”? (McDowell & Batte, 2005, p. 17). In turn, the consumer’s answer to this question comprises the heart of brand management. Just as product-centered thinking has transitioned to customer-centered thinking, the marketing literature generally suggests the need exist for an analogous change from product-based strategy to customer-based strategy (Merz, He and Vargo 2009).

The initial segment of the AMP introduced the concept of branding and expanded to encompass the evolution of branding in service markets. During this chapter, the literature review, the researcher presented a compilation of research relevant to the study’s focus; relating that information to the current study’s intent; addressing the AMP’s research questions. In the analysis and discussion section, the study’s third chapter, the researcher analyzes and discusses findings retrieved from the literature.



During the current chapter of the AMP, the researcher analyzes and discusses findings learned from the AMP experience, both personally and as a member of a group. The following categories covered during the literature reviewed for the AMP also serve as categories for this section and included:

Branding Concept Characteristics

Branding Theory Evolution

S-D Logic and Service Markets

Branding Challenges in Service Markets

Considerations for Effective Service Branding

Recollection of Experiences

During the initial stages of the development of the AMP, the researcher attended an AMP class with five other individuals assigned to his group. After discussing a number of topics related to marketing, each individual presented ideas relating to branding. Our group then “brainstormed” ideas regarding focus for our individual AMP. (what did each person specifically do?)

Key Stages

Diarised recollection of key stages and events in the development of both the literature review and the integrated marketing plan. Any particular internal crises or elements of enlightenment should be identified. – In compiling this element, students are advised to keep regular and detailed diaries or logs.

Personal Feelings and Learning

Personal feelings regarding the process and one’s own contribution to the experience. Identification of any specific personal problems either with content, process or other group members. Identification of how issues were resolved and over what time period. – How, if at all, was my performance compromised by the actions of others? How might my actions have compromised the performance of others? Any other comments regarding personal feelings and learning.

Initially, the researcher felt a bit overwhelmed and unsure as how to best approach the research process. After accessing and examining a number of sources, however, the researcher began to better understand what needed to be done and started to experience a “can do it” attitude.

Group Dynamics and Learning

From the experience – How did the group respond to the process? Identification of any problems with the group as a whole. How the group dynamic did evolved? How would the other members of the group have regarded you? What more might the group, or individuals within the group have done in solving the problem (S)? What value was gained from the supervisor consultations?

Each of the other members of the group confessed that they also experienced times of feeling overwhelmed.

Branding Concept Characteristics

Branding enables customers to readily identify a product or service from its competitors.

Branding reflects the relationship the customer experiences with the product or service as well as the meanings he or she attributes to those relationships.

Table 1 portrays a number of studies the researcher reviewed for the AMP.

Table 1. Sampling of Studies.

Name of Study

Type of Study



Aitken & Campelo: 2011

The Four R’s of Place Branding

Case study (Interpretivist — constructivist approach)

Investigate interactions and relationships between individuals and their place to identify the constructs interwoven into those interactions and which influence the nature of the brand

Four fundamental elements encapsulate the experience of the place: Rights, Roles, Relationships, and Responsibilities. Interactions between them prove fundamentally critically to understanding a sense of place, community structure & ownership role.

Hampf & Lindberg-Repo: 2011

Branding: The Past, Present, and Future:

A Study of the Evolution and Future of Branding.

Exploratory study (Qualitative)

Examine the evolution of branding from its debut during the 1950s until current era.

Relationships existing between various theories & ways these theories perceive branding from diverse perceptions & how they may be integrated to develop a coherent view

Hanna & Rowle: 2008

An analysis of terminology use in place branding

Place Branding and Public Diplomacy

Exploratory study (Quantitative)

Identify as many as possible case-study papers published in academic journals in the area of place branding

Shift in focus of discussion for place branding from tourism to business and marketing

Term ‘Destination’ is used predominantly in the tourism literature, articulated in various geographical entity forms; accounting formost case studies, second to which is ‘Place’. ‘Place’ and ‘Location’ depict most dominant terms used in Branding and Business.

Holt: 2002

Why Do Brands Cause Trouble? A Dialectical Theory of Consumer Culture and Branding

Interpretive Study (Qualitative)

Challenge existing theories of consumer resistance

Detail of contradictions

Pike: 2009

Destination branding — tracking brand equity for an emerging

destination between 2003 and 2007

Longitudinal Study

Track effectiveness of the brand in 2007 against benchmarks established in a 2003 study at the commencement of a new destination brand campaign.

An unexploited positioning opportunity exists with attributes potentially explicitly utilized in future brand promotions.

Each of the five studies portrayed in Table 1 offered “food for thought” as well as samplings of “meat” for the researcher to feed his mind upon during the development of the literature review. Initially, the researcher wrestled with how to best conduct the current AMP. By examining these studies as well as others that previous researchers have published in the past, the researcher began to better envision which study structure the current AMP should emulate. The study by Aitken and Campelo (2011), for example, reminded the researcher to investigate interactions and relationships; that these significantly impact the brand.

The study Hampf and Lindberg-Repo (2011) conducted significantly contributed to the researcher’s examination of the evolution of branding from its debut during the 1950s until the contemporary era. Hanna and Rowle (2008) encouraged the researcher to include as many as possible relevant studies to gain a more balanced perception of the study’s focus. The researcher also drew ideas regarding challenges from the study Holt (2002) completed. As Holt introduced a number of complications and challenges branding has experienced, this reminded the researcher to try to envision more than just the obvious regarding branding. Information Pike (2009) related provided the researcher with considerations regarding the effectiveness of the brand at various times of its historical evolution.

Sampling studies proved to not only provide the researcher with valuable information, the process helped the researcher narrow the focus and focus on ways to expand the Branding Theory Evolution

Table 2 reflects the evolution of branding theory; including brand eras, relevant literature and basic concepts.

Table 2. Evolution of Branding Theory ( Merz, He, & Vargo, 2009, p. 4).

Timeline and Relevant Literature

Fundamental Ideas or Propositions

1900s-1930s: Individual Goods-Focus Brand Era

Copeland (1923), Low and Fullerton (1994), Strasser (1989)

Brands as Identifiers: Marketers branded individual goods to potential customers. Brands comprised the means for customers to identify goods on sight. Brand value, embedded in the physical goods, evolved when goods were sold (output orientation). Brands, operand resources, had value-in-exchange. Consumers were not active in the brand value creation process (operand resources).

1930s-1990s: Value-Focus Brand Era

Functional Value-Focus Branding (Brown 1950; Jacoby and colleagues 1971, 1977; Park et al. 1986)

Symbolic Value-Focus Branding (Gardner and Levy 1955; Goffman 1959; Levy 1959)

Brands as Functional Images: In the increasingly competitive environment, marketers primarily focused on creating unique brand images. “Customers selected brands to solve externally generated consumption needs. Brands were part of the market offering” (p. 4). Customers continued to be passive in the brand value creation process.

Brands as Symbolic Images: Consumers selected goods, perceived increasingly alike in useful attributes, to solve internally generated consumption needs. Brands, independent of actual market offering, become recognized as operant resources. When goods sold (output orientation), brand value developed. Brands had value-in-exchange. Customers continued to be passive in the brand value creation process.

1990s-2000: Relationship-Focus Brand Era

Customer-Firm Relationship Focus

(Aaker 1991; Blattberg and Deighton 1996;

Kapferer 1992; Keller 1993)

Customer-Brand Relationship Focus

(Aaker 1997; Fournier 1998; Gobe 2001)

Firm-Brand Relationship Focus

(Berry 2000; de Chernatony 1999; Gilly and Wolfinbarger 1998; King 1991)

Brands as Knowledge: Customers constituted operant resources and active co-creators of brand value. Brand value depicted the customer’s perception of a brand’s value-in-use.

Brands as Relationship Partners: Brands display personality; causing customers to form dyadic relationships with them. Brand scholars recognized the brand value co-creation process as relational; that it requires a process orientation.

Brands as Promise: Identified internal customers (employees) as significant brand value co-creators and operant resources.

2000 and Forward: Stakeholder-Focus Brand Era

McAlexander et al. (2002), Muniz et al. (2001), Muniz et al. (2005), Ballantyne and Aitken (2007),

Ind and Bjerke (2007), Jones (2005)

Brands as Dynamic and Social Processes: Brand communities and individual customers as well all other stakeholders comprise operant resources. The brand value co-creation process constitutes an ongoing social, and vastly dynamic and interactive process for the firm, the brand, and stakeholders.

Figure 1 depicts considerations in the evolution of marketing.

Figure 1: Evolution of Marketing (adapted from Vargo & Lusch, 2004).

S-D Logic and Service Markets

As S-D logic challenges the conventional exchange logic which perceives goods involved in the exchange as mechanisms for service provision, it promotes the premise that people exchange the services to improve their individual and collective well-being, humans.

As the “market to” philosophy transitions to a “market with” perspective, solutions as well as value evolve.

Branding Challenges in Service Markets

Intangibility, a significant difference between goods and services, constitutes one branding challenge for the service market.

The understanding of service branding does not currently match the growth of the services sector constitutes a critical challenges that can negatively impacts service branding practices. .

More and more competition in services markets comprises a challenge.

The fact that some services depend on particular production of a good and/or may dissipate relates even more challenges for branding in service marketing.

Considerations for Effective Service Branding

Training of staff helps ensure organization will consistently deliver the service brand.

Understanding of each aspect of the interactions that occur between consumers and the company enhances effective service branding.

Services brands need to provide clear reference points as well as clear values for consumers through components like physical symbles and representations.

Figure 2 portrays the service-brand-relationship-value.

Figure 2. Service-Brand-Relationship-Value Triangle (p. 372).

Figure 3 pictures components of branding concepts.

Figure 3. Brand Identity, Position & Image (adapted from Pike, 2010, Appendix).

Lessons for Future Projects

Key lessons to improve the researcher’s performance in future group activities and projects include:

1. Just as organizations benefit from deliberately involve the customer in services, the researcher could benefit from discussing personal as well as other group member’s experiences.

2. Allocate specific times for completing particular portions of project; perhaps be accountable to another team member and hold that member accountable for achieving his or her goals.

3. Consider healthy competition with other team members regarding completion of goals relating to AMP completion.


General conclusions from the process.

Service brands assist and mediate the processes marketers utilize to grasp the experiences that impel the co-creation of value. They supply sign systems that represent meaning in the marketing network. As a result, services brands prove to be a basic asset or resource a marketing organization employs to develop service-based competency and ultimately a competitive advantage. The next chapter of the AMP relates conclusions the researcher made from the completion of the AMP.



The AMP addressed the primary research question: How may branding be effectively implemented in service markets? The following four sub-research questions supported the primary research question.

1. What characteristics compose the concept of branding?

2. How does S-D logic correlate with service markets?

3. What are a number of challenges to effectively implementing branding in service markets?

4. What considerations may strengthen branding in service markets?


The researcher fulfilled the objectives the researcher introduced during the first chapter of the AMP.

Objective I. The researcher conducted a literature review and identified:

a. Characteristics that compose the concept of branding;

b. The evolution of the branding theory in the service realm;

c. S-D Logic and its relationship to service markets;

d. A number of challenges to effectively implementing branding in service markets;

e. Considerations that may contribute to making branding more effective in service markets.

Objective 2. The researcher analyzed data retrieved during literature review and discussed findings; including a number similarities and contrasts the literature revealed.

Objective 3. The researcher presented conclusions relating to the findings the literature indicated.

Objective 4. The researcher made recommendations for effectively implementing branding inthe service market as well as recommendations for future AMP research.


Currently, as in the past, branding provides benefits or an image which not only helps the customer identify it, but makes the actual product appear bigger and better. With contemporary IT technology, however, customers demand more than projected images to convince them they need to buy a particular product or service. Organizations need to ensure the voice their brand relates matches what serves the customer’s best interests.

Branding has evolved from a primary role as a product or service identifier to projecting functional images; to serving as symbols to being expressed as knowledge, relationships, power; to becoming an integral part of dynamic and social processes.

S-D logic has contributed to more organizations considering customer’s contributions; enhancing not only customer value but simultaneously the value of the brand to the customer. The corporate strategy ultimately creates the service brand hand determines it competitive position. Challenges for effective brand strategy, in marketing services include:

Top management

Employee vision





During the final chapter of the AMP, the researcher makes a number of recommendations concerning those findings the AMP revealed.


1. Organizations will benefit more when the deliberately involve the customer in the concepts contributing to the creation of services.

2. As integral components of dynamic and social processes, brands can contribute to society best when they adhere to ethical and moral practices.

3. Organizations will benefit more when the deliberately involve the customer in the concepts contributing to the creation of services.

4. As integral components of dynamic and social processes, brands can contribute to society best when they adhere to ethical and moral practices.

5. Organizations can benefit from deliberately utilizing practices reflecting S-D logic.

6. Implementing a holistic approach, making a point to involve the company’s employees as well as customer input, can help enhance the competitive position of a company that provides services.

Companies can more effectively overcome challenges to effective brand strategy when they:

Ensure they hire and train high quality top management individuals

Encourage employee vision

Let Results lead

Engage in Healthy Competition

Stay abreast of Technology

Consider customer’s value and co-create with them.

As noted at the start of the AMP, no “brand” or global economy exists in a vacuum. Brands and branding have not only become significant components in the contemporary progressive marketplace, the marketing of them will likely continue to increase its impact on most aspects of the consumer’s lives brands. In countries throughout the world, organizations need to design company brands to not only identify its brand and mirror the company’s message but also reflect consumers’ concerns.


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