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Title: Servbrand framework: a business-to-business services brand equity framework
Authors: Steenkamp, Pieter 
Herbst, Frederick Jacobus 
De Villiers, Jacobus Christiaan 
Terblanche-Smit, Marlize 
Schmidt, Holger J 
Keywords: Customer-based brand equity;brand awareness;brand imagery;brand loyalty;services branding;B-to-B
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Taylor and Francis
Source: Steenkamp, P., Herbst, F.J., De Villiers, J.C. et al. 2020. Servbrand framework: a business-to-business services brand equity framework. Journal of Business-to-Business Marketing, 27(1): 55-69. []
Journal: Journal of Business-to-Business Marketing 
Abstract: Purpose: The research reported on here set out to develop a tailored branding model for business to business (B-to-B) services by applying the brand resonance pyramid to a selected B-to-B services context. The brand resonance pyramid was developed based on research that was predominantly consumer product or individual brand oriented, though one of the objectives when the model was developed was that “the model had to be versatile and applicable to all possible kinds of brands and industry settings. As more diverse applications of branding continued to emerge for products, services, organizations, people, places, and so forth, the model needed to have farranging relevance”. The brand resonance pyramid therefore had to be applicable to any context, including B-to-B services contexts. However, consumer goods branding strategies are not directly transferable to B-to-B or services markets and there are documented differences between the B-to-B and business-to-consumer (B2C) markets and products and services contexts. There is also doubt regarding the validity of the contention that the brand resonance pyramid should be applicable to the B-to-B sector. Methodology: Using an interpretivist qualitative research approach and an exploratory research strategy, the Servbrand framework was developed empirically by applying the brand resonance pyramid to a selected B-to-B services context. Fourteen useful in-depth interviews were obtained from appropriate and information rich participants that represented more than 14 of the 89 organization that were included in the selection frame. Some of the participants were responsible for the relevant decisions of more than one organization. Findings: The results from the study reported on here (summarized as Figure 5) prompted the inclusion of a people dimension and elevated the importance of relationships in an amended B-to-B services brand equity framework. The people brand-building block includes the dimensions of attitude and demeanor, personality and values, personableness, product knowledge and client knowledge. Relationships, as the ultimate aim of the framework, concern both interpersonal relationships and partnerships. The article presents a conceptual framework to guide effective brand building strategies in a selected B-to-B services context. Researchers can use the framework to test its applicability in other contexts, which will contribute to the amendment of a significant brand equity management framework. The Servbrand framework can assist marketing practitioners to improve the effectiveness of strategic brand management for B-to-B services. Contribution: The 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 nvestigating organization-level brands rather than product-level brands; and 3) context – by investigating a B-to-B context rather than a B2C context. A revised brand resonance pyramid is proposed and called the Servbrand framework.
ISSN: 1051-712X
Appears in Collections:BUS - Journal Articles (DHET subsidised)

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