Volume 12 (2023-24)

Each volume of Journal of Brand Strategy consists of four, quarterly 100-page issues both in print and online. Articles in Volume 12 include:

Volume 12 Number 3

  • Editorial
    Simon Beckett, Publisher
  • Case Studies
    The paper and packaging board’s highly successful experiential activation
    Maria Becker, Head of Strategy, Americas, Stein IAS

    Sustainability is no longer a choice but a necessity, and there is starting to be a shift in consciousness that is putting pressure on both individuals and organisations to share responsibilities and intervene. This paper will explore how the Paper and Packaging Board (P+PB) and its partner Stein IAS found the most successful strategies to educate as many consumers as possible on the best ways to recycle paper and paper-based packaging. They realised that in order to communicate with consumers effectively and economically, a traditional business-to-consumer framework would not suffice. Instead, P+PB and Stein IAS embarked on a mission to follow a B2B2C framework, focusing on engaging packaging manufacturers and their e-commerce clients to reach a broader consumer audience. They understood that they had to convince box manufacturers and e-commerce brands to join the programme, known as ‘Box to Nature’, which aimed to inspire consumers to recycle boxes correctly, emphasising the exponential effect of proper recycling. The strategy involved showing up where the majority of the target audience was engaged, creating a relevant and bold experience. The launch of the initiative at PACK EXPO, one of the industry’s largest trade shows, was a significant step in this direction. The team found a unique, powerful and relevant way to connect with the desired audience in unexpected ways, resulting in a big success that has led to a significant increase in the number of organisations wanting to join the programme.
    Keywords: B2B2C; experiential marketing; digital and physical; sustainability

  • Why it is important for B2B brands to find their why: A case study on Akamai Technologies
    Kim Salem-Jackson, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Akamai Technologies and Afdhel Aziz, Founder and Chief Purpose Officer, Conspiracy of Love,

    Soon after being named EVP and CMO of Akamai Technologies in March 2021, Kim Salem-Jackson realised that the brand was missing its ‘why’ — the reason it exists beyond profit. Working in partnership with Afdhel Aziz, Chief Purpose Officer at the purpose consultancy Conspiracy of Love, Salem-Jackson introduced a new purpose statement for the company: ‘We make life better for billions of people, billions of times a day.’ This paper analyses how the tech company selected its brand purpose, the strategies employed to bring leaders and employees along on the journey in an engaging and authentic way, and the unique role marketing plays in activating purpose for all stakeholders to drive growth and profitability.
    Keywords: purpose; mission; vision; B2B; marketing

  • Ecotton: Rebranding a substantiable sustainable ingredient brand
    Linden Dalecki, Associate Professor of Marketing, Pittsburg State University

    This case study provides an inside view regarding a highly successful B2B rebranding initiative in the clothing and textiles space. Enova — a B2B brand launched in 2008 as an eco-friendly unused-cotton reclamation process — was rebranded and relaunched in late 2022 as ‘precycled’ ‘ecotton’, with a view to greater solution descriptiveness and brand-essence clarity. Problems addressed in the present ecotton case include the following: (1) overcoming greenwashing scepticism; (2) renaming and repositioning the brand as a premier eco-friendly ingredient brand; (3) developing phase one of a celebrity-endorsement programme for the new brand; (4) identifying, connecting with and pitching consumer-facing clothing brands; and (5) simplifying the articulation of a complex technical solution. Important trends identified include the finding that greenwashing lawsuits by environmental advocacy groups as well as stricter governmental regulations are on the rise across the West, and, thus, brands must be able to authenticate eco-friendly claims, not simply be ‘certified’ as eco-friendly sans a concomitant ability to prove such claims. Notable success factors identified for ecotton — and that may also serve as takeaways for other authentically eco-friendly and social-impact-friendly B2B ingredient brands — include the following: (1) a portfolio of factory-proven interlocking patents allowing would-be waste materials to be transmuted into a high-value authentic (and authenticatable) green commodity; (2) a deep network of trusting connections at highly respected consumer-facing brands; (3) world-class branding and marketing skills; and (4) recognition that the recent emergence of greenwashing-related litigation and pending eco-regulations has created a forcing function and concomitant huge window of opportunity for authentic-and-authenticatable green inputs such as precycled ecotton.
    Keywords: ingredient-brand; rebranding; greenwashing; B2B branding; authentication; naming

  • Research Papers
    Who am I to you? Self, reciprocity and emotional intimacy in brand relationships
    Carlos M. Rodriguez, Associate Professor of Marketing and Director of the Center for the Study of Innovation Management, CSIM, College of Business, Delaware State University, USA

    Consumers engage in self-expansion processes that affect their selves, favouring identity formation and brand engagement. The mechanisms for maintaining healthy relationships as consumer–brand experiences unfold are unknown. Drawing on self-expansion theory, this study explores the effect of emotional intimacy and relational reciprocity as maintenance processes creating brand self-engagement and relationship quality as consumers’ self-concepts expand. Survey methodology on a US consumer sample across product categories assesses the effect of maintenance processes and self-expansion on brand engagement, as trust enhances relationship quality and loyalty. A theoretical model is tested through partial least squares structural equation modelling (PLS-SEM). This study shows that self-expansion, emotional intimacy and relational reciprocity bring brands into the self when experiences alone do not. Managers should design brand experiences grounded on deep, trustworthy, reciprocal and intimate emotional connections. Experiences alone do not build loyalty, but emotional and symbolic resources supporting the self and identity formation do. Managers should craft experiential touchpoints allowing for self-expansion as self-identity surfaces, reinforcing the actual or designing the ideal self.
    Keywords: self-expansion; emotional intimacy; relational uncertainty; relationship quality; brand experience

  • Effect of need for cognition on sequential processing of brand extension: Evidence from Korean women
    Jungsuk Kang, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Jeonbuk National University, Republic of Korea

    The study aimed to investigate the effect of consumers’ need for cognition on their sequential processing of brand extension. An online experiment was thus conducted with a sample of Korean women aged 30–39 years. The results revealed that perceived product-feature fit between a parent brand and its extension product category enhanced perceived similarity between the parent brand and its brand extension among participants low and high in need for cognition. Next, for participants low in need for cognition, the perceived similarity increased brand extension attitude and brand extension buying intention. For participants high in need for cognition, the perceived similarity and an interaction of perceived product-feature fit and parent-brand image fit between the parent brand and its extension product category influenced the brand extension attitude. Lastly, the brand extension attitude enhanced the brand extension buying intention among participants low and high in need for cognition. The study is among the first to empirically examine (a) the perceived sequential relationships among a brand extension, its parent brand and its extension product category and (b) differential effects of the perceived sequential relationships among them on brand extension attitude and brand extension buying intention between consumers low and high in need for cognition.
    Keywords: brand extension; need for cognition; fit perception; similarity perception; categorisation model

  • A social identity theory perspective on sustainable brand recommendation: The case of professional service providers
    Michael Stoica, Michael Stoica. Professor of Marketing and Management and Thomas M. Hickman, Tom Hickman, Professor of Marketing, Washburn University

    The purpose of this study is twofold. Firstly, the paper calls attention to a unique subset of professional service providers (PSPs) who have obvious product expertise related to their profession yet are only minimally involved in the sales process. Despite this, they are considerably influential in regard to their clients’ brand decision-making process. Examples of these include veterinarians recommending a given pet food brand and dentists recommending a brand of dental floss. Secondly, since environmental sustainability is an important facet of corporate social responsibility, we considered factors that help predict PSPs’ propensity to recommend environmentally friendly brands to their clientele. The conceptual model argues that PSPs’ degree of identification with their profession, self-assessed knowledge in environmental concerns and expectation that sustainable brands will engage in eco-based marketing are all positive influences on PSPs’ likelihood to recommend sustainable brands and generate positive word of mouth. Responses from 467 veterinarians, representing this unique class of PSPs were analysed, and structural equation modelling determined that identification with the profession was a motivating factor in learning more about sustainability. In turn, self-assessed expertise in environmental issues was shown to increase the likelihood that PSPs would recommend sustainable brands.
    Keywords: brand recommendation; word of mouth; sustainability; professional service provider; corporate social responsibility; social identity theory

Volume 12 Number 2

  • Editorial
    Casey Jones, Founder, BriefLogic, USA
  • Are your brand-building efforts really working? A new analytical approach for assessing and growing your brand
    Emiko Seale, Senior Director, Marketing Solutions, TransUnion

    Despite the proliferation of data and new technologies over the past several decades, brands remain challenged with finding comprehensive and data-driven solutions for measuring and improving brand health. By combining analytical concepts developed in the last century around consumer loyalty with currently available data and technology, marketers can more precisely define and measure brand health as well as grow loyalty over time with targeting strategies that drive short-term returns. This approach, anchored in levels of loyalty, provides an alternative to the traditional brand purchase funnel in orienting brand-building strategies and offers marketers new opportunities for assessing and ensuring brand performance in this post-pandemic climate of shifting consumer needs and uncertain macroenvironmental dynamics.
    Keywords: brand building; brand health; movable middles; switching behaviour; beta distribution; loyalty spectrum; marketing effectiveness; measurement; CPG; retail media

  • The seven faces of consumer sustainability, and what they mean for brands
    Nick Baker, Global Chief Research Officer, Savanta

    Sustainability is still a driving force behind the marketing approach taken by many brands. There are, however, risks associated with perceptions of ‘greenwashing’ and a potential failure to understand the attitudes and behaviours behind consumer behaviour in this area — in particular, the ‘say-do’ gap. This pertains to what people think about sustainability and how it actually affects their buying patterns. This paper analyses the findings from an extensive study of more than 12,000 adults in the USA, Canada and UK to identify seven consumer segments characterised by personas that identify their thinking and buying behaviours across a number of important consumer product and service categories. It thereby offers marketers new insight into how the nuances of these personas can inform future campaigns developed around sustainability.
    Keywords: sustainability; corporate social responsibility; research

  • Marketing is only as good as your operations: How the AAOS transformed its internal processes to improve the customer experience and increase member retention
    Amber P. Simpson Director of Member Experience and Anthony Priore Chief Marketing & Membership Officer, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

    No matter how efficient, professional or creatively pleasing your marketing tactics are, if your company does not have the user experience fine-tuned on the back end of your business (operations), your customer experience could be flawed. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) transformed its internal processes and operations and polled its members to improve the customer experience and increase member retention by focusing on each of the important points of contact throughout the customer journey. This paper shares important takeaways, methods and results from this overhaul and serves as a template of how your business might be able to emulate this type of success too.
    Keywords: member journey; customer personas; marketing analytics; user experience; UX/UI; barriers to entry; customer retention; customer acquisition

  • How do teenagers project their identity online, and what role do brands play in the process? A multimethod study on Instagram
    Amélie Guèvremont Professor, Université du Québec à Montréal (ESG UQAM) and Laurence Dubé-Beaudin, Project Manager – Consumer Insights, La Presse

    Although teenagers’ active social networking and their tendency to develop strong relationships with brands are both recognised in the literature, not much is known about how the content they post on their social media accounts (eg Instagram) relates to their identity and how brands are integrated in their posts. This study is aimed at improving the understanding of teenagers’ identity projection on Instagram and the role brands play in their self-image presentation. Thirty individual interviews, nonparticipant observation and content analysis of 90 photos were conducted. The results reveal self-profile consistency as well as the portrayal of their actual self by teenagers on their online profile. In addition, results indicate that although teenagers tend to develop strong brand relationships, they do not strategically select brands to post on their social networks. This is particularly true for product brands (eg Nike shoes) in contrast to experiential brands (eg music festival), which are more often shared by teenagers with an intent to communicate some aspects of their self-concept. This study contributes to the literature on teenagers and social networks, a topic that has been overlooked in favour of studies involving adults.
    Keywords: consumer-brand relationships; teenagers; social networks; identity

  • The influence of sensory branding strategies in-store on consumer preference: The South African skincare industry
    Gabriella Berman, Adéle Potgieter, Senior Lecturer and Madéle Tait, Department of Marketing Management, Nelson Mandela University

    Brand experience has a direct relationship with brand loyalty, compelling businesses to manage consumers’ brand experience. A vehicle for creating memorable brand experience is the utilisation of sensory branding, which is especially relevant to the skincare industry. The aim of this study was to investigate desired sensory branding strategies when shopping for skincare products in-store and the effect thereof on consumer preference. This study made use of a positivistic research paradigm and a descriptive research design. The sampling procedure utilised in this study was non-probability sampling, and the technique used was convenience sampling. The sample comprised 321 consumers who had bought skincare in-store at the time of the study, and a web-based self-administered questionnaire, distributed via a link on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, as well as sent via e-mail to an existing mailing list, was used to collect the data. Once the data was collected, both descriptive and inferential statistics were utilised to analyse and interpret the data. From the empirical data collected in this study, it was found that visual, olfactory and tactile stimuli had the largest positive influence on the experience of shopping for skincare in-store. Furthermore, it was noted that only traditional olfactory and tactile stimuli had a direct relationship with consumer preference. From the results of this study it was concluded that the most important demographic factors for marketers to base their sensory branding strategies on was age, gender and budget. Furthermore, with specific reference to the skincare industry, consumers between the ages of 45 and 60 years were identified as a desirable target audience. Additionally, as olfactory and tactile stimuli were highlighted, it was recommended that brands facilitate interaction with the product through the use of fragrance testers or an in-store beautician, thereby stimulating both senses simultaneously.
    Keywords: sensory branding; multi-sensory experiences; consumer preference; traditional sensory branding; skincare industry

Volume 12 Number 1

  • Editorial
    Simon Beckett, Publisher
  • Mass personalisation: A strategy for building brand equity in the healthcare sector
    Franklin Parrish, Senior Director, Brand, Marketing and Creative Services, Kasier Permanente and Sharon Nevins, Chief Revenue Officer, Baltimore Banner

    Marketing and content personalisation is a popular concept in the marketing field. With media consumption becoming more and more fractured, brands are attempting to drive growth by reaching niche audiences. Achieving individualised personalisation requires enormous effort to create truly differentiated messages and user journeys. Kaiser Permanente’s Mid-Atlantic region (KPMAS), in partnership with the Baltimore Sun Media Group (BSMG), developed a personalisation regime by leveraging psychographic segments based on Jungian archetypes to deliver personalisation at scale. This framework informed the messaging strategies, user journeys and media posture for a campaign to build positive brand equity in the Washington, DC, and Baltimore, Maryland Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS). This paper details the strategies, tactics and results of a six-month campaign conducted in Q2/Q3 of 2022. Readers can learn the techniques used to drive this successful effort — and the importance of marrying messaging and media to drive campaign performance.
    Keywords:  digital marketing; personalisation; content marketing; marketing strategy; personas; audience segmentation; media strategy

  • Bridging the brand volume/brand value measurement divide: Towards a multidimensional understanding of brand strength
    Trevor Godman, Key Account Director and James Pitcher, Marketing Sciences Lead, GfK UK

    With inflation rising and wages shrinking in real terms, many consumers are forced to consider every penny they spend. To generate profitable revenue in this environment, it is more important than ever for marketers to understand not just the proportion of consumers to whom their brand appeals but also the extent to which those consumers view the brand as worth paying for. Armed with this vital part of the puzzle, meaningful strategic and tactical action plans can be devised to realise that all-important profit margin. The perceptions that drive brand choice are distinctly different from the drivers of brand premium, yet many marketers are still relying on brand trackers and measurement techniques that focus exclusively on a brand’s ability to generate sales volume through legacy measures of consideration and preference. GfK’s Brand Architect provides new metrics and insight for brand strength and performance, volume and value. It does this in three ways: by providing better predictors of volume through the use of realistic brand choice simulations; by capturing the value/premium equation of a brand; and by evaluating the propensity to brand switch by observing how consumers behave across multiple brand choice situations. The approach, in which lies embedded behavioural science and conjoint analysis, has been validated during our own extensive studies. In this paper, we explain the framework and use real brands to show how the technique can be used for effective brand management. We have provided a summary of the validation work we have carried out to show that this approach is rooted in commercial reality. It cannot only provide a highly strategic framework for brand management, but it also offers deeper insights into brand repertoires and richer diagnostics on how to drive volume, value or both according to the brand’s objectives.
    Keywords: brand premium; brand choice; brand strength; brand architect; brand switching; sales volume; sales value

  • Six strategies to building successful communities in the Metaverse
    Catherine D. Henry, SVP, Web3 & Metaverse Innovation Strategy, Media.Monks

    To be successful in today’s persistent, connected virtual marketplaces, marketing managers will need a new strategy. For years, marketers have felt that communities existed to serve business needs — but in the metaverse, brands will need to court consumers. For a new generation of ‘Virtual Natives’ new technologies are raising expectations of how brands need to show up in these worlds. As a consultant to some of the world’s biggest brands, Catherine D. Henry shares the recipe to getting it right.
    Keywords: web3; metaverse; immersive; tokens; NFTs; loyalty; Customer Relationship Management; CRM

  • State of fear: Adapting marketing strategies towards the stressed consumer
    Jake McKenzie, CEO and James D. McFarland, People Scientist, Intermark Group

    Nearly three years of immense environmental stressors may be affecting how consumers process information and make decisions. Marketers can adapt to these possible changes by understanding how prolonged stress, fear and uncertainty activate the subcortical (ie more primal) regions of the human brain. Activation of these areas results in a dynamic shift between deliberate and intuitive thinking, loss of attention, memory consolidation and an increase in autonomic decision making. Understanding the potential mindset of the overstressed consumer will facilitate the formulation of more effective marketing strategies such as eliminating shock value, managing choice overload, providing emotional validation, leveraging familiarity and solidifying your brand.
    Keywords: stress; fear; decision making; marketing strategy

  • Oat with the old, in with the new: Oatly’s creative trademarks, branding and controversial advertising campaigns
    Scarlett Swain, PhD Candidate and Tutor in Intellectual Property Law, Durham Law School

    In modern times brands matter, and understandably so as they have become a staple of business theory and practice and are a defining feature of the modern economy. Big names are all well aware of the power and value that their brands hold. Oatly, the Swedish company, is now one of the biggest names in the plant-based industry, but its road to success has been a somewhat unconventional one. Much can be learned from Oatly’s rise to success, especially in relation to their utilisation of trademarks, branding and controversial advertising campaigns. This paper will provide an overview of Oatly’s growth as a business and brand and critically examine Oatly’s controversial battles with the Swedish dairy lobby, and how, ultimately, through a creative use of both trademarks and advertising campaigns, Oatly was able to proactively defend against the powerful and influential dairy lobby. From here, this paper will argue that one the important factors underlying Oatly’s success was the creation of a fundamental, emotional connection between the consumer and the company by successfully implementing a form of brand activism. This paper argues that the fact that trademarks are a means of source identification for a specific brand can be used to protect the consumer while advancing the causes of environmentalism and sustainability.
    Keywords: trademarks; branding; marketing; plant-based; Oatly; environmentalism

  • The significance of digital twins for the comprehensive brand experience
    Jörn Redler, Dean, School of Business and Professor, Mainz University of Applied Sciences and Matteo Corvino, Senior Manager and Head of 3DTwin, Dassault Systèmes 3DEXCITE

    This paper argues for the recognition of digital twins, virtual representations of real-time physical objects, as a noteworthy means for brand communications and brand experience management. It briefly reviews the brand experience concept and explains its contributions to shaping comprehensive brand perceptions. Building on this, the paper gives an introduction to the digital twin technology and demonstrates that digital twins need to be considered a major issue for brand experience management in the digital era and the metaverse. The paper also entails a case application to exemplify the main propositions. It ends with some recommendations for practical management and delineates some routes for future research. The paper is the first to discuss issues of the emerging field of digital twin technologies from a brand management perspective.
    Keywords: brand experience management; digital branding; metaverse; digital twin technology

  • How packaging design influences pricing impressions and product evaluations in the food industry
    Francesco Pinci, Roma Tre University, Italy

    This paper analyses the perception of packaging and its influence on the cognitive and emotional aspects of the buying choice. Nowadays, aside from a good price point, it is essential to have packaging with an attractive design to be selected by the consumer at the point of sale. During the selection process, consumers will consider some particular elements shown on the packaging such as the production location, the brand name, logo and price in some cases. These specifications can strongly affect the customer’s choice. This study focuses on niche brands of pasta that are not known internationally, which means that the respondents will have to choose from unique or unknown brands they probably have not previously bought and have no previous experience with. For this study, we selected three packages of pasta from three different brands, each with different characteristics and prices. It is possible to give the candidate choices very similar to those that occur during the buying process. This study emerged from two separate studies. The first used an eye-tracking system with an accompanying survey to understand scientifically what package elements are most attractive to the consumer and then compared the data with the survey responses. In the second study, the same survey is distributed online to validate the first study and to see if the main elements of the first study are confirmed. Additionally, the consumer’s choice can be compared between the pre-price and post-price phases. In these studies, it was interesting to understand which communication aspects primarily influenced the consumer but were not part of the decision-making process of the respondent. Good communication between the brand and the customer through package design is essential to evaluate the perception of the product’s value and how the candidate’s choice changes when they are aware of the price in addition to the other elements. This is really important for marketing managers and finance managers to understand the proper communication and the correct pricing for these specific products and how this element increases or decreases the level of quality assumed by the consumer.
    Keywords: marketing; food marketing; pricing; consumer behaviour