Striking a balance between the customer-centered approach and the internal orientation towards the centrality of staff is the key to the development of a service brand. This paper attempts an overview of the available literature on services brand building and then correlates it with the opinions of leading-edge brand consultants. Literature Review: The existing models of brand building, by and large, are biased towards the goods sector with little or no relevance to the services sector. Aaker’s brand identity planning model (Aaker et al. 40), Kapferer’s hexagonal brand identity prism model (Kapferer 182) or Ind’s insistence on organization-wide commitment and employee-centric approach (Ind 24) hardly has any principles that can have useful application in services brand building. However, the four-dimensional brand asset management strategy proposed by Scott M Davis (Shay 438) and the four-step process suggested by Gregory and Sellers focus on a combination of internal and external factors and are therefore worth considering in the present discussion. Davis’s model includes the phases of developing a brand vision, determining the brand picture, devising a brand asset management strategy and devising a supporting culture. ...
According to de Chernatony, the definition of brand image includes the three components – promise, emotional values and rational values (Schmid 1). Overall, there is a paucity of literature about building services brands and this could be because brand building, by its very nature, is dynamic. Moreover, new services are often included under the existing and established corporate brands. The need to build a corporate brand from scratch rarely arises. As for the question of who must take charge of the task of building services brands, the limitations in the traditional brand manager concept have already become obvious and category managers are replacing brand managers (Batra et al. 25). Considering the multi-faceted role of CEOs and the declining role of marketing departments (Hulbert et al. 55), it certainly is a good idea to have an exclusive executive and a cross-functional team with sole responsibility of brand building. Toffler ventured a little further and advocated user generated branding by way of prosumerism (Burmann et al. 75). In all this, the HRM has a crucial role to play as recruiting, training and motivating employees is as important as understanding and fulfilling customer needs (Thomson et al. 819). Kaplan and Norton too endorse the idea of internal / external balance through their ‘balanced scorecard’ (7). Ambler goes to the extent of saying that internal marketing should precede external efforts (113). What the experts say: With respect to developing service brands from scratch, the questions that precisely need to be answered are: (i) Who is involved? (ii) What are the stages that firms go through? and (iii) Which orientation is
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