The notion that strong brands may constitute valuable assets and resources is now generally accepted, not only in business but also in the public and non- profit sectors. At the same time, branding is more challenging than ever. In our connected and relational world, brand building is increasingly conducted in networks – where the organisation is only one of several stakeholders setting the agenda. How are organisations in such an environment to work systematically to create the most favorable conditions possible for brand building? This thesis examines how brand orientation can help build strong brands and ultimately strengthen organisational competitiveness and performance. By means of mixed methods action research, successful as well as less successful examples are studied and the downsides of brand orientation are exposed. Furthermore, the brand-oriented learning process is analysed to highlight what is required to successfully change an organisation’s strategic orientation. The thesis develops a new, relational conceptualisation of brand orientation, where the focus is on the co-creation of brands between internal and external stakeholders.
Research on the concept of brand orientation was initiated in the mid-1990s at the Lund University School of Economics and Management. The concept has ever since fascinated researchers and practitioners around the world, and research into brand orientation is now highly international and constitutes a vibrant research area. Several works in brand orientation are now very well-cited and published in the most reputable journals. This thesis, containing four different papers and a kappa, contributes to the emerging relational and co-creative approach within brand orientation and strategic brand management.
Constantly seeking to combine theory and practice in his work, Johan Gromark has been active as a brand consultant since the end of the 1990s, 20 years of which within the agency network BBDO Worldwide. His research interest lie within strategic orientations, brand orientation, brand co-creation, transformational learning and corporate branding.