Question 1:
Analyze three key components of service brand and discuss which one plays more critical role in service brand development.
The role of customer as co-creators in service brand development. According to branding theory, strong brands are developed by means of a co-creation process that involves a number of players, especially brand consumers and brand managers. Thus, creating a successful brand involves more than just the production and delivery of an effective core product or service. Simmons
The role of leadership as change masters in service brand development. The perception of the brand as a strategic resource or asset implies that top management/leadership plays a decisive role in brand development. In fact, a firm’s corporate strategy may change, which, obviously, has consequences on its web of strategies, including the brand strategy. Thus, the brand as an intangible asset is not a static entity, but needs to be subject to changes in order to keep an organization’s position as a strong brand owner. Illustratively, when new competitors enter the market, an enterprise may need to change its brand promises accordingly in order to stay competitive.
The role of employees in service brand development. The important role of service employees in the delivery of services is evidenced in the service management literature particularly in relation to securing the required level of service quality in service processes. In past studies of service branding, the important role of service employees is recognised , as employees’ are assessed to be an important source of brand equity. In other words, the “quality” of the service personnel may be the factor that differentiates one service provider’s offerings from those of its competitors.
The coupling between these actors forms an interactive model of service brand development. So no single element is more important than other.
Question 2:
Is linear process model of service branding more suitable as compared to interactive circular
model for service brand development. Analyze which one is more comprehensive and applicable model considering today’s changing environment?
The interactive model of service brand development shows how three key actors of service branding, customers, service leadership and service employees, interact and thereby influence service brand development in individual service enterprises.
A set of models has been described in the research literature. Illustratively, Boyle (2007) suggests a process model of service brand co-creation. The model features a linear process of services branding, including five distinct stages. One key characteristic of the process is duality that implies that the process is twofold; one part is controlled by the service provider, the other is controlled by customers. Contrasting the linear characteristic, the interactive model suggested in this paper features a circular model, as the key actors form a relationship system. The essence is that there is no starting point of the service development process and no ending point. Illustratively, in order to obtain success in services branding, a service provider may start in the market (a market approach) by identifying the key requirements of customers’ and then adjust and develop products and services to meet their requirements as well as develop an appropriate communication mix in which brand slogans, messages, values and brand promises are incorporated. Similarly, employees may be a starting point by employing a service employee approach in services brand development by upgrading their service roles because their knowledge, skills, attitudes and actions represent the brand’s functional and emotional values (Kimpakorn and Toquer, 2009, 2010). Finally, the starting pointmay be service leadership by employing a management approach to brand development, as the top leadership team is responsible for and has the authority to develop competitive branding strategies (Tidd et al., 2005; Trott, 2005), which need to be aligned with the organisation’s vision and mission (Daft, 1999). Thus, the interactive service brand model, by being built from a systemic perspective in which several approaches may be applied, shows the benefits of applying a circular model to branding in contrast to a linear model of service brand development.