Given the emergent nature of i‐branding as an academic field of study and a lack of applied research output, the aim of this paper is to explain how businesses manage i‐branding to create brand equity.
Within a case‐study approach, seven cases were developed from an initial sample of 20 food businesses. Additionally, utilising secondary data, the analysis of findings introduces relevant case examples from other industrial sectors.
Specific internet tools and their application are discussed within opportunities to create brand equity for products classified by experience, credence and search characteristics. An understanding of target customers will be critical in underpinning the selection and deployment of relevant i‐branding tools. Tools facilitating interactivity – machine and personal – are particularly significant.
Future research positioned within classification of goods constructs could provide further contributions that recognise potential moderating effects of product/service characteristics on the development of brand equity online. Future studies could also employ the i‐branding conceptual framework to test its validity and develop it further as a means of explaining how i‐branding can be managed to create brand equity.
While previous research has focused on specific aspects of i‐branding, this paper utilises a conceptual framework to explain how diverse i‐branding tools combine to create brand equity. The literature review integrates fragmented literature around a conceptual framework to produce a more coherent understanding of extant thinking. The location of this study within a classification of goods context proved critical to explaining how i‐branding can be managed.
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