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Drivers, impediments and manifestations of brand orientation: An international museum study

Jody Evans (Melbourne Business School, Melbourne, Australia)
, and
Kerrie Bridson (School of Management and Marketing, Deakin University, Burwood, Australia)
Ruth Rentschler (School of Management and Marketing, Deakin University, Burwood, Australia)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 9 November 2012




While the body of work exploring brand orientation has grown, there has been a general failure to build on extant research and generate a holistic conceptualization of brand orientation. This paper aims to develop a model of the key drivers, impediments and manifestations of brand orientation in a museum context.


A collective case study design was used, consisting of key informant interviews using a semi‐structured interview protocol and analysis of institutional documents and observational research. Interviews took place with well‐known museums across three countries: the UK, the USA and Australia. This paper demonstrates the richness of qualitative case studies as a method of theory building and as a precursor to further empirical research.


The case study findings reveal both a philosophical and behavioral aspect of brand orientation. Thus, six attributes are presented that include brand orientation as an organizational culture and compass for decision‐making and four brand behaviors (distinctiveness, functionality, augmentation and symbolism). The conceptual model also depicts the critical antecedents to brand orientation in a museum context.

Research limitations/implications

This study provides a foundation for future brand research by offering a holistic conceptualization of brand orientation and identifying the primary antecedents in a museum context. Future research may wish to empirically establish a valid and reliable scale of brand orientation and examine its explanatory potential. Future research may also consider other contexts to provide further insight into the drivers and inhibitors of brand orientation.

Practical implications

If organizations seek to establish a strong brand orientation they must devote resources to establishing the brand as a dominant organizational philosophy that guides decision‐making. In addition, brand‐oriented organizations must establish the brand as a distinctive asset that communicates relevance and accessibility and invest in augmenting initiatives that enable the organization to connect with customers on a personal and emotional level.


Using an exploratory method the authors are able to reconcile a number of approaches to brand orientation and provide a conceptualization that incorporates the philosophical and behavioral approaches to business orientations. Museums face substantial resource constraints, competing needs of multiple stakeholders and increasing market turbulence. If museums can achieve such significant organizational change then the sector presents an interesting exemplar for many other non‐profit organizations.



Evans, J., Bridson, K. and Rentschler, R. (2012), "Drivers, impediments and manifestations of brand orientation: An international museum study", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 46 No. 11/12, pp. 1457-1475.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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