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Brand positioning strategies for industrial firms providing customer solutions

Anne Maarit Jalkala (Faculty of Technology Management, Department of Industrial Management, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Lappeenranta, Finland)
Joona Keränen (Faculty of Industrial Management, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Lappeenranta, Finland)

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Article publication date: 4 March 2014

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Abstract

Purpose

Despite increasing interest in customer solutions, and the importance of brand management in the B2B context, prior research provides little understanding on brand positioning strategies adopted by solution providers. The present study aims to examine the possible brand positioning strategies for industrial firms providing customer solutions.

Design/methodology/approach

The empirical part of the present study consists of a multiple case study, involving four industrial firms providing customer solutions. Primary data was gathered by semi-structured interviews from a total of 22 business managers from the case companies.

Findings

The present study identifies four possible brand position strategies for industrial firms providing customer solutions: customer value diagnostic, global solution integrator, high quality sub-systems provider, and long-term service partner. The identified strategies highlight the tendency of solution suppliers to position their brands around different capabilities that are needed at different phases of the solution delivery process.

Research limitations/implications

The present study was conducted from the industrial supplier's perspective and is context-bound to companies operating in solution-oriented process and information technology industries.

Practical implications

Managers need to identify the capabilities that are central to delivering customer value and acquire and/or develop capability configurations that differentiate their brand positioning from competitors.

Originality/value

Existing literature on branding lacks understanding about the specific characteristics of building brands in solution-oriented B2B contexts. The present study identifies four brand positioning strategies that illuminate the special characteristics of branding customer solutions.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Received 3 October 2011 Revised 10 March 2012 18 November 2012 14 May 2013 Accepted 14 May 2013

Citation

Maarit Jalkala, A. and Keränen, J. (2014), "Brand positioning strategies for industrial firms providing customer solutions", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 29 No. 3, pp. 253-264. https://doi.org/10.1108/JBIM-10-2011-0138

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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