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Conceptualizing Interactive Network Branding in business markets: developing roles and positions of firms in business networks

Nikolina Koporcic (Nottingham University Business School, University of Nottingham , Nottingham, UK and Åbo Akademi Ekonomisk-statsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Åbo, Finland)
Jan-Ake Tornroos (Åbo Akademi Ekonomisk-statsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Åbo, Finland)

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Article publication date: 6 August 2019

Issue publication date: 21 October 2019

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to present the concept of Interactive Network Branding (INB) in business markets. The INB conceptualization offers an understanding of corporate branding processes as an inherent part of business networking. More specifically, the paper focuses on the importance of INB for firms that are developing their roles and positions in business networks.

Design/methodology/approach

The conceptual paper reviews the extant literature on corporate branding in conjunction with business network research. This perspective adds to the current knowledge of business marketing by proposing a theoretical framework of INB.

Findings

The conceptualization of INB offers a specific network lens on corporate branding by presenting three INB dimensions. The first dimension deals with corporate identity; the second dimension deals with corporate reputation; the third, mutual INB dimension, presents an “interactive space” where branding and networking collide. These three dimensions are enacted by individuals acting on behalf of their companies, as key implementers of INB processes. Through the INB, strategic roles and positions of firms embedded in their business networks are formed.

Research limitations/implications

The paper contributes to current literature on business network research that has left a corporate brand perspective almost unnoticed. The INB concept also offers an extension to current literature on corporate branding, which has to date neglected business relationships and networking issues. Being strongly conceptual, the paper notes that empirical research is needed for observing the role of INB in real-life business encounters.

Practical implications

This study provides novel ideas and implications for firm representatives responsible for branding and relationship development in business networks. It denotes the critical role of individuals and their interactions with other individuals, which influences the development of specific network roles and positions for connected business entities.

Originality/value

The used multidisciplinary approach provides a conceptual platform to study branding processes in business networks. By offering a network perspective to corporate branding, new and relevant implications for both theory and practice are fore fronted.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the reviewers and the editor for their insightful and constructive comments and advice in the development of the paper. The authors would also like to express our gratitude to Professor Aino Halinen for sharing her pearls of wisdom with us for many years now.

Citation

Koporcic, N. and Tornroos, J.-A. (2019), "Conceptualizing Interactive Network Branding in business markets: developing roles and positions of firms in business networks", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 34 No. 8, pp. 1681-1691. https://doi.org/10.1108/JBIM-11-2018-0332

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited