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Integrating innovation and absorptive capacity into the place branding process: A capability-based perspective

Joshua J. Daspit (Department of Management, Mississippi State University, Starkville, Mississippi, USA)
Staci M. Zavattaro (Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Mississippi State University, Starkville, Mississippi, USA)

Journal of Place Management and Development

ISSN: 1753-8335

Article publication date: 7 October 2014

893

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to integrate organizational capabilities into the place branding process to showcase how a lead destination marketing organization (DMO) can influence a customer-based brand equity outcome. Doing so highlights the strategic, relational nature of place branding. The authors focus specifically on first- and zero-order capabilities, integrating absorptive capacity (first-order) and an innovation capability (zero-order) into a place branding framework. We define an innovation capability within a place branding context and offer absorptive capacity as a mechanism through which DMO leaders can exploit external knowledge acquisition.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper presents a theoretical framework of the place branding process that integrates firm capabilities. A framework based on analyzing existing place branding models and integrating organizational capabilities, which find root in strategic management literature, was developed.

Findings

Findings indicate that existing frameworks address operational and customer capabilities in some manner yet largely ignore innovation capabilities. A definition of an innovation capability for place brand managers and scholars is offered, and offer absorptive capacity as means to integrate external knowledge into the DMO. Utilizing multiple levels of capabilities allows a firm to influence customer-based brand equity. Testable propositions based on the authors' framework are offered.

Practical implications

Managerial implications of integrating stakeholder capabilities into place branding include appreciating a culture of innovation within DMOs, learning from external stakeholders meaningfully and regularly and encouraging creative thinking that can produce new processes, policies or services.

Originality/value

By integrating organizational capabilities, attention is drawn to internal aspects of the place branding process the place can control directly. Capabilities dictate how an organization sees itself; learns from its stakeholders; and then integrates that knowledge into organizational, stakeholder and innovation capabilities. Therefore, capabilities are inherently internal mechanisms through which a DMO can influence place brand outcomes, which are understood here as brand equity elements.

Keywords

Citation

J. Daspit, J. and M. Zavattaro, S. (2014), "Integrating innovation and absorptive capacity into the place branding process: A capability-based perspective", Journal of Place Management and Development, Vol. 7 No. 3, pp. 206-224. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPMD-02-2013-0003

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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