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Article
Publication date: 5 June 2017

Fabio Cassia, Nicola Cobelli and Marta Ugolini

Previous research has shown that business-to-business (B2B) brand image has positive effects on customer loyalty. However, the results have been inconsistent because they…

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2909

Abstract

Purpose

Previous research has shown that business-to-business (B2B) brand image has positive effects on customer loyalty. However, the results have been inconsistent because they have highlighted that B2B brand image has either direct or mediated effects on loyalty. Drawing on the framework of service transition, this study aims to develop and test a model that reconciles previous findings. This model suggests that goods-related and service-related B2B brand images coexist in customers’ perceptions and impact customer loyalty in different ways.

Design/methodology/approach

A model was developed and estimated using covariance-based structural equation modeling. The data used in the analysis were collected through a survey in the Italian health-care industry, focusing on the relationship between hearing aid manufacturers and audiologists.

Findings

Both goods-related and service-related B2B brand images have positive effects on loyalty. However, while the effects of goods-related image on loyalty are fully mediated by satisfaction, service-related image has both direct and mediated effects on loyalty.

Research limitations/implications

This study reconciles previous work arguing that B2B brand image has either direct or mediated effects on loyalty by focusing on the transition from a goods-oriented logic for branding to service branding. In particular, the analysis focuses on the role of the brand in the co-creation process, suggesting that a service-related brand image reflects the value unfolding over time through co-created experiences. However, additional research needs to be conducted in other industries before the results can be generalized.

Practical implications

The findings provide managers with insights for the co-creation of their B2B brand images. In particular, the results urge managers to integrate the traditional goods-oriented approach to branding with service branding, showing that enriching B2B brand image with service-related aspects will have a direct and positive effect on loyalty. However, brand image cannot be created or changed unilaterally by the firm as it is determined by the customer based on co-creation experiences.

Originality/value

This is the first study to explicitly and separately consider the effects of goods-related and service-related aspects of B2B brand image on loyalty. It also is one of the first studies to apply service logic to B2B branding issues.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 32 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

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Article
Publication date: 19 June 2019

Fabio Cassia and Francesca Magno

In the past decades, a growing body of studies has assessed the importance of brands in business-to-business (B2B) markets. However, until date, a comprehensive…

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1079

Abstract

Purpose

In the past decades, a growing body of studies has assessed the importance of brands in business-to-business (B2B) markets. However, until date, a comprehensive understanding of B2B branding strategies is lacking. Hence, the purpose of this paper is to develop a framework to select and manage B2B branding strategies.

Design/methodology/approach

This study’s arguments are developed in line with MacInnis’s (2011) guidelines on conceptual contributions in marketing.

Findings

As a result of the arguments of this study, a framework is developed to identify the relationships between the types of B2B contexts and effective B2B branding strategies.

Research limitations/implications

Despite deriving from an extensive analysis of the literature, the framework requires future empirical validation. Moreover, the relationship linking a supplier to its customer is unique, and hence, each supplier should carefully select a branding strategy depending on the specific situation.

Practical implications

The suggested framework provides actionable insights to inform managers’ decisions about the most effective B2B strategy for their firm, based on the relational complexity (number of customers, intensity of co-production and co-creation, and dyadic vs multiple-actor view).

Originality/value

This is the first study to provide a comprehensive model of B2B branding strategies. Therefore, it contributes to both advance theoretical knowledge and managerial practice.

Details

EuroMed Journal of Business, vol. 14 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1450-2194

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Article
Publication date: 23 July 2018

Fabio Cassia, Vania Vigolo, Marta Maria Ugolini and Rossella Baratta

City image has been defined as the sum of beliefs, ideas and impressions people hold regarding a city. While abundant literature has explored city image from tourists…

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1108

Abstract

Purpose

City image has been defined as the sum of beliefs, ideas and impressions people hold regarding a city. While abundant literature has explored city image from tourists’ perspectives, few studies have explored residents’ perceptions, and even fewer have compared city image as perceived by tourists and residents. In addition, very few studies have compared tourists’ and residents’ perceptions of city image in small- to medium-sized destinations. Considering these research gaps, the purpose of this paper is to address city image in a medium-sized destination, Verona, in northern Italy with three specific objectives: to examine residents’ perceptions of the city of Verona’s image; to examine tourists’ perceptions of the city of Verona’s image and to compare the perceptions of the two groups.

Design/methodology/approach

The research was conducted through questionnaires collected among residents and tourists in Verona. Questionnaires were based on a multi-item scale addressing four dimensions of the city image.

Findings

The findings show that residents and tourists hold similar perceptions of city image regarding services and leisure, security and entertainment. The only significant difference in city image concerns the municipal facilities. Specifically, residents are more critical than tourists about this dimension of city image.

Practical implications

The research provides useful implications for policy makers and destination management organisations, and shows some strengths and weaknesses of Verona.

Originality/value

The study addresses the image of a medium-sized city that is typical in the Italian context, thus enhancing knowledge about city image. In addition, by testing and enhancing a scale previously used only to measure residents’ perceptions, the study provides a common measurement instrument to compare tourists’ and residents’ perceptions.

Details

The TQM Journal, vol. 30 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2731

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Article
Publication date: 21 August 2017

Valentina Nicolini, Fabio Cassia and Massimo Bellotto

This study aims to understand the impact of rational and emotional appeals on children’s attitude towards two public service announcements (PSAs) that promoted eating…

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2471

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to understand the impact of rational and emotional appeals on children’s attitude towards two public service announcements (PSAs) that promoted eating fruits and vegetables.

Design/methodology/approach

A mixed-methods study was conducted with children aged 8 to 11. A convergent parallel design was selected that comprised a questionnaire for the quantitative approach and a semi-structured focus group for the qualitative approach.

Findings

The results from the quantitative and qualitative phases converged, showing that both components (i.e. emotional and rational) play a significant role in children’s preference towards an advertisement, but the emotional component appeared to be the preeminent.

Research limitations/implications

Future studies should use other social subjects and children of different age brackets from various countries to test whether they continue to prefer emotional appeals in advertising.

Practical implications

An understanding of which elements children prefer in PSAs will enable advertising campaigns and social marketing strategies with targeted approaches that respect children’s tastes to be planned.

Social implications

A properly designed social advertisement could have important effects on disseminating useful information, changing or preventing unhealthy habits and adopting good practices in children.

Originality/value

Few studies have examined the effectiveness of PSAs, especially those targeted at children. This paper contributes to extend concepts from the commercial field of advertising directed to children to the field of social advertising. To date, this field has received little attention.

Details

Young Consumers, vol. 18 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1747-3616

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Article
Publication date: 10 April 2017

Francesca Magno, Fabio Cassia and Attilio Bruni

The purpose of this paper is to assess whether travel agencies that implement comprehensive marketing performance assessment systems (MPASs) enjoy superior overall…

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1036

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to assess whether travel agencies that implement comprehensive marketing performance assessment systems (MPASs) enjoy superior overall performance. Drawing on the knowledge-based view, the authors propose and test a model demonstrating that the relationship between MPASs and overall performance is fully mediated by the depth of market-related knowledge absorbed by the travel agency.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey was administered to a sample of Italian travel agencies; 171 complete questionnaires were received. The suggested relationships were assessed using a covariance-based structural equation modeling approach, including the estimation of both the measurement model and the structural model.

Findings

The findings indicate that the implementation of sophisticated MPASs has a significant and positive effect on performance and that this relationship is fully mediated by the depth of market-related knowledge absorbed by the travel agency. In addition, the results highlight that the number of marketing metrics monitored by the travel agency has no effect on its performance.

Research limitations/implications

The specific features of the travel agency sector in Italy include a remarkable level of fragmentation. The cross-sectional design does not permit an assessment of the medium-term effects of the adoption of an MPAS.

Practical implications

Travel agencies selecting proactive marketing strategies can particularly benefit from the adoption of sophisticated MPASs. Suggestions are provided to assist managers in designing their MPAS.

Originality/value

This study enriches the field’s knowledge about marketing performance measurement and proactive marketing strategies, and indicates that the implementation of well-designed MPASs improves a firm’s overall performance. It also explains the knowledge-related processes that produce this positive effect.

Details

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 29 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-6119

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Article
Publication date: 8 October 2021

Annarita Colamatteo, Fabio Cassia and Marcello Sansone

Driven by the disruptive effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the ongoing debate about the international location of firms' manufacturing activities has increasingly…

Abstract

Purpose

Driven by the disruptive effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the ongoing debate about the international location of firms' manufacturing activities has increasingly highlighted the specific benefits and costs of near-shoring versus far-shoring. However, the effects of near-shoring versus far-shoring on customer perceived quality and purchase intention have not been examined. Thus, this study aims to develop a conceptual model and provide new evidence to fill this gap. In particular, the study explores the roles of brand familiarity and corporate social responsibility (CSR) to explain the different levels of perceived quality and purchase intention in relation to near-shoring versus far-shoring.

Design/methodology/approach

This study includes two analyses of data collected from a sample of Italian customers. The first analysis consists of a 2 (high/low brand familiarity) × 3 (domestic insourcing, near-shoring, far-shoring) factorial design, and data are assessed via analyses of variance (ANOVA). The second analysis evaluates the suggested model in the two scenarios (near-shoring and far-shoring) via partial least squares–structural equation modelling (PLS-SEM) multigroup analysis.

Findings

Results showed that customer perceived quality and purchase intention were significantly higher for near-shoring than for far-shoring, but only when brand familiarity was low. No significant difference was found for participants with a high level of brand familiarity. In addition, the level of a brand's pre-offshoring perceived CSR was negatively related to perceived quality, and this was conceptually justified by the CSR-washing effect. Again, this effect was found only when brand familiarity was low.

Research limitations/implications

The findings contribute to advancing the current understanding of the multiple effects of the offshoring decision and clarify that near-shoring and far-shoring have different effects for customers with low brand familiarity. The findings also emphasise that the far-shoring decision can elicit the perception of decoupling between the firm's CSR claims and CSR actions, thus decreasing perceived quality.

Practical implications

This study provides managers with additional inputs to make more informed decisions regarding offshoring. While the post-pandemic scenario seems to favour near-reshoring over far-shoring due to agility considerations, this study also provides additional evidence of the superiority of near-reshoring from the customer's perspective.

Originality/value

This is the first study to examine and prove the differential effects of near-shoring versus far-shoring on the customer's perceptions and behaviours.

Details

The TQM Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2731

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Article
Publication date: 19 September 2019

Francesca Magno and Fabio Cassia

Establishing thought leadership by disseminating relevant digital content through social media has become one of the main priorities for marketers in business-to-business…

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1639

Abstract

Purpose

Establishing thought leadership by disseminating relevant digital content through social media has become one of the main priorities for marketers in business-to-business (B2B) settings. However, academic research has only recently started to address this phenomenon. In particular, researchers have not yet examined whether and how thought leadership positively influences a firm’s relationship with its customers. This paper aims to propose and test a model to explain how a firm’s thought leadership improves its customer relationship performance.

Design/methodology/approach

A cross-sectional research design was applied using covariance-based structural equation modeling to estimate the suggested model. Data were collected from a sample of 160 firms in different industries that create and share content on social media.

Findings

Thought leadership on social media positively influences brand performance and, in turn, customer relationship performance in B2B settings. Moreover, establishing thought leadership on social media results from specific thought leadership capabilities and is supported by social media capabilities.

Research limitations/implications

This study advances knowledge on social media thought leadership in B2B settings by proposing and testing a model that combines available insights from three distinct but interrelated B2B streams of studies: branding, social media marketing and thought leadership. Moreover, this study conceptualizes the effects of thought leadership, which is consistent with the relational nature of B2B settings. In fact, it explores thought leadership as a means to maintain and strengthen business relationships. However, further studies are needed to explore detailed strategies that affect the effectiveness of thought leadership.

Practical implications

The results provide managers with evidence on the effectiveness of a thought leadership strategy. Establishing thought leadership on social media can help to nurture customer relationships over time. By sharing valuable content, suppliers can continuously demonstrate their cutting-edge competences and expertise, thus keeping their brand relevant to customers.

Originality/value

This is the first study to provide evidence of the benefits of social media thought leadership on customer relationships in B2B settings.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 35 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 24 September 2021

Fabio Cassia and Francesca Magno

Professional service firm (PSF) performance depends on the accumulation and application of specialist knowledge to find customised solutions to customer problems. However…

Abstract

Purpose

Professional service firm (PSF) performance depends on the accumulation and application of specialist knowledge to find customised solutions to customer problems. However, available research has not examined whether knowledge acquired from external sources affects PSF outcomes by strengthening professionals’ beliefs rather than only by increasing technical competency. Drawing on self-efficacy theory, this study tests a model that links the quality of content acquired from external sources and the credibility of those sources to professionals’ self-efficacy and, in turn, to PSF outcomes (solution quality and firm performance). In particular, this paper aims to consider the case of professional content exchanged through professional social media.

Design/methodology/approach

A cross-sectional research design was applied. Data were collected from a sample of 208 accountants, auditors and lawyers who used professional social media and were analysed using covariance-based structural equation modelling.

Findings

When accessing professional content from external sources, source credibility and content quality are significant antecedents of professionals’ self-efficacy, which, in turn, has positive effects on PSF outcomes (solution quality and PSF performance).

Research limitations/implications

Self-efficacy plays a key role in the link between knowledge acquired from external sources (professional content) and PSF outcomes.

Practical implications

This study provides recommendations and actionable insights for PSFs, professionals and other actors who create and exchange professional content. Professional associations may also take an active role by contributing and sharing credible and high-quality content, using, for example, professional social media.

Originality/value

This paper advances the current understanding of the effects of professionals’ access to content from external sources on PSF outcomes. It provides an explanation of these effects based on the enhancement of professionals’ beliefs instead of their technical competencies, as indicated in previous research. In addition, it is the first research effort to consider professional social media as a communication channel to exchange content that affects the self-efficacy of PSF professionals.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 36 no. 13
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 10 December 2021

Valentina Nicolini and Fabio Cassia

This study aims to examine the different effects that the fear and humor appeals in anti-smoking advertisements for children have on their affective reactions to the…

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119

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine the different effects that the fear and humor appeals in anti-smoking advertisements for children have on their affective reactions to the advertisements, on their beliefs about smoking and on their behavioral intentions to smoke.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper presents the findings of a qualitative research study conducted in Italy with children aged from 8 to 11 years.

Findings

The results indicated that the humor appeal is a useful method for conveying a social theme in a pleasant way and creating a likable character that becomes an example for children to imitate; however, it is necessary to employ the fear appeal to make children reflect carefully about the negative consequences of smoking.

Research limitations/implications

This study examined only children's behavioral intentions derived from anti-smoking advertisements, but future research should also examine their real behaviors after a period following repeated viewing of public service announcements about smoking prevention or other social issues.

Practical implications

Understanding how different types of appeals can influence children represents an important result for the prevention of youth smoking and the promotion of healthy lifestyle habits during childhood.

Social implications

Understanding how different types of appeals can influence children represents an important result for the prevention of youth smoking and the promotion of healthy lifestyle habits during childhood.

Originality/value

Few studies have examined the impact of social advertisements on children, and particularly little is known about the effectiveness of fear appeals on this group.

Details

Asia-Pacific Journal of Business Administration, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-4323

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Article
Publication date: 19 November 2021

Alessandro Bigi, Fabio Cassia and Marta Maria Ugolini

A food tourism destination can fully exploit its competitiveness if food-related attributes are consistently highlighted both in its promotion and in user-generated…

Abstract

Purpose

A food tourism destination can fully exploit its competitiveness if food-related attributes are consistently highlighted both in its promotion and in user-generated content. However, in the context of food tourism research, a possible image incongruence has not yet been studied. Tourism destination image incongruence occurs when different travel information sources reflect inconsistent representations of a destination's attributes. This study addresses this gap, focusing on Italian food and wine as drivers to attract visitors. This study examines whether food-related attributes are present in online travel-related conversations and are perceived differently by people with and without knowledge about the destination.

Design/methodology/approach

Content analysis based on a Bayesian machine-learning technique utilizing Leximancer software was applied to analyze questions and answers posted on TripAdvisor forums by potential and past visitors of four destinations in Italy (Naples, Florence, Parma and Ferrara). Questions and answers expressed by people with different knowledge in Italian and English were analyzed separately to gain deeper understanding.

Findings

Contrary to expectations, food-related themes were almost completely absent in the conversations analyzed, with only a few exceptions in Italian question sections. This situation depicts a sort of “cannibalism”, in the sense that the centrality of food-related attributes is engulfed by other, less sensorial, enjoyable and memorable aspects of the travel experience.

Research limitations/implications

Analysis suggests that hype may exist in food tourism promotion related to destination image incongruence. However, while based on a large volume of conversations, the analysis covers only four Italian cities.

Practical implications

Destination management organizations (DMOs) should develop their strategy and communication considering internal and external elements: their marketing targets on one side and the local culture and attractions' perceptions on the other. Standard marketing processes (segmenting, targeting, positioning) and theories should be put in place. The application of standard marketing dynamics and studies should push the DMOs to understand that the internally perceived cultural values of the touristic destinations could not be known or joint univocally by the global external customers and that a local promotional activity should start with branding and not commercial activities.

Originality/value

This is the first study to suggest the existence of hype in food tourism promotion of Italian destinations and to provide evidence supporting this argument.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 124 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

Keywords

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