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Strategic management of brand equity in emerging markets


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Wong, TL 2013 , 'Strategic management of brand equity in emerging markets', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Over the past thirty years, the Asia-Pacific region has recorded some of the fastest
real- Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth around the globe. The majority of this
growth has been generated by one country in the Eastern Asia sub-region – China.
Driven by the ‘Open Door’ economic reforms in the 1970s, China’s economy has
grown by an average of 10 per cent (in real GDP terms) since the early 1980s, and has
emerged as the second largest economy in the world. At the same time, major
Western economies such as the US and the EU have both experienced significant
financial downturns in their economies. The disparity of growth between the Chinese
economy and the Western developed economies provide a strong motivation for
Western organisations to seek growth opportunity outside their highly saturated
domestic markets. As Western organisations continue to expand into Asian emerging
markets as part of an accelerating globalisation phenomenon, the possession of a
strong and well-established brand is viewed as an essential requirement. A critical
issue therefore, is how can internationalising organisations establish, maintain, and
develop their brand effectively in new emerging markets. Recently, there has been a
call by Delgado-Ballester and Hernandez-Espallardo (2008) in the brand literature to
develop a finer-grained understanding of the antecedent factors associated with the
strategic management of Brand Equity, i.e. the specific resources and capabilities
linked with ‘Brand Awareness’, ‘Brand Association’, ‘Perceived Quality’, ‘Brand
Loyalty’, and ‘Other Proprietary Brand Assets’.
This thesis explored these antecedent resources and capabilities by undertaking a
quasi-longitudinal analysis of Marriott’s international entry into the emerging Chinese market from 1997 to 2012. A detailed history of Marriott’s entry into China
was constructed, and this was tested against a series of semi-structured interviews
with senior Marriott executives that were involved directly in the process as it
unfolded. The findings of this thesis indicated that the strategic management of Brand
Equity required Marriott to develop and leverage eight specific resources (‘Financial
Capital’, ‘FDIs, ‘Functional Business Areas’, ‘Internal Operating Systems’,
‘International Brand Reputation’, ‘Human Capital’, Compatible Goodwill’, and
‘Domestic Stakeholder Relationships’). The findings also indicated that Marriott
mobilised these specific resources through five critical capabilities (Define and
Communicate a Desired Market Position; Conduct Brand Equity Audits; Accurately
Define Resource and Capability Deficiencies in the Organisation; Overcome the
Resource and Capability Deficiencies Identified; and Establish, Maintain and
Develop the Desired Market Position).
This thesis identified three key areas for future research. Firstly, the applicability of
these findings to organisations in different industry settings and different emerging
markets. Secondly, the impact different stages of an organisation’s operating cycle
may have on the strategic management of Brand Equity. Although this research
broadly analyses the organisation’s entry and establishment in an emerging market, it
was unable to consider, inter alia, other stages such as ‘decline’ and ‘divestment’.
Thirdly, there is an opportunity to explore the concept of ‘Compatible Goodwill’ in
terms of its composition and a finer-grained understanding of the role it plays in the
strategic management of Brand Equity.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Wong, TL
Keywords: strategic management, brand equity, resources, capabilities, emerging markets
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