- This paper was published in the Journal of Business Research. Full article can be found at here.
Professor Suraksha Gupta, University of Kent
Professor Naresh K Malhotra, Georgia Institute of Technology
Professor Michael Czinkota, Georgetown University
Professor Pantea Foroudi, Middlesex University
To gain competitive advantage, brands are increasingly becoming concerned with their relationships with resellers and are employing local representatives. Interactions between local individuals who represent the firm behind the brand and the reseller firm provide opportunities for highlighting commercial aspects of the brand, such as product pricing, product differentiation and brand experience, to the reseller (Gummesson, 1994). Local individuals representing brands use opportunities to promote the brand by building trust in the brand-reseller relationship (Liberman and Montgomery, 1988; Morgan and Hunt, 2002; Christine, 2005).
This practice has been regularly employed by brands in IT (Intel, HP, Microsoft), telecom (Samsung, Benq, Sony Ericsson) and pharma (Pfizer, Ranbaxy) that tend to push their products through large networks of resellers, retailers and pharmacists. Such local individuals representing firms have been termed brand ambassadors by Debling et al. (2002) and Gromark and Melin (2011) whereas they have been termed relationship promoters by authors such as Palmatier et al. (2007a) and Walter and Gemunden (2000). This study investigates the characteristics of local individuals who represent a brand to its resellers. It does this by first conceptualizing these characteristics by employing complexity theory and then testing the conceptualization. The result is a scale of characteristics that can be used as an employee profile.