The local brand representative in reseller networks | Journal of Business Research | Part 2: Research Objectives

  • 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

ISSN 0148-2963

In order to precisely identify the characteristics of local brand representatives who can drive reseller brand preference, a scale was developed and empirically tested by the researchers using structure equation modeling techniques and fuzzyset qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) (Ragin, 2006 and 2008). fsQCA helps the researchers to gain a rich perspective on the data when applied together with complexity theory (Leischnig and Kasper-Brauer, 2015; Leischnig & Kasper-Brauer, 2015; Mikalef et al., 2015; Ordanini et al., 2013; Pappas et al., 2015; Woodside, 2014; Wu et al., 2014).

 

 

The local brand representative in reseller networks | Journal of Business Research | Part 1: Context

  • 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

ISSN 0148-2963

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.

 

 

Marketing innovation: A consequence of competitiveness | Journal of Business Research | Part 3: Research Methodology

 

Professor Suraksha Gupta, University of Kent

Professor Naresh K Malhotra, Georgia Institute of Technology

Professor Michael Czinkota, Georgetown University

Professor Pantea Foroudi, Middlesex University

ISSN 0148-2963

This study addresses this question in four phases. The first phase underpins the arguments about competitiveness and marketing innovation with the current academic knowledge about theory of competitive advantage and resource-advantage theory. The second phase explores the concept and assumptions using expert insights. During the third phase, this study conducts a field survey to collect data from resellers of international brands and use structure equation modelling (SEM) and fuzzyset qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) (Ragin, 2006 and 2008). fsQCA has received increased attention as it gives an opportunity to the researchers to gain a deeper and richer perspective on the data, particularly when applied together with complexity theory (Leischnig and Kasper-Brauer, 2015; Mikalef, Pateli, Batenburg and Wetering, 2015; Ordanini et al., 2013; Woodside, 2014; Wu et al., 2014). The fourth phase leads to interpret the results in order to make recommendations and consider future avenues for the research. This research contributes to the literature on business-to-business and international marketing. Finally, the study advances the current understanding about the interdependence of brand and reseller firms for developing their competitiveness and adopting innovative approaches to marketing.

Marketing innovation: A consequence of competitiveness | Journal of Business Research | Part 2: Research Objectives

Professor Suraksha Gupta, University of Kent

Professor Naresh K Malhotra, Georgia Institute of Technology

Professor Michael Czinkota, Georgetown University

Professor Pantea Foroudi, Middlesex University

ISSN 0148-2963

This study examines the relationship between competiveness and innovation in the marketing practices of large manufacturing firms that offer their branded products in different countries through a network of local small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as resellers of their brand. It builds on both the resource-based view and complexity theory to understand what features of the brand and the reseller enable them to adopt innovative marketing practices in an international setting.

We aim to bridge the gap in the existing marketing literature by reviewing current academic knowledge surrounding competitiveness and marketing innovation. Thus, the study addresses the following research question: What configurations of brand and the reseller enable the adoption of innovative marketing practices by two firms in an international setting? This study addresses the research question by first developing a suitable theoretical framework which is then used to investigate the question by means of empirical data.

 

 

Marketing innovation: A consequence of competitiveness | Journal of Business Research | Part 1: Context

Professor Suraksha Gupta, University of Kent

Professor Naresh K Malhotra, Georgia Institute of Technology

Professor Michael Czinkota, Georgetown University

Professor Pantea Foroudi, Middlesex University

ISSN 0148-2963

    Various studies recommend that managers aiming to venture into the challenging field of internationalisation should create a competitive edge that helps them to demonstrate the superior abilities of their firm (Porter, 2011; Samli et al., 1994; Barney et al. 2011). But, fear of the unknown deters managers from stepping out of their home country and benefiting from internationalisation because growth markets tend to be very complex as they foster competition (Knight, 1995; Thai and Chong, 2013). A business-to-business model of distribution allows managers of international firms to successfully deal with entry barriers and enter smoothly into a foreign market and effectively address the complexity of a place that offers high potential of growth to their businesses (Yan, 2012).

    A distributor simultaneously facilitates the entry of multiple firms with competing products into the market and engages micro level small and medium firms in the local market for selling (Chen, 2003). Since distributors offer multiple similar and competing products to resellers, markets being served through resellers become very competitive for international brands. Competition in a market encourages competing firms to demonstrate their ability to innovatively serve customers (Freeman et al., 2006). Lack of in-depth native knowledge in such markets is a major shortcoming for firms aiming to internationalise because it decreases their capability to innovate their marketing related business practices by predicting the business environment and trends in the consumption patterns of the foreign market (Bell, 1995; Johanson and Vahlne, 2009). Distributors and resellers have an important role to play in the successful penetration of a foreign market so how an international firm develops its capability to   market its products through reseller networks needs to be understood.

    The resource advantage theory recognizes the creation of a competitive edge as a function of marketing and identifies the role of branding in creating the capability of a firm to demonstrate its superior abilities (Hunt and Morgan, 1995; Hunt and Morgan, 1996; Srivastava et al., 2001). Simultaneously, the industrial practices of industrial brands particularly in the IT and telecom sector indicates that the managers of strong brands can compete in foreign markets based on their brand leadership and brand relationships in the local market. It has also been noticed and reported in the literature of local firms by studies like Gupta and Malhotra (2013) that a brand that contributes to the competitiveness of the reseller is able to compete at the local level using innovative marketing initiatives. These observations of various researchers indicate that the relationship between an international brand and its resellers in foreign markets becomes very important for brands in a market that poses strong competition (Anderson and Weitz, 1992).