Journal of Brand Management

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 57–70 | Cite as

The role of internal branding in the delivery of employee brand promise

Special Issue Paper

Abstract

In branding literature, the employee role is recognised as crucial in delivering the service as promised by the brand. A plethora of existing insights have been gained through practitioners' and customers' perspectives. Little empirical research has been undertaken with employees. Therefore, this study aims to reveal their perceptions towards their role and the techniques that enable them to fulfil the brand promise. A case-study approach is adopted using a mixture of qualitative and quantitative methodologies. In-depth interviews reveal that employees feel that their actions are vital to the brand, and findings from a survey of 699 respondents demonstrate positive relationships among internal branding instruments and their brand promise delivery. These tools influence the employees' brand attitudes, namely brand identification, brand commitment and brand loyalty. Ultimately, these attitudes also influence the manner in which employees deliver the service. Therefore, internal branding not only directly influences the extent to which employees perform their role in relation to the brand promise, but also influences the attitudes employees have towards the brand, which in turn affects employee performance.

Keywords

internal branding customer-facing employees brand promise delivery corporate marketing 

References

  1. Balmer, J. M. T. (1998) ‘Corporate identity and the advent of corporate marketing’, Journal of Marketing Management, Vol. 14, No. 8, pp.963–996.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Balmer, J. M. T. and Greyser, S. A. (2006) ‘Corporate marketing: Integrating corporate identity, corporate branding, corporate communications, corporate image and corporate reputation’, European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 40, No. 7/8, pp.730–741.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Schultz, M. and de Chernatony, L. (2002) ‘Introduction: The challenges of corporate branding’, Corporate Reputation Review, Vol. 5, No. 2/3, pp.109–113.Google Scholar
  4. De Chernatony, L. (2001) ‘From Brand Vision to Brand Evaluation—Strategically Building and Sustaining Brands’, Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford.Google Scholar
  5. Tosti, T. and Stotz, D. (2001) ‘Brand: Building your brand from the inside out’, Marketing Management, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp.28–33.Google Scholar
  6. Wittke-Kothe, C. (2001) ‘Interne Markenführung—Verankerung der Markenidentität im Mitarbeiterverhalten’, Deutscher Universitätsverlag GmbH, Wiesbaden.Google Scholar
  7. Kelly, J. (1998) ‘Paying for that old brand magic’, Financial Times, 12 August, p. 8.Google Scholar
  8. Sharp, B. (1995) ‘Brand equity and market-based assets of professional service firms’, Journal of Professional Services Marketing, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp.3–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Samli, A. and Frohlich, C. (1992) ‘Service: The competitive edge in banking’, Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 6, No. 1, pp.15–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Balmer, J. and Wilkinson, A. (1991) ‘Building societies: Change, strategy and corporate identity’, Journal of General Management, Vol. 17, No. 2, pp.20–33.Google Scholar
  11. Bharadwaj, S. G., Varadarajan, R. P. and Fahy, J. (1993) ‘Sustainable competitive advantage of service industries: A conceptual model and research propositions’, Journal of Marketing, Vol. 57, pp.83–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Day, G. S. and Wensley, R. (1988) ‘Assessing advantage: A framework for diagnosing competitive superiority’, Journal of Marketing, Vol. 52, pp.1–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Joseph, W. B. (1996) Internal marketing builds service quality’, Journal of Health Care Marketing, Vol. 16, No. 1, pp.54–59.Google Scholar
  14. De Chernatony, L. and Segal-Horn, S. (2003) ‘The criteria for successful services brands’, European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 37, No. 7/8, pp.1095–1118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Harris, F. and de Chernatony, L. (2001) ‘Corporate branding and corporate brand performance’, European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 35, No. 3/4, pp.441.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Vallaster, C. and de Chernatony, L. (2003) ‘Internalisation of services brands: The role of leadership during the internal brand building process’, Journal of Marketing Management, Vol. 21, pp.181–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fitzgerald, T. J. (1988) ‘Understanding the differences and similarities between services and products to exploit your competitive advantage’, Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 2 (Winter), pp.25–30.Google Scholar
  18. Vallaster, C. (2004) ‘Internal brand building in multicultural organisations: A roadmap towards action research’, Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, Vol. 7, No. 2, pp.100–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. De Chernatony, L. and Segal-Horn, S. (2001) ‘Building on services' characteristics to develop successful services brands’, Journal of Marketing Management, Vol. 17, pp.645–669.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hatch, M. J. and Schultz, M. (2001) ‘Are the strategic stars aligned for your corporate brand?’, Harvard Business Review February, Vol. 79, No. 2, pp.128–135.Google Scholar
  21. LePla, F. J. and Parker, L. M. (1999) ‘Integrated Branding: Becoming Brand-Driven Through Company-Wide Action’, Quorum Books, London.Google Scholar
  22. Meyer, J. P., Stanley, D. J., Herscovitch, L. and Topolnytsky, L. (2002) ‘Affective, continuance, and normative commitment to the organisation: A meta-analysis of antecedents, correlates, and consequences’, Journal of Vocational Behaviour, Vol. 61, pp.20–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Papasolomou, I. and Vrontis, D. (2006) ‘Using internal marketing to ignite the corporate brand: The case of the UK retail bank industry’, Journal of Brand Management, Vol. 14, No. 1/2, pp.177–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Machtiger, B. (2004) ‘Beware pitfalls that kill branding efforts’, Marketing News, Vol. 38, No. 4, p.21.Google Scholar
  25. Pfeffer, J. (1998) ‘Seven practices of successful organisations’, California Management Review, Vol. 40, No. 2, pp.96–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Zerbe, W., Dobni, D. and Harel, G. H. (1998) ‘Promoting employee service behaviour: The role of perceptions of human resource management practices and service culture’, Revue Canadienne des Sciences de l’Administration, Vol. 15, No. 2, pp.165–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Burmann, C. and Zeplin, S. (2005) ‘Building brand commitment: A behavioural approach to internal brand management’, Journal of Brand Management, Vol. 12, No. 4, pp.279–300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gapp, R. and Merrilees, B. (2006) ‘Important factors to consider when using internal branding as a management strategy: A healthcare case study’, Journal of Brand Management, Vol. 14, No. 1/2, pp.162–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Asif, S. and Sargeant, A. (2000) ‘Modelling internal communications in the financial services sector’, European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 34, No. 3/4, p.299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. De Chernatony, L., Drury, S. and Segal-Horn, S (2003) ‘Building a services brand: Stages, people and orientations’, The Service Industries Journal, Vol. 23, No. 3, pp.1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Aurand, T. W., Gorchels, L. and Bishop, T. R. (2005) ‘Human resource management's role in internal branding: An opportunity for cross-functional brand message synergy’, The Journal of Product and Brand Management, Vol. 14, No. 2/3, pp.163–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hoffman, J. and Mehra, S. (1999) ‘Operationalising productivity improvement programs through total quality management’, The International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, Vol. 16, No. 1, p.72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Zeithaml, V. and Bitner, M. (2000) ‘Service Marketing’, McGraw-Hill, New York.Google Scholar
  34. Rowley, J. (2002) ‘Using case studies in research’, Management Research News, Vol. 25, No. 1, pp.16–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Amaratunga, D. and Baldry, D. (2001) ‘Case study methodology as a means of theory building: Performance measurement in facilities management organisations’, Work Study, Vol. 50, No. 3, pp.95–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Voss, C., Tsikriktsis, N. and Frohlich, M. (2002) ‘Case research in operations management’, International Journal of Operations and Production Management, Vol. 22, No. 2, pp.195–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Miles, M. B. and Huberman, A. M. (1988) ‘Data management and analysis methods ', in Denzin, N. K. and Lincoln, Y.S. (eds.) Handbook of Qualitative Research. Sage, California, pp.428–444.Google Scholar
  38. Amaratunga, D., Baldry, D., Sarshar, M. and Newton, R (2002) ‘Quantitative and qualitative research in the built environment: Application of mixed research approach’, Work Study, Vol. 51, No. 1, pp.17–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Malhotra, N. and Birks, D. (2000) ‘Marketing Research: An Applied Approach', European edn,Prentice-Hall, London.Google Scholar
  40. Mael, F. and Ashforth, B. E. (1992) ‘Alumni and their alma mater: A partial test of the reformulated model of organisational identification’, Journal of Organisational Behaviour, Vol. 13, pp.103–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Mohr, J., Fisher, R. J. and Nevin, J. R. (1996) ‘Collaborative communication in interfirm relationships: Moderating effects of integration and control’, Journal of Marketing, Vol. 60, No. 3, pp.103–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Shamir, B., Zakay, E. and Popper, M. (1998) ‘Correlates of charismatic leader behaviour in military units: Subordinates' attitudes, unit characteristics, and superiors' appraisals of leader performance’, Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 41, No. 4, pp.387–409.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. O’Reilly III, C. and Chatman, J. (1986) ‘Organisational commitment and psychological attachment: The effects of compliance, identification, and internalization on prosocial behaviour’, Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 71, pp.492–499.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Tyagi, P. (1982) ‘Perceived organisational climate and the process of salesperson motivation’, Journal of Marketing Research, Vol. 19, No. 000002, pp.240–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Nunnally, J. (1967) ‘Psychometric Methods’, McGraw-Hill, New York.Google Scholar
  46. Business Centre Officer of Hotel P, male.Google Scholar
  47. Director of Food & Beverage of Hotel S.Google Scholar
  48. Frazier, P. A., Tix, A. P. and Barron, K. E. (2004) ‘Testing moderator & mediator effects in counselling psychology research’, Journal of Counselling Psychology, Vol. 51, No. 1, pp.115–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Multiplying the unstandardised regression coefficient weights for Path a and Path b, and divided by the square root of b2sa2+a2sb2+sa2sb2: a and b are unstandardised regression coefficients and sa and sb are their standard errors. The result is a z-score of the mediated effect. When the z-score is greater than 1.96, the effect is significant at the 0.05 level.Google Scholar
  50. To describe the amount of mediation in terms of the proportion of the total effect that is mediated, ab/c is applied.Google Scholar
  51. Duprey, R. (2006)Is E-Learning on Your Training Menu?, Retrieved 21st December, 2006 from 4Hoteliers Hospitality and Travel News website:http://www.4hoteliers.com/4hots_fshw.php?mwi=1322.
  52. Mumby-Croft, R. and Williams, J. (2002) ‘The concept of workplace marketing: A management development model for corporate and enterprise sectors’, Strategic Change, Vol. 11, No. 4, pp.205–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan Ltd 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MarketingGlasgowUK

Personalised recommendations