Network position and tourism firms' co-branding practiceby Jarle Aarstad, Håvard Ness, Sven A. Haugland

Journal of Business Research

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Year
2015
DOI
10.1016/j.jbusres.2015.03.025
Subject
Marketing

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an orw nd V tina tom osit bran dat he e t fo nes ned a it thro reased emand ersona neesel, 009; Ko custom

Lu, 20 ing, surprisingly little research focuses on firms' co-branding practices

Journal of Business Research xxx (2015) xxx–xxx

JBR-08362; No of Pages 11

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Journal of Businbrand strategy at the local, regional, and national levels (Cai, 2002;

Konecnik Ruzzier & de Chernatony, 2013; Niininen, Hosany, Ekinci, &

Airey, 2007).

In addition, research has addressed stakeholder issues related to destination marketing and branding (García, Gómez, & Molina, 2012;

Marzano & Scott, 2009; O'Connor, Flanagan, & Gilbert, 2008). The leveraging of a destination brand is typically facilitated by a destination marketing organization (DMO). It rests on the commitment and active support of local firms and other stakeholders (Balakrishnan, 2009; (p. 860). More recently, Pike and Page (2014, p. 212) assess the importance of destination firms in “harnessing their cooperation in collaboratively supporting the brand positioning required to communicate the brand identity,” where there is “a major research gap.”Moreover, Pike and Page (2014, p. 217) write that “future research will need to start assessing the synergies and critical relationships which exist between businesses and the DMO.” In a similar vein, Hanna and Rowley (2015, p. 100) assert that “limited attention has been directed towards place brand architecture or the wider management of the web of brands asso-García et al., 2012; Pike, 2009; Pike & Page, 201 and use of the destination brand is important creates potential synergies, and transmits po from employees to consumers.

E-mail addresses: jarle.aarstad@hib.no (J. Aarstad), h sven.haugland@nhh.no (S.A. Haugland). http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2015.03.025 0148-2963/© 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Please cite this article as: Aarstad, J., et al., Ne dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2015.03.02514). On the supply side, (Hem & Iversen, 2004), r, 2007), and destination ment of strategies… between the DMO and stakeholders.” Specifically, he states that “[t]here has been little attention given to the issue of the extent towhich umbrella brand strategies are being implemented…”contributions have focused on logo design brand management (Pechlaner, Raich, & Zehre1. Introduction

Tourism destination branding, defi elementmix to identify and distinguish ing” (Cai, 2002, p. 722), has received inc (Pike & Page, 2014). Research on the d with customer perceptions of brand p 2008; Hosany, Ekinci, & Uysal, 2006; K brand equity (Boo, Busser, & Baloglu, 2

Pike, Bianchi, Kerr, & Patti, 2010), and

Yoon & Uysal, 2005; Zhang, Fu, Cai, &s “selecting a consistent ugh positive image buildattention in the literature side has been concerned lity and image (Fyrberg,

Baloglu, & Millar, 2010), necnik & Gartner, 2007; er loyalty (Chen, 2010; in a destination context. Co-branding is defined as the pairing of two or more constituent brands (Park, Jun, & Shocker, 1996). In this paper, we study co-branding as the extent to which individual tourism firms actively use the destination brand in their own marketing. In

Balakrishnan's (2009) extensive review of destination branding, the topic of co-branding, or brand alliances, is more or less absent.

Furthermore, Pike's (2009, p. 860) review identifies nine research gaps, one of which concerns “the linkages and synergies in the develop-However, despite the growing interest in tourismdestination brand-Network position and tourism firms' co-br

Jarle Aarstad a, Håvard Ness b, Sven A. Haugland c a Bergen University College, Centre for Innovation, PO Box 7030, NO-5020 Bergen, Norway b Buskerud and Vestfold University College, School of Business and Faculty of Social Sciences, N c NHH Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Strategy and Management, Buskerud a a b s t r a c ta r t i c l e i n f o

Article history:

Received 25 November 2013

Received in revised form 4 March 2015

Accepted 10 March 2015

Available online xxxx

Keywords:

Destination branding

Tourism destination

Interfirm network

Closeness centrality

Degree centrality

The branding of tourism des regional level or on the cus whether interfirmnetwork p

Firms' use of the destination of survey and social network ties to other centralfirms in t we do not find a similar effec variables indicates that close4). Firms' internalization : it signals commitment, sitive brand perceptions avard.ness@hbv.no (H. Ness), twork position and tourism fiding practice ay estfold University College, School of Business and Faculty of Social Sciences, Norway tions has received increased attention, with scholars typically focusing at the er demand side. This study takes the firm as its level of analysis and explores ion is related to theuse of the destination brand as an explicitmarketing strategy. d can be described as a co-branding strategy. We apply an unusual combination a across several tourism destinations. The results show that firms with interfirm xtended network (closeness centrality) co-brandwith the destination brand, but r firmswith ties in the local network (degree centrality). The use of instrumental s centrality is a cause, and not an effect, of co-branding. © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. ess Researchciatedwith a place.” Thus, tourism firms' support and use of the destination brand as a co-branding strategy are considered highly important, yet vastly under-researched.

Thedestinationmarketing literature identifies stakeholder networks to be of particular interest. Wang and Xiang (2007, p. 82) suggest that networks serve “as the supportingmode of governance”during all stages of the collaborative destination marketing cycle. Similarly, Sheehan, rms' co-branding practice, Journal of Business Research (2015), http:// 2 J. Aarstad et al. / Journal of Business Research xxx (2015) xxx–xxxRitchie, and Hudson (2007, p. 73) call for an “examination of tourism stakeholder network relationships” to advance our understanding of destination marketing. Furthermore, Marzano (2008, p. 142) asks for a network analysis perspective to gain “an understanding of how the centrality of one or more stakeholders within the destination enhances or reduces the ability” of successful destination branding. Despite these shared ideas, empirical studies unpacking the roles of network relationships in destination branding remain exploratory and case-based.