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Brand orientation in action : Towards a relational approach

Brand orientation in action : Towards a relational approach


Summary, in English

Along with the ever-expanding interest in brands, the brand orientation concept has since its inception in the early 1990s steadily received more and more attention from scholars and practitioners alike. Brand orientation ultimately captures how organisations can develop sustainable competitive advantages in the form of brands. However, the conditions for brand management have dramatically changed during the last two decades. Technologically empowered consumers force organisations to abandon previous notions of unilateral control and consistency. This recent development instead highlights the role of the brand as an interface for interactions between external and internal stakeholders.

Brand orientation has been conceptualised as an inside-out orientation in contrast to the outside-in perspective in market orientation. The emerging relational perspective questions both of these approaches. When internal and external stakeholders actively engage in the co-creation of brand value, neither a projective (inside-out) nor an adaptive (outside-in) approach to the management of brands seems plausible. A relational perspective on brand orientation can offer a possible remedy and might mitigate the negative effects of either a too strong internal focus or a too strong external focus. How organisations balance these perspectives when adopting brand orientation and to which effects thus represent key issues for both theory and practice.

The purpose of the thesis is to evaluate and re-conceptualise the brand orientation concept. The research carried out integrates theory development and practice by actively generating new knowledge through a mixed methods approach and from action research interventions aimed at adopting brand orientation. The theoretical foundation for the thesis is based on the processual and relational perspective on identity in pragmatist-inspired research.

This research presents four papers, each of which analyses the theoretical and managerial implications for brand orientation with regard to the co-creative and stakeholder brand era. The thesis offers five main contributions to the brand orientation literature. First, along with a new conceptualisation and operationalisation, it provides empirical evidence of the impact of brand orientation on financial performance. Second, it broadens the brand orientation concept and its relevance to the public sector. Third, it expands our understanding of the dynamic between market and brand orientation. Fourth, it explores the dark sides and potential negative side-effects of brand orientation. Fifth, it offers insights into how the adoption process of brand orientation can be managed.

Publishing year






Document type



  • Business Administration


  • Brand orientation, Brand co-creation, Market orientation, Transformational learning, Organisational narcissism
  • Brand orientation
  • Brand co-creation
  • Market orientation
  • Transformational learning
  • Organisational narcissism




  • ISBN: 978-91-8039-333-1
  • ISBN: 978-91-8039-334-8

Defence date

16 November 2022

Defence time


Defence place



  • Nicholas Ind (Professor)