Can all brands innovate in the same way? A typology of brand position and innovation effort

Beverland, M, Napoli, J and Farrelly, F 2010, 'Can all brands innovate in the same way? A typology of brand position and innovation effort', Journal of Product Innovation Management, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 33-48.

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Can all brands innovate in the same way? A typology of brand position and innovation effort
Author(s) Beverland, M
Napoli, J
Farrelly, F
Year 2010
Journal name Journal of Product Innovation Management
Volume number 27
Issue number 1
Start page 33
End page 48
Total pages 16
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
Abstract Product innovation is vital to ongoing brand equity and has been responsible for revitalizing many brands, including Apple, Dunlop Volley, Mini, and Gucci. While several scholars have noted the relationship between a brand's position and the form of innovation available to a firm, surprisingly no study has sought to bridge this gap. This study aims to address this issue by, first, building a typology of the innovation practices underpinning differently positioned brands and, second, exploring the strategic and tactical implications of different brand-related innovation efforts. In so doing, this study addresses a critical question: How do differently positioned brands organize their innovation efforts? A multiple case-study approach was used in this paper. Cases were sampled from a number of industries and across a range of different countries with a focus on business-to-consumer brands. Thirty-five interviews were conducted across 12 cases. The brands studied differed in their approach to innovation (incremental vs. radical) and in their relationship to the marketplace (market-driven and driving markets). These two dimensions result in four alternative ways of organizing the innovation effort to effectively reinforce the brand: (1) incremental and market driven (follower brands); (2) radical and market driven (category leader brands); (3) incremental and driving market (craft-design-driven brands); and (4) radical and driving markets (product leader brands). For follower brands, new product success is contingent upon the quality of the firm's marketing information systems and speed to market. Category leaders seek to dominate and appeal to the mass market with bold product initiatives. Craft-designer-driven brands aim to maintain an aura of authenticity, downplaying the commercial realities of their innovation efforts, while product leader brands seek to reaffirm their status as industry pioneers. This research contributes to the branding and new product development literature in several ways. It illustrates that differently positioned brands require the deployment of different firm capabilities and resources and a unique organizational philosophy to achieve new product success. The findings also enrich the brand extension literature through an examination of alternate bases, beyond that of product category, by which brand fit can be established. Finally, this research demonstrates how brand positioning can pose limitations on an industry leader's ability to respond to disruptive technologies. This study identifies that failed new products or brand extensions are driven by a mismatch between desired strategy and the capabilities necessary for achieving success (suggesting brand extensions are not as low risk as previously thought). As such, managers should carefully attend to brand perceptions when developing innovation strategies, particularly in relation to brand extensions.
Keyword(s) Brand equity
Brand position
Commercial reality
Critical questions
Disruptive technology
Firm capabilities
Innovation strategy
Market driven
Marketing information system
New product
New product development
New product success
Organizational philosophy
Product categories
Product innovation
DOI - identifier 10.1111/j.1540-5885.2009.00698.x
Copyright notice © 2009 Product Development & Management Association
ISSN 0737-6782
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 30 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 24 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 17 Nov 2010, 16:09:00 EST by Catalyst Administrator
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