Innovation is proven to be an absolute requirement for growth in both developed and developing countries, but the type and motivation of innovations differ depending on various surrounding factors like socio-cultural attributes, geography, infrastructure, political environment and income-levels of customers. In developed countries innovations are often technology-driven and associated with delighting the end customers. On the contrary, in the developing or emerging markets due to the unique setting and infrastructural gaps innovations are focused towards meeting customer’s fundamental needs. Innovations in emerging markets are also seen as one of the drivers, utilized to address urgent developmental challenges such as poverty, illiteracy and lack of access to healthcare services. Considering these vast differences in driving factors, this research focuses on the comparison of the ongoing innovation fostering in both developed and developing world individually. This thesis is an attempt to understand the innovation landscape across these two worlds and focus on specific innovation approaches based on their potential and relevance.
In developed world, information technology (IT) is emerging out as the key enabling technology across different innovation approaches. This thesis focuses on one such innovative application of IT called technology convergence, which is an integration of information and operational technologies (Gartner, 2011). Significant financial and productivity benefits are expected from this convergence and therefore many industrial companies are investing heavily into this alignment and undergoing huge business transformations. This study analyses the case of General Electric undergoing such a strategic business transformation. Study conceptualizes a theoretical framework around this new concept by expanding the Venkatraman’s (1994) IT-enablement model and exhibiting evidences of non–linearity and overlap across different transformation stages. Study discloses, IT localized exploitation stage as a default stage for initiating technology convergence and illustrates that each stage of the transformation has an impact on a unique set of organizational dimensions. Business scope redefinition stage influences the dimension of strategy and vision while internal integration stage influences the organization’s structure dimension. The two dimensions that are impacted most during the business process and network redesign stages, are business process and products and markets respectively.
In contrast to the developed world where innovation approaches are focused on IT enabled performance enhancements, emerging markets are observing innovations centred on frugal products that are cost effective and provide value for money. Past two decades have seen a tremendous growth in emerging markets as they are developing their own innovative capabilities (Jiatao and Rajiv, 2009). Country like India, which is also a focus of this thesis, initially playing secondary roles has now become a breeding ground for frugal and social global innovations. This thesis discusses various types of innovation approaches adopted by local firms and multi-national companies in emerging markets such as frugal innovation, jugaad, disruptive innovation, gandhian innovation, catalytic innovation, indigenous innovation, resource-constrained innovation and bottom-up innovation. It identifies the increasing complexity and terminology confusion across these approaches in the growing and fragmented literature revolving around emerging markets. Targeting this shortcoming of the literature, this study attempts to consolidate the research insights into a unified framework defining eight main requirements of emerging markets namely cost-effective, easy-to-use, sustainable, problem-centric, no-frills, fast-to-market, resourceful and breakthrough. Additionally, study also analyses the priorities of these requirements during the buying and designing process from end customers and manufacturers point of view respectively. Research confirms “cost-effective” and “easy to use” as the absolute requirements of bottom-of-pyramid (BOP) customers and reveals the growing awareness towards eco-friendly products. It also introduces two additional important features from customer perspective namely – low/no maintenance or consumables and customized solutions to the framework.
Furthermore, research also touches upon the topic of social enterprises, medium to diffuse social innovations into emerging markets to address social challenges and developmental issues like poverty and access to healthcare services. Study uses event structure analysis and four growth stages identified by Perrini et al. (2010); opportunity identification, opportunity evaluation, opportunity exploitation and opportunity scaling-up to analyze two social healthcare enterprises in India. It proposes an abstract model of a social enterprise with the contributing generalized actions and their causal interactions. Thesis ends with a conclusion giving an overview and a consolidated view of innovation approaches existing in developed world and emerging markets. Additionally it reemphasises some of the limitations experienced during the research work and suggests related future research propositions.
The focus of this dissertation lies on the brand personality (BP) and the brand relationship concept. They represent two particularly important measures of brand equity. And more importantly, both concepts still lack a comprehensive understanding. Hence, this dissertation provides deeper insight in how two manage and measure BP and how to build strong consumer-brand relationships. Thus, the purpose of this dissertation is twofold: In particular, the first objective is to discuss consumer’s perception of brand personality. In particular, the first goal is to gain an understanding of the way consumers perceive brands. The aim is to explore the amount of variance in consumer perception of brand personality. Do all customers perceive the same intended BP or do customers perceive the same intended BP differently? Reviewing the extant literature on BP reveals that there is much criticism on the existing BP scale (Aaker 1997). In order to address this issue, the research objective is to introduce an alternative conceptualization of BP by drawing upon social psychology. The aim is to analyze the role of emotions linking BP perceptions, brand attitude and purchase intentions. The second purpose of this dissertation is to illustrate how customers form relationships towards brands. Hence, in a first step, this dissertation pursues a thorough literature review. The aim is to scrutinize past research on consumer-brand relationships. This literature review will portray how the concept of consumer-brand relationships has been used in the marketing literature. The aim of this state-of-the-art review is to precisely identify the variables and concepts that deserve more attention. Subsequently, these variables will be investigated in an empirically tested model. So, the fourth aim is to identify the relevant antecedent and mediating variables of consumer-brand relationships. In doing so, this thesis seeks to provide a clear picture of the current state of BP and consumer-brand relationship research. Moreover, it aims at promoting research in these two research fields by addressing current issues in marketing. The first study (chapter 2) applies the existing BP scale. It develops a taxonomy which fills a gap in empirical knowledge about consumer perceptions of brand personalities. To the author’s knowledge, this is the first study that empirically derives a taxonomy from dimensions drawn from academic research (Aaker 1997). Overall, the results reveal that customers who perceive a strong BP perceive higher levels of performance in terms of brand attitude, preference and satisfaction. The second study (chapter 3) is the first to empirically investigate the applicability of the stereotype content model in the context of consumer goods brands. The review of extant research on BP shows a growing concern about the appropriateness of the Aaker scale. In order to address this issue, the study draws upon social psychology and the stereotype content model. The empirical study suggests that the stereotype content model is a viable alternative conceptualization of the BP concept. This study contributes to current research in two ways. First, it helps reducing complexity in BP measurement. Second, the results provide evidence that the consumer’s behavioral intention results from his stereotypes towards the brand, his emotions and his brand attitude. By providing a current state-of-the-art review, chapter 4 serves as a valuable source of information to enhance research concerning consumer-brand relationships. First, the overview shows that consumer-brand relationship research still is in its infancy. Second, it reveals that current research on consumer-brand relationships focuses on the interpersonal context. Chapter 5 proposes an alternative conceptualization of the brand relationship quality construct by integrating current knowledge from the relationship marketing literature. The results show that brand relationship quality is well captured by the dimensions relationship commitment, trust, and relationship satisfaction. Second, this study is the first to apply the Relational Exchange Theory by Macneil (1980) to the consumer goods brand context. It introduces the norm concept from a business perspective and shows that relational norms play a mediating role in actual relationships between consumers and brands. Hence, the present study approves the question by Johar (2005) whether norms are attached to brand behavior. Furthermore, this chapter advances the current knowledge on consumer-brand relationships by empirically testing a comprehensive framework of consumer-brand relationships. This framework includes not only consumer and brand characteristics, but also brand relationship characteristics as relevant drivers of the consumer-brand dyad. The findings indicate that consumer characteristics are especially related to relational norms and that brand relationship characteristics rather influence the degree of perceived brand relationship quality and brand loyalty. Brand characteristics on the other hand can be linked to both mediators and the out-come variable brand loyalty. Overall, this dissertation advances the understanding of the two key brand equity measures BP and brand relationship by reducing complexity: Whereas the first study develops a taxonomy of brand constellations, the remaining two empirical studies transfer existing knowledge originating from marketing or related disciplines to the brand context. As such, this thesis reduces complexity and enriches research in the two fields by adding knowledge which has proven of value in related contexts.