Marketing strategies for services: is brand architecture a viable way forward?
Importance of branding as a strategic thrust is well understood by services marketing practitioners. Yet, in developing brand architectures, some researchers have suggested that the company is the only meaningful brand for service products, whereas others have argued for the development of strong sub-brands at the product level. The main objective of this study is to assess whether services in general have the capacity to develop successful brand architectures. Using a sample of 14 representative service companies, brand associations were elicited through a free association technique. These associations were categorised under a taxonomy with five brand meaning components and were hypothesised to have a competing impact on the overall attitudes towards the service product. The results of this research support the idea of brand architecture strategies and that services have equity at the sub-brand level in cases where the sub-brand has been built up meaningfully.