The Role of A Flexible Brand Identity in A Dynamic Market : A Multiple-Case Study on Swedish Coffee Brands
Abstract: Conducting successful business requires a clear and steady brand identity, which is a part of brand management (Aaker, 1996; Kapferer, 1992, de Chernatony, 1999). Sticking to the core values and the traditions of the brand is beneficial. However, it seems advantageous to possess a flexible brand identity for the brand to be able to adapt to market trends and development. This could be of even more importance if the brand is existing in a dynamic market (Eisenhardt & Martin, 2000). This study aims to understand and further describe the role of flexible brand identity in a dynamic market, from a corporate point of view. The study was made according to an inductive approach of qualitative research, which enabled data collection from two case companies. The Swedish coffee market was chosen as the case market. Hence, five in-depth interviews were conducted with people working for two established coffee brands in Sweden. The empirical findings showed the importance of working on the brand identity to stay relevant in the Swedish coffee market. Factors and stakeholders such as consumers, retail, shops, origin of the coffee, changes in consumer interests, and market trends were mentioned. Communication, and brand transformation, also appeared to be important factors within the study. The empirical findings have been analysed in comparison to the previous research on brand identity and dynamic markets, as well as further developed and discussed. Altogether, the study aimed to discuss concepts and the empirical findings, and by the inclusion of the research questions: 1) How do companies work on transforming their brand identity? 2) How can a flexible brand identity be favourable when existing in a dynamic market? In conclusion, the Swedish coffee market appears to be moderately dynamic, and the benefits of a flexible brand identity is the ability to adapt and adjust for market trends, as long as the core values are taken into account during the changes.
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