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  • 1.
    Aagerup, Ulf
    Halmstad University, School of Business, Engineering and Science, Centre for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning Research (CIEL), Centre for International Marketing and Entrepreneurship Research (CIMER).
    Accessible luxury fashion brand building via fat discrimination2018In: Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, ISSN 1361-2026, E-ISSN 1758-7433, Vol. 22, no 1, p. 2-16Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose: To investigate if accessible luxury fashion brands discriminate overweight and obese consumers.

    Design/methodology/approach: The physical sizes of garments are surveyed in-store and compared to the body sizes of the population. A gap analysis is carried out in order to determine whether the supply of clothes match the demand of each market segment.

    Findings: The surveyed accessible luxury garments come in very small sizes compared to the individuals that make up the population.

    Research limitations/implications: The survey is limited to London while the corresponding population is British. It is therefore possible that the mismatch between assortments and the population is in part attributable to geographic and demographic factors. The study’s results are however so strikingly clear that even if some of the effect were due to extraneous variables, it would be hard to disregard the poor match between overweight and obese women and the clothes offered to them.

    Practical implications: For symbolic/expressive brands that are conspicuously consumed, that narrowly target distinct and homogenous groups of people in industries where elitist practices are acceptable, companies can build brands via customer rejection.

    Social implications: The results highlight ongoing discrimination of overweight and obese fashion consumers.

    Originality/value: The study is the first to provide quantitative evidence for brand building via customer rejection, and it delineates under which conditions this may occur. This extends the theory of typical user imagery. © Emerald Publishing Limited 2018

  • 2.
    Aagerup, Ulf
    Halmstad University, School of Business, Engineering and Science, Centre for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning Research (CIEL), Centre for International Marketing and Entrepreneurship Research (CIMER).
    Intermediate Luxury Fashion: Brand Building via Fat Discrimination2016In: 11th Global Brand Conference / [ed] Stuart Roper, Saltaire, UK: Greenleaf Publishing , 2016, p. 23-28Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate if intermediate luxury fashion brands discriminate overweight and obese consumers.

    Design/methodology/approach: 1,454 intermediate luxury garments were tallied and measured in-store in London. The physical sizes of the garments were matched to the body sizes of the population, and a gap analysis was carried out in order to determine whether the supply of clothes match the relative importance of each market segment.

    Findings: While previous research shows that mass-market fashion companies do not discriminate overweight and obese consumers, intermediate luxury garments come in very small sizes compared to the individuals that make up the population.

    Research limitations/implications: The findings show that purveyors of intermediate luxury fashion limit assortments of garments so they avoid fat typical user imagery.

    Practical implications: Companies that market products that are sensitive to the typical user imagery can optimize their brands by limiting undesirable customer types access to their brands, provided that 1) they have the financial strength to reject customers whose image would be detrimental to the brand, 2) the companies are active in an industry in which people would tolerate customer rejection, and 3) they sell a product that actually can be denied undesirable customers.

    Social implications: The study shows that fat consumers are relegated to mass-market fashion but are excluded from intermediate luxury fashion. This constitutes a social inequality.

    Originality/value: The result of this study provides quantitative evidence that companies control assortments to exclude undesirable typical user imagery. It also delineates under which conditions they do it. This adds to the theory of user imagery.

  • 3.
    Aagerup, Ulf
    Halmstad University, School of Business, Engineering and Science, Centre for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning Research (CIEL), Centre for International Marketing and Entrepreneurship Research (CIMER).
    Obese models’ effect on fashion brand attractiveness2018In: Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, ISSN 1361-2026, E-ISSN 1758-7433, Vol. 22, no 4, p. 557-570Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose: To investigate the effect of obese models vs. normal weight models on fashion brands’ attractiveness.

    Design/methodology/approach: An experiment was carried out in which 1,225 university students in Sweden and Brazil rated the attractiveness of a fashion brand worn by a normal weight model and an obese model.

    Findings: The overall effect of obese models’ effect on fashion brand attractiveness was insignificant. Further, neither culture, nor the consumer’s own weight had a significant effect. There was, however, a significant effect of the participant’s own gender; women rate fashion brands worn by obese models significantly higher on attractiveness than they did fashion brands worn by normal weight models. Men displayed the inverse response.

    Research limitations/implications: The effect of the model’s ethnicity was beyond the scope of the experiment, and the brand attractiveness scale captured only one aspect of brand character, leaving other potential brand effects for future studies.

    Practical implications: Companies can use obese models with no overall brand attractiveness penalty across markets and for marketing to women of all sizes. Given men’s negative reactions, such models might however be unsuitable for the male-to-female gift market.

    Social implications: The results support the use of obese models, which can lead to greater representation of larger women in the media, and consequently, reduced fat stigma.

    Originality/value: The study validates the theory of user imagery, and it extends the theory by examining how different target consumers react to user imagery traits and thus provides evidence for gender bias towards obese models. © Emerald Publishing Limited 2018

  • 4.
    Aagerup, Ulf
    Department of Business Administration School of Business, Economics and Law University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.
    The Impact of User Weight on Brands and Business Practices in Mass Market Fashion2010Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Overweight people claim to be mistreated by the fashion industry. If they were, it would be in line with branding theory supporting the idea of rejecting fat consumers to improve user imagery for fashion brands. However, fashion companies do not confess to such practices.

    To shed some light on the subject, I have conducted two studies.

    The first attempts to illustrate what effect, if any, user imagery has on fashion brands. It is an experiment designed to show how the weight of users affects consumers’ perceptions of mass market fashion brands. The findings show that consumers’ impressions of mass market fashion brands are significantly affected by the weight of its users. The effect of male user imagery is ambiguous. For women’s fashion on the other hand, slender users are to be preferred.

    In the second study I examine what effects these effects have on assortments. I compare the sizes of mass market clothes to the body sizes of the population. No evidence of discrimination of overweight or obese consumers was found -quite the contrary.

    The reasons for these unexpected findings may be explained by the requirements a brand must fulfil to make management of the customer base for user imagery purposes viable. The brand must be sensitive to user imagery; a requirement that mass market fashion fulfils. However, it must also be feasible for a company to exclude customers, and while garment sizes can be restricted to achieve this, the high volume sales strategy of mass market fashion apparently cannot.

  • 5.
    Aagerup, Ulf
    Halmstad University, School of Business, Engineering and Science, Centre for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning Research (CIEL). School of Business, Economics, and Law, Göteborg University, Göteborg, Sweden.
    The influence of real women in advertising on mass market fashion brand perception2011In: Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, ISSN 1361-2026, E-ISSN 1758-7433, Vol. 15, no 4, p. 486-502Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate how the weight of ideal users affects the perception of mass market fashion brands. Design/methodology/approach: An experiment was carried out in which 640 university students replied to a web survey, rating the brand personality of jeans and shirts according to Aaker's Big Five construct. The garments were worn by thin, overweight, and obese models. Findings: The findings show that consumers' impressions of mass market fashion brands are significantly affected by the weight of ideal users. Slender models lead to the most positive brand perception followed by obese models. Overweight user imagery is for pure fashion brand building the least attractive kind. Research limitations/implications: A limitation of this study is the use of convenient student samples. Consequently, the generalization of the results beyond this convenience sample may be limited. It is further possible, even probable, that high fashion would suffer more from the negative imagery of overweight and obese users than mass market fashion. It would therefore be interesting to replicate this experiment using clothes of higher fashion grade and price. Practical implications: The demonstrated effects of user imagery support the industry practice of slim ideal female imagery. Social implications: The results inform the debate over skinny models vs real women in advertising. Originality/value: Previous research regarding the effectiveness of real women in advertising has been inconclusive. This paper demonstrates not only that model weight affects consumers' brand perception, but also how. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

  • 6.
    Aagerup, Ulf
    Department of Business Administration School of Business, Economics and Law University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.
    To sell or not to sell: overweight users’ effect on fashion assortmentsManuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Overweight people claim to be mistreated by the fashion industry. Fashion companies disagree. Despite the controversy, actual research has been scarce. This study compares the sizes of clothes the four leading mass marketing fashion retailers in Sweden offer to the body sizes of the population. Although branding theory would support the idea of rejecting fat consumers to improve user imagery for fashion brands, such practices were not evident. The main contribution of this paper is that it provides the first quantified empirical evidence on the theory of typical user imagery.

    In the discussion, it is posited that although mass market fashion brands should be susceptible to negative user imagery related to overweight and obese users, the companies avoid such problems by making garments that are not directly attributable to a specific brand, thus mitigating the negative effect of overweight and obese user imagery. 

  • 7.
    Aagerup, Ulf
    Halmstad University, School of Business, Engineering and Science, Centre for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning Research (CIEL), Centre for Technology, Innovation and Marketing Management (CTIM2).
    To sell or not to sell: Overweight users’ effect on fashion assortments2010In: Journal of Brand Management, ISSN 1350-231X, E-ISSN 1479-1803, Vol. 18, no 1, p. 66-78Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Overweight people claim to be mistreated by the fashion industry. Fashion companies disagree. Despite the controversy, actual research has been scarce. This study compares the sizes of clothes that the four leading mass-marketing fashion retailers in Sweden offer to the body sizes of the population. Although branding theory would support the idea of rejecting fat consumers to improve user imagery for fashion brands, such practices were not evident. The main contribution of this article is that it provides the first quantified empirical evidence on the theory of typical user imagery. In the discussion, it is posited that, although mass-market fashion brands should be susceptible to negative user imagery related to overweight and obese users, the companies avoid such problems by making garments that are not directly attributable to a specific brand, thus mitigating the negative effect of overweight and obese user imagery. © 2010 Macmillan Publishers Ltd.

  • 8.
    Aagerup, Ulf
    Department of Business Administration School of Business, Economics and Law University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.
    User BMI effects on mass market fashion brandsManuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate how the weight of users affects the perception of mass market fashion brands.

    Design/methodology/approach: This study attempts to show effects of typical - as well as ideal user imagery on fashion brands. An experiment was carried out in which 1848 university students replied to a web survey, rating the brand personality of jeans and shirts according to Aaker’s Big Five construct. The garments were worn by digitally manipulated versions of one person as thin, overweight, and obese.

    Findings: The findings show that consumers’ impressions of mass market fashion brands are significantly affected by the weight of its users. The effect of male user imagery is ambiguous. For women’s fashion on the other hand, slender users are to be preferred.

    Research limitations/implications: It is possible, even probable, that high fashion would suffer more from negative typical user imagery than would mass market fashion. It would therefore be interesting to replicate this experiment using clothes of higher fashion grade and price.

    Practical implications: The demonstrated effects of user imagery support the industry practice of slim ideal female imagery. However, excluding customers to boost brand perception should not be an option for these brands.

    Social implications: The results inform the debate over skinny models vs. “real women” in advertising as well as the debate over discrimination of overweight consumers through assortment decisions.

    Originality/value: This is the first time typical user imagery effects are included in a study of this type, and it is the first study to test user imagery effects on fashion. 

  • 9.
    Aagerup, Ulf
    et al.
    Halmstad University, School of Business, Engineering and Science, Centre for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning Research (CIEL), Centre for International Marketing and Entrepreneurship Research (CIMER).
    Nilsson, Jonas
    Handelshögskolan i Göteborg, Göteborg, Sweden.
    Green consumer behavior: being good or seeming good?2016In: Journal of Product & Brand Management, ISSN 1061-0421, Vol. 25, no 3, p. 274-284, article id 115980330Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose: This paper aims to expand the emerging field of symbolic green consumer behavior (GCB) by investigating the impact of anticipated conspicuousness of the consumption situation on consumers’ choice of organic products. In addition, the paper also explores whether self-monitoring ability and attention to social comparison information (ATSCI) influence GCB in situations of anticipated high conspicuousness.

    Design/methodology/approach: Two experiments test the study’s hypotheses.

    Findings: The results of both experiments show that the anticipation of conspicuousness has a significant effect on GCB. Moreover, in Experiment 2, this effect is moderated by consumers’ level of ATSCI but not by their self-monitoring ability.

    Research limitations/implications: Because ATSCI significantly interacts with green consumption because of the anticipation of a conspicuous setting, although self-monitoring ability does not, we conclude that social identification is an important determinant of green consumption.

    Practical implications: Marketers who focus on building green brands could consider designing conspicuous consumption situations to increase GCB.

    Social implications: Policymakers could enact change by making the environmental unfriendliness of non-eco-friendly products visible to the public and thus increase the potential for GCB.

    Originality/value: The results validate the emerging understanding that green products are consumed for self-enhancement, but also expand the literature by highlighting that a key motivating factor of GCB is the desire to fit in.

  • 10.
    Andersson, Svante
    et al.
    Halmstad University, School of Business, Engineering and Science, Centre for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning Research (CIEL), Centre for International Marketing and Entrepreneurship Research (CIMER).
    Aagerup, Ulf
    Halmstad University, School of Business, Engineering and Science, Centre for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning Research (CIEL), Centre for International Marketing and Entrepreneurship Research (CIMER).
    Awuah, Gabriel Baffour
    Halmstad University, School of Business, Engineering and Science, Centre for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning Research (CIEL), Centre for International Marketing and Entrepreneurship Research (CIMER).
    Wictor, Ingemar
    Halmstad University, School of Business, Engineering and Science, Centre for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning Research (CIEL), Centre for International Marketing and Entrepreneurship Research (CIMER).
    Building Brand Personality in a Business-to-Business Context – the Case of Born Globals2018Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Branding has for a long time been in focus in strategic decision making for firms in a business-to-consumer context. Brands has been used as a tool to differentiate products and position firms’ offers towards competitors. In a business-to business context branding has not been in focus in the same way. Strategic decisions have more dealt with technology innovation and market expansions. In recent times, a greater interest for brand building in a business to business (B2B) context has emerged, both in practice and academia, especially for globally active B2B firms that strive to create a unified look of their products and firms. The hard global competition has made it difficult to compete on product quality alone, services around the product and intangible features has been important parts of B2B firms’ offers. The B2B firms’ more complex offers can be incorporated under a common brand that differentiates the firms’ offer from competitors. Although that the practical importance of B2B branding has been acknowledge lately, research dealing with B2B branding is still relatively limited. Most studies on B2B branding attempt to describe what brands are, how they affect companies, or vice versa. Research on the process of B2B brand building is however scarce. Also, when B2B brands are in focus of a study, it is usually their tangible characteristics that are examined. In B2C brand literature, intangible aspects and, the metaphor to see the brand as a person is widely discussed (Aaker, 1997). However, there is very little research on brand as a person element in the B2B context. Brand personality is normally defined as the human characteristics associated with a brand, More research into the brand personality building processes in a B2B context are therefore needed. Following the above discussion this study’s aim is to investigate how brand personality is built in B2B companies.

    A qualitative approach has been adopted to enable us to investigate, in-depth, an under-researched area (Ghauri and Gronhaug, 2010; and Yin, 1989) The key factor underpinning the selection of the two cases was conceptual relevance rather than representative grounds, so we used theoretical sampling (Miles and Huberman 1994). We combined secondary data research and field interviews and workshops with the CEOs in the case firms. The researchers constructed an interview-guide based on earlier literature and discussion in a workshop. Our aim and research question served as the basic structure for data analysis.  The study contributes to the literature by integrating theory on brand building from the marketing fields with the research dealing with the born global phenomenon discussed in the international entrepreneurship field.

  • 11.
    Andersson, Svante
    et al.
    Halmstad University, School of Business, Engineering and Science, Centre for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning Research (CIEL), Centre for International Marketing and Entrepreneurship Research (CIMER).
    Awuah, Gabriel Baffour
    Halmstad University, School of Business, Engineering and Science, Centre for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning Research (CIEL), Centre for International Marketing and Entrepreneurship Research (CIMER).
    Aagerup, Ulf
    Halmstad University, School of Business, Engineering and Science, Centre for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning Research (CIEL), Centre for International Marketing and Entrepreneurship Research (CIMER).
    Wictor, Ingemar
    Halmstad University, School of Business, Engineering and Science, Centre for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning Research (CIEL), Centre for International Marketing and Entrepreneurship Research (CIMER).
    Customer Value Creation in Mature Born Globals2017Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    INTRODUCTION

    Research on firms that already from their inception see the whole world as a market and/or the whole world as a source to access resources, so called born globals (Andersson & Wictor, 2003, Knight & Cavusgil, 2004; Cavusgil & Knight, 2015), has been growing during the last decades  (Servantie, 2016). Born globals are an especially interesting group of firms to study, in regard of value creation, as they have been able to create competitive offers fulfilling the needs of customers on global markets.

     The distinguishing feature of born globals is their international behaviour at birth and soon thereafter. The firms’ behaviour is initiated by the entrepreneurs’ and management’s global mindset and the commitment of resources leading to international growth (Andersson, 2000; Knight & Causgil, 2004). Born globals is, by definition, a born global firm “forever”, as has been characterized by their early years.  We argue that the early years make these firms a special type of firms that will influence their further international development. Firms with a long-term focus on the domestic market must unlearn routines rooted in the domestic context before new, internationally oriented routines can be learned. An early entrance to international markets forces born globals to adopt to new contexts and create new knowledge that leads to new routines and creates a culture in the firms to adapt to new international opportunities (Andersson & Evers, 2015; Autio et al ., 2000, Cavusgil & Knight, 2004).

    There has been extensive research on born globals’ internationalization dealing with which markets, and market channels firms should choose to grow internationally. There has also been extensive research dealing with antecedents and factors influencing these choices. The focus on born global research has also been on the very early stages in the internationalization process. Few studies have captured the long-term behaviour and growth of born globals (2008; Gabrielsson and Gabrielsson, 2013, Melen Hånell, Nordman and Sharma, 2014). A question that has been very little addressed is: what happens to born global firms when they grow up (Cavusgil & Knight, 2015)? In this study we define this grown up born global firms as mature born globals (c. f. Hagen & Zuchella, 2014, maturing born global firms). To succeed with a continued international expansion, the born global firms need to increase sales on international markets. The underlying reason for success on international markets and continuous growth is that the mature born global firms have an offer that gives higher value to the customer than their competitors. However customer value is not explicitly treated in internationalization theories (Axinn & Matthyssen, 2002). To our knowledge there has not been any research that has, in- depth, explored how mature born globals create value for customers to create international growth. In line with the above discussion, the aim of this study is to investigate how mature born global firms create value for customers to create international growth.

    METHOD

    A qualitative approach has been adopted to enable us to investigate, in-depth, an under-researched area (Ghauri and Gronhaug, 2010; and Yin, 1989) “how born global firms create value for customers to create international growth”. In all, the study was conducted with five companies. The key factor underpinning the selection of the five cases was conceptual relevance rather than representative grounds, so we used theoretical sampling (Miles and Huberman 1994). We conducted a review of annual reports, other secondary documentation, and the websites of the case firms. We combined secondary data research and field interviews and workshops with the CEOs in the case firms. The researchers constructed an interview-guide based on earlier literature and discussion on a works-shop. Interviews were carried out with the five CEOs and transcribed. Data analysis included several steps. The information from the interviews, and other sources served as descriptive narratives, which helped us process the large volume of data (Mintzberg and McHugh 1985). This process enabled the unique patterns of each case to emerge before cross-case comparison (Eisenhardt 1989; Yin 1994) was undertaken. Our aim and research question served as the basic structure for data analysis.

    CONCLUSIONS

    We conclude that a strong focus on customer value creation was in focus. To create customer value a combination of proactive and reactive market orientation was implemented built on a competitive offer that was hard to replicate. Depending on the characteristics of the buyer-seller relationship different tools were used to build relationship value. The revenue earned is invested in further international growth, by investing in market driving activities, and entrepreneurial alertness to act on upcoming opportunities was crucial. This study contributes to the international entrepreneurship field by explicitly including marketing literature and empirically investigating how value is created to achieve international growth in born globals. This study also contributes to the industrial marketing field by developing a model that shows how born global firms create value for international customers to generate international growth in a B2B context.

  • 12.
    Andersson, Svante
    et al.
    Halmstad University, School of Business, Engineering and Science, Centre for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning Research (CIEL), Centre for International Marketing and Entrepreneurship Research (CIMER).
    Awuah, Gabriel
    Halmstad University, School of Business, Engineering and Science, Centre for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning Research (CIEL), Centre for International Marketing and Entrepreneurship Research (CIMER).
    Wictor, Ingemar
    Halmstad University, School of Business, Engineering and Science, Centre for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning Research (CIEL), Centre for Technology, Innovation and Marketing Management (CTIM2).
    Aagerup, Ulf
    Halmstad University, School of Business, Engineering and Science, Centre for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning Research (CIEL), Centre for International Marketing and Entrepreneurship Research (CIMER).
    International growth in born globals – value creation on international markets2015Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Importance and key contribution

    Research on firm’s that already from inception see the whole world as a market and/or the whole world as a source to access resources, so called born globals (Andersson & Wictor, 2003), have been growing during the last decades (Jones, Coviello and Tang, 2012).  These firms are characterized of innovative business models that are competitive on the global market already from inception (Hennart, 2013). To succeed with a continued international expansion, the born global firms need to adapt their respective business models for a more complex environment; in more institutionally remote markets. The continued growth phase of born globals are scarcely treated in earlier research (Gabrielsson & Gabrielsson, 2013).

    Earlier studies on Born Globals have focused on Born Globals’ development in western, developed countries. Therefore there is a need to examine Born Globals’ activities on emerging markets (Kiss et al, 2012). The attractiveness and growth opportunities in emerging markets are perceived to be higher than what obtains in other conceivable markets of the world (Cavusgil, Knight, and Risenberger, 2012).

    Important in this stage is handle relationship with different stakeholders on a global base. An important tool to handle this relationship is the companies’ branding strategy. Few studies have combined research on born globals’ internationalization and branding (Gabrielsson, 2005) and there is a need to further develop the knowledge about branding and international growth. This study aims to explore how born global companies are using brand management when growing on emerging markets. This study contributes to the international entrepreneurship field by exploring growth on emerging markets, it also contributes by adding knowledge from the brand management field to explore international growth.

    Theoretical base

    In recent studies the “global” part in the BG has been criticized (Lopez, Kundu and Ciravegena, 2009, Rugman and Almodovar, 2011). Some researchers argue that there a very few really Born Global firms with activities in the three economic and political power bases in the world. NAFTA, EU and the largest eight Asia-Pacific economies (Rugman and Almodovar, 2011). Implicit in research on Born Global firms is that distance (geographic, psychic, cultural, and institutional) is no longer an important issue when the international behaviour and international performance in a Born Global is discussed. We argue that the reason for that is a bias in the research treating Born Global firms with focus on companies that both have their origin and target markets in high-developed economies. Peiris, Akoorie and Sinha (2012) showed that most studies on Born Global firm were done on firms originating in developed countries and only a few studies were done on firms from emerging countries. Studies from emerging countries mainly were done on Chinese firms and very few studies has treated firms from Middle east, Africa or South Asia. Another reason why the Born Global research has not focused on institutional differences can partly be explained by the fact that the Born Global studies have looked internally at firm-specific factors (e.g. using resource-based view and knowledge-based view of the firm as a theoretical domain) (Andersson, Evers and Kuivalainen, 2014; Knight and Cavusgil, 2004).

    We argue that institutional differences affect Born Globals’ international behaviour (scope, speed, and entry mode); and to investigate how institutional distances affect Born Global firms, it is important to include nations with a variety of institutional and cultural characteristics. Born Global firms from developed countries entering institutionally distant markets will meet a context that is different from their home markets. Regulations, culture etc. differ and relationships are often fewer and weaker than, the companies’ relationships with western companies.  Born Global companies from developed countries still first focus on other developed countries, followed by emerging markets (e. g China and Brazil). We argue that institutional distance still matters and that firms from developed countries still have more and stronger networks in other developed countries. More research is needed two explore how this influence Born Global firms’ internationalization processes.

    Most studies on born globals have focused on firms in a business-to business context. Also this study is focusing on this sector. Even if most brand management studies have focus on business-to consumer sectors, there is an increasing stream of literature that has shown the importance of brand management also in business-to business settings (Gabrielsson & Gabrielsson, 2005). Brands are used to build relationships with customers. In emerging markets, western companies have fewer and weaker relationships, as the distance is longer (see the discussion above. Research is needed to explore how brand management can be used to create and sustain relationships on emerging markets. The above discussion lead us to the following research questions.

    Research questions

    How do born globals manage the organization’s international growth in in emerging markets?

    Which role has brand management to create and sustain relationships with internal and external stakeholders on emerging markets?

    Method and Findings

    Emprical data will be gathered during the Spring 2015. A case approach is considered as the most appropriate to catch the complexity of value creating process in international network context (Yin, 1994). The case study approach is under-represented in studies about internationalization and has been recommended as a fruitful way to expand the knowledge in this area (e.g Andersson, 2000, Cavusgil, 1980). Eisenhardt (1989) recommends case studies as a fruitful way to give a deeper insight in conflicting literature, as well as sharpening the generalizability of different theoretical standpoints which is an important goal in this study. There is a need to learn more about special types of firms and not only to look for the average firm (Andriani and McKelvey, 2007). The close relationship already established with the firms will make it possible to receive information that is hard to get access to with other methods (Welch et al, 2002).

    The cases will be built built on action research in co-operation with the partner firms, work-shops, personal interviews and observations but complemented with secondary data, such as, annual reports and internal documents. The individuals who have the greatest influence on the internationalization processes will be interviewed. Interviews and observations will lead to the identification of individuals/actors who are central in the international value creating processes. This includes actors outside the focal company, such as customers, suppliers, and co-operation partners. Our long co-operation with the companies has created trustful relationship between the researchers and the company representatives.

    The analysis of the data will include several steps. The information from interviews and other sources will be written down in descriptive narratives. This process allows the researcher to become intimately familiar with each case and allows the unique patterns of each case to emerge before cross-case comparison (Eisenhardt, 1989). The analysis will be carried out together with companies and results will be a base for decisions in each companies as well as part in academic research.

    Patterns will be identified among the cases (Yin, 1994). Earlier theoretical findings will be compared with the international development in the cases. Thereafter, the theory will be revised and the findings examined again. The reasoning is, in other words, not entirely inductive or deductive (Yin 1989). Following Eisenhardt’s (1989) recommendations, the analysis will include several iterations between theory and data.

    Implications

    The study will also give knowledge about pros and cons with different localisation alternatives on emerging markets. It is easy to just follow management trends (everyone should out-source production and buy supplies from China) and “go with the flock” instead of get knowledge of different alternatives. The comparison between the different firms will increase the knowledge about when different alternatives are suitable.

  • 13.
    Egels-Zandén, Niklas
    et al.
    Center for Business in Society, School of Business, Economics and Law at Göteborg University.
    Aagerup, Ulf
    Marketing Group, School of Business, Economics and Law at Göteborg University.
    Misery as Corporate Mission: User Imagery at the Nightclub The Spy Bar2007In: Contemporary Issues in Business Ethics / [ed] M. W. Vilcox and T. O. Mohan, New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 2007, 1, p. 163-171Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 14.
    Egels-Zandén, Niklas
    et al.
    Göteborgs universitet, Gothenburg Research Institute (GRI), Gothenburg, Sweden.
    Aagerup, Ulf
    Halmstad University, School of Business, Engineering and Science, Centre for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning Research (CIEL).
    Misery as Corporate Mission: User Imagery at the Nightclub The Spy Bar2008In: Journal of Current Issues in Finance, Business and Economics, ISSN 1935-3553, Vol. 2, no 1, p. 55-68Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Despite extensive corporate responsibility research into both what products firm produce and how they produce them, research is lacking in one product category in which the what and how linkage create questionable corporate practice – luxury products. Luxury is in some cases created by companies controlling the so-called user imagery of their customers, i.e., by companies encouraging ‘desirable’ individuals to consume their products and obstructing ‘undesirable’ individuals from consumption. This chapter critically analyses the implications of this corporate practice based on a study of Sweden’s most luxurious nightclub. The study’s results show that the nightclub has organised its activities to allow categorisations of individuals into ‘desirable’ and ‘undesirable’ customers. Furthermore, the study shows that a creation of ‘misery’ for the vast majority of individuals (the ‘undesirable’) is essential for creating ‘enjoyment’ for the selected few (the ‘desirable’). The chapter concludes by discussing implications for practitioners interesting in altering this situation.

  • 15.
    Solberg Søilen, Klaus
    et al.
    Halmstad University, School of Business, Engineering and Science, Centre for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning Research (CIEL), Centre for International Marketing and Entrepreneurship Research (CIMER).
    Tontini, Gerson
    FURB, Blumeanau, Brazil.
    Aagerup, Ulf
    Halmstad University, School of Business, Engineering and Science, Centre for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning Research (CIEL), Centre for International Marketing and Entrepreneurship Research (CIMER).
    The perception of useful information derived from Twitter: A survey of professionals2017In: Journal of Intelligence Studies in Business, ISSN 2001-015X, E-ISSN 2001-015X, Vol. 7, no 3, p. 50-61Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In this study we gathered data from 220 professional users of information via a survey. Twitter is perceived as a service for useful information but not for the reason one may expect, not because the content of the tweets give valuable information, but because of what can be derived and extracted from the information that is being tweeted and not tweeted. Professional users are aware that tweets are being manipulated by communication departments so they adjust for this in their understanding of the content that is being delivered. For the same reason “fake news” is not seen as a problem either by professionals. Twitter is seen as valuable alongside other social media software (additional software solutions) and used directly together with other software (integrated software solutions). As a stand-alone service it is found to be of less value to experienced users and there are no signs that Twitter is a valuable tool for learning. 

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