Supplier brand image - a catalyst for choice Expanding the B2B brand discourse by studying the role corporate brand image plays in the selection of subcontractors

University dissertation from Jönköping : Internationella Handelshögskolan

Abstract: This thesis discusses brands and branding in a B2B context by investigating the role corporate brand image plays during the selection of subcontractors and, furthermore, how subcontractors might pursue branding as an active communication strategy. The background for these questions can be found in the evolving topics of corporate communications and B2B branding.The empirical parts focus on how buyers and sellers representing nine companies in the subcontractor context describe different phases and processes included in sales and purchasing.The results indicate that subcontractor corporate brand image can play different roles depending on the buyers’ situation. The type of product and buy class, in addition to the availability of time, known subcontractors and information sources, prove to have an impact on buyer behaviour and, consequently, the role played by corporate brand image. The analysis of subcontractor branding reveals that, although the brand concept is not in focus, branding activities can be identified. However, it also indicates that the reality of subcontractor branding is not in compliance with the theory on corporate branding and communications, which might be criticised for giving a too straightforward approach to the introduction of integrated and corporate-wide communications management.