5.2 Key conclusions: answering the research questions
5.2.4 New typologies: encapsulating the relationship of structured brand
A key conclusion from this research was a synthesis of key findings into 4 typologies which encapsulate the relationship of structured brand management practices and brand co-creation activities. These 4 typologies are: The Void, The Voyage, The Apex, The Creative Parapet. This research identifies that UK media organisations operate in 3 of the 4 typologies. This matrix is illustrated in Figure 10 below.
Figure 10: Typologies which encapsulate the relationship of structured brand management practices and brand co-creation activities.
Models, frameworks and typologies are useful ways to articulate succinctly and easily findings that reflect both a current state and can be used to organise future directions (Kapferer 2012). They are found extensively in brand management literature (see for example, Kapferer 1992 ‘Brand Identity Prism’; Aaker 1996 ‘Brand Identity System’;
The Apex The
171 De Chertonatony 1999 ‘Brand Identity Model’; Aaker and Joachimsthaler 2000,
‘Brand Architecture typology’; Iglesias et al. 2017 ‘Brand value co-creation model’;
Greyser and Urde 2019 ‘Corporate Brand Identity Matrix’) yet within the literature about media branding and media brands there is a lack of empirical and conceptual models to guide academics and practitioners ((Malmelin and Moisander 2014; Krebs and Siegert 2015). This matrix answers a need amongst media brand management researchers for a model specifically in the context of the media industry.
The 4 typologies within the matrix: The Void, The Voyage, The Apex and The
Creative Parapet reflect the different positions that UK media organisations may find themselves in regarding how they are approaching their media branding in relation to the new area of brand co-creation. It is the view that this matrix could be used by media organisations to identify their current position and understand what that may mean. It is argued that the ultimate position that Media organisations wish to find themselves in is ‘The Apex’ which realises the benefits of having structured brand management activities which facilitate brand co-creation activities, and which leads to customers and users actively involved in co-creating the extended brand identity.
184.108.40.206 The Void
From the research it was concluded that brand co-creation does not occur unless structured brand management practices are in place. In the absence of brand management, brand co-creation is not facilitated. From the sample no UK media organisations were involved in brand co-creation activities unless they firstly had in place structured brand management practices. From the research it was therefore found that high instances of co-creation could not occur without a structured active brand management process. This position can be found in the top left quadrant of Figure 10 labelled ‘The Void’ whereby there is a lack of presence of any UK media
172 organisations. This conclusion concurs with Ind (2014) in that brand managers still need to set the direction for the brand, to still manage it, but in an alternative way which allows for participation.
220.127.116.11 The Voyage
This position within the matrix is typified by those UK media organisations which do not have highly structured brand management practices and as a consequence are facilitating low levels of brand co-creation activity. The Voyage position can be found in the bottom left quadrant of Figure 10 whereby UK media organisations recognise the importance of branding and have a desire to do more, yet do not have the capabilities (Oliver 2014). From the research there were a minority of UK media organisations found in this position. It is taken that they are on a ‘voyage’ in terms of their branding activity, both in terms of having structured brand management
practices and facilitating brand co-creation activity. This ‘voyage’ is articulated clearly in the quote from the General Manager at PBS who stated:
“we’re still quite early in our journey (voyage) as a brand”
General Manager, PBS America
They are on a journey regarding branding and still do not have in place highly
structured brand management practices. They lack branding capabilities and hence are facilitating low levels of co-creation activities.
18.104.22.168 The Apex
The top right hand quadrant in the matrix is named ‘The Apex’ and is where UK media organisations were found that had highly structured brand management practices in addition to facilitating a high number of brand co-creation activities.
Organisations which were found in this position were seeing that the interplay of
173 negotiated meaning was happening in their extended brand identity; the extended brand identity was being co-created. The core brand identity is not impacted by co- creation, yet the extended brand identity is influenced by the interaction between the different stakeholders. Being in this position should lead to benefits being realised for all parties concerned. For the media organisation this includes greater connectivity with customers (Ind 2014); enhanced engagement of employees (Hatch and Schultz, 2010); media brand benefits (Ind et al. 2013; Nysveen and Pedesen 2014;
Mallemelin and Villi 2017) and ultimately competitive advantage in the media industry (Prahalad and Ramaswamy 2000; Chan-Olsted 2011). It is argued that ‘The Apex’ is the most attractive position for media brands as the mutual positive outcomes for all stakeholders should lead to stronger and more competitive media brands.
22.214.171.124 The Creative Parapet
Contrary to previous academic arguments who stress that brand co-creation exploits or over relies on participants (Cova and Dalli 2009; Cova et al. 2015) or who argue that the biggest barrier to brand co-creation is that organisations want to retain control (Ind and Schmidt 2019), this research concludes that for some UK media organisations relinquishing creativity or admitting that outsiders can have useful creative skills is the main legitimate concern. This occurrence can be found in the bottom right quadrant of the typology framework, illustrated in Figure 10. The findings suggest that tensions around media brand co-creation exist and that media
organisations are putting up a defence parapet to prevent external creative
involvement. Conflict occurs over operational aspects (costs, time, money), yet it is the resistant attitudes which are of particular interest in the media industry. These attitudes questioned the legitimacy of collaboration in a creative field. This can be seen from the quote from the Head of Research at Channel 4:
174 You can’t crowd source those ideas.
There are sparks of creative genius that only come from here (opposition).’’
Head of Research, Channel 4
In this situation, those UK media organisations did have structured brand management systems in place yet consciously pushed back against brand co- creation. This does differ from wanting to maintain control of the media brand (Chan- Olmsted 2011; Van Es 2016) or wanting to minimise other causes of tensions in the media industry (Banks and Deuze 2009; Holdgaard and Klastrup 2014), asserting instead that creative resistance occurs as this is deemed the remit of a creative industry. This does concur with the view of Ots and Hartmann (2015) who identified that media brand managers are still finding it challenging to understand how they can engage with consumer creativity in ways that benefits both parties. For media
organisations, which are seen to be built on creativity, opening up and relinquishing creative control, can be challenging. Relinquishing creativity leads to issues including accountability of ideas, concerns over the role of the creative employee and tension between the users views and the media brand. Although brand co-creation is now possible within this new collaborative environment, encouraging and allowing users and audiences to collaborate in the development of media brands presents
challenges for media organisations beyond just how they manage their brands. At the heart of brand co-creation is the idea of relinquishing control, letting it go. However, when control is shared or ceded, this represents a significant change in the
fundamental assumptions that underpin brand practice. When the conventional notion of brand management is being disrupted then of course this will in evidently cause discomfort for media brand management practices. Questions were raised by media professionals as to why they should let outsiders in on the creative process, challenging that this devalues their own contribution and expertise.
175 Although tensions around working practices and professional vulnerabilities linked to audience involvement are not new (Hesmondhalgh 2015; Deuze 2016), it is argued that this research provides new insight into brands which have creativity at their core.
For UK media organisations, which are seen to be built on creativity (Malmelin and Virta 2017), it can be concluded from this research that brand co-creation is seen as a threat to the creative ethos of the media industry. The value of the media industry is based on creativity and therefore it can be argued that facilitating ways in which
others actively engage and participate around a creative brand can potentially damage this creative value.