Extending the Value Chain - A conceptual framework for managing the governance of co-created brand equity
Successful brands are primary sources of a firm's value and often its most valuable assets. Governance of the considerable equity in them is therefore a critical issue. At the same time, the notion of co-creation, in which value creation for firm, consumers and stakeholders derives from providing a uniquely differentiated and meaningful brand experience, suggests that firms' capability to create long-term value comes not only from ownership of successful brands, but also from having the ability to consistently deliver the experience they promise. Co-creation therefore offers a whole new perspective on firms' fundamental ability to create and safeguard long-term value and brand equity. This article briefly discusses the limitations of earlier models of firms' value-creation capability when considered from this newer vantage point. Co-creation also implies that an organisation's internal value chain is only one part of a larger system in which value is created by managing a virtuous cycle of stakeholder expectations, successful brand delivery, satisfaction and loyalty that combine to generate sustainable and superior industry returns. We therefore propose a conceptual framework that extends the value chain into this wider context and offers a more holistic perspective for managing the creation and governance of brand equity. The main implications of this framework are: (1) to draw attention to the risks of narrowly interpreted value chain analysis that ignores the need for meaningful differentiation; (2) to emphasise the critical importance of successful brand delivery to long-term value creation and competitiveness; and (3) to highlight the need to develop both a more sophisticated conceptualisation and also measures of brand experience quality that are fully consumer- and stakeholder-, rather than firm-centric.
Journal of Brand Management