Reconciling the Tension between Consistency and Relevance: Design Thinking as a Mechanism for Brand Ambidexterity

J. of the Acad. Mark. Sci. (2015) 43:589-609

22 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2015

See all articles by Michael Beverland

Michael Beverland

Department of Strategy & Marketing

Sarah Wilner

Wilfrid Laurier University

Pietro Micheli

University of Warwick - Warwick Business School

Date Written: August 18, 2015

Abstract

In order to sustain and grow brand equity, brand managers are faced with balancing the preservation of existing brand identity through consistency with the need to maintain relevance, which requires change and innovation. In this paper we build upon the concept of organizational ambidexterity (March 1991), arguing that design thinking — the logics and practices associated with designers — can serve as a mechanism which promotes and enables the integration of brand consistency and relevance. Drawing on cases of innovation at firms across a range of industries, we show how design thinking can trigger brand ambidexterity across a three-stage process. We identify eight practices and examine how designers enable brand managers to address enduring consistency-relevance tensions in ways that ensure innovations renew or revitalize the brand without undermining its essence.

Keywords: Design, Design thinking, Brand consistency, Brand relevance, Innovation, Product innovation, Exploitation, Exploration, Ambidexterity

Suggested Citation

Beverland, Michael and Wilner, Sarah and Micheli, Pietro, Reconciling the Tension between Consistency and Relevance: Design Thinking as a Mechanism for Brand Ambidexterity (August 18, 2015). J. of the Acad. Mark. Sci. (2015) 43:589-609, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2646845

Michael Beverland

Department of Strategy & Marketing ( email )

Jubilee Building
Falmer, Brighton BN1 9SL
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/profiles/446031

Sarah Wilner (Contact Author)

Wilfrid Laurier University ( email )

75 University Ave W
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3C5
Canada
15198840710 (Phone)

Pietro Micheli

University of Warwick - Warwick Business School ( email )

Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom

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