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
Date Written: August 18, 2015
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
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