The Service Brand as Relationships Builder

14 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2003

See all articles by Francesca Dall'Olmo Riley

Francesca Dall'Olmo Riley

Kingston Business School

Leslie de Chernatony

University of Lugano; Aston University - Aston Business School


This article examines the appropriateness of the notion and application of relationship marketing in various contexts. Theoretical and conceptual similarities between the broad notions of 'the brand' and of relationship marketing as risk reducers, simplifiers of choice and guarantee of quality are uncovered. We put forward a notion of relationship marketing as a further step in the branding process, whereby whenever perceived risk and consumer involvement are high, relationship marketing acts as a supplementary tool enabling consumers to maintain cognitive consistency and psychological comfort. Experts' opinions regarding branding in a service context expanded on these concepts. Especially for more intangible offerings, such as financial services, the experts stressed the use of corporate brand identity as the basis of relationship building both inside and outside the organization and as a means to achieve differentiation and provide the focus for homogeneous and consistent service delivery. Finally, we suggest the concept of the service brand as a holistic process beginning with the relationship between the firm and its staff and coming alive during the interactions between staff and customers.

Suggested Citation

Dall'Olmo Riley, Francesca and de Chernatony, Leslie, The Service Brand as Relationships Builder . British Journal of Management, Vol. 11, pp. 137-150, June 2000. Available at SSRN:

Francesca Dall'Olmo Riley (Contact Author)

Kingston Business School ( email )

Kingston Hill
Kingston upon Thames
Surrey KT2 7LB
United Kingdom

Leslie De Chernatony

University of Lugano ( email )

Via Sole 14
CH-6904 Lugano, Ticino 6900

Aston University - Aston Business School ( email )

Aston Triangle
Birmingham, B47ET
United Kingdom

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