Brand worlds: Introducing experiential marketing to B2B branding

Benjamin Österle (Corresponding Author), Marc M. Kuhn (Corresponding Author), Jörg Henseler (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)
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Experiential marketing instruments and the extraordinary experiences they provide are one of the strongest means of branding in B2C. Inter alia as brand worlds, they also exist in B2B marketing practice, but have only received limited attention from the B2B branding perspective. Differences between B2C and B2B branding raise questions regarding why B2B companies operate brand worlds, what they consist of, what their nature is, and how they are experienced. We build on a rich, comprehensive sample of 37 expert interviews, comprising the perspectives of operating companies, business visitors, and exhibition designers. We find that B2B brand worlds differ substantially from their B2C equivalents in several aspects, but they apply similar experiential techniques. Operating companies’ motives focus on providing live product experiences to explain complex products and create product awareness. B2B visitors expect more functional than hedonic benefits, and the visit has to support them in their own business activities. Affordances of the experiencescape and the action-perception between visitor, brand employees, and the physical environment are at the core of how the B2B brand world experiences are co-created. Our research highlights the important role and nature of B2B brand worlds as three-dimensional “business cards” where relationships are initiated and built.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-98
Number of pages28
JournalIndustrial marketing management
Early online date1 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018

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