The lack of differentiation between firms in the South African architectural industry has
led to the virtual commodification of architectural services. This commodification has
resulted in increased competition and decreased profitability in the industry (Allix, 2012).
The objective of this research is to explore the manner in which B2B architectural firms
in South Africa and the Netherlands use brand identity to build the foundation of brand
equity, in order to secure competitive advantage, by differentiating themselves. In
contrast to South African firms, Dutch architectural firms receive the highest
compensation and employees receive the third highest salaries in the industry in the
European Union. This research thus examines the differences between B2B
architectural firms in South Africa and the Netherlands, through the lens of the B2B
Service Brand Identity Network by Coleman, de Chernatony and Christodoulides (2011)
and the B2B Consumer-Based Brand Equity model (Kuhn, Nigel & Pope, 2008).
A qualitative study was conducted, involving in-depth interviews with eight South African
and five Dutch architectural firms. A deductive and subsequent inductive analysis was
conducted on the data, using the computer assisted qualitative data analysis software
Atlas.ti. The study found that Dutch firms concentrated more on resonance with their
communities, while South African firms focussed on building credibility through brand
judgement. Both countries showed a lack of formal resource allocation to branding and
a lack of formal incentives to employees. Two new themes were identified in relation to
brand identity in this industry. Consequently, the study proposes a new version of the
B2B Service Brand Identity Network. This proposal provides a brand identity network for
B2B service firms which produce tangible objects as a result.
Mini Dissertation (MBA)--University of Pretoria, 2017.