BACKGROUND: Existing research in the B2B field focuses on relationship marketing and not the
importance of building brand equity. By focusing efforts on building brand equity B2B service
firms have the opportunity to develop a long-term competitive advantage.
OBJECTIVE: This study explores how Dutch and South African business-to-business architectural
firms compare in their development of brand equity and use of brand identity dimensions.
These groups were selected because one (Dutch) holds a favourable brand equity position,
while the other (South African) is perceived less favourably. Providing a direct comparison
allows the South African business-to-business architectural industry to obtain knowledge and
be in a better position to develop their brand equity and identity.
METHOD: The research was qualitative in nature, where 13 semi-structured interviews were
conducted with participants. These respondents were senior partners or marketing specialists
in architectural firms in South Africa and the Netherlands.
RESULTS: Differences were observed in the approach to the building blocks of brand equity.
South African participants were more focused on internal measures (i.e. personal credibility,
previous projects) influencing judgement, while Dutch respondents focused on external
measures (i.e. awards, competitions). Dutch individuals developed partnership solutions with
their communities, whereas their South African counterparts were reluctant to do so.
Differences in the utilisation of brand identity dimensions were also observed among these
dimensions: employee and client focus, brand personality, corporate visual identity and
CONCLUSION: This article provides a direct comparison of brand equity positions showing how
those with less favourable brand equity positions can improve their positions.