The Platform-Based Branding Cycle: Conceptualizing the Roles of the Platform-Based Brand Using the Case of Airbnb
Sammanfattning: Thesis purpose: To explore the phenomenon of businesses utilizing a platform strategy to create value from a branding perspective. We examine how the role of the brand for a platform is different than for a traditional business in order to conceptualize the role of a platform-based brand. Methodology: An exploratory case study on Airbnb and Marriott International based on a qualitative research approach using document analysis as principle research method was conducted. The gathered data was analyzed using content and thematic analysis. Theoretical perspective: In order to conceptualize the role of platform-based brands and develop new theory, we bridged literature on the sharing economy and the platform business model using a strategic brand management perspective. Empirical data: Secondary data extracted from documents concerning Airbnb’s and Marriott International’s business and branding strategies. Documents were assessed against the criteria of authenticity, credibility, representativeness and meaning. Conclusion: There are underlying differences between platform and pipeline businesses, subsequently affecting the role of a platform-based brand in the sharing economy. The five main differences encountered are conceptualized to induce the Platform-Based Branding Cycle (PBBC). The PBBC includes the successive roles of a platform-based brand, namely the brand as a matcher, as a halo, as a co-creation, as a community builder and as a shared vision.
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