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Title: An organizational culture oriented study on brand design process in the context of Chinese enterprises
Authors: Cheng, Shen
Degree: Ph.D.
Issue Date: 2016
Abstract: Commonly seen in brand design practices in China, attention is paid to the designs of the end products and services. The tangible or intangible artifacts are mistakenly believed to be the core of the brands and the key to success by many Chinese enterprises, as the artifacts are considered the above-surface tip of the brand iceberg that is exposed to the market. The input emphases of staff, budget, and other resources are also allocated based on this bias. However, actual brand performance results are unsatisfactory in general. Apparently, the problem lies in the orientation of the brand design focus. Increasingly more Chinese enterprises realize the problem: ambiguity regarding the real core of the brand and the key to success. Start this doctoral research with an initial focus on understanding culture-specific emotional factors to brand design, I conducted pilot studies with a few local brands of rich culture heritage. Soon I discovered that these brands suffered the same perplexity as described above. The leadership of these brands expected that my studies would provide a practical solution for them to optimize their product designs. They believe embedding culture heritage into the artifact designs is the answer to achieving the desired business excellence and profit goals. Based on years of practice in the brand design field with multiple types of Chinese enterprises prior to this research, the empirical experience, and best discipline practices had taught me that the end products and services as outcomes of the brands should not be designed independently in a holistic brand design process. The backbone of a successful brand comes from its organizational culture, regardless of the company size or its type. Therefore, I altered my research focus to discover the key elements of organizational culture that create success in the brand design process.
In this dissertation, I first reviewed extensive strategies and methods, both best and failed practices in the discipline, in order to sort out an explicit context of a generic brand design process and to facilitate Chinese enterprises in general through the stages and steps in their brand design practices. Traits of organizational culture commonly shared by Chinese enterprises that have direct effects on the brand design process are identified and analyzed, to put the research in specific cultural context. Ample field research focused on corporate brand design process was also conducted because the success of a brand design is not only based on theories but is highly subjected to validation of the customer in the market. Through the study, two core elements of organizational culture have been revealed: awareness of quality and the role of leadership. Moreover, a hypothesis has emerged in this research presuming that these two core elements are the essential keys to the success of every brand design process. Based on this hypothesis, I argued that these two core elements need to be distinctively emphasized with specific attention and direction on ways of conducting a holistic brand design process. Moreover, a culture of quality should become a permanent climate of an organization in every aspect. In the context of a brand design process, quality is the key to continuous improvement; it crucially affects innovation, leadership, decision-making, teamwork, end product and service design, overall internal team and external outcome performance, etc. Two implementation frameworks of quality are also proposed, one for a basic brand design process, another for the creative process of a brand design process, through defining the process phase, and supplementing a preliminary toolkit corresponding to specific stages and steps. The two frameworks and the toolkit were demonstrated in a real-world case study with a state-owned enterprise for examining the logic of the hypothesis. The conception is considered fundamentally valid in the audit of the case performance, and the frameworks are in position for further development in future studies. This study provides a basis to understand the relationship between organizational culture and the brand design process. It pins out the real core of a brand and the key to success for brands in general and formulates an explicit generic brand design process as a framework for Chinese enterprises to follow. This research contributes to the discipline and practice of brand design by providing brand designers the ground work and necessary aids for optimizing brand design practices in the context of Chinese enterprises.
Subjects: Branding (Marketing) -- China.
Industrial design -- China.
Commercial art -- China.
Corporate culture -- China.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Pages: xviii, 288 pages : illustrations
Appears in Collections:Thesis

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