An Investigation into the Role of Collaboration in the Development of a Regional Brand
Much literature exists on collaboration amongst competitors who are geographically proximate in a business cluster environment. Network studies likewise maintain that collaboration is critical to successfully develop and deliver products to end users. An in-depth study of a business cluster explains the precise nature, process, and role of collaboration amongst competitors in a region, the main aim of this thesis. Also, regional branding is an expanding field of research, therefore scholars recommend that more studies on the topic should be conducted. Regional branding studies indicate that where a particular product or service originates makes a difference to consumers and industrial buyers in their evaluation processes. The role of collaboration in the development of a regional brand has not been previously studied. Regional branding is important as the outside marketplace develops an image of a region based on the identity the people living there have subscribed to it. Therefore, more research is required to determine how competitors in a region develop that identity through collaboration, a secondary aim of this study. This study uses a realist approach to investigate regional interaction among actors to determine how collaboration occurs within a particular region. By using three sources of data – exploratory interviews, in-depth interviews, and marketing collateral and observing personnel in-situ communicating the attributes of the regional brand, it was uncovered how collaboration actually occurs in a regional setting. The study also determined the role collaboration played in the development of a regional brand and in maintaining product quality to uphold the prestige of the regional brand. The context for the study was the Central Otago Wine Region in the South Island of New Zealand. The main aim of this study is to understand and evaluate the nature, process, and role of collaboration amongst competing firms in a region. The subsequent research objectives are first, to examine collaboration and the role it plays in the development of a regional brand identity. Second is to understand and analyse the link of collaboration to wine quality assurance. A third objective is to evaluate the role of geographic proximity in collaboration amongst competing regional firms. Finally, to determine the marketing implications for the wineries of developing a regional brand and make recommendations for the communication of the regional brand. By using qualitative research, insight was gained into the complex and dynamic interaction of the personnel of the region and precisely how collaboration occurs. The study has also resulted in a model depicting the contribution of collaboration amongst the regional personnel in defining and differentiating the region through its regional brand and wine quality. This research can be used by academics and practitioners to further understand the process and benefits of collaboration.
Advisor: Thyne, Maree; Aitken, Rob; Ballantyne, David
Degree Name: Doctor of Philosophy
Degree Discipline: Commerce
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: collaboration; regional branding
Research Type: Thesis