• Anja Stefan

Student thesis: Doctor of Business Administration


The main objective of this research is to identify the practices that yield superior results in terms of strategic brand management, focusing specifically on the practices during new product development (NPD). Products are among the most important building blocks of brands, yet the research on the process and practice of developing them in line with the brand requirements is scarce. Five FMCG companies in Slovenia are included in the research, where a total of 14 in-depth interviews were completed, accompanied by document analysis. Inspired by a social-constructivist version of process tracing methodology, an in-depth analysis of two companies has been conducted. The relevance of these findings is then evaluated by matching them against the findings pertaining to the analysis of the remaining companies. The inferences based on the two qualitative explorative case studies are compared to identify points of parity and theoretical congruence, yielding a proposed theoretical model of strategic brand management practice during NPD. The study has shown that for a successful strategic brand management during NPD to be implemented, three conditions must be met, enabling three main activities to be performed, finally ensuring for one crucial outcome. The three conditions are: a) the company must be aware of the importance of a clear brand identity, which must also be defined and known to all stakeholders. b) the company must have a strong brand management (either a department or a high-ranking person) and c) the R&D department must work under the guidance of brand management. These conditions enable the team to perform a) filtering-out badly fitting product ideas during the fuzzy front-end phase, b) optimisation of product ideas to better fit the brand during product development and c) exclusion of badly fitting product ideas any time before launch. As a result of these activities, an optimal brand fit for the new product can be achieved, and this is the final outcome of good brand management during NPD. The findings fill a gap in the literature regarding activities, stakeholders, conditions and outcome of successful brand management during NPD. The current knowledge about brand centrality and high process formalisation as crucial factors for increased financial success and superior brand management has been extended by showing that these are only moderating factors. The proposed model that has been developed based on this research introduces the importance of strength of brand management in relation to the other departmental and personal influences and contingencies as a new theoretical construct. The research is concluded with an in-depth discussion of the theoretical and managerial implications of the findings, as well as suggestions for further research.
Date of Award1 Aug 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorNitin Sanghavi (Supervisor) & Claudio De Mattos (Supervisor)


  • Brand management
  • New product development

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