Business-to-business branding; Service brands; PositioningAfrica; Emerging economies
This research explored important questions concerning how top-performing African B2B service brands position their brands in this increasingly globalised, technology-driven and competitive digital ecosystem. In Study 1, we performed a content analysis of the homepages of the websites of 140 top-performing African B2B service brands to explore the most frequently used positioning signals. In Study 2, we conducted semi-structured interviews with 32 managers to understand the processes, challenges and, ultimately, the tension involved in managing their brands. Our analysis revealed tensions around curating a sense of professionalism, building a sense of trustworthiness and being proud of African roots. The research contributes to the literature on B2B brand positioning to show how the alignment between the signal on delivered positioning on brand websites and managers' perception in developing brand positioning may shape different positioning strategies. In addition, the study offers practical implications for managers of B2B service brands in Africa on how to develop their brands, decide the possible signals to include in their websites and manage the branding tension within their business operations in the best way.