Ethics and implicit agreements during the value co-creation process in cross-category brand alliances

Authors: Akcay, E.E., Kooli, K. and Bolat, E.

Conference: 3rd International Conference of LIGUE with theme 'Sustainability goals implementation in the era of digitalisation in North Africa'

Dates: 3-4 December 2018


Purpose: This research focuses on the value co-creation process between partner brands in cross-category brand alliances and aims to analyse the role of marketing ethics during the value co-creation process. Design/methodology/approach: The underpinning theories of the research are service dominant (S-D) logic for marketing, resource-based view (RBV) theory of the firm and marketing ethics. To achieve the aims of the research, an interpretivist approach and a qualitative research strategy are adopted. Semi-structured interviews are conducted with the marketing managers of the brands in alliances and they were analysed by the support of QSR NVivo software.

Findings: Initial findings emphasise that partner brands have differing value definitions, goals and evaluation criteria for the alliance outcome even if they are in the same cross-category brand alliance. Brands in the alliance are trying to utilise implicit agreements with the partner brands, rival brands or other stakeholders to achieve their goals of the alliance. However, the implicit agreements violate the main principles of marketing ethics such as preserving the conditions of an acceptable exchange and the perfect competition ideal.

Research limitations/implications: The interviews of this study are conducted in one country with 12 marketing managers from different sectors. Expanding the research in different countries in different sectors might bring different insights to the issue of marketing ethics in the brand alliances.

Practical implications: The results of the study might help companies to understand the importance of marketing ethics during the brand alliances and take the role of marketing ethics into consideration for their future alliances.

Social implications: After learning more about the impacts of marketing ethics in the brand alliances, the end customers might force companies to be more transparent about the ethical issues in their marketing actions.

Originality/value: Although existent literature investigated the value co-creation process between firms, suppliers and customers; marketing ethics during the value co-creation process in the brand alliances received very little attention. This research contributes to the literature with a focus on the ethical issues in the brand alliances with practical examples from different brand alliances in varying sectors.

Source: Manual