Creating Strong Brand Identity: Facilitating Internationalization of Norwegian Sports-Clothing Brands

Stian Steinlein

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

For over a century, Norwegian producers within the sports-clothing industry have produced clothing and gear aimed at allowing people defy the very nature in the country. Hence, these companies have gained a lot of knowledge and expertise related to the product characteristics, and parts of the country´s heritage has been implemented into the brands. The research in this thesis is motivated by the fact that even though Norwegian sports-clothing brands have long traditions in developing clothes and equipment for outdoor activities, there is a lack of awareness of the brands internationally. The purpose of this study was therefore to investigate “how Norwegian sports-clothing companies most efficiently can establish a clear brand identity that provides a competitive brand image in international markets”. Additionally, the thesis aims to investigate “how Norwegian sports-clothing brands should enter new markets, in order to enhance the possibility of success in the respective markets”. In order to answer these research questions, multiple case studies of two relatively successful Norwegian sports-clothing brands were conducted. Certain patterns, relations and dynamics among the brand identity creation, positioning, communication, and new market entry mode have been uncovered. The framework “Brand Identity Planning Model” has been conceptualized and them modified to provide an initial base for the findings. When developing a clear and consistent brand identity, choosing brand profile, brand personality traits and brand product characteristics has been recognized as three important criteria for creating a consistent brand identity, Event– sponsorships, brand ambassadors and social media platforms have contributed with efficient and targeted communication toward consumers, enhancing awareness and associations towards the brand internationally. Considering the internationalisation of Norwegian brands, there are several factors that influence the choice of entry mode and entry strategy, e.g. firm size, market complexity, and speed, control and investment. Findings also indicate that only the core product should be introduced at initial new market entry. The core findings are summarized in a model aimed to work as a framework for future Norwegian sports-clothing brands. Its purpose is to show how a clear brand identity can be built and managed, and which factors that influence the identity creation. Additionally, important factors that need to be considered when the brand is targeting international markets are presented and highlighted.

EducationsMSc in International Marketing and Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2014
Number of pages107