The Challenges of Adopting a Brand-Oriented Mindset-On Making Sense of Branding in a Health Care Organisation

Frans Melin


The aim of this paper is to explore how a brand orientation process takes place in practice, how an organisation manages different challenges associated with this process and how an organisation makes sense of top management’s branding initiatives. In order to gain further insight and knowledge regarding the challenges of adopting a brand-oriented mindset, an exploratory case study has been conducted. For this case to contain as much relevant information as possible, a strategic choice concerning case organisation has been made, where the brand orientation process of the publicly owned primary care organisation in western Sweden was studied by means of an action research project lasting for >4 years. An important finding of this study is that the role of top management in the adoption of a brand-oriented mindset cannot be overestimated, since top management represents the most important brand ambassadors of an organisation, tasked with creating legitimacy and setting the course for the process. Another key finding is the importance of identifying the sources and causes of internal resistance against branding initiatives by using a brand triaging process whereby the employees prior to the process are categorized on the basis of their potential resistance. An additional important finding is that the adoption of a brand-oriented mindset must make sense to the employees in the organisation, which is why carefully explaining the purpose and consequences of branding initiatives is absolutely crucial. As this study is the first of its kind to investigate the adoption of a brand-oriented mindset, it provides an important contribution in terms of increasing our understanding of the challenges and sensemaking related to the enactment of brand orientation, both from a theoretical and a managerial perspective.

Keywords: Brand Orientation, Sensemaking, Health Care Organizations

JEL Classifications: M31, I11


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