|Abstract: ||As producers of national and international brands, manufacturers and service providers were the focus of brand management literature. However, as retailers have become major players nationally and internationally, managing retailers as brands have become a major challenge. The retailer unique business nature, and managerial needs as well as its ever-changing business environment render managing the retail brand a unique and complex task. For the retail brand to embrace and adapt to its managerial challenges, a multitude of brand management approaches should be employed. However, when
addressing retailers as brands, the retail management literature has failed to account for this multiplicity exposing a gap in the literature.
To fill this gap, a communal retail brand management model is proposed to help retailers embrace and adapt to their various branding requirements inflicted by their business challenges. To build the model, a common core among the various approaches involved in managing retail brands should be
identified so as to simplify, by forming a unified approach, yet maintain the essence of each approach. The holistic, humanitarian and managerial orientations of the concept of organizational culture identify it as the common core and thus act as the backbone on which the model will be built.
Since the model will be built through cultural interpretation, the ethnographic
tradition of qualitative inquiry is utilized because it provides an emic perspective, which is the best strategy (that consequently provides best tools) for interpreting cultures. Besides, the flexibility of the ethnographic tradition
allows the adoption of other qualitative traditions of enquiry to aid in building the
model. Thus, the case study tradition is employed to confine the study within the precincts of a single retail brand in order to conduct deep analysis for several stakeholders simultaneously. Additionally, the analytical technique of the grounded theory tradition is employed to capitalize on its systematic ability to form conceptual themes out of raw data that, ultimately, become the model's building blocks.
In light of conducting a five-months participant observation study in two grocery
stores of a leading supermarket brand in two countries (Sainsbury's stores in the UK and Egypt), the findings revealed that modelling the retail brand culture resembles, metaphorically, a tree. The culture symbols resemble the tree attractive leaves, the rituals & local heroes resemble the supportive trunk, and values resemble the roots that anchor in the soil, which, in turn, resembles the cultures in which the retailer operates. The thesis concludes that the Tree-
Model is a road map that guides retailers to build and manage their brand identity and consequently enable them to embrace and adapt to the various branding requirements dictated by their business challenges.|