“That's Not My Job”: Exploring the Employee Perspective in the Development of Brand Ambassadors
NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in International Journal of Hospitality Management. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in International Journal of Hospitality Management 35 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijhm.2013.07.009. The version of record is available from the publisher. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
It is well established that the role of employees is essential in effective brand management for hospitality organizations to create a competitive advantage. In seeking to capitalize on this important facet of brand management, this study considers employees understanding of the brand, as an important direct antecedent to realizing brand ambassadors. Specifically, three factors, or psychological states, were conceptualized and examined in relation to how such states inform an employee's commitment to the brand as well as develop employee brand equity, as reflected in their pro-brand behavioral intentions. The results indicate that employees’ pro-brand attitude and behavior are influenced by different brand understanding factors. Relational factors (employee perceived brand importance and brand role relevance) are the key antecedents to employee brand commitment. Employee perceived brand knowledge contributes to their pro-brand behavior directly, but not brand commitment. The results of this empirical study support the importance of examining an employee's psychological states, as manifest in the three brand understanding factors, in an endeavor to achieve coveted brand supporting outcomes. The results suggest that although perceived brand knowledge can contribute to employee brand equity, employees must see the brand as being meaningful and relevant to embrace their role as brand ambassadors.