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Title: Corporate heritage brands in China: Consumer engagement with China’s most celebrated corporate heritage brand-Tong Ren Tang: 同仁堂
Authors: Balmer, J
Chen, W
Keywords: Corporate heritage;Corporate heritage brands;China;Imperial China;Traditional Chinese medicine
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Citation: Journal of Brand Management, 22: (2015)
Abstract: This study breaks new ground becomes it (i): considers a non-western (a Chinese) corporate heritage brand and (ii): for the first time within the corporate heritage brand/corporate heritage canon, adopts an explicit consumer perspective. . Significantly–taking an overt corporate heritage/corporate heritage brand stance- this empirical study reveals why a corporate heritage brand such as Tong Ren Tang (TRT) – founded in 1669-is highly meaningful to consumers from one generation to another. The researchers marshal the first four of Balmer’s (2013) criteria of corporate heritage entities in order to verify its corporate heritage credentials and explain its attractiveness to customers. As such, it was found that TRT is meaningfully linked to the past, present and prospective future (Balmer’s criterion of omni temporality); has durable and constant organisational traits (Balmer’s criterion of institutional trait consistency); has customer and stakeholder faithfulness for a minimum of three generations (Balmer’s criterion of tri-generational loyalty); and has acquired meaningful non corporate role identities vis-à-vis Chinese national identity and China’s imperial identity (Balmer’s criterion of augmented role identities). TRT was found to be attractive to consumers owing to its core and augmented role identities following Balmer’s (2013) augmented role identity theoretical perspective. These findings explain why Tong Ren Tang has endured and flourished from one generation to another and accounts for its celebrated status within China and the wider Chinese diaspora.
ISSN: 1350-231X
Appears in Collections:Brunel Business School Research Papers

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