Relational capital: Knowledge assets and branding

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Conference Proceeding

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© 2020 Academic Conferences Limited. All rights reserved. Relational capital is an important but infrequently studied area of knowledge management. The term is associated with intellectual capital (IC) work, but specifically deals with knowledge assets related to publics external to the firm. Largely but not exclusively including customer relationships, these aspects of organizational knowledge are hard to study by traditional methods that evaluate employees and processes within the firm. In addition, when this knowledge concerns customer satisfaction, we see a link between knowledge assets and brand equity. While different perspectives on intangible assets, with both adding value, the two areas are rarely discussed together. This is especially surprising given that brand equity is often behind one of the most direct measures of knowledge assets or intellectual capital that we have: Goodwill accruing from a merger or acquisition that goes straight onto the balance sheet. While limited because goodwill only represents a specific point in time, it is a direct measure of the perceived intangible value of an entity and, again, is often taken as having a particularly close relationship with brand equity. This study follows previous work on relational capital, including metrics on knowledge assets in general and brand value in particular. To provide a new perspective, we look specifically at ingredient brands, inputs that are part of a manufactured good or a service but whose providers seek to also establish awareness and preference among end consumers. Essentially the point is to create consumer demand for that specific, branded ingredient in the products they purchase. We assess select ingredient brands, principally with metrics on social sentiment. The result is preliminary empirical data on the relational capital of ingredient-brand firms. Consequently, we can draw some conclusions about establishing relational capital with end consumers, even when the firm itself doesn't sell directly to them. Whether an ingredient branding strategy is effective can be addressed by the results, and we can also add more depth to general discussions about relational capital.

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Proceedings of the European Conference on Knowledge Management, ECKM

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