A brand orientation typology for SMEs: a case research approach
Purpose - This research paper aims to discuss the role of branding strategy in small and medium size enterprises (SMEs). Design/methodology/approach - The literature on traditional brand management and strategic branding are first reviewed. Four critical constructs are identified, namely brand distinctiveness, brand orientation, brand-marketing performance and brand barriers. The literature, in combination with (eight) case research interviews, has been synthesised to develop a new theory of SME branding. Findings - The paper reveals that the theory identifies the ladder of SME brand orientation, moving from minimal brand orientation, to embryonic brand orientation to integrated brand orientation. Further, it is suggested that most SMEs will be on the lower steps of the ladder. A model of the brand strategy process has been formulated, specifying links between brand barriers, brand distinctiveness, brand orientation and brand-marketing performance. The study puts forward some propositions about the pre-conditions to move higher up the ladder, particularly to an integrated brand orientation. Research limitations/implications - The major limitation of this research is that it is based on eight case studies. It is suggested that a quantitative survey be carried out to enhance the generalisability of the model. Originality/value - This paper makes original contributions in that it uses case studies to establish the relationship between the level of brand orientation and brand-marketing performance; and conceptualises the four brand-related constructs.
Journal of Product & Brand Management