A functional and symbolic perspective to branding Australian SME wineries
Purpose - This study proposes investigating the branding of small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) wineries in an Australian context. By taking a qualitative approach, the theory building research seeks further to understand branding from the perspective of the SME winery, and in doing so, go some way in addressing the current deficit in the literature. Design/methodology/approach - Bhat and Reddy's conceptualisation of brand functionality and symbolism is used as a branding framework to underlie the research. A multiple case study design was adopted as a research method to provide case data on eight SME wineries. Data were collected through in-depth interviews with the owner/manager of each winery, direct observation and document analysis. Findings - The findings are presented in the form a model of SME winery branding, which, in addition to distinguishing two approaches to branding, highlights the functional and symbolic values inherent in the brand. The findings endorse the notion that brands can simultaneously have both functional and symbolic appeal. More radically, the emergent model suggests interdependence between the functional and symbolic properties of branding. Practical implications - Practically, the findings highlight the importance of developing the symbolic values associated with the brand, which represent a more sustainable competitive advantage. Originality/value - By establishing a tentative theory on SME winery branding, this study has begun to address the current deficit in wine marketing literature and has set a foundation for further research.
Journal of Product & Brand Management