SME Brand Management: Strategic and Operational Perspectives

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Merrilees, Bill

Miller, Dale

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Corporate brands are widely accepted as valuable intangible assets of organisations, which require competent management to create and safeguard their equity. There is a large body of corporate branding literature, which is fragmented along several disciplinary domains and biased towards large organisations. While the economic contribution of the small-to-medium enterprise (SME) sector in both emerging and developed economies is recognised, corporate branding research has neglected this sector. SME corporate brand management research could enhance the economic efficiency of the sector. However, SME branding research is still in an emergent phase and in need of further research. The main objective of this research study is to develop a holistic understanding of SME corporate brand management, incorporating both strategic and operational perspectives. A holistic model of corporate brand management, which considers both strategic and operational perspectives of SME brand management, could not be found in the current corporate branding literature. Consequently, prior to this study a theoretical framework on which to base the study of corporate brand management in the SME sector is still missing. Therefore, another objective of the research study is to develop a coherent holistic process-based conceptual model of corporate brand management that incorporates strategic and operational perspectives, based on the available corporate branding literature. The preliminary conceptual model that was developed as the conceptual framework for the study of SME brand management consists of five stages namely, (1) strategic front end, (2) corporate strategy-operations/internal brand management interface, (3) operations/internal brand management, consisting of internal brand communication, brand enabling and ensuring consistent brand delivery, (4) brand performance and (5) environmental feedback. The conceptual model is the investigative lens employed to study SME corporate brand management practices. It serves several purposes including guiding data collection and data analysis, as well as providing a preliminary framework for answering the primary and subsidiary research questions.

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Thesis (PhD Doctorate)

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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Griffith Business School

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Corporate brands

Small-to-medium enterprise sector

Corporate brand management

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