Adaptation of corporate brand development models in the SME context

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School of Business | Master's thesis
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Corporate brand development within the context of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is a phenomenon that has been largely understudied in the academic literature on both entrepreneur-ship and marketing. Modern theoretical brand development models are mainly based on the ex-amples of large corporations and are not entirely suitable for the application by the smaller compa-nies. The current thesis uncovers the apparent theoretical gap that has emerged and answers the question of how exactly can the existing brand development models be adapted in the SME con-text. In order to form a theoretical basis of the thesis, four such models were thoroughly analyzed and compared to one another. Further, the context of SMEs was preliminary examined to highlight the particularities of brand building approaches of SMEs and their larger counterparts. Examination showed considerable differences between brand building tactics, based on the size of the company and its available resources. This allowed projecting the characteristics of an SME on to the main components of the theoretical models, thus forming a proposition for a revised framework. Then, a data collection in a form of an extensive review of multiple case studies has been carried out in order to empirically investigate the issues of corporate brand building in SMEs. 26 academic arti-cles were reviewed uncovering the results of the studies of 1782 SMEs from 11 countries. Results of the analysis allowed forming an updated version of corporate brand development framework for SMEs that was especially created to suit the needs of an SME. Research findings have indicated significant differences between SMEs and large organizations, especially in the ways their brands are developed. Numerous benefits of early brand orientation in SMEs have been indicated. The central role of the entrepreneur in the process of the SME corpo-rate brand building as well as the importance of internal communication has been emphasized. Most importantly, the contemporary theoretical brand development models have been adapted in the SME context by means of a new corporate brand development framework for SMEs.
SME, Small, Medium-sized, Enterprise, Start-up, Entrepreneurship, Corporate, Brand, Branding, Development, Identity, Marketing
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