A RESEARCH PAPER ON BRAND BUILDING IN SMES



Brand Building in SMEs (click here to access the full version of the research paper)

The following are some of the key take-away of the paper (managerial implications):

a) Standard Agency approach (lengthy branding projects) for corporate brand building from the side of consultants do not apply for SMEs and that they need processes with shorter cycles.

b) Brand building helps SMEs build image and reputation. The brand, organisational identity and reputation needs a holistic approach which is better suited to SMEs where decision making cycles are shorter

c) Consistent communication of brand message over a select media helps build reputation and thus enables to demand a price premium.

c) Consistent communication of brand message over a select media helps build reputation and thus enables to demand a price premium.

e)** Factors that can foster SME branding-Strong internal culture and communication, coherence between brand and employees, brand consistency, partnerships.

f) SME evolves as a brand starting from the entrepreneur, the product, the visual identity and then into an organisation

Conclusion: SMEs can improve their business by adopting branding as a strategy. Two main issues of SMEs that are identified in this aspect are: Lack of knowledge of branding-Majority of the SME owners/managers lack the knowledge of branding. For them branding is having a name and logo. Cost-Even if equipped with knowledge, SMEs lack the financial resources and time needed for branding. They will be so engrossed in routine activities and will not focus on long term strategies like branding.

SMEs can set the priorities if they are provided with proper knowledge of branding. If the priorities are set, branding can be taken up tailored to their needs. External agencies can assist these organisations with shorter cycles of branding tailored to their goals and budget. Brand building should start even before organisation is established. Corporate identity structure should be in line with corporate culture and it should be consistently communicated to all the stake holders even to the unconventional groups. SME evolves as a brand starting from the entrepreneur, the product, the visual identity and then into an organisation. The values of founder will be major brand associations for SMEs. Activities to build organisational identity, reputation and brand can be done more easily in SMEs and in a holistic way due to shorter decision making cycles in SMEs. Consistent communication of brand message over a select media is one such activity. Medium size organisations can mirror the branding approaches of their larger counterparts and get better results. Brand consistency, congruency, partnerships (co-branding) will help in SME brand building whereas Resistance to change, Procrastination, perception of branding expenditure as a cost, Resource constraints will deter SME growth. Depending on the product criticality and market orientation of the organisation, SMEs may seek Process Branding, Corporate Branding, Responsive Branding and Credibility Branding in the path of growth.