Exploring brand governance in SMEs: does socialisation provide a means to value creation?
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Open access strategies and dialogue between firms and customers increase the risk of loss of brand distinctiveness, with implications for maintaining brand position, image, reputation and authenticity. This is of importance to new and emerging small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and organisations whose brand distinctiveness may represent one of few areas of competitive advantage. Our paper draws together concepts of SME brand orientation and the underdeveloped framework of brand governance to explore brands and brand image in online and offline engagement contexts. Investigating the role of four relational norms, selection, solidarity, information exchange and flexibility in six brand-oriented SMEs, we discuss their use in the context of interactive engagement with stakeholders. Findings show that each of the four relational norms enables, supports and provides guidance for the management of SME brands. This exploratory work initiates a conversation around brands, brand management and brand governance in SMEs and points to several areas for future research direction.
KeywordsBrand governance Social media Brand risk SME Brand management
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