Journal of Brand Management

, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 395–408 | Cite as

Taking a deliberate approach: the enactment of brand orientation in an SME context

  • Nicole M. HodgeEmail author
  • Cathi McMullen
  • Jodie Kleinschafer
Original Article


Brand orientation is a strategic approach observed in business that positions the brand at the centre of organisational processes and has been shown to improve marketing and financial performance. Two fundamental issues in the brand orientation literature are identified and explored in the context of SME’s. Namely (1) the assumption of the ‘presence or absence’ of brand orientation in some conceptualisations and (2) the circular relationship between being brand orientated and the characteristics of extant frameworks of brand orientation. A case study approach followed by abductive analysis was employed to investigate what characterises SME brand orientation enactment in ten small-sized wineries. The key finding of the research is the importance of a deliberate approach when orientating an organisation and its practices around the brand. This approach has been made explicit from the fundamental assumptions of brand orientation theory and is illustrated through three brand practices observed in SMEs: resource investment, communication and brand planning. It is argued that viewing brand orientation through a lens of deliberateness is critical to properly understand how a brand oriented strategy is enacted in organisations. It is also evident that despite the constraints discussed in the literature, SMEs can and do deliberately enact brand orientation.


Brand orientation Small- to medium-sized enterprises Branding Case studies Abductive Wineries 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicole M. Hodge
    • 1
    Email author
  • Cathi McMullen
    • 1
  • Jodie Kleinschafer
    • 1
  1. 1.Charles Sturt UniversityBathurstAustralia

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