Brand Internationalization through Brand Identity and Alignment: The case of Swedish Outdoor SMEs
Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
A brand is more than a product and small-medium-enterprises (SMEs) have the possibility to exploit the full potentials of branding. Even when currently still underestimated, branding provides benefits for SMEs. The outdoor industry is one that is becoming a mainstream market with several brands competing for the outdoor enthusiasts in potential markets all around the world. Branding is an integral part of businesses today and the dynamic nature of business in this 21st century makes it even more competitive in nature because every firm has to differentiate its product from those of competitors one way or another including SMEs who are faced with several constraints. This is why it becomes imperative to be entrepreneurial in their marketing efforts and ensure that employees understand what they want the brand to stand for in the mind of customers. Branding could enhance their position, competitive advantage, performance as well as international expansion.
The purpose of this study is to explore how Swedish Outdoor brands (SODBs) build their brand identity and align their brand for international markets. Furthermore, the research aimed at finding out if the intended brand identity is in line with the perceived brand image by customers. The research outcomes can be used by Swedish Outdoor companies that want to inform themselves about brand management in general and different opportunities on how to build a unique brand identity that is internally as well as externally valued. It provides practical considerations for entrepreneurs and SMEs in general on how to aim at building a brand that is strong how they could internationalize.
In order to adequately explore the aim of this study, a mixed method of qualitative and quantitative research was undertaken. The first phase of data collection was done with three SODBs through semi-structured interviews and it was qualitatively analysed. This served as an input in the preparation of the questionnaires used in the second phase of data collection from retailers and end-users mainly across Europe. Two questionnaires were developed for both groups. The responses from both groups were analysed statistically. The data collected from the companies, retailers and end-users enabled us to compare the company’s perspective with that of the retailers and end-users; which is a comparison of an inside-out (companies) and outside-in (customers) perspective.
We combined theories from marketing and entrepreneurship which enabled us to develop a framework that we analysed according to sub-disciplines of both fields in order to answer the empirical research questions raised in this research. The framework was modified based on our findings and our findings revealed that the aspired brand identity of the firms studied aligns with the brand image that retailers and end-users form about SODBs in the international market addressed in this research. Furthermore, employer/internal branding activities were evidently seen in all companies studied; and the level of entrepreneurial orientation in each firm with regards to proactiveness and risk-taking as well as its impact on the brand creation process. This study contributes to theories in SME brand management, brand building and alignment with both internal (employees) and external (retailers and end-users) stakeholders; methodological contributions in the field of research and provides valuable societal contributions as well as managerial recommendations for outdoor SMEs in particular and SMEs in general that want to build and/or internationalize their brand.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 116 p.
Brand identity, Brand Image, Brand management, Employer branding, Entrepreneurial Orientation, Internationalization, SME branding, Outdoor
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-73478OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-73478DiVA: diva2:631954