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Debunking the ten most common myths SMEs have about branding: Why SMEs need real branding to succeed


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Undervaluation of brand remains a potent mistake of many companies today, particularly small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs), whose founders are typically product driven and technical or engineering based. For these SMEs, branding is only for large consumer multinationals like Coke or Nike; or it is ‘fluff’, a luxury requiring enormous budgets for advertising; or it is a logo that, once completed, means branding is done. In fairness to non-specialists, the concept of brand (and by extension branding, meaning its creation and implementation) suffers from inadequate and insufficient explication. For the authors, a brand is the business itself, the whole enterprise: its culture, its strategies, the focus of its future and a major driver of its success. It takes the form of an Octagon, a robust, dynamic platform that captures the real branding the authors refer to in the title. In this paper, the authors identify and debunk the 10 most common myths that SMEs have about branding and that explain why SMEs do not value branding; provide a branding framework to show how branding is much more robust than anyone knew; and finish with three recent cases to demonstrate the transformative changes that branding can deliver to SMEs right from the start.
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Keywords: SME failures; SMEs (small and medium-size enterprises); brand strategy; branding; branding myths; start-ups

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2018

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  • Journal of Brand Strategy is the essential professional journal publishing in-depth, peer-reviewed articles on all aspects of brands.

    Guided by a senior Editorial Board, consisting of leading branding experts, each quarterly 100-page issue – published in print and online – provides detailed, practical articles from leading branding professionals on innovative strategies, techniques and trends, together with the latest applied research in branding and detailed analysis of how leading brands are managed around the world. It does not publish advertising and all content is peer-reviewed to ensure that it is of direct, practical relevance to those working in the field.

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