Conceptual framework prior to our study there was no

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Conceptual Framework Prior to our study, there was no existing SME brand management framework that could be employed to guide data collection and prelimi- nary data analysis. Unlike pure grounded theory which requires the theory to emerge from the data with no prior conceptualization (Glaser and Strauss 1967), case study research, con- versely, can employ a theoretical framework and a case study protocol with questions that serve as reminders regarding information that needs to be collected and the reasons for collect- ing it (Yin 2009). Thus, the purpose of the theo- retical framework is not to preempt the emergent theory of SME brand management. This study draws on the corporate strategy and corporate brand management literatures, and synthesizes them into a unified framework of brand management, which includes both stra- tegic and operational perspectives. The frame- work, depicted in Figure 1, links corporate strategy and operations/internal brand manage- ment via an interface stage and consists of five stages. The stages are (1) corporate strategic front end; (2) corporate strategy-operations interface; (3) operations/internal brand manage- ment comprising: (a) internal brand communica- tion, (b) brand enabling, and (c) consistent brand delivery; (4) performance assessment; and (5) environmental feedback. The rationale for including each stage is discussed, beginning with the corporate strategy, the front end of the corporate brand management process. Stage 1: Corporate Strategy This stage is necessary for understanding the strategic orientation of the SME brand. Levitt (1960) cautions against marketing myopia, which Figure 1 The Conceptual SME Brand Management Framework (1b) Inside-out Strategic Input (3b) Brand Enabling (3c) Consistent Brand Delivery (1a) Outside-In Strategic Input (1) Corporate Strategy (2a) Brand Orientation (2b) Brand Promise (3a) Internal Brand Communication Stage (5) Environmental Feedback Stage (4) Assess Performance JOURNAL OF SMALL BUSINESS MANAGEMENT 4
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ignores the changing dynamics of the marketing environment while Gummesson (1998) warns of another danger, that is, uncritically reacting to the needs and wants of customers. Thus to avoid these concerns, arguably an effective corporate strategy should incorporate both inside-out/inter- nal and outside-in/external perspectives. Incorporating the inside-out perspective ensures that the firm places strategic importance on the capabilities needed to exploit the opportu- nities in the market place. This perspective is informed by strategic management literature on resource-based view (RBV), competence, dynamic capabilities, and organizational learning (Barney 1991, 2001; Eisenhardt and Martin 2000; Mahoney 1995; Prahalad and Hamel 1990; Teece 2007) and corporate branding literature con- cerned with corporate identity-building (Balmer 2001; de Chernatony 2001; Urde 2003). The inter- nal perspective places strategic importance on employees, fostering the firm with a brand- supportive corporate culture (de Chernatony 1999; de Chernatony, Drury, and Segal-Horn 2003; Hatch and Schultz 2001; Ind 2003), instil- ling appropriate values (Urde 2003),
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