The purpose of this paper is to explore brand innovation practices in small and medium enterprise (SME) wineries to found mid-range theory of brand innovation and to explain the interaction between upstream and downstream brand innovation during brand (re)launch.
This study deploys a qualitative research method. Data was collected through semi-structured telephone interviews with winery owners and managers from 20 German wineries. The approach explored both product and product line brands, organizational brands regarding upstream and downstream innovation and their mutual interaction.
The analyzed wineries provide evidence for up- and downstream brand innovation in the wine industry, thereby confirming previous findings that the wine industry is increasingly driven not only by tradition but also by innovation. The cases demonstrate that upscale SME wineries are able to distinguish between upstream and downstream innovation and integrate them in a meaningful way. Furthermore, the results point to the importance of team knowledge sharing and professional networks for successful upstream brand innovation, as well as social media for downstream brand innovation.
This paper presents a novel mid-range theory of brand innovation in winery SMEs, where resource constraints and a frugal approach to innovation demand for an integrated, hands-on approach.
This research was funded by “Forschungsring des deutschen Weinbaus”, Project IM-GPS.
Funding: FDW and IM-GPS.
Dreßler, M. and Paunovic, I. (2022), "Strategic brand innovation – an explorative study of up- and downstream brand innovation practices in SME wineries", International Journal of Wine Business Research, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJWBR-07-2021-0037
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