The purpose of this paper is to explore Interactive Network Branding (INB) in an emerging market (EM) context while focusing on the importance of firm representatives for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The INB corresponds to the process of interpersonal interaction which results in corporate identity and reputation creation that SMEs ultimately use to influence their network positions.
This single case study presents four Croatian SMEs embedded in a business network. A research model of INB serves as an analytical tool for analyzing the phenomenon in its context. The key unit of analysis is an SME represented by its manager(s).
Contrary to large multinational firms that have financial capabilities for branding departments and recruitment of brand managers, SMEs in EMs tend to focus more on creating long-term relationships with their fundamental business partners. Through INB and interactions between firm representatives, corporate branding becomes an inherent part of networking. Thus, the study acknowledges the importance of INB, being implemented through firm representatives, as it plays a crucial role in the survival and success of SMEs in the EM context.
Based on the chosen research approach and the focus on the Croatian EM, the findings might lack generalizability. Hence, further research is necessary to examine the applicability of INB in different empirical contexts.
This paper provides implications for practitioners coping with networking and branding processes of SMEs that are operating in fast-changing EMs.
This study provides a deeper understanding of INB while focusing on the importance of firm representatives and their interactions that have an influence on the networking and branding processes of all the parties involved.
Koporcic, N. (2020), "Interactive Network Branding: demonstrating the importance of firm representatives for small and medium-sized enterprises in emerging markets", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JBIM-10-2018-0301Download as .RIS
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