The purpose of this paper is to describe company renaming as a process among small firms, including the events and actors in and the reasons for company renaming.
The study presents an interpretative narrative process research approach. The empirical part is conducted as an instrumental multiple case study of six cases.
Company renaming is a long-lasting, complex, iterative and management-centric process among small firms. The process consists of six main events that are conducted more or less simultaneously but which need to be further divided into sub-events in order to reveal their order. The reasons for renaming are that the current company name is difficult to use or it is less known than the name of the company's well-known product among stakeholders.
The existing research on branding from the viewpoint of organisational change has been scarce. The study suggests that also other reasons than change in the organisation or in its environment may cause corporate rebranding. The empirical data from a specific contest, the B2B software industry, may limit the statistical generalizability of the results.
For small business managers, the study suggests actively involving stakeholders to the process. The new name can be developed cheaply, but the process can be long. For ensuring a shorter process, costs need to be accepted.
The use of interpretative narrative process research approach and an instrumental multiple case study provide methodological contributions to the field of corporate rebranding.
The author acknowledges the helpful comments of Professor Bill Merrilees and three anonymous reviewers and the financial support of the Finnish Foundation for Economic Education.
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