Corporate Brand Identity in SMEs: A New Co-creative Typology

Minna Mäläskä, Richard Ian Jones

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review


Purpose: To study the emergence of corporate brand identity in SMEs and to develop a typology of brand identity drivers that reflects a co-creative approach to the emergence of brand identity. Design / Methodology / Approach
: Existing approaches to brand identity are summarised. A narrative approach to understanding the emergence of brand identity is employed in case studies
of 10 case companies reflecting both B-to-B and B-to-C companies.
Findings: In all cases we see that brand identity is not a clear, enduring identity as suggested in the literature but is formed in a co-creative process with key stakeholders in the brand ecosystem. Brand identity underwent several transformation as the focal firm sought to balance isomorphic (market) pressures with the need for a clear and distinctive brand identity.
Research limitations / implications: this research is limited by the number of case studies. The research is important since it suggests an iterative and co-creative approach to brand identity. A typology of brand identity formation for SMEs is presented: entrepreneur driven, market driven, stakeholder driven.
Practical implications: The three paths to creating a strong brand identity challenge existing notions that brand identity is based solely on the values of the entrepreneur. This typology suggests that SMEs should be open to creating an identity that draws from their stakeholder eco-system.
Originality / value: this research challenges the existing assumption that brand identity can be found within the company. It suggests that brand identity is result of a co-creative process within the stakeholder ecosystem.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2014
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Event19th International Colloquium on Entrepreneurial and Small Business Marketing: Sustainability, Entrepreneurial Marketing and Marketing Practice in SMEs - University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 Aug 2021 → …


Conference19th International Colloquium on Entrepreneurial and Small Business Marketing
LocationUniversity of Birmingham
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Period04/08/2021 → …

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