Interpretation of the retail brand: an SME perspective
Mitchell, Richard, Hutchinson, K. and Bishop, S. (2012) Interpretation of the retail brand: an SME perspective International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management, 40 (2). pp. 157-175. ISSN 0959-0552
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The aim of this paper is to explore the meaning of the term “retail brand” to small- to medium-sized enterprise (SME) owner managers and how this impacts upon brand management practice. Design/methodology/approach – This research utilises a case study approach, which involved 12 SME retailers located in two regions of the UK, combining qualitative interview data with desktop research and documentary evidence. Findings – The findings of this paper confirm that the owner manager is central to the brand management function in SME retail firms. Furthermore, it was found that the retail brand encompasses both symbolic and functional meaning to the owner manager. Research limitations/implications – This research contributes to the retail and SME literature by offering a conceptual framework, which presents the interpretation of the retail brand from abstractive, service and environmental perspectives. Practical implications – It is recommended that SME owner managers set an overall direction for branding across all aspects of the retail business. In doing so, existing retail brand models may be utilised as a tool kit for SME brand managers. Originality/value – The research begins to address a significant empirical lacuna in branding at the SME retail marketing interface. This paper also adds to wider marketing discourse, through the presentation of terminological adaptation within a small retailing situ.
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