Title: Using Brand management to establish network relations: How SMEs can work with brand management in order to establish and develop corporate reputation and legitimacy in network relations in a B2B context
Authors: Aasberg Pipirs Julius & Carlsson Christoffer
Level: Master thesis, 30hp
Keywords: Brand management, SME, Legitimacy, Corporate reputation, Network relations
Background: Given the crucial role SMEs play in the modern society it is vital that knowledge is evolved that can be used to support and grow these businesses. Using brand management practices SMEs could establish and develop corporate reputation and legitimacy in network relations, which could result in higher chances of long-term survival in a B2B context.
Research Question: How does working with brand management among SMEs establish, and develop, corporate reputation and legitimacy, and how do these three concepts affect the process of establishing network relations in a B2B context?
Purpose: The purpose of this study is to first investigate how SMEs, in a B2B context, work with brand management and how this can establish and develop corporate reputation and legitimacy. Finally the authors wants to see how these three concepts affect the process of establishing network relations.
Method: Based on an abductive research approach, a qualitative research method will be used to study six Swedish SMEs that operate in a B2B context. Primary data will be based on semi-structured interviews with managers at each company.
Theoretical Framework: The current literature concerning SME brand management is presented followed by its linkages towards establishing and developing corporate reputation and legitimacy. Finally previous research concerning, the process of establishing network relations among SMEs, its relevance for SMEs, and how brand management, corporate reputation, and legitimacy could affect this process, is presented.
Findings & Conclusions: Brand management offers SMEs the tools to communicate and interact with various types of stakeholders, which connects the organization to its external and internal environment. By combining this tool with a dedication of always performing above expectations, SMEs stands to efficiently establish and develop corporate reputation and legitimacy. These two constructs essentially acts as the foundation of that which network relations are built upon.