Rohana Mijan, *Shuhaida Md Noor & Mastura Jaafar
This study aims to identify strategic branding resources for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) considering their financial challenges in implementing branding programmes. This qualitative study relied on data from in-depth interviews with company representatives inclusive of owners/founders, chief executive officers and marketing managers of 10 brand-oriented SMEs in Malaysia. Guided by the Resource-Based-View (RBV) managerial framework, thematic analysis was utilised to reveal themes pertaining to strategic branding resources for each of the ten companies; the data was subsequently triangulated among the ten companies to identify the most prominent themes. The utilisation of inherent company resources strategically, based on the company’s uniqueness and capabilities, was found to be crucial for SMEs’ success in branding. Concurring with past findings, strategic branding resources for SMEs that emerged from the data include brand uniqueness, product differences, human resources, brand symbolism, corporate culture and internal communications. Interestingly, two new branding resources emerged, namely brand innovation and social capital. This study contributes towards creating awareness and understanding regarding the potential of inherent strategic brand resources among SMEs that may improve their brand development. Moreover, these findings elucidate an alternative pathway for the formation of branding strategies among SMEs.
Keywords: branding, strategic brand resources, brand orientation, small and medium-sized enterprises