Paper info: Branding as an opportunity of SMEs' internationalization strategy in B2B market
Branding as an opportunity of SMEs' internationalization strategy in B2B market
Tampere University of Technology
Place of Publication
The paper was published at the 25th IMP-conference in Marseille, France in 2009.
Branding theory has its origins in the consumer product markets. The brand is presented as a market signal targeted mostly to the end consumers and enabling them to save time by guaranteeing a certain level of quality, simplifying their choices, and answering to specific needs. Little research has been done to investigate the relevance and the role of brands in industrial markets. Even less research has been done of the brands within SMEs in industrial markets. Brand loyalty can tie the customer very strongly to a supplier. Brand reputation has also been argued to be considered as a psychological factor affecting purchase from a certain supplier. Brand reputation is not necessarily connected to a product or service but can also in business-to-business or service industries be connected to the reputation of a company. The modularity can be helpful for a SME not only creating economies of scale and economies of scope but also in brand creation. We argue that brand creation is important for internationalizing SMEs in the B2B market and that modularity can be used in brand creation. To demonstrate this we give an example of a Finnish SME, KPatents, operating in the global market. The company has created recognition in the industries were they operate by using the "coca-cola bottle effect". This means that everybody can recognize the KPatents process refractometer by its shape and colour. This effect is the most effective in the case when a SME is internationalizing as a late starter. The cover module has always the same shape and red colour. This paper contributes to the research area of global branding among SMEs in the international industrial market.