Websites as Brand Identity for SMEs
SMEs and Websites
The communication of brand identity is an important success factor for small and medium enterprises (SME) such as craft breweries. Lueza (2002) traces the definition of brand identity through history and literature. He adopts part of a definition provided by Moffitt stating that brand identity is “any and all opinions, pieces of information, attitudes, and behaviors that an individual holds regarding an organization” (2001, p. 348). This definition highlights that it is critical for SMEs to consider how technology impacts the perception of their brand identities and how it can impact their competitiveness on a local and regional level. As organizations adopt technology, specifically websites, how a brand is portrayed in these technologies becomes of significant importance in competitiveness and economic viability.
It is Gabler's idea of lists which plays into the idea of brand identity research. Alwi (2009) finds that the personification method is valid for corporate brand identity and that online corporate identity branding has a significant impact on the brand loyalty of consumers. Attempts to define brand identity have led to lists of descriptors, most of which are human traits applied to enterprises as a whole (Norman 1963; Tupes and Christal 1958; McCrae and Cost 1989; Piedmont, McCrae, and Costa 1991; John 1990; Aaker 1997). By examining these lists of personality traits and how they are communicated as symbols through web interfaces, we are able to understand the identity that is created by a regional enterprise such as the craft brewing industry.
Brand identity is a key differentiator in business as stated by Balmer and Stotvig (1997). They, “… have argued that the main objective of corporate-identity management is to secure a competitive advantage for an individual organization. It is based on the notion that the effective management of an organization's identity results in the acquisition of a favorable corporate image and, over time, of a favorable corporate reputation, which leads an organization's key stakeholders and stakeholder groups to be favorably disposed toward it” (Balmer and Wilson p. 12, 1998). These identities can be broken down into lists which make them digestible for today's consumer. By understanding these lists or taxonomies of brand identities as put forth on websites for individual SMEs and across a communal region, we can understand how organization in the information age can strategically plan for success.
- This is an excerpt from my 2014 Robert Morris Doctoral Dissertation.