Starting small and going global: lessons that brand storytelling can teach SMEs.

Miller, Karen (2012) Starting small and going global: lessons that brand storytelling can teach SMEs. In: 4th Global Conference on SME, Entrepreneurship and Service Innovation, 12-13 Jul 2012, Gold Coast, Australia.

Text (Extended Abstract)

Download (88Kb)
Official URL:


Today’s consumers have at their disposal a plethora of information to access about any given product or service, typically they are well informed, individualistic and demanding. Because their buying habits are frequently difficult to isolate and are not limited to one market, predicting customer-purchasing habits, switching habits or brand preferences is becoming more like a lottery than a science. All too frequently, small businesses rather than engaging in customised market research to address the changing consumer will use a seat-of-the-pants approach in which to segment their market and target the customer (Boyle 2003). Another related area in which small businesses frequently have trouble addressing is that of attracting suppliers and investors – as many entrepreneurs find that part of their job entails telling the brand story – a short story that ‘sums it up’ and attracts prospective customers, suppliers and investors ( The brand story is the history about the brand and an explanation of what the brand is about, stands for, and its meaning which may be different for each of the brand stakeholders (Holt, 2004). The brand story is built on reputation, should be clear, consistent and have a touch of character exuding a personality, which matches the SME’s preferred prospective client, supplier and investor (Boyle 2003; Matthiesen & Phau 2010).
The idea of creating a brand story for many entrepreneurs and small business owners may seem daunting (Berthon, Ewing & Napoli 2008). Typically, as many entrepreneurs are also the HR manager, the investment manager, the financial controller, the sales person, the administration person, the channel manager and the family breadwinner – charged with building a family business that can sustain employment for the next few generations of the family. With high uncertainty and shortness of time and the plethora of roles that many entrepreneurs face, often means that the task of building the brand story typically takes a back seat to other task-oriented roles (Berthon et al 2008; Inskip 2004). This is because, usually building a brand story involves finding a quiet place to sit and think about the business in a longer-term overarching way and then to develop a way in which to articulate this notion that 'sells'. Too often, the day-to-day activities of the business take precedence over strategy development and the building of a brand story (Boyle 2003; Inskip 2004).

Statistics for USQ ePrint 22374
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: No access to full paper, which has been submitted for journal publication.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business and Law - School of Management and Marketing
Date Deposited: 27 Jan 2013 07:38
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2017 05:01
Uncontrolled Keywords: branding; brand story telling; SMEs
Fields of Research : 15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1503 Business and Management > 150304 Entrepreneurship
15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1503 Business and Management > 150314 Small Business Management
15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1505 Marketing > 150503 Marketing Management (incl. Strategy and Customer Relations)
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970115 Expanding Knowledge in Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only