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Contemporary Branding Theory

The central tenet of contemporary branding theory suggests that the brand
should be included in a firms strategic processes. Firms should perceive their
brands as strategic resources rather than operational marketing tool in many
small firms, the orientation towards branding is a low priority. Even though
SMEs take some steps towards branding management for them it is not a
high priority issue.
SMEs generally adopt a survival mentality That is, they stress daily
operations and short-term sales over brands simply to keep the business
running where they response unconditionally to customers want and needs.
It is essential that they are made aware of the contribution brand orientation
does to their performance to make branding a high priority.

Brand orientation
Brand orientation has been defined as:
an approach in which the processes of the organization revolve around the
development, and protection of brand identity in an ongoing interaction with
target customers
with the aim of achieving lasting competitive advantages in the form of
Brand Orientation should consider branding as a significant issue in all.
Branding decisions. Others have suggested that brand orientation should
represent an inside out approach according to which brand development
should be guided by the vision, mission and values of an organization.
Researches have approached brand orientation from two perspectives
philosophical which exhibits organizational values, beliefs and attitudes
towards branding whereas behavioral focuses on the extent to which a firms
marketing practices support the brand
Brand performance is the success of a brand within the market. The factors
pertaining to Brand Performance are brand image, brand awareness,
customer brand loyalty and brand reputation.
Brand Identity is a unique set of brand associations implying a promise to
customers and includes a core and extended identity. Brand identity creates
a focus for the organization and characterizes the way an organization thinks
and acts. It also offers customers a base on which they can start building a
relationship with the brand.

Customers form emotional bonds to brands especially through the values the
brand represents
Brand Identity aims at differentiating the brand from the competitors.

Internal branding
Internal branding is the education and training of employees on the brand
message and how it can be incorporated in their work. Internal branding
enhances employees brand commitment, brand identification and brand
loyalty. It is especially important for service brands where the personnel
serve as the face of the brand.
Formal and informal control mechanisms have a significant role in enhancing
employees brand supporting behaviors. Employees should be empowered
and enabled to act appropriately in situations that need to be addressed in a
different way.
Internal branding needs to cover all human resource activity from employee
recruitment to existing employees to ensure a higher brand performance.
In the conceptual model, brand orientation is where the brand is at the core
of the business strategy and serves as an in initiator for brand identity
development. It has wide ranging effects on the way a business is developed
especially in small firms where the owner plays a major role in all decisions.
The model distinguishes between minder issues, brand management
behaviors and perfomance. Thus brand orientation is best defined from the
philosophical part and brand management terminology through behavioral

Brand orientation and brand performance (H1)

Brand orientation provides the company with a general understanding of how
to manage
business processes in a manner supportive of the brand. The generally
accepted view in the
branding literature supports the idea that brands are vital success factors.

Brand orientation and brand identity (H2)

The concept of brand identity is central to brand-oriented businesses.
According to Urde brand orientation is an approach in which the processes of
the organization revolve around the creation, development, and protection of
brand identity.
Brand identity and brand performance (H3)
The conceptual model also suggests that brand identity has a positive effect
on brand
performance. The essence of brand identity centers on brand values through
which the customers create an emotional bond with the brand. Brand
can improve customer loyalty, trust, and commitment.

Moderation effects: internal branding (H4, H5, H6)

The effect of brand orientation on both brand performance and brand
identity, along with the effect of brand identity on brand performance, can be
further enhanced through internal branding.
H4: Internal branding moderates the effect of brand orientation on brand
H5: Internal branding moderates the effect of brand orientation on brand
H6: Internal branding moderates the effect of brand identity on brand