How do not-for-profit SMEs attempt to develop a strong brand in an increasingly saturated market?

Hina Khan, Donna Ede

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    26 Citations (Scopus)


    The motivation behind this research is to remedy a gap in the literature on the role of branding within small to medium-sized not-for-profit organisations that are not part of the charity or voluntary sector. Design/methodology/approach - To understand the role precisely, a qualitative study based on in-depth interviews with not-for-profit small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) was undertaken. The study identifies how these organisations develop their brands and the role that branding plays within such organisations. Two new models are presented to visually demonstrate the processes – a brand development matrix as a guide to the brand development decision process, and a focal model for the role of branding within not-for-profit SMEs. Findings - Significantly, the study finds that employees play an important role as ambassadors of the brand. Forging links and working in partnerships were found to be exceptionally valuable in helping the organisations establish names as well as raising awareness. Consequently, associations linked to the brand come from interactions that customers and other stakeholders have had with employees. Research limitations/implications - The study was qualitative and, therefore, more subjective in nature. Practical implications - This study sought to explore how not-for-profit SMEs develop their brands to begin to remedy a gap in the current literature. The objectives of the study that the researchers set out to achieve have been aided by the development of two new models. The findings show evidence of similarities between the more conventional models of branding, whilst also revealing new findings not currently in the literature. Originality/value - The horizon for not-for-profit organisations is changing. This has put increasing pressure on such organisations to establish names for themselves. Although a considerable amount has been published on the role of branding in large commercial organisations, the researchers believe this is the first study to explicitly explore the role of branding to not-for-profit SMEs (not part of the charity/voluntary sector).
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)335-354
    JournalJournal of Small Business and Enterprise Development
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - May 2009


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