Brand Building in Born Global Firms : The role of digitalization in brand building in young B2B Born Global companies internationalization
Abstract: Purpose: The purpose of this thesis is to create a deeper understanding of the impact of digitalization on branding and brand building in the internationalization of B2B Born Global SMEs. Design/methodology: The methods used were a mixed qualitative methodology including both interviews and open-ended surveys. With an explorative and descriptive purpose, this study aimed to deliver depth and specific knowledge. The sample companies were young SME, B2B companies in northern Sweden that either was, or are likely to become Born Global companies in the near future. Findings: All companies saw networking as important in their early steps of internationalization rather than using digital channels. However, as they developed their business some of them changed this network strategy towards digital or co-branding strategies. All Born Global companies use digital channels to promote their brand to some extent. Resource scarcity and trust are two common issues for Born Global companies, which both can be overcome by using, networks, co-branding and digital channels. Research implications and limitations: The two main contributors to B2B Born Global internationalization are networks and digital channels, preferably combined, or in a combination with co-branding. Digitalization improves the Born Globals brand building and internationalization by providing an opportunity to overcome the scarcity of resources. Since this is a qualitative study, it is based on a limited number of Born Global start-ups, which makes it hard to suggest large generalizations of the findings and the analysis. Practical implications: Practitioners that are starting a B2B company with an aim to go global in short time period should consider both brand building and how they use digital channels at an early stage. A conceptual model is created, emphasizing on important aspects of four stages in brand building in B2B Born Globals. Originality: To our knowledge the first study focusing on the role of digitalization in Born Global branding and brand building. Moreover the study contributes to brand building literature regarding SMEs and B2B companies.
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