Branding in the international business opportunity development
1University of Oulu, Oulu Business School, Department of Management and International Business, International Business
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This study discusses challenges and possibilities with newly established firms related to international business opportunity development, and examines the role of branding in the process. The aim of the research is to analyse how international business opportunities and branding are intertwined in new and small firms’ activities. The study starts with a literature review where the phenomenon is approached by reviewing focal theories related to international business opportunity development and branding. The study continues with an empirical research by examining the international business opportunity development and branding of two Oulu-based newly founded firms operating in the high technology industry. The empirical research is carried out by theme-based interviews. The study revealed that international business opportunities can be supported by branding activities starting from the very early phase of founding a new firm. The different functions and actors of the international business opportunities are distinguished to analyse the connections to the branding activities and actors impacting branding process, and to analyse how branding efforts can support the international business opportunity development. Hence, the international business opportunity development within a new firm was depicted as a process incorporating the main activities of learning, networking, internationalising, innovating and creating customer value. The business opportunity is co-created together with the specialised capabilities of the main actors: entrepreneur(s), organisation, social networks and stakeholders. Branding being a continuous process to co-create value, building the brand identity and image promoting the awareness, reliability and recognition of the new firm can support also the development of the international business opportunity and nurture the network relationships management. The results show insights into how the development of the international business opportunity can utilise brand building endeavours to overcome the major challenges that occurred due to specific context of a newly established firm. The study advances the contemporary knowledge by pointing towards the supportive role of branding in establishing new customer and partner relationships to develop the international business opportunity. The purpose of this research was to gain a more profound understanding of the development of the international business opportunities, and to enhance the development of international entrepreneurship theory in order to explore the relations of the phenomenon. The scope of this study is not the emergence of the business opportunities as such, but the continuous interactive process of discovering, creating, evaluating and exploiting, thus, the development of opportunities in order to be able to collect the fruits of the specific international business opportunity. Branding has often regarded as a business functions for the bigger companies requiring heavy investments and big organization behind, which small firms with limited resources generally lack. This research is to understand the role of branding in new and small firms established for developing the international business opportunity. The present study encourages entrepreneurs to systematically think of the potential advantages of branding for the development of their international business opportunity and for tackling the challenges faced by a new and small firm.
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