The use of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) within strategic alliances as a tool to enhance SME relational marketing

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Abstract

Objectives: To examine the trend toward the use of CSR by SMEs in strategic alliances when, for example, endeavouring to enhance brand image. This approach can be instrumental in affecting change driven out of the necessity to use limited resources as effectively and efficiently as possible. This paper explains how symbiosis achieved in an alliance can become important to the success of an enterprise and how this is driving SMEs toward such alliances in a more positive way.
Prior Work: Much work has been done on relational marketing in the SME context. There is now an increased awareness of the positive impact that the use of strategic alliances can have on organisations’ marketing effort but much is left to be done, especially in the SME arena.
Approach: This study falls within the social constructivist paradigm. Discourse Analysis was employed to make sense of data generated from a small sample of SME and support agency participants. The study employed the semi-structured interview that, when transcribed, provided research texts that were then analysed through a Discourse Analysis lens.
Results: Some of the discursive practices that emerged in the study underline the importance of CSR where the main implication is that small businesses can lead the way in achieving symbiosis by the practice of CSR within a strategic alliance. This paper underlines the importance of SME relational marketing and concludes that there is a belief that CSR has positive influences on issues such as brand image, increased loyalty and associated pricing. The paper suggests that the use of a strategic alliance between the SME and a relevant cause can provide symbiosis through this relationship approach where ‘strategic fit’ or matching is an essential ingredient.
Implications: The paper underlines the importance of SME relational marketing and of the ability to create and launch a brand with the help of CSR within a strategic alliance to create effective and efficient performance.
Value: SME managers, educators, trainers, developers and those involved in SME support should find this paper helpful in understanding the use of CSR within strategic alliances in the marketing arena that facilitates the achievement of effective and efficient engagement with target audiences when launching and building brands.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2014
EventISBE 2014 (37th Institute for Small Business & Entrepreneurship Conference) - Manchester, UK
Duration: 5 Nov 2014 → …

Conference

ConferenceISBE 2014 (37th Institute for Small Business & Entrepreneurship Conference)
Period5/11/14 → …

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