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Brand naming for black owned fast moving consumer goods-small medium and micro enterprises in the KZN province: grounded theory approach.

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Brand names influence consumers’ purchase decisions and the success of Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) depends on strong brand names. Black-owned Small, Medium, and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) in South Africa in the FMCG industry struggle to compete with established brands, partly due to inadequate brand name choices. In the province of KwaZulu-Natal, as in the rest of South Africa, SMMEs are at the heart of the economic development agenda and FMCG industries are a significant part of this strategy. It is argued that FMCG-SMMEs can accelerate economic growth as they provide essential goods, on-demand at all times, even during pandemics like COVID-19 and in the face of poverty. This study sought to identify the brand naming practices applied by black-owned FMCG-SMMEs without being influenced by the expectations of existing, usually Western brand naming theories. Exploratory qualitative research methods were employed and Grounded Theory (GT) was used to create theories to define brand naming by black-owned FMCG-SMMEs in KwaZulu-Natal. Saturation was employed to set the parameters for the sample size. Data was collected by means of open-ended interviews and thematic analysis was used to analyse the data. Data collection was guided by four objectives, namely, brand naming processes; strategies employed to select brand names; brand linguistic considerations including the use of African languages; and the socio-economic dimensions of the brand naming process. The study identified five steps in brand naming that are different from the Euro-American steps and similar to some East Asian steps. The seven strategies adopted by the FMCG-SMMEs included dimensions not commonly used in the West, including brand name motivation, promoting the family legacy in the form of selfnymic and childnymic practices, black economic consciousness and universality. Inrelation to linguistics, the study identified the use of the letter ‘d’ plosive, sound, semantics and fictitious words to define the role of language and brand naming by black-owned FMCG-SMMEs. In terms of socio-economic factors, it established that education and training programmes, as well as previous experience in a start-up business or as an employee influenced the brand naming practices of black-owned FMCG-SMMEs in KwaZulu-Natal.


Doctoral Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.