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Working It: Managing Professional Brands in Prestigious Posts

Working It: Managing Professional Brands in Prestigious Posts

Marie-Agnès Parmentier and Eileen Fischer

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This study extends prior work on professional branding: it addresses challenges that individuals face when managing their professional brands to ensure their career mobility while employed in a prestigious post that gives them a high profile both internally in the organizations they work for, and externally in the broader institutional field. It identifies two types of tensions associated with prestigious posts, the first concerning resources and the second identity. It also identifies four practices that contribute to the mitigation of these same tensions, namely: “transporting teams”, “out-conforming to commercial logics,” “selectively neglecting local normative expectations,” and “materializing the professional brand in the broader market.”

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Related Marketing Courses: ​

Brand Management; Marketing Communications; Marketing Strategy

Principles of Marketing, Core Marketing, Intro to Marketing Management


Full Citation: ​
Parmentier, Marie-Agnès and Eileen Fischer (2020), “Working It: Managing Professional Brands in Prestigious Posts” Journal of Marketing

Article Abstract
Our paper addresses the challenges individuals face when managing their professional brands while working in “prestigious posts” (high profile jobs in established organizations) and striving to maintain career mobility. Using a case study approach, and drawing on sociological field theories, we identify two types of tensions (resources-based and identity-based) that are triggered by prestigious posts and four practices conducive to mitigating tensions and maintaining mobility. Beyond extending prior theory on person brands to include consideration of career mobility, our work has implications for better understanding the complexities of affiliations between professionals and the brands they work for. It suggests that individuals who are managing their professional brands while holding prestigious posts need to strike a balance between benefiting from the affiliation in the eyes of external stakeholders and at the same time maintaining their professional independence in order to maintain career mobility.

Special thanks to Demi Oba and Holly Howe, Ph.D. candidates at Duke University, for their support in working with authors on submissions to this program.

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Marie-Agnès Parmentier is Associate Professor of Marketing at HEC Montréal.

Eileen Fischer is Professor of Marketing and Anne & Max Tanenbaum Chair in Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise, Schulich School of Business, York University, Canada.