Being Branded


Special issue of Scandinavian Journal of Management, Edited by Jonathan Gosling, Katie Rose Sullivan and Jonathan Schroeder; Deadline 30 Oct 2011

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Scandinavian Journal of Management

Call for Papers for Special Issue on

Being Branded

Submission Deadline 30th October 2011

Guest Editors

Jonathan Gosling
University of Exeter

Katie Rose Sullivan
Universities of Utah and Lund

Jonathan Schroeder
Rochester Institute of Technology

Branding has become so ubiquitous that it seems to cover everything. Nations are promoted as brands, and their citizens become brand representatives. Individuals are urged to promote themselves as ‘brand me’, and what was once bracketed as ‘career planning’ is now touted as ‘personal brand strategy’. Celebrity culture is an obvious manifestation of this, extending star status from the movies to almost every walk of life. Many organizations present their staff as brand assets – especially in so-called knowledge industries such as higher education and consultancy.

Branding researchers have argued that individuals construct identity, express themselves, and create meaning through their interaction with brands. Critics maintain that we have been put to work for companies, as aesthetic labourers, working consumers, and immaterial agents, building value for brands without proper compensation. Thus, heightened awareness of consumers and employees’ roles in ‘cocreating’ brand value, and ‘co-producing’ products, services, and brands via active engagement with brands in brand communities, on websites, and in social interaction has led to productive research streams on ‘working consumers’; aesthetic labour, and branding. Consumer studies have considered being branded from the perspective of the active consumer of branded goods, such as how wearing branded clothes, perfumes, and styles impacts individual and collective identities; this is one form of being branded. But to date there has been very little study of what it means to be branded by an organization of which one is a member.

For this special issue we invite papers that examine ‘being branded’ in an organizational context. We are particularly interested in papers with a strong empirical and qualitative basis and which also contribute to theories of branding and identity, and to relevant methodological issues. However we will also welcome papers that draw on quantitative analyses where their conceptual contribution is substantial. Issues that might be addressed include – but are not limited to – the following:

  • Experiential Approaches/Phenomenology of being branded
  • Imagery and style: ‘embodied occupational branding’ or the ways in which employees (re)create bodies/aesthetics to match or resist occupational norms
  • Implications for implicit and explicit employment contracts
  • Objectification and replaceability: branding and the flexible organisation
  • Representation and Delegation: power and ownership in a ‘star’ culture
  • Return on branding: valuing (and rewarding) the contribution of branded employees
  • Strategic commodification of employees – websites, brochures, photographs

Submission Guidelines and Important Dates:

The deadline for submissions is 30th October 2011 and should be submitted via the journal’s online submission system available through the journal homepage or directly via – choosing “Special Issue: On Being Branded” as the paper type.

Before submission, please consult the journal guidelines for authors at:

Additional information can be obtained from the guest editors:;; or

About the guest editors:

Jonathan Gosling is Professor of Leadership Studies at University of Exeter, UK. He is part of a multinational research collaboration examining branding, identity, and leadership, headquartered at Lund University. He is on a number of Boards and advisory commissions, has published heterogeneously, and is a co-founder of the One Planet MBA.

Katie Sullivan is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Economics and Management at Lund University and a Visiting Scholar at The David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah. Katie is certified as an Integrated Marketing Communication Consultant. She has published in Management Communication Quarterly and acted as a guest reviewer for several communication and management journals.

Jonathan Schroeder is the William A. Kern Professor of Communication at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, and Honorary Professor of Marketing at University of Exeter. Schroeder has published widely on branding, communication, consumer research, and marketing aesthetics. He is editorin- chief of Consumption Markets & Culture.