Corporate Brands


Perspectives from Corporate Marketing, Organisational Behaviour and International Business, Special issue of European Management Review; Deadline 30 May 2017




Guest Editors:

Professor John M.T. Balmer, Brunel Business School, Brunel University London, UK
Professor Jonathan Schroeder, Rochester Institute of Technology, New York, USA
Dr Cagri Yalkin, Brunel Business School, Brunel University London, UK

As a journal focusing on European management issues with a relevance to the global community, this call for papers focusing on corporate brand management is timely. Recent corporate scandals and resultant corporate brand damage relating to Volkswagen (dishonest pollution emission tests in the USA), Apple (illegal use of the University of Wisconsin’s technology), DeBeers (monopoly practices, smuggling diamond roughs outside of Botswana instead of locally processing them to support local business), Xiaomi (sending user information without consent through WhatsApp to mainland China), Magnit (causing the death of an 81-year old customer after having her arrested for theft) and recent Forbes corporate brand valuations (Apple is worth $124.2 billion and Microsoft has a value of $63 billion, BMW $27.5) are testimony of the importance of corporate brands and, in particular, their management. This call invites contributions to enhance knowledge in management research on corporate brands from diverse perspectives including, but not limited to: marketing, organisational behaviour, international business, consumer culture, heritage and history studies, human resources, stakeholder management, and strategy.

The body of research on corporate brands has been growing for more than two decades (e.g. Balmer 1995; Bickerton 2000; Burt & Sparks 2002; Balmer & Gray 2003; Harris and deChernatony 2001; Ind 1996, 1998; Knox & Bickerton 2001; Knox 2004; Melewar & Walker 2003; Merrilees & Miller 2008; Urde 2003; Vallaster et al. 2012) and spans across disciplines and paradigms. As such, this call for papers welcomes contributions for a wide variety of perspectives, paradigms and viewpoints. Moreover, as observed by Mukherjee & Balmer (2007), the theoretical underpinnings of the territory requires more attention and it is hoped this special edition will meaningfully advance the theoretical foundations of corporate brands. Therefore, this special issue seeks contributions from diverse disciplinary, theoretical and critical perspectives.

In tandem with the globalisation of consumer culture, brands have become a focal notion for both corporations and consumers (Schroeder 2009). As such, reinforcing an earlier point, the interest in, and acceptance of, corporate brands in research areas as diverse as management, sociology, heritage and history, organisation, and anthropology (Schroeder 2014) signal the need to, and efficacy of, researching corporate brands from all areas of management. For example, Manning and Uplisashvili (2007) illustrate an anthropological account of how brand managers in Georgia rely on the heritage of ethnographic figures of Georgian mountaineers. Over the past two decades, particular areas of concern have come to the fore including co-creation notion and its critique (e.g. Cova et al. 2011; Healy & McDonagh 2013; Pongsakornrungsilp & Schroeder 2011; Zwick et al. 2008), brands within globalization (e.g. Hsieh 2002), cultural branding (e.g. Holt 2004; Schroeder & Salzer-Mörling. 2006), and luxury branding (e.g., Han, Nunes, & Dreze 2010). The increased emphasis on brands per se, including their management, have been critiqued from various angles such as the use of consumers’ labour in brand building (Arvidsson 2005); the effect of brands on management and lifestyle (Kornberger 2010) and the inherent dangers in promulgating corporate socially responsible/ethical corporate brands (Balmer et al. 2011). As noted by Schroeder (2009, 2015), because brands exist as cultural, ideological, and political objects, researchers require an understanding of culture, ideology, and politics, in conjunction with branding concepts such as equity, strategy, and value. This understanding cannot be achieved without an insight into cultural processes such as the historical context, ethical concerns, and management conventions that affect brands.

The work within organisation studies has also been significant and influential as organisational behaviour and human resources scholars contributed to research on corporate branding (e.g. Hatch & Schultz 2001). Notably, some organisational behaviourists concur with corporate marketing scholars in terms of recognising the strategic importance of corporate brand and have, in particular, focussed on the value and meanings accorded to corporate brands on the part of organisational members. Futhermore, from a strategic management and human resources perspectives, both the corporate brand and human capital represent key corporate resources (Vomberg et. al. 2014). Issues of third party employment branding are also germane (Dineen & Allen 2016). Additionally, scholars noted the importance of corporate brand identification on the part of organisational members and others (Berger-Remy & Michel 2015). Since corporate brands are relevant to both internal and external stakeholders, corporate branding have also been studied by human resources as well as by corporate marketing scholars (e.g. de Chernatony & Harris 2000; Edwards 2005; Pettinger 2004; Wheeler et al. 2006), focusing on how the corporate brand reflects on current and prospective employees and other stakeholders. De Roeck et al. (2013) propose an integrative framework encompassing various perspectives.

Overall, corporate branding has been studied by scholars from areas such as marketing, consumer research, organisational studies, human resources, psychology, sociology, communication, public relations, and strategy. The intersection of the literature in these disciplines prompts an interdisciplinary understanding of corporate branding that also embraces plurality in methods. For example, recent Apple and Volkswagen scandals mentioned earlier are not only or primarily in the domain of corporate marketing; they also require scholars to examine the mechanisms of corporate governance, stakeholder theory and accountability apropos corporate brand management. Furthermore, as Schroeder (2015) notes, branding is regarded as crucial to corporate strategy. Therefore, corporate brands concern all areas of management ranging from organisational behaviour, operations management and strategy, among others.

Reflecting the purpose of EMR, this call for papers seeks to gather research that will provide a dialogue between researchers, thereby improving the understanding of the nature of management in different settings, and promoting the transfer of research results to real-world management practice. Our call invites interdisciplinary and, in particular European, management-focussed research that taps into cultural, managerial, and economic, and critical analysis of corporate branding and, what for some, is the problematisation of its dominance in corporate governance. The guest editors also welcome critical perspectives which, for example, examine the ‘dark side’ of corporate brand orientation, management and corporate brand identification on the part of customers, organisational members and other stakeholders.

The guest editors welcome both conceptual and empirical contributions as well as literature reviews. Theory-building case studies are also welcomed.

The following represents some of the research themes which fit with this call for papers:

  • Corporate brands: perspectives from corporate marketing, organisational behaviour,
  • consumer research, international business, psychology, human resources management,
  • operations research, accounting, accountability, corporate governance, sociology, strategy, and anthropological perspectives
  • Corporate brand co-creation
  • Corporate brand culture
  • Corporate brands within globalisation/internationalisation
  • Corporate brands: online issues
  • Consumers and corporate brands
  • Stakeholders and corporate brands
  • Employee corporate brand identification in defused organisations
  • Corporate brand management and leadership theories
  • Corporate brand management and economic theories
  • Corporate brand orientation: theories and practice
  • Corporate brand alignment and calibration
  • Corporate heritage brands
  • Corporate heritage service brands
  • History and the corporate brand
  • Internationalisation and corporate brand management
  • Internationalisation of corporate brands to and from developing countriesCorporate brands and their role in internationalisation
  • The dark side of corporate brands, corporate brand management and corporate brand identification

Submission and Timetable for the special issue:

    Submissions should be made online using EMR manuscript central
    between: 10th 30th May 2017 (deadline)
    30th July 2017 : Authors will receive feedback.
    14th September 2017: Full papers with first revisions due.
    1st December 2017: Full papers due.
    2018: Journal volume to be published.

All papers should be submitted according to EMR authors’ guidelines:


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