Branding CEOs : How relationship between cheif executive officers, corporate brands and stakeholders image can influence perceived brand value
Chief Executive Officers (CEOs)
Rights© 2010 Bandisch, F. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/uk).
InstitutionUniversity of Bradford
DepartmentSchool of Management
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AbstractChief Executive Officers (CEOs) have become recognised as brands in the academic and popular domain, but little is known about the relationship between these senior manager ¿brands¿ and the corporate brand of the organisation they represent. Since stakeholders associate the CEO¿s reputation with that of the company, they may negatively or positively affect each other, and there is little research into this dynamic. Indeed there is only a limited understanding about the field of people branding in general and much less into CEO brands in particular. Consequently this doctoral thesis investigates the people and CEO brands phenomena, the relationships between CEO, corporate brand and stakeholder¿s self-image and how these can be effectively managed in order to enhance brand equity for the company. Based on a critical realist perspective, this research examines traditional product brand elements from the literature and develops a new conceptual framework for people brands, which is subsequently applied to CEOs. Furthermore a survey is performed with business school students. The findings are analysed by using content analysis, descriptive statistics and by developing and testing a Structural Equation Model. The contribution to knowledge is threefold. Firstly a conceptual framework of people brands is constructed. Second this model is applied to CEO brands. Third five propositions about stakeholder perceptions of CEO brand differentiation and equity are empirically tested. The main findings are that visual presentation is not the main factor to differentiate CEO brands from each other, nor is their association with the company. Positive perceptions of corporate brands can influence the reputation of the CEO brand and lead to an enhancement of their brand equity. Importantly this indicates that stakeholders do not distinguish between CEO and company. Brand equity is also created if there is a relationship between stakeholder self-image and company brand, which in turn can improve the reputation of the CEO brand. Finally brand equity is enhanced through stakeholder perceptions of an ideal self-image. Overall this research has important implications for academia and managerial practice as it extends the knowledge about people and CEO brands and provides an insight into ways in which the relationships between CEO, company and stakeholders can be managed to enhance brand equity for the company
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