“Connecting thought leaders in branding research to jointly advance the discipline.”
The Advances in Branding Research Cluster intends to be a hub that attracts and connects branding researchers within the Department, within Copenhagen Business School, and across institutional and disciplinary borders, on a national and international level.
By connecting thought leaders in our discipline, we aim to facilitate an international research discourse that stimulates and initiates state-of-the-art branding research. The Cluster is open for any ontological, epistemological, and methodological perspective, as far as it contributes to advancing the branding discipline. This implies that the Cluster’s research acknowledges and builds on extant knowledge and approaches to branding research and practice, but simultaneously transcends conventional knowledge and approaches to branding. Thereby, we aim contributing interesting and relevant new insights and critical reflections that advance branding theory and help understanding and handling new realities branding practice is facing.
Focal areas of research interest and activity
The Cluster is the central hub for various areas of research interest. Each of these areas is represented by one or multiple researchers at the Department and linked to a network of external researchers who work on relevant research in the respective area. Some of these research areas are connected to each other as well as to other research clusters in the Department. Each area of research interest engages in an array of activities that contribute to connecting thought leaders in the respective area and stimulate research that advances the branding discipline. This structure is flexible, and new areas that are in line with the Cluster’s objectives can be added whenever new researchers join the Cluster or new research areas are explored by existing Cluster members. Currently, the Cluster’s areas of research interest are the following:
Co-creation of Brand Tangibles and Intangibles: This area of research interest is concerned with studying the co-construction and co-destruction of tangible and intangible brand assets in a collaborative effort between multiple stakeholders. This view challenges the existing hegemony in the brand management literature, which sees brands and their meanings as the prerogative of brand managers and their agencies. In our research, we see the co-construction (and co-destruction) of brands and their meanings taking place through the dynamic processes and relationships within the stakeholder eco-system. Co-creation affects both brands as well as stakeholders involved and is established within social, cultural, political, and economic contexts. This area of research is emergent and already represented in top marketing journals such as Journal of Academy of Marketing Science and Journal of Business Research and relates to parallel research in consumer behaviour published in Journal Citations Report and notions on co-creation published in Journal of Marketing.
Influencer Branding: This area of research is concerned with studying the new branding phenomenon of influencer marketing/branding, which involves humans branding themselves in new types of eco-systems. Influencer marketing/branding draws on notions of human and person branding; self-presentation and consumer-brand relations are relevant areas in this emerging research field. In our research, we investigate influencer marketing/branding as a practice, which challenges conventional ways of branding, since humans work as a brand in their own right. This research track studies the emergence of this new marketing practice and its relation and consequences for how we understand branding work. This area of research is current, novel, and emergent and represented in Journal of Advertising, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Interactive Marketing, and Journal of Marketing.
The Brand Strategy-Consumer Interface: This area of research investigates consumers’ responses to different brand strategies including (1) different brand communications, (2) the use of their personal information by the brands to develop products and services, and (3) brands that experience brand harm crises that is caused by an algorithm error (vs. human error). Multiple methods including experimental research and analyses of secondary data are adopted. Related research has been published in the International Journal of Research in Marketing, Journal of Advertising, Journal of Consumer Psychology, Journal of Consumer Research, and Psychology & Marketing.
Brand Ethicality: This area of research is concerned with studying the brand-related antecedents and consequences of customer perceptions of brand ethicality within a variety of service industries including banking, insurance, and financial services. It also studies the ethical implications of diverse brand co-creation processes such as the co-creation of brand offerings and brand identity. Further studies explore ethicality in influencer contexts. Multiple methods are adopted including both qualitative and quantitative research techniques. Related research has been published in Journal of Business Ethics.
Internal and international collaboration
Strategic focus areas:
- Maintain and extend the Cluster’s national and international collaborations.
- Build the Cluster’s role as a recognized centre for the study of advances in branding research
Collaboration: Internal collaboration and a continuous engagement with the wider national and international academic and business community are central to our aim to become a leading centre for research and thought leadership within the field of branding research. The hub structure that underlies our centre is conducive for achieving this aim. The Cluster’s different areas of research interest are linked to networks of external internationally leading researchers (in branding and related disciplines such as psychology), to other research clusters, as well as industry partners. Different Cluster activities (e.g., network events, seminars, book projects) provide platforms for research discussions and practitioner involvement, thus facilitating the development of international and eventually inter-disciplinary research collaborations.
Research and education: Any research area is dependent on the development of new researchers and new ideas. The Cluster offers a highly competent and supportive environment for Ph.D. students. We have a strong track record in successful Ph.D. supervision. Through the international research networks, we actively support the exchange of Ph.D. students within the network and encourage Ph.D. students to visit Copenhagen Business School as part of their education.
- Regular organization of internal brown-bag meetings to develop and maintain a continuous research discourse amongst our members and an esprit de corp (also open for interested members of other research clusters).
- Facilitation of the Brand Meaning Research Network: regular organization of offline and online research meetings (e.g., biennial Brand Meaning Research Network meeting; since 2015) and seminar series (e.g., permanent SIG on Branding at EMAC; permanent EMAC online seminar series on Branding) involving leading international researchers and practitioners.
- Continuous identification of potential new international collaboration partners (e.g., at conferences, direct contact with relevant departments at other universities, for example, Lund University)
- Build up a program of visits by academics at all levels (from Ph.D. students to professors).
- Working collaboratively with our research network and partners to explore initiatives for research education. For instance, establishment of a Ph.D. course in branding at Copenhagen Business School, eventually in collaboration with our network partners.