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Fame and fortune: a conceptual model of CEO brands

Franziska Bendisch (Bayer S.A. – CropScience, São Paulo, Brazil)
Gretchen Larsen (Department of Management, King's College London, London, UK)
Myfanwy Trueman (School of Management, University of Bradford, Bradford, UK)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 29 March 2013




This conceptual paper examines the notion of CEO brands and the problems that arise if they are misaligned with company brands. Previous research examines product, company and people brands and implications for senior executives and organizations, but there is no theoretical framework for CEO brand stewardship. This research aims to fill the gap.


The marketing literature is examined to identify differences between products and people as brands, and the potential for CEO brands to enhance corporate brand equity. Based on an application of existing branding concepts to CEOs, a conceptual model of CEO brands is developed to include an analysis of the relationships between its constituent parts.


CEO brands can be legitimately considered as brands, and existing brand conceptualisations can be applied to CEOs as long as some particularities are accounted for. CEO brands are influenced by their personality and their role as managers, and organisations need to constantly monitor CEO brand reputation as well as communicate its positioning. A successful CEO branding enhances perceived brand value and creates value for organisations.

Research limitations/implications

This research informs brand managers and strategists about brand equity creation. Monitoring stakeholder perceptions of CEOs can enhance rather than detract from corporate brand value. As it showed that people and CEOs can be legitimately considered as brands, the concept of branding needs to be extended to embrace people and CEO brands.

Practical implications

For business practice, this research informs about the differences and similarities between traditional product brands and CEO brands. Particularly it informs that organisations should consider that the CEO brand personifies to stakeholders what the organisation stands for, for example, when hiring a new CEO.


This research provides a new conceptual model on the previously under‐researched area of CEO branding. The insights into CEO brands provide the basis for empirical research into relationships between brand identity, reputation, position and equity, with implications for personal fame and company fortune.



Bendisch, F., Larsen, G. and Trueman, M. (2013), "Fame and fortune: a conceptual model of CEO brands", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 47 No. 3/4, pp. 596-614.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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