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Lessons from nearly a century of the brand management system

Isabelle Aimé (Department of Marketing, IPAG Business School, Paris, France)
Fabienne Berger-Remy (IAE Paris 1 Panthéon- Sorbonne (Sorbonne Business School), Paris, France)
Marie-Eve Laporte (IAE Paris 1 Panthéon- Sorbonne (Sorbonne Business School), Paris, France)

Journal of Historical Research in Marketing

ISSN: 1755-750X

Article publication date: 10 October 2018

Issue publication date: 3 December 2018




The purpose of this study is to perform a historical analysis of the brand management system (BMS) to understand why and how, over the past century, the BMS has become the dominant marketing organizational model across Western countries and sectors and what the lessons can be learned from history to enlighten its current changes in today’s digitized environment.


Building on Low and Fullerton’s work (1994), the paper traces the evolution of the BMS from its creation in the 1930s to the recent digital era. Data from various sources – research papers, historical business books, case studies, newspaper articles and internal documents – are analyzed to inform an intellectual historical analysis of the BMS’s development.


The paper uses the prism of institutional isomorphism to highlight four distinct periods that show that the BMS has gradually imposed itself on the Western world and managed to adapt to an ever-changing environment. Moreover, it shows that in the current digital age, the BMS is now torn between two opposing directions: the brand manager should act as both absolute expert and galvanic facilitator and the BMS needs to reinvent itself once again.


This paper provides a broad perspective on the BMS function to help marketing scholars, historians and practitioners gain a better understanding of the issues currently facing the BMS and its relevance in the digital age.



The authors thank the editor, Dr Eminegul Karababa, and the reviewers for their insightful comments and suggestions that drastically enhanced the paper.


Aimé, I., Berger-Remy, F. and Laporte, M.-E. (2019), "Lessons from nearly a century of the brand management system", Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, Vol. 10 No. 4, pp. 420-450.



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Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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