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Brand-building and the elements of success: discoveries using historical analyses

Dale Miller (Department of Marketing, Griffith University, Queensland, Australia)

Qualitative Market Research

ISSN: 1352-2752

Article publication date: 8 April 2014




The paper aims to examine the concept of brand-building. The emphasis is on corporate brand-building and brand heritage in the firm, and the differing influences of entrepreneurial family leadership and professional transformational leadership.


The qualitative research design strategy draws on longitudinal case study research using primary archival data collection and analysis. The sample is one successful Canadian firm, and the study investigates how its brand was built in two distinct eras, the Entrepreneurial Era and the Professional Era.


The findings identify similarities and differences across the eras. Discoveries include the identification of early brand-building activities based on brand values, which formed the basis for brand heritage, and the importance of brand orientation and brand strategy implementation in the Professional Era.

Practical implications

The managerial implications for brand-building show that the findings can be extrapolated to twenty-first century businesses, if there is an astute understanding of the firm's context be it an entrepreneurial family firm or a large, professionally managed complex firm.


The paper uses original historical qualitative research to contribute to understanding brand building. The study contributes to knowledge with a revised brand building framework and the related detailed brand elements that contribute to effective corporate branding. For researchers, the study adds to understanding of brand building and demonstrates a further example of the efficacy of using qualitative archival materials to explore branding questions.



The Canadian Tire Heritage Collection is deposited at Western Archives, The University of Western Ontario, Canada and has been used with permission. Particular appreciation is due to B. Brereton, Associate Archivist for her unfailing guidance, support and insights. Other members of the archives were very helpful in many ways and smoothed the data collection path. Siân Madsen, at Canadian Tire Corporation, generously provided access to other important materials.


Miller, D. (2014), "Brand-building and the elements of success: discoveries using historical analyses", Qualitative Market Research, Vol. 17 No. 2, pp. 92-111.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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