5 December 2017

Call for papers: "Family Businesses and their Brand Value"

For a special issue of the International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business.

Family businesses are often passed on over several generations (Kamei and Dana, 2012). Due to their long-term existence, they are often able to develop essential immaterial assets including image, patents, networks or know-how (Craig et al., 2008; Micelotta & Raynard, 2011). Research in family businesses and their transformations over generations has gained an enormous upswing in the last few decades (Aronoff 2004; DeMassis et al., 2008; Llach & Nordquist, 2010; Sharma et al., 2012). Topics such as success factors of succession or coexistence between family and the business and ownership have been intensively analysed, described and discussed (for example in Chua et al., 2003, Chua et al., 2004, Craig & Moores, 2006; Taguiri & Davis, 1996).

The role and influence of brand on company success is an often-discussed topic in the literature (Angulo-Ruiz et al., 2014; Barth et al., 1998; Bell et al., 2002; Breivik & Thorbjornsen, 2008; Chahal & Balu, 2010; Fehle et al., 2008; Tran & Cox 2009). After intensive literature research, it becomes clear that the family business literature is lacking adequate knowledge about handling this within the value-added process (Beck, 2016; Krappe et al., 2011). The consideration of company brand as part of strategic management in family businesses has not, however, gained as much – if any – attention (Krappe et al., 2011).

A brand and its value is an important success factor. Companies with a strong brand are more resistant to price pressures and are in a position to recover quicker from losses in market share (Stöhr, 2004). This is mainly explained by the potential to differentiate from competitors (Kotler & Blieml, 1999; Wallace et al., 2013), which in turn argues for higher market prices (Pindyck & Rubinfeld, 2009) and is saved in the minds of customers (Baumgarth & Meissner, 2010; Bruhn 2004; Schmidt & Vest, 2010). For growing companies, corporate brand may be seen as a relevant factor (Vallaster & Kraus, 2011).

These values are the main elements of a brand, which are in turn essential drivers for the sustainable generation of sales (Romero & Yagüe, 2015). Brand value includes future unrealised profits (Palan, 2012), suggesting that a company can have positive brand value even when cash flows are consistently negative. Subsequently, a brand may be seen as a determinant of future financial success for a firm (King & Newman, 2015), and the relevance of brand within the value chain of the company will in future increase by manifesting in, for example, the management of strategy, mergers and acquisitions, succession planning and valuations (Brinkmann, 2011).

An isolated brand can have considerable value, which can be exploited through strategic plannig for family businesses in the context of capitalisation (e.g. sale-and-lease back or licensing). In the case of succession, a question often raised is which assets and values could be used strategically. (Lopez-Gracia & Sanchez-Andujar, 2007; Salvato & Melin, 2008; Zellweger & Astrachan, 2008;). The value of a brand could be increased by a classical brand extension or brand transfer, whereby the brand name is transferred to new products and services. With the inherent trust in the brand already established, preferences can be assigned to them, thereby adding the additional benefit of entering new market segments (Burman et al., 2012; Esch, 2014; Wong & Merrilees, 2006).

From a theoretical viewpoint, company brand can be characterised under different views:
  • Resource-based view: Under this view, companies with a strong brand can themselves achieve competitive advantage (Glynn, 2009, p. 35). Therefore, it is possible to develop a brand and use it as an intangible resource to increase profitability and to justify higher prices in opposite to consumers (Pawan et al., 2016, p. 553; Proctor, 2000, p. 43). Brands are company-specific and can therefore not be copied by competitors (Beugelsdijk et al., 2013, p. 193), which is especially relevant for family businesses (Beck, 2016, p. 193). For this type of firm, the family itself often constitutes a strong brand characterised by consistency, long-term orientation, integrity and the ability to establish connections to different stakeholders (Krappe et al., 2011; Peters & Fehle, 2011).
  • Knowledge-based view: Here an extension to the definition of brand knowledge can be made. Consumers use their obtained knowledge and their experiences when they compare brands with each other, and this knowledge provides an association to the related brand (Zickermann 2014, p. 38). The positive effects a brand provides for consumers are increasing their influence when using brand marketing (O´Reilly & Lancendorfer, 2015, p. 2156).
  • Network-based view: Here a brand is viewed as an instrument that is in a position to establish connections to feelings, symbols and lifestyles, and these are the reasons why the related products and services are consumed (Verma, 2002, p. 227). Establishing a brand enables the development of relationships to different stakeholders and also affects their behaviour and decisions when co-operating with the company (Basile, 2013, p. 2).
These examples are just potential approaches for utilising brands to guarantee sustainable success and promote growth in family businesses. However, the potential and ability of family businesses to capitalise on their respective company brands has not been investigated. This gap, and the questions surrounding it, will be the topic under investigation in this special issue. This special issue therefore attempts to provide first insights into the potential use of brand value in family businesses, to integrate into the literature on strategic direction and brand value. This is especially the case given that previous efforts by research into the two fields of 'corporate strategy' and 'brand of family' have not, to our knowledge, been amalgamated in any form. This special issue will address this blind spot and invites scholars to make submissions in this upcoming new direction.

We welcome qualitative as well as quantitative and mixed methodologies, as long as they are well grounded in the literature. Please refer to the following articles:
  • Dana, L.P.; and Dumez, H. (2015), 'Qualitative Research Revisited: Epistemology of a Comprehensive Approach'. International Journal of Entrepreneurship & Small Business, 26(2), 2015, pp. 154-170.
  • Dana, L.P.; and Dana, T.E. (2005), 'Expanding the Scope of Methodologies Used in Entrepreneurship Research', International Journal of Entrepreneurship & Small Business, 2(1), 2005, pp. 79-88.
Suitable topics include, but are not limited, to the following:
  • The role and the value of brand in family businesses within their life cycle
  • Brand as a driver for internationalisation strategies
  • Capitalisation on the brand in context with sale-and-lease back or licensing as financing instruments
  • The valuation of the brand as intangible assets
  • The external perception of family business brand and its meaning

Important Dates
Manuscripts due by: 19 January, 2018
Notification to authors: 30 March, 2018
Final versions due by: 20 June, 2018


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