Internal Branding: In Search of a New Paradigm

Call for papers for: Journal of Product & Brand Management

(Submission window 1st March 2020 – 31st March 2020)



Professor Holger J. Schmidt, Professor of General Management and Marketing, Koblenz University of Applied Sciences, Koblenz, Germany, Email: [email protected]

Professor Nicholas J. Ind. Professor of Marketing, Kristiana University College, Oslo, Norway, Email: [email protected]

Associate Professor Dr. Oriol Iglesias, Associate Professor of Marketing, Universitat Ramon Llull, ESADE Business School, Barcelona, Spain, Email: [email protected]


Although it was relatively late in the history of the brand management discipline that the contribution of internal stakeholders to the creation of brand value was considered, today marketing scholars and practitioners have no doubt that employees play an important role in the brand management process (Punjaisri and Wilson, 2017). The specific relevance of the concept is particularly connected to the rise of corporate brands  which dominate services industries, b-to-b markets and non-profit sectors (Balmer, 2010). Within those industries, personal communication is highly significant and direct interaction between external and internal stakeholders is essential. Hence, employees play a crucial role in providing a positive, consistent and coherent brand experience.

In the past twenty years, empirical research in the field has proliferated and the internal branding domain has increasingly gained theoretical robustness. Initial work focused on definitions of the concept and its demarcation against other relevant management practices like internal marketing and employer branding (Foster et al., 2010). Other authors looked at the conceptualization of psychological dimensions like brand knowledge, brand identification, brand commitment and brand behaviour (Piehler et al., 2016) and identified leadership, communication and human resource management as major building blocks of brand commitment - an antecedent of brand behaviour (Burmann et al., 2009). Another stream of literature analyzed the contribution of internal brand management activities on external brand perception and brand equity (Gelb and Deva, 2014). Last but not least, authors, used case studies to describe specific practices or environments of internal brand management (Schmidt and Baumgarth, 2018).

However, despite the relatively large number of papers and the importance of the topic, knowledge on internal branding remains fragmented (Saleem and Iglesias, 2016). This is mainly due to the fact that internal stakeholders’ role in brand building is often seen as a means to an end: upper management predefine the brand identity that is supposed to be implemented and employees are expected to align their behaviour with the brand’s positioning. Nevertheless, in a world where people are highly connected to their peers, where consumers are in search of authentic and meaningful products and where markets are exceedingly transparent, the basic conditions for internal branding have changed dramatically. Today, consumers and employees feel empowered (Gill-Simmen et al., 2018) and can co-create brands (Ind et al., 2013) and their meaning (Da Silveira et al., 2013). Additionally, in line with the organic-view of the brand (Iglesias et al., 2013), if brand value is co-created by multiple stakeholders, internal branding should not only consider the role of internal employees, but also the employees of the brand’s external partners. This has been neglected in the traditional internal branding literature.

Overall, this demands a paradigm shift in the internal branding domain, and therefore, we invite submissions that shed light on this new perspective. We welcome both conceptual and empirical contributions and quantitative and qualitative papers. In particular, we invite studies which are related to (but not restricted to) the following topics:
•    Internal branding in a VUCA-World (volatility, uncertainty, complexity und ambiguity)
•    Internal stakeholders’ role in brand co-creation processes
•    The role of employees in the co-creation of brand meaning
•    The mutual co-creation of brands and employees’ identities.
•    The role of the employees of a brand’s external partner in the brand value co-creation process.
•    Building alignment between internal brand employees and the employees of the brand’s external partners.
•    The influence of employees’ experience on customers’ experience.
•    The dual role of employees as internal stakeholders and customers
•    The impact of multiple touchpoints on employee-stakeholder relationships
•    Intrinsic motivational factors of employees’ brand behaviour
•    Employees as influencers
•    Antecedents and consequences of employees’ brand perceptions and brand pride
•    Changing perspectives on employee brand engagement
•    Employee engagement with sustainability
•    The role of employees in building brands with a conscience.
•    The impact of politically conscious brands on internal brand engagement
•    Engaging employees through the use of brand communities and through other innovative means
•    Technology and artificial intelligence in the context of internal branding


All papers need to be submitted online to the Special Issue on “Internal Branding” through the ScholarOne System. For informal enquiries you can contact the guest editors.

The system will open: 1st March 2020
Deadline for submissions: 31st March, 2020


Balmer, J.M.T. (2010), “Explicating corporate brands and their management: Reflections and directions from 1995”, Journal of Brand Management, Vol. 18 No. 3, pp. 180–196.
Burmann, C., Zeplin, S. and Riley, N. (2009), “Key determinants of internal brand management success. An exploratory empirical analysis”, Journal of Brand Management, Vol. 16 No. 4, pp. 264–284.
Da Silveira, C., Lages, C. and Simões, C. (2013), “Reconceptualizing brand identity in a dynamic environment”, Journal of Business Research, Vol. 66 No. 1, pp. 28–36.
Foster, C., Punjaisri, K. and Cheng, R. (2010), “Exploring the relationship between corporate, internal and employer branding”, Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 19 No. 6, pp. 401–409.
Gelb, B.D. and Deva, R. (2014), “Employee Contributions to Brand Equity”, California Management Review, Vol. 56 No. 2, pp. 95–112.
Gill-Simmen, L., MacInnis, D. J., Eisingerich, A. B. and Park, C. W. (2018), "Brand-self connections and brand prominence as drivers of employee brand attachment", AMS Review, Vol. 8 No. 3-4, pp. 128-146.
Iglesias, O., Ind, N. and Alfaro, M. (2013), “The organic-view of the brand: Towards a brand value co-creation model", Journal of Brand Management, Vol. 20 No. 8, pp. 670-688.
Ind, N., Iglesias, O. and Schultz, M. (2013), “Building Brands Together. Emergence and Outcomes of Co-Creation”, California Management Review, Vol. 55 No. 3, pp. 5–26.
Piehler, R., King, C., Burmann, C. and Xiong, L. (2016), "The importance of employee brand understanding, brand identification, and brand commitment in realizing brand citizenship behaviour", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 50 No. 9-10, pp. 1575-1601.
Punjaisri, K. and Wilson, A. (2017), "The role of internal branding in the delivery of employee brand promise", in: Balmer J.M.T., Powell S.M., Kernstock J. and Brexendorf T.O. (eds), Advances in Corporate Branding (Journal of Brand Management: Advanced Collections), Palgrave Macmillan, London, pp. 91-108.
Saleem, F.Z. and Iglesias, O. (2016), “Mapping the domain of the fragmented field of internal branding”, Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 25 No. 1, pp. 43–57.
Schmidt, H.J. and Baumgarth, C. (2018), “Strengthening internal brand equity with brand ambassador programs. Development and testing of a success factor model”, Journal of Brand Management, Vol. 25 No. 3, pp. 250–265.