Managing Meaning through Branding: The Case of a Consulting Firm

Dan Kärreman, Anna Rylander

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The current interest in organizational culture, identity, image and reputation and in organizational discourse points towards the pressure on contemporary organizations to focus attention on the symbolic dimensions of their activities. The phenomenon of branding, while originally portrayed as a marketing tool, can also be understood as an exercise in management of meaning. Branding does not only inform external stakeholders, such as customers and investors, about the values of the organization. It also potentially instructs and directs organizational members. In this sense, branding can be viewed as a management and leadership practice. Drawing on a longitudinal case study, this paper illustrates how these practices are played out in the particular context of a management consulting firm and explores the relationship between branding and organizational identity and identification. The study highlights the shortcomings of the strategic marketing perspective on brands and the need for further empirical studies that examine the role of branding from different perspectives and in different empirical contexts.
Original languageEnglish
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)103-125
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes

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