Managing Human Brand Dynaties

Arnould, E. (Speaker), Delphine Dion (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesConference presentation


Presented at Journal of Consumer Research sponsored invited Conference on the Future of Branding.
How does management maintain the charismatic legitimacy of a brand over time? Drawing upon extensive research in the luxury sector, we investigate how firms manage to sustain the benefits of charismatic legitimacy over successive brand leaders. To theorize the “how” of maintaining brands’ charismatic legitimacy over time, we mobilize performativity theory. Consistent with prior work on charismatic legitimacy, our analysis shows that charismatic legitimacy is contingent on the charismatic person’s ongoing performance. However, in contrast to this scholarship, the case of luxury brands that feature successions of charismatic designers suggests charismatic legitimacy need not be transitory and idiosyncratic. We show the key to success lies in creating a virtuous cycle of meaning that cites and refreshes the relationship between the brand founder and the brand heir through the latter’s adroit performances, which evoke allegorical, arcadian and auratic brand meanings. Brand shepherds play a key role in legitimating these performances.
Period5 Dec 2019
Held atColumbia University, United States, New York
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • branding
  • person brands
  • luxury