Branding Branson: a case study of celebrity entrepreneurship

McCarthy, Patricia & Hatcher, Caroline A. (2005) Branding Branson: a case study of celebrity entrepreneurship. Australian Journal of Communication, 32(3), pp. 45-61.

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Successful entrepreneurs are often inclined or required to explain themselves and their motivations to others. In telling their stories, these entrepreneurs often create an aura of charismatic leadership of the type that Weber describes as having the 'gift of grace' (Khurana, 2002). Their life stories and the images they make or allow to be made by the media celebrate their almost spiritual status and allow others to understand the mental models that frame their success as entrepreneurs. This paper explores the image-making of celebrity entrepreneur Richard Branson, who has achieved strong ties of identification with employees and loyalty to his brand, creating a business with the appeal of a sort of secularised religion-the Virgin-Branson brand. As a case study, the paper details a number of themes that Branson emphasises, the communication strategies that he uses to target various demographic groups, and the narratives that he constructs to express the leadership/followship relationship with employees and customers. The paper draws on media coverage, Branson's biographies and autobiographies, including the images that he chooses to be used to explain himself, and two interviews he gave, one in 2000 and the other in 2004.

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ID Code: 18713
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Branding, Image Management , Communication, Celebrity Entrepreneurship
ISSN: 0811-6202
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > COMMUNICATION AND MEDIA STUDIES (200100)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Sociology not elsewhere classified (160899)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > JOURNALISM AND PROFESSIONAL WRITING (190300)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2005 Australia and New Zealand Communication Association
Deposited On: 13 Mar 2009 01:17
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:15

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