Edited by Kosmas X. Smyrnios, Panikkos Z. Poutziouris and Sanjay Goel
Chapter 28: Reputational capital in family firms: understanding uniqueness from the stakeholder point of view
The development and maintenance of competitive advantage is a continuous struggle for companies. In a time when competition is fierce and the rapid advances in technology enable consumers to easily access information about products and organizations, companies face the challenge of creating a coherent perception about who they are and the advantages that they offer to consumers (Einwiller and Will, 2002). Brand management (or branding) is one way of achieving such coherence (Hulberg, 2006). In recent years scholars have begun to use the branding framework to understand how family businesses market themselves in ways that enable differentiation between family businesses and other types of organizations (Blombäck and Ramírez-Pasillas, 2012; Craig et al., 2008, Litchfield, 2008). To date, most research that explores family firm uniqueness concentrates on understanding resources that are based on intra-organizational features, which derive from the interaction between family and business. ‘Familiness’ (Habbershon and Williams, 1999) and different forms of family capital (Sirmon and Hitt, 2003) are examples of such unique resources. In this chapter we suggest that the uniqueness of family businesses can also come from resources that are external to the firm. In line with this perspective, we rely on the brand management literature to explore new ways to understand family firms’ uniqueness.
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