Researching Personal Branding in the High-Fashion Sector
A recent article in the Journal of Marketing co-authored by Schulich professor Eileen Fischer examines how people who attain “prestigious” posts in high-profile organizations can manage their professional brands to promote career mobility. For Working It: Managing Professional Brands in Prestigious Posts, Fischer analyzed interviews with Creative Directors who have held prestigious posts at top high-fashion heritage brands, including Balenciaga, Chanel, Dior, Gucci and Saint Laurent Paris.
Every year, Creative Directors are charged with creating several new collections that reflect the brand’s aesthetic. The research analysis shows Creative Directors must deal with both resource-related and identity-related tensions, while nurturing the brand’s success.
According to the article, resource-related tensions arise because prestigious posts contribute economic resources at the same time they erode attentional, physical, and emotional resources that are crucial to successfully managing the individual’s professional brand. Similarly, identity tensions arise because prestigious posts can enhance a Creative Director’s professional identity by providing symbolic capital in the industry – but dilute their professional brand distinctiveness.
The paper suggests the best-case scenario is for Creative Directors to buffer themselves by forming a loyal team who can help them avoid resource depletion, and to strike a balance between benefiting from the affiliation, while maintaining professional independence.