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The self branding entrepreneur will even name their products after themselves

Entrepreneurs marketing themselves as brands are brave risk takers who put their personality on the line, indicates new doctoral dissertation.

Brands appealing to their customers are constructed of stories that often tell something about the entrepreneurs behind the brands. Nevertheless, only few entrepreneurs are determined to construct their own stories. Mikael Iso-Berg, defending his doctoral thesis at Aalto University School of Business, noticed this. His research was focused on the little-studied and rare phenomenon of the entrepreneur as a brand, i.e. personal branding.

In his field study, Mikael Iso-Berg interviewed internationally-oriented Finnish entrepreneurs in the summer of 2012. The entrepreneurs shared a number of characteristics: they believed in themselves and took risks, came forth and openly talked about what they were doing – and accepted both their actions and themselves.

When a person becomes a brand, they switch from an external perspective to an internal one, which means that the entrepreneur's participation in their work is highly personal. According to Iso-Berg's research, branding is based on gaining control of one's personal characteristics and behaviour. Entrepreneurs brand their products and activities by grounding them to their values and granting them their own personal features, sometimes even their name. This shifts the perspective from a product brand to a personal brand, which may benefit the entrepreneur.

'One would wish that the potential of the entrepreneur brand was utilised in organisations more than currently. In this study, an innovative entrepreneur is a potential solver of challenges and the initiator of a brand. The studied entrepreneur-led small and medium-sized enterprises used the entrepreneur brand to increase awareness of them, says Mikael Iso-Berg.

Public examination of the doctoral dissertation

The doctoral dissertation Entrepreneur’s Identity in Personal Branding – A Study on Building the Brand by Mikael Iso-Berg, Lic. Sc. (Econ.) and and M.Sc.(Agric.), will be examined at Aalto University School of Business on Friday 17 April 2015 at 12.00 (Runeberginkatu 22–24, Chydenia building, 3rd floor, Stora Enso Hall, 00100 Helsinki).

Professor Tommi Laukkanen (University of Eastern Finland) will act as opponent and Professor Arto Lahti (Aalto University School of Business) as custos.

Further information:
Mikael Iso-Berg
Aalto University School of Business.
mikael.iso-berg(at)aalto.fi

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