Leadership branding is a relatively new construct in academic literature. It has been
largely written about in popular press articles in order to describe the brand exhibited by
the leadership of the organisation. The leadership brand influences the behaviour of the
employees as well as the perception of the external stakeholders. The influence on the
stakeholders’ are largely through the leadership’s interaction with the stakeholders as well
as their involvement in establishing and managing the corporate brand of the organisation.
A strong corporate brand has been proven to provided benefits to an organisation; the
influence the leadership has on corporate brand creation and management thus directly
affects the benefits.
Considering there are no studies investigating the leadership brand relative to the
corporate brand, a list of attributes by Ulrich and Smallwood (2009) was modified in order
to fulfil the purpose of the study; to determine whether a leadership brand exists and
whether it has any relationship to the corporate brand. Exploratory quantitative analysis
was used in order to achieve the research objectives. The questionnaire was distributed
to 140 employees of a large mining organisation in South Africa.
It was found that a leadership brand is present within the organisation and that it relates
well to that of the organisation’s corporate brand. The analysis of the results revealed that
there are a distinct group of brand attributes displayed by the leadership of the
organisation that culminate in the development of the organisation’s corporate brand.
Further investigations regarding how the demographics of the respondents influenced their
perception of the leadership brand yielded no conclusive evidence, thus indicating that that
the leadership brand is achieved regardless of the composition of the organisation.
The findings from the research have contributed to the current academic knowledge
regarding the leadership brand. Furthermore, the research can assist organisations in
constructing and managing the corporate brand of the organisation. Identifying the
leadership brand and ensuring that the organisation’s communication is aligned with that
of the leadership brand assists in creating brand consistent behaviour within the
organisation and establishes credibility with external stakeholders.