What motivated you to pursue this research?
Authors: Observing an increasing number of publications using fictitious brands, we were asked by family entrepreneurs if the discovered trust advantage of family firms holds true for brands consumers are already familiar with. As we did not have an answer for this question and did not find any literature talking to that question we started this research project.
Were there any specific external events—political, social, or economic—that influenced your decision to pursue this research?
Authors: As already mentioned above, this research was primarily triggered by extensive discussions with different family entrepreneurs. Furthermore, as family firms are the dominant organizational form in almost all economies around the world, and as we do not fully understand yet how the perception of this governance structure affects major stakeholder groups, we decided to contribute to explore and better understand the underlying dynamics.
What has been the most challenging aspect of conducting your research? Were there any surprising findings?
Authors: It was a really challenge to find companies willing to let us use their real brands for our studies. Furthermore, it was not easy to integrate four studies into one single paper. Nevertheless, we received great guidance throughout the process from our Editor Allison Pearson which finally made it possible to solve the riddle successfully. The biggest surprise on our side was two-folded: a) that the trust advantage and its consequences on purchase intention remain for real and familiar brands, and b) the discovery of a stronger “humanization” of the brand as a major underlying reason for the existence of the trust advantage of family firms.
In what ways is your research innovative, and how do you think it will impact the field?
Authors: We think that we are able to contribute by a) finding evidence for the trust advantage of family firms even if stakeholders (in our case consumers) are already familiar with the brand, and b) by discovering “humanization” of the brand as a central mechanism explaining the trust advantage ascribed to family firms. By that we hope to bring forward the interesting field of family business branding, furthering our understanding of its antecedents and consequences based on theoretical reasoning and empirical evidence.
What did not make it into your published manuscript that you would like to share with us?
Authors: In the end and thanks to great guidance from the editorial side we were able to include all four studies into a mixed-methods design. This was challenging but the result is very satisfying.
What advice would you give to new scholars and incoming researchers in this particular field of study?
Authors: Join in! There are lot of things to discover in the field of family business brands. As a start there are several review papers we would recommend: Beck, 2016; Binz Astrachan, Botero, Astrachan, & Prügl, 2018; and Sageder, Mitter, & Feldbauer-Durstmüller, 2018 are great starting points to quickly dive into the topic. Furthermore: just e-mail us, we are ready to discuss upcoming questions with you
What is the most important/ influential piece of scholarship you’ve read in the last year?
Authors: That is a VERY difficult question as there are so many interesting pieces out there. What we definitely would recommend: reading literature from different and seemingly unrelated areas, for example in the topic of this paper it helped us a lot to read the literature from of course family business, but also marketing, management, psychology, economics, or experimental methods.