Incorporating the creative subject: Branding outside–in through identity incentives

Nada Endrissat, Lars Karreman, Claus Noppeney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Downloads (Pure)


This article explores the intersection of branding, identity and control. It develops the notion of identity-incentive branding and links research on the collective-associative construction of occupational identities with work on identity incentives as an engaging form of control. Empirically, we draw on a case study of a North American grocery chain that is known for employing art-school graduates and other creative talents in creative (store artist) and non-creative shop-floor positions. The study shows that the brand is partly built outside–in through association with employees who embody brand-relevant characteristics in their identities and lifestyles. In return, those employees receive identity opportunities to validate their desired sense of self as ‘creative subject’. We discuss the dual nature of identity-incentive branding as neo-normative control and outline its implications for the organization and the employees.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)488-515
Number of pages28
JournalHuman Relations
Issue number4
Early online date25 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017

Cite this