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Special Issue: Marketing and Consumer Research in Family Business

Special Issue Editors:

Michael Christofi (University of Nicosia, Cyprus)

Fabian Eggers (Menlo College, USA)

Elias Hadjielias (Cyprus University of Technology, Cyprus)

Mathew Hughes (Loughborough University, UK)


The past few years have witnessed a significant increase in the number of manuscripts on marketing and consumer research in the field of family business (Pieper, 2019; Lude & Prügl, 2018). Research in this area can be classified into two categories (Reuber & Fischer, 2011). The first category includes studies that investigate perceptions of family firms in the market. For instance, Schellong et al. (2019) investigate how the family firm brand leads to a (favorable) reaction of consumers compared to nonfamily firm brands by examining consumers’ reactions towards family firm brands by focusing on consumer happiness. Cruz et al. (2014) focus on the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) behavior of family businesses toward external stakeholders, including customers, whereas Beck & Prügl (2018) focus on understanding the family firm trust advantage by exploring the underlying cognitive processes in the minds of consumers. The second category of studies focuses on marketing practices within family businesses. For example, Craig et al. (2008) show that the promotion of a family-based brand identity within a business relates to a higher customer-centric orientation, which affects firm performance in a positive way. On a similar note, Tokarczyk et al. (2007) examine differences among family businesses and find that familiness relates to greater market orientation, with a positive effect on firm performance, whereas Covin et al. (2016) examine the combination of various marketing- and innovation-related resources for the development of radical innovation in family vs. non-family firms.

However, despite the work in these two research areas, what we do not yet know far outweighs what we do know about family firms and consumer research (Schellong et al. 2019), marketing by family firms or on the marketing of family firms (Reuber & Fischer, 2011) and the aim of the special issue is to spark research towards this direction and discuss ways to take the field forward. For instance, we still know very little about how marketing and the environment, or marketing and the family dynamics within the firm interact to shape family business marketing-related decision-making processes. Moreover, additional research on the psychological factors that mediate the relationship between marketing and family business research is needed. There are also very few longitudinal studies and a dearth of research undertaking a more in-depth investigation of the marketing concept in family businesses. Adding to this, it is unclear how the involvement of various stakeholders may interact when it comes to the marketing aspect of a family business. Moreover, there is little work on the differences regarding the nature, antecedents, and outcomes of reputation between family and non-family firms (Deephouse & Jaskiewicz, 2013). There is also little work on the competition and market segmentation related aspects for family businesses, as well as on consumers’ perceptions of various marketing-related strategies that family businesses apply. We don’t have answers to such questions, and given the significance of the variety of decisions about behaviors and actions family firms make on a daily basis, this is a problematic void in our literature.

High-priority Topics

This Special Issue seeks to showcase state-of-the-art manuscripts that focus on marketing and consumer research in the field of family business. We invite submissions that draw upon theoretical lenses from a variety of disciplines, as well as papers that explore the context (geographical, industry, etc.) and conditions surrounding marketing and family business. Purely conceptual/ theoretical papers are welcome as are empirical manuscripts using any methodological approach (qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods). Review and methodological papers also fit the Special Issue. Our invitation extends to studies that examine family firms, examine for differences among family firms, or compare family businesses with nonfamily ones. International analyses and comparisons are also welcome. Papers considered for the Special Issue may focus on the following topics (non-exhaustive):

Branding the family firm: What branding strategies should family businesses follow in today’s contemporary society in order to enhance their reputation and consumer trust? What is the impact of family branding on family firms’ reputation and vice versa? What are consequences of brand familiarity, brand authenticity, brand innovativeness, brand coolness, and the like on family firms’ performance, reputation, etc.? How do new technologies change the nature and impact of branding in family firms?Socioemotional wealth and marketing in family business: How might family firm’s priority of socio-emotional wealth and nonfinancial wealth affect product development and marketing? To what extent are products and services of the family seen as extensions or representations of themselves and is this beneficial in comparison to nonfamily firms or family firms in different institutional contexts?Marketing the family firm: How can various behavioural traits within the family business affect the relationship between family business firms and consumers? How do new marketing technologies change marketing’s role within the family business firm? What is the effect of the adoption of new technology by marketing on family firm performance?Family firm reputation: What is the impact of family firm reputation on consumer trust and loyalty? What are the differences regarding the nature, antecedents, and outcomes of reputation between family and non-family firms? What is the impact of the engagement of different types of stakeholders in response to specific reputation-building activities? What is the impact of family firm image on actual family firm reputation?Family firm personalization and customization: How are family firms’ personalization strategies (for instance, through websites, mobile applications and newsfeeds) influencing their performance? How does product or service customization is achieved in the family firm context and what is the impact on their performance?Marketing strategies in family businesses: What kind of marketing strategies do family businesses apply? What differentiation strategies do family firms apply in today’s hyper-competitive environment? How do technological innovations change the nature and impact of of the marketing mix components in family businesses? How can family business owners and managers use the new types of data from chatbots, Artificial Intelligence, robots, etc. to provide customer value and to enhance marketing decision making? What new metrics are necessary for family businesses to compete in this new world of marketing?Communication channels and sales issues in family firms: How do and at what level family businesses use social media? What is the impact of the use of social media in their business processes and relationships with various stakeholders? What are the challenges for family firms and their sales workforce associated with the adoption of new technologies in their marketing strategies? How can family firms motivate their sales workforce in order to compete in today’s turbulent and competitive environment? What kind of communication channels do family businesses use in their interaction with their stakeholders? How do new communication technologies impact multichannel sales and relationships in the context of family businesses?New service and product development in family firms: How is new technology being used to guide the new service and/or product decision process within family businesses? What marketing strategies are being used by family businesses for new products and services and what is the impact of those strategies on their profitability, performance, new product success, etc.? How can technological innovations affect new service and product design?Engaging the customer in the family business: What is the level of customer engagement in family businesses? How can customer engagement affect family business performance? What is the impact of customer engagement on the relationship between family businesses and their engaged customers? What are the challenges associated with customer engagement in family firms?Family firm competition and markets: How can consumers be segmented in terms of their relationships with family businesses? What other consumer characteristics/ factors can be taken into account when it comes to market segmentation for family businesses? How could industry characteristics, cultural characteristics and the like, affect the marketing strategies to be applied by family businesses? How are new marketing technologies altering competition between family business firms? How are markets and competition shaped by these new technologies in the context of family businesses? What is the impact of globalization on the competitive environment for family firms?Policy related topics applied in family businesses: How do (vs should) family business firms react to policy initiatives related to technology access, environmental protection, consumer data privacy, etc.? What are the consequences of these policy implications in family businesses?Social marketing initiatives adopted by family firms: How are social marketing initiatives, such as cause-related marketing, green marketing and corporate philanthropy in general, used by family businesses and what is the impact on their performance? How do consumers perceive CSR and other philanthropic activities by family businesses? What is the relationship between family firm ethical or unethical behaviour on the success of such initiatives? What factors drive (or mitigate) the success of such initiatives by family firms?Family firm and the consumer: How can family business firms enhance consumer trust, loyalty and well-being? What is the impact of the overlap between family life and work on family businesses’ relationships with their consumers? What are the factors that consumers perceive as being important when it comes to build a long-term relationship with such businesses? What is the link between consumer well-being and family firm performance and how family firm reputation may translate into better firm performance (through consumer buying preferences and consumer well-being)?

Submission Information

Papers targeting the special issue should be submitted through the JBR submission system ( and will undergo a similar review process as regularly submitted papers.

Submissions for the special issue begin December 1, 2020, with the final deadline for submissions being October 31, 2021.

Questions pertaining to the special issue should be directed to the special issue managing guest editor, Dr. Michael Christofi via email at:

Manuscript Development Workshop

The guest editors of this Special Issue are planning to hold a manuscript development workshop in summer 2021 (further details about the workshop will be communicated at a later date). Authors that receive a “revise and resubmit” (R&R) decision for their manuscript will be invited to present and discuss their papers with other attendees and the guest editors. Attending a workshop is not a precondition for submission (or acceptance) to this special issue.


Beck, S., & Prügl, R. (2018). Family firm reputation and humanization: Consumers and the trust advantage of family firms under different conditions of brand familiarity. Family Business Review, 31(4), 460-482.

Carrigan, M., & Buckley, J. (2008). “What’s so special about family business?” An exploratory study of UK and Irish consumer experiences of family businesses. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 32, 656-666.

Covin, J. G., Eggers, F., Kraus, S., Cheng, C. F., & Chang, M. L. (2016). Marketing-related resources and radical innovativeness in family and non-family firms: A configurational approach. Journal of Business Research, 69(12), 5620-5627.

Craig, J. B., Dibrell, C., & Davis, P. S. (2008). Leveraging family?based brand identity to enhance firm competitiveness and performance in family businesses. Journal of Small Business Management, 46(3), 351-371.

Cruz, C., Larraza-Kintana, M., Garce´s-Galdeano, L., & Berrone, P. (2014). Are family firms really more socially responsible? Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 38(6), 1295–1316.

Deephouse, D. L., & Jaskiewicz, P. (2013). Do family firms have better reputations than non?family firms? An integration of socioemotional wealth and social identity theories. Journal of Management Studies, 50(3), 337-360.

Lude, M., & Prügl, R. (2018). Why the family business brand matters: Brand authenticity and the family firm trust inference. Journal of Business Research, 89, 121-134.

Reuber, A. R., & Fischer, E. (2011). Marketing (in) the family firm. Family Business Review, 24(3) 193–196.

Schellong, M., Kraiczy, N. D., Malär, L., & Hack, A. (2019). Family firm brands, perceptions of doing good, and consumer happiness. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 43(5), 921-946.

Tokarczyk, J., Hansen, E., Green, M., & Down, J. (2007). A resource-based view and market orientation theory examination of the role of “familiness” in family business success. Family Business Review, 20(1), 17-31.

Pieper, T.M. (2019). Editor’s Note. Journal of Family Business Strategy, 10, 1-2.