Research Center Strategic Leadership, Innovation and Branding


Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Kffr. Dr. Nicola Stokburger-Sauer, MBA (Department of Strategic Management, Marketing and Tourism)

Research Objectives

Company innovativeness and differentiation from competition through attractive brands are crucial for the long term success of organizations of any kind and thereby a requirement for sustaining societal wealth. Technological change, digital transformation and social media demand new business models and alter both entrepreneurship and consumer behavior. Adaptive organizations, sustainable innovations and brand building are important to master these new challenges. Relevant leadership systems, resource development and market information are an important basis for company success. The knowledge of consumers and relevant stakeholders is another relevant demand for sustainable organizational growth. Both of these dimensions play a driving and coordinating role for innovation and brand building. Therefore, this research center studies the behavior of consumers, other relevant stakeholders and companies based on innovations and leadership of the company and its brands.

The following research questions are thus the focus of our research agenda:

  1. How can companies, embedded in a network of stakeholders, increase their innovativeness?
  2. How can organizations initiate brand building processes that drive enduring relationships with external stakeholders to increase the organization’s innovativeness?
  3. How can organizations contribute to consumers’ and other stakeholders’ needs, expectations and future challenges in mastering a satisfying life(style)?
  4. How can sustainable entrepreneurship and leadership contribute to enhancing the organization’s innovativeness and to building long term relationships with important stakeholders?

The objective of this research center is, among others, to understand and to explain how organizations can be sustainably lead, how companies can increase their innovativeness, how they can renew and innovate their business models, how external stakeholders can be integrated into innovation processes, how brands as complex social phenomena are constituted as complex social networks of brand stakeholders, who engage in co-creative practices of meaning construction and brand development, how brand meaning emerges in social networks, which role aesthetics plays in marketing and consumer decisions and which role emotional contagion in customer-employee-relations plays.

 Interview with Kurt Matzler (Video)

Affiliated Organisational Units


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