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This dissertation is accompanied by a video Author Introduction, streaming above,.

Mark Bloemhard, Ph.D., is a 2016 graduate of the PhD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University

Dissertation Committee:

  • Mitchell Kusy, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Laura Morgan-Roberts, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Roger Blackwell, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Thomas Kaplan, Ph.D., External Reader

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This qualitative study examined a leader’s enigmatic decision-making process guiding innovative and complex organizations—organizations that are not able to rely on market research or the precedence of industry emulators for making strategic decisions. Leaders of highly creative organizations regularly make catalytic decisions that have fateful outcomes; their ability to recognize and appropriately adjudicate complex and unpredictable market forces determine the consequences. Such influential choices often require a deep level of intuition with very little research and time to decide. The purpose of this dissertation has been to develop a framework that presents Brand Leadership as a distinct and viable leadership paradigm. A claim that leadership may be best described as a way of being with comprehensive system-thinking capable of fully understanding the context in which he or she leads; the complexity of the organization and the trends of the marketplace. A Representative Case Research study, which included three brand leaders and nine ancillary interviews, was conducted and four unique contributions have been offered: First, while certainly related to marketing, brand is the higher order and requires strategic leadership. Second, the evolving role of the brand leader fulfills certain needs, including that brand leaders see the organization in the eyes of the customer; and that Brand Leadership represents an internal momentum in which customers are at the center of the organization. Third, Brand Leadership ,in fact, should be considered a unique leadership paradigm as it sees the leader’s intuition as a quintessential proponent to understanding context of the organization and leading within the context of a larger marketplace. And fourth, Brand Leadership is an untapped educational frontier. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive, and OhioLINK ETD Center,


Mark Bloemhard, Ph.D.

ORCID Scholar ID #

As a veteran brander, Mark Bloemhard began his career working for some of the world’s largest branding firms and has experience working with over myriad of Fortune 500 clients – from Ferrari, McDonalds, Home Depot, and Huntington Bank. His diverse professional career includes working overseas as a Chief Branding Officer for Horze, in Lahti, Finland.

Mark Bloemhard is the founder and creative director of Bootstrap & Co. Creative Studios, a full-service branding agency dedicated to the success of small to mid-size companies. The studio provides everything an organization needs in order to market their business; website design, SEO, apparel, graphic design, print, photography, and videography.

Mark has a BFA from the Columbus College of Art and Design, an MBA in Corporate Finance from Franklin University, and a PhD in Leadership and Change. His dissertation titled, On Contemporary Leadership and Leading Branded Organizations, focuses on the unique challenges of creative leaders as they must use their intuition in order to lead successfully.

More information about Mark and Bootstrap & Co. Creative Studios can be found at