Internal brand building andstructuration: the role ofleadership
Marketing Department, University of Giessen, Giessen, Germany, and
Leslie de Chernatony
Birmingham Business School, The University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, UK
– The paper aims to clarify the relationship between organisational structures andindividual brand supporting behaviour. It proposes modelling the social transformation process andoutlining why and how leadership is important throughout the internal brand building process. Thestudy aims to expand the domain of corporate branding by including a broader range of humanresource and leadership-related aspects than is normally found in the branding literature.
– The paper opted for an exploratory study using the open-endedapproach of grounded theory, including 30 depth interviews and one expert group discussion withemployees representing middle and senior management having mainly a marketing and corporatecommunications background. The data were complemented by documentary analysis, includingbrand documents, descriptions of internal processes, and copies of employee magazine articles.
– The paper provides empirical insights about how change is brought about duringinternal brand building. It suggests that successful leaders act as “integrating forces” on two levels:integrating the elements of corporate identity structures, and mediating between the corporatebranding structures and the individual.
– Because of the chosen research approach, the researchresults may lack generalisability. Therefore, researchers are encouraged to test the proposedpropositions further.
– The paper includes implications for the development of a powerful brandimage, the development of “brand ambassadors” and for managing the balance between stability andchange.
– This paper fulﬁls an identiﬁed need to study how brand-supportive behaviourcan be enabled.
Brand management, Corporate branding, Leadership, Social change
Internal brand building as a process to align staff’s behaviour with a corporate brand’sidentity is receiving increasing attention (e.g. de Chernatony, 2001; Keller, 1999; LePlaand Parker, 1999; Macrae, 1996; Mitchell, 2002; Tosti and Stotz, 2001). In order toreduce the gap between the desired corporate brand identity and that perceived by thecompany’s stakeholders (e.g. Urde, 1994; Harris and de Chernatony, 2001; Balmer andSoenen, 1999), it is frequently pointed out that employees play a crucial role.Brand-consistent behaviour supports the development of a coherent brand image, andis considered one of the crucial success factors in corporate brand management.
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Received October 2004Revised March andNovember 2005Accepted December 2005
European Journal of MarketingVol. 40 No. 7/8, 2006pp. 761-784
Emerald Group Publishing Limited0309-0566DOI 10.1108/03090560610669982