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Volume 5 Number 1
Defining the Corporate Identity Construct
T. C. Melewar and Elizabeth Jenkins Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, UK
ABSTRACT Both practitioners and academics alike have directed increasing attention to the ﬁeld of corporate identity. Despite signiﬁcant contributions in the last several years towards understanding and identifying this concept, a deﬁnitive construct of corporate identity and its measurements does not yet exist. Much anecdotal literature and many case studies surround this area of study, but to date no research study has empirically tested the domain of this construct. This paper examines the deﬁnitions, models, and speciﬁc elements of corporate identity through a review of literature. Based on this review, a holistic corporate identity model is developed. This paper also discusses the challenges in developing the corporate identity construct. INTRODUCTION Firms have become increasingly aware of the importance of developing and managing their corporate identity. The identity of a corporation has been recognized as a strategic resource and source of competitive advantage. Eﬀective management of corporate identity can serve to address the needs of the ﬁrm’s important stakeholders by, for example, motivating employees, and by generally inspiring conﬁdence in the company to all target groups (van Riel, 1995). Academic research into corporate identity is still very much linked to practice. Corporate identity research is an emerging discipline which increasingly recognizes that the corporate brand is fundamentally diﬀerent from the principles that guide classic brand management, since the corporate identity must be designed to
Corporate Reputation Review, Vol. 5, No. 1, 2002, pp. 76–90 # Henry Stewart Publications, 1363–3589
appeal to all of the ﬁrm’s stakeholders (Baker and Balmer, 1997; Melewar and Saunders, 2000). Despite the attention given to corporate identity over the past two decades, the actual deﬁnition of corporate identity is highly contentious and many have opted not to deﬁne the term precisely. A lack of consensus on the deﬁnitive notion of corporate identity as a construct has led to confusion with the usage of the term. The obvious implication for management of corporate identity is that it is very diﬃcult to manage what cannot be precisely deﬁned. According to a 1992 Mori survey, corporate identity was a major concern of CEOs, but many executives admit that they do not know how to manage, control, or even precisely deﬁne the term (Olins, 1995). The importance of corporate identity and its links to image and strategy are synthesized by van Rekom (1997): ‘In the long term, management can inﬂuence the organization’s identity, and, depending on management’s chosen corporate strategy, can realize an improved or repositioned corporate image’ (p. 412). The purpose of this paper is to review the literature dealing with the deﬁnition and identiﬁcation of corporate identity and then to develop a model encompassing the dimensions that comprise this construct. In doing so, several challenges arise: the ﬁrst is to create a model that suﬃciently encompasses the salient aspects of corporate identity and is, at the same time, simple enough to be of use for both academic and research purposes; the second is to derive a model that can be tested empirically and
Practitioner-based Deﬁnitions As mentioned above. there is a division on the approach taken to the most emphasized elements of the mix. NGO or any other corporate body)’ (Anonymous). feelings and knowledge that people have about a company (or church. Secondly. impressions. both formal and informal (Balmer. 397). corporate identity is based on the corporate personal- ity of the organization. has signiﬁcant practical implications. brand user image and corporate image. thus. A ﬁnal consideration is to limit the discussion to those dimensions that are signiﬁcantly related to corporate identity. 1995. Balmer and Soenen (1996) reach several conclusions about the ﬁeld of corporate identity: ﬁrst. it is also illuminating because the very word explicit can be helpful in distinguishing identity from image in the strategic orientation perspective. 1995. Although Olins’ deﬁnition is more concerned with the management elements of corporate identity. though there is a consensus on the need for a multidisciplinary approach to the study of corporate identity. Markwick and Fill (1997) emphasize the distinguishing component of corporate identity as ‘the organization’s presentation of itself to its various stakeholders and the means by which it distinguishes itself from all other organizations’ (p. its strategy. though there is no signiﬁcant split between the perspective of practitioners and academics. the key element of this deﬁnition is the term explicit. DEFINITIONS OF CORPORATE IDENTITY In an extensive review of the literature. 1995. Balmer and Soenen (1998) show that practitioners tend to focus on visual aspects of identity to the neglect of other factors. political party. Olins (1995) deﬁnes corporate identity as ‘the explicit management of all the ways in which the organization presents itself through experiences and perceptions to all its audiences’ (p. Practitioners take a more process-oriented approach whereas academics seem more concerned with the structure. practitioners’ deﬁnitions of corporate identity tend to focus on the more tangible aspects of identity. that is. Corporate image. and secondly. Another deﬁnition of corporate identity is that ‘corporate identity is the visible manifestation of the corporate image. van Riel. Balmer and Soenen also emphasize the greater diversity on the part of academics. there is no single view as to what elements compose the corporate identity mix. Table 1 gives a summary of deﬁnitions. First. beliefs. and image of the nationality of the corporate body. is explained as consisting of four dimensions: product class image. Balmer (1998) examines the history of the growing ﬁeld of corporate identity and outlines an emerging consensus on three distinguishing features of corporate identity. thus. philosophy. Academic-based Deﬁnitions The French school of corporate identity deﬁnes the term as the ‘set of interdepen- Page 77 . and its communication. particularly those that are relatively easy to manage.Melewar and Jenkins can thus be of more scientiﬁc value than those based strictly on anecdotal evidence. 1997). due primarily to the interdisciplinary nature of the ﬁeld. In Olins’ view. corporate identity is fundamentally concerned with reality and what an organization is. Moingeon and Ramanantsoa. 3). history. brand image. business scope. corporate identity is a multidisciplinary ﬁeld. Their ﬁnal observation is that the various approaches do not consider all elements of the corporate identity mix. Determining those variables that have a direct correlation with corporate identity. the range and type of products and services oﬀered. Schmidt. Thirdly. where it is the net result of the interaction of all experiences.
’ Areas that stakeholders can see: products. concentration on factual identity No universal measurable properties Expansion on Albert. symbolism Consensus van Riel and Balmer. Simonson. exploration of theoretical foundations of identity Focus on aesthetics. communications. communications. remember and relate to it. Marcus. Whetten (1985). environments. strategy. 1991 Schmitt. 1995 Markwick. unintentional or Development of a framework for corporate identity management process. and temporal continuity Corporate Identity is the whole of an organization’s actions. 1997 Albert and van Rekom. van Riel. Fill. as well as through symbolism to internal and external audiences’ ‘refers to an organization’s unique characteristics which are rooted in the behavior of the members of the organization’ ‘what an organization is’ ‘the set of meanings by which an object allows itself to be known and through which it allows people to describe. Page 78 . 1995 ‘the explicit management of all the ways in which the organization presents itself through experiences and perceptions to all its audiences’ None explicit — see Strathclyde Statement ‘the way in which an organization’s identity is revealed through behavior. management Variety of cues and planned communications. 1985 1997 van Rekom. services. 1997 van Rekom. distinctiveness. uniqueness First to classify identity types into monolithic. behavior Corporate Identity Mix: behavior.Deﬁning the Corporate Identity Construct Table 1: Author(s) Deﬁnitions and components summary Cited in Deﬁnition Elements Related Aspects and Research Signiﬁcance Brand image. as far as these actions satisfy the criteria of : sameness across situations and interaction partners. branded. 1986 van Rekom. Whetten. speciﬁcity to the organization ‘the degree to which the ﬁrm has achieved a distinct and coherent image in its aesthetic output’ ‘the organization’s presentation of itself to its various stakeholders and the means by which it Expansion on Albert and Whetten (1985). Wierenga. communications. 1997 Dowling. emphasis on multidisciplinary aspects Wolf Olins Olins. means-ends theory and laddering techniques to determine centrality. continuity over time. 1997 van Rekom. 1997 Claimed central character. and endorsed Review of literature.
values. subculture mix. performance. indirect communication ‘a set of interdependent characteristics of the organization that give it speciﬁcity. ‘distinctiveness.’ van Riel. 1997 ‘the self presentation of an organization. 1985 French school French school. Ramanantsoa 1997 Reitter and Ramanantsoa. and how it does it and is linked to the way an organization goes about its business and the strategies it adopts’ ‘the mind. Ramanantsoa existence of a system of characteristics which has a 1997 1995 pattern and which gives the company its speciﬁcity. uncontrolled communication. symbolism. and voice’ Vision. 1997 Moingeon and Larcon and Reitter. 1998 emergent messages distinguishes itself from all also have inﬂuence other organizations’ ‘the articulation of what the organization is.’ and ‘centrality’ Hatch and Schultz. what it does.Melewar and Jenkins Table 1: Author(s) Continued Cited in Deﬁnition Elements Related Aspects and Research Signiﬁcance how corporate communication is used for projection of image Balmer and Soenen. history. nature of ownership. and coherence and thus make it identiﬁable’ Moingeon and Moingeon and ‘the identity goes back to the Ramanantsoa. brand architecture. 1979. expressing the organization’s ‘sameness over time’ or continuity. philosophy. its stability and its coherence. internal images. soul. strategy. controllable communication. behavior. rooted in the behavior of individual organizational members. stability. employee aﬃnities. emphasis on links to organizational culture Relationship between organizational culture and identity Page 79 .
expressing the organization’s ‘‘sameness over time’’ or continuity. brand architecture. 2000). it consists of the cues which an organization oﬀers about itself via the behavior. independent. the following elements will be examined according to an Page 80 . This deﬁnition of the corporate identity mix represents an interesting departure from the previous classiﬁcations of behavior. 1999). which constitutes the identity of the organization. Figure 1 illustrates the corporate identity construct. 1979.Deﬁning the Corporate Identity Construct dent characteristics of the organization that give it speciﬁcity. The mind consists of managerial vision. not the characteristics themselves. therefore. tangible aspects of identity by including the ‘body’ in the corporate identity mix (Melewar and Saunders. Simi- larly. and coherence and thus make it identiﬁable’ (Larcon and Reitter. Van Riel (1997) deﬁnes corporate identity as ‘the self presentation of an organization. The ‘voice’ takes on a much wider meaning and refers to elements of verbal and non-verbal. They emphasize that it is the pattern or combination. stability. not only those components considered most relevant to corporate identity. there is consensus that culture is the most important part. but also to identify whether the variables are dependent. its stability and its coherence’ (p. Extending Balmer and Soenen’s analogy. Soul. employee and corporate behavior. and internal images. and voice. Reitter and Ramanantsoa. DIMENSIONS OF THE CORPORATE IDENTITY CONSTRUCT The following section seeks to evaluate critically the dimensions that have been considered as part of corporate identity. 290). The soul consists of the subjective elements including the distinct values. mix of sub-cultures. Moingeon and Ramanantsoa (1995) give an even more precise deﬁnition of identity: ‘The existence of a system of characteristics which has a pattern which gives the company its speciﬁcity. The Dimensions in Depth For simplistic purposes. and symbols. 1985). is only one component of the mix (Melewar and Saunders. ‘‘distinctiveness. rooted in the behavior of individual organizational members. explicit and implicit communication. might also be relevant subconstructs. van Riel and Balmer (1997) deﬁne the corporate identity mix as ‘the way in which an organization’s identity is revealed through behavior [and] communications. (1991) deﬁne corporate identity mix as ‘the self-presentation of an organization. nature of corporate ownership. and organizational history. it might also be worth emphasizing the physical. including nationality. as well as through symbolism to internal and external audiences’. Mind. Baker and Balmer (1997) contend that while there are diﬀering views as to what elements constitute the corporate identity mix. The major challenge is to determine. communications.’’ and ‘‘centrality’’ ’ (p. The ‘voice’ is the total corporate communication and consists of its uncontrolled communication. symbolism. or interrelated. controllable communication. and Voice — The New Corporate Identity Mix? Balmer and Soenen (1998) propose an organically inspired new corporate identity mix as being composed of the mind. corporate philosophy. employee aﬃnities. and indirect (external/ third party) communication. and symbolism which are its forms of expression’. visual identity. The Corporate Identity Mix Van Rekom et al. strategy. communication. soul. performance. Items such as the type of building and location of the company. 253). Perhaps the authors’ most signiﬁcant contribution is the re-classiﬁcation of symbols with communication.
in a sense. Stuart. Balmer and Soenen. is the non-verbal. 1999). It is. to extend the organic analogy of Balmer and Soenen (1998) again. Behavior. behavior includes actions on the part of the organization and its employees. Communication and Visual Identity: Corporate Communication Van Riel (1995) deﬁnes corporate communication as ‘an instrument of management by means of which all consciously used forms of internal and external communications are harmonized as eﬀectively and eﬃ- Page 81 . therefore. 1998. van Riel and Balmer. the ‘body lan- guage’ of the organization. The most problematic area of classiﬁcation appears to be corporate communication and behavior. In the following scheme. 1996.Melewar and Jenkins Figure 1: Corporate identity and its subconstructs Corporate communications Uncontrollable communication Architecture and location Corporate visual identity Corporate behavior Communication and visual identity Management behavior Behavior Employee behavior Corporate identity Goals. philosophies and principles Nationality Corporate culture Organizational imagery and history Nature of industry Market conditions Corporate/marketing strategies aggregation and modiﬁcation of the classiﬁcation schemes of corporate identity measurement proposed by several diﬀerent authors (Schmidt 1995. 1997. intangible aspect to communication.
But as van Riel (1997) puts it. so as to create a favorable basis for relationships upon which the company is dependent’ (p. and the behavior of supply chain partners.Deﬁning the Corporate Identity Construct ciently as possible. 42). Business ethics literature and public relations journals. for example. such as investor relations and labor relations respectively. Markwick and Fill (1997) point out that both planned cues and ‘unintentional or emergent messages’ have an impact on the deliberate cues. and organizational communication. when they consider the role of organizational deviants such as whistle-blowers. Uncontrollable Communication Very little of the literature examined dealt explicitly with uncontrollable communication. Reference to location is missing in the literature. are two situations in which the behavior is beyond the company’s direct control. 1997). 1997). 1995. Accidents. 26). This practice is very prevalent in Hong Kong but also is spreading to other parts of the world as well. 416). marketing communication is probably given the most attention and certainly the highest proportion of the budget. There has been considerable discussion in the literature as to the beneﬁts of integration of corporate communication (van Riel. Surprisingly. which seems puzzling in that ﬁrms spend a lot of money on attaining key locations to project the appropriate image. such as the Exxon oil spill in the Arctic. Architecture and Location Olins (1995) cites not only the actual structure of the organization but also its physical location as being a component of corporate identity. marketing communication. Page 82 . management communication is the most important. Management communication is also a form of communication that emerges from the interaction of the organizational members where managers are part of the players in the game. The existence of ‘celebrity CEOs’ and the attention given to them also illustrates the importance of this type of communication (Pfeﬀer and Salancik. but a means to ﬁnd a solution for problems of eﬃciency and eﬀectiveness in the organization’ (p. Much emphasis has been given to consistent content in messages that a corporation sends to its stakeholders (Markwick and Fill. Schmitt and Pan (1994) outline the importance of considering feng-shui: ‘a company’s image and reputation as well as the success of its brands can depend crucially on whether or not the company takes feng-shui seriously’ (p. In an age where companies are increasingly under media scrutiny. Of the three. such as ﬁnance and human resources. Organizational communication. do address the role of unplanned/unauthorized or informal communication on the part of employees with outsiders. In their article dealing with corporate identity in the Asia Paciﬁc region. may provide some insight into this area. as well as the role of third party reports. Corporate communication encompasses management communication. has undergone a certain degree of fragmentation with several functional areas. it would seem that this type of communication would play a role in the development and shaping of corporate identity. as it is the primary means by which top level managers disseminate the goals and objectives of the organization to internal stakeholders. the employment of child labor for the production of clothing for major brands. Renewed interest in architecture is illustrated by the attention that ﬁrms give to the inﬂuence of architecture on how their identity is perceived. 1978). now being responsible for various aspects of organizational communication. Balmer and Soenen (1998) however. traditionally thought of as public relations and public aﬀairs. ‘co-ordination is not a goal in itself.
nonetheless remains diﬃcult to measure. In addition. which. After decades of having a highly successful. For many marketing communications. made use of a powerful graphic image. As Moingeon and Ramanantsoa (1997) state. (2000) state that it is not the symbol itself but what the symbol represents that has value. even generically used brand name. A detailed survey of Xerox’s customers revealed that failure to respond to changing environment had had a negative impact on the brand. and Melewar et al. Bernstein (1986). It is this representation that marks the importance of visual identity to the overall corporate identity. 2000). Schmitt (1995) outlines some of these challenges by discussing the importance of name and visual symbols in East Asia. logotype and/or symbol. and its nature lends itself to centralization and control. must be considered when measuring corporate identity on a global scale. legal and consumer diﬀerences limit the opportunity to beneﬁt from stan- dardization. Its standardization produces beneﬁts. Weick (1979) emphasizes that organizational behavior is always performed by individuals in the ﬁrm. ‘the organization communicates by sending signals that have not been created in a deliberate and conscious way’. although relatively more tangible perhaps than certain (other) aspects of organizational culture. Melewar and Saunders (1998) state that corporate visual identity consists of the corporate name. On the notion of the social psychology of organizing. Behavior. The increased global scope in which companies now operate raises new challenges for the way in which corporate communications are formulated. Van Rekom (1997) found that intended actions are by far more important than unintended actions. Xerox ﬁrst sought to re-energize the brand name. Dowling (1986). In reaction to this. it is nonetheless only a component of corporate identity (Melewar and Saunders. corporate identity is synonymous with what is known as visual identity. Melewar and Saunders (1998) emphasize that the rate of technological change means that consumers are increasingly relying upon the reputation communicated by the ﬁrm’s corporate visual identity to guide purchase decisions. One of the most signiﬁcant of these is that the brand must have visual as well as phonological appeal. local managers favor its application. 11). Although visual identity remains an important aspect of corporate identity. The corporate visual identity is an exception. Xerox had image problems when faced with new competition from Japan.Melewar and Jenkins Corporate Visual Identity To many. brevity and immediacy’ (p. or at least diﬀerent weights to these measures. 1997). and color. in turn. Olins (1995) states that the purpose of the symbol is ‘to present the central idea of the organization with impact. In terms of corporate identity measurement. Management Behavior Hatch and Schultz (1997) argue that organizational identity and image are being increasingly inﬂuenced by the behavior of top management due to the increased interaction between the organization and its stakeholders and the multiplicity of roles that stakeholders now play. typography. Behavior: Corporate Behavior Several authors emphasize the importance of the actions of the corporation in determining its identity. this may mean that diﬀerent measures. and changed its colors from blue to red in order to symbolize this re-energization (Peacock. the misinterpretation or failure to internalize Page 83 . Another related issue is the signiﬁcance of color associations. has traditionally been associated with the symbols of the organization.
of course. Avison Page 84 . Goals. but is in fact ‘a context within which interpretations of organizational identity are formed and intentions to inﬂuence organizational image are formulated’ (p. management behavior also arises from the interaction of organizational members including the managers. 357). diﬀerentiation must come from the culture of the organization. In discussing internal corporate identity issues in the airline industry. Ludlow (1997) suggests that because services cannot be standardized to the particular nature of the industry. and on occasions result in management displaying characteristics that an organization would not approve of as representative of the ﬁrm. argue that organizational culture is not a determinant or variable of corporate identity. there has been a proliferation of statements of corporate beliefs through corporate philosophies and statements of corporate principles. Studies have shown. 1997. change over time as the economic structure of the company changes.Deﬁning the Corporate Identity Construct and identify with corporate requirements could result in an inconsistency in behavior. The fact that every day employees get sacked for such reasons seems to be suﬃcient proof. the role of the nationality of the company and its perceived attributes have become more important. The presumption of this proliferation would seem to be that such statements are a means to diﬀerentiate a particular corporation from others. 1985).. supposedly reﬂecting how the corporation ‘thinks. a great deal of consensus in the contents of the statements of diﬀerent companies (Berg and Gagliardi. Downey (1986. As other researches have stated. 1997). although they diﬀer on the precise nature of the relationship between corporate culture and corporate identity. Hatch and Schultz (1997). 1990). However. and Principles As van Rekom (1997) illustrates. Philosophies. however. beliefs and behavior — in fact ﬂows from and is the consequence of corporate identity’. In addition. Kiriakidou and Millward (2000) focus strongly on the employees’ behavior and suggest that it is by these means that the ‘unique characteristics’ of the organization are exhibited to external stakeholders. 1987) contends that ‘corporate culture — which has been described as a company’s shared values. ‘Practices in general tend to be more organizational speciﬁc than values’ (Hofstede et al. For example. Through laddering techniques of meansends theory. Diﬀerent strengths and weaknesses are associated with diﬀerent countries (Avison. He explores the linkages between employee actions and organizational goals. Employee Behavior Van Rekom (1997) considers the issue of centrality in corporate identity and provides measures to determine those activities that are important not only to individual job classiﬁcations or departments but are also their link to the entire organization. he postulates that between individual speciﬁc jobs and organizational generalities a level must exist that meets the criteria of both centrality and distinctiveness. This does. few people in the 1950s would have believed that Japanese electronics and autos were associated with high quality and high value products. Nationality As companies expand their global operations. feels and behaves. p.’ Corporate Culture Many authors refer to corporate culture. For example. 414). Such statements may therefore lack the distinctiveness outlined earlier as a criterion for corporate identity and ‘may therefore reﬂect what society accepts as basic principles for good management rather than being genuine expressions of the company’s fundamental identity’ (van Rekom. on the other hand.
1998). while history plays a part in deﬁning the corporate identity. In their study on strategic group identity. and taboos — the common organizational imagery — constitute the visual part of the identity or the culture of the organization.Melewar and Jenkins (1997) contends that consumers in general are much more receptive today to brands from diﬀerent countries. Corporate and Marketing Strategies Markwick and Fill (1997) argue that it is the corporate strategy process. impulses. 1997). They also point out that. but also diﬀerent emphases on those components that are viewed as determinants of the concept. by its very nature. They further argue that strategic groups emerge in an industry that can aﬀect organizational behaviors and outcomes. in the view of many stakeholders. and note that imagery is one of the most diﬃcult aspects of corporate identity to measure. which has deep roots embedded within the whole spectrum of its corporate activities’ (p. that retains some sort of continuity over time and thus is ‘germane to the personality. not the content. Ludlow (1997). They further contend that this imagery is made up of ‘basic assumptions. myths. 3M Corporation has recently re-emphasized the importance of storytelling in its organization and contends that this storytelling should be extended to the process by which strategy is presented in order to be more consistent with the culture of the organization (Shaw et al. after explaining how national airlines built on the reputation of their respective countries to project their corporate identity. Peteraf and Shanley (1997) posit that members. through history.. 1997). 400). These diﬀering views are partially explained by the multidisciplinary nature of the ﬁeld and by practical as Page 85 . 386). For example. This signiﬁes the important role the nature of the industry plays in shaping an organization’s identity. Market Conditions Nature of the Industry Studies of corporate identity in the banking industry illustrate the diﬃculty in projecting an individual identity when the generic industry identity remains so strong (Morrison. Bickerton (2000) holds that corporate branding is a ‘top-down’ organization focus which can be a valuable asset and which. is intrinsically linked to internal factors such as corporate strategy and culture and externally to reputation and competitive positioning. CONCLUSIONS AND FUTURE RESEARCH DIRECTIONS An examination of numerous works dealing with corporate identity has indicated not only the absence of a single deﬁnition of the term. Organizational Imagery and History Moingeon and Ramanantsoa (1997) argue that rites. In sum. Other generic industries. have consistently been constrained as to how much they can eﬀect changes to their identities because the industry itself. strategic groups encourage the development of a group identity in an industry and explain the retention of the identity once it has been developed. is generally associated with the negative connotations of pollution. have come to understand the behaviors of other members. discourse. and interactions. the identity also inﬂuences history by contributing to the development of perceptions and actions of the organization members (Moingeon and Ramanantsoa. and values which govern (not necessary consciously) the behaviors of organization members’ (p. shows how British Airlines changed its positioning from local to global-oriented positioning by replacing the British ﬂag with multi-cultural motifs to reﬂect the changing demographics of Britain. such as oil exploration and production.
will naturally bring with them those perspectives that are speciﬁc to their respective ﬁelds of study. Although corporate identity and corporate identity management are distinct concepts. a great deal of overlap and inter-relatedness exists between the subconstructs and the items they contain — communication and behavior. 1990.Deﬁning the Corporate Identity Construct opposed to academic approaches to the subject. Peter. each of which contained diﬀerent items. as mentioned above. but is perhaps necessary in order to develop a model simple enough to be useful in explaining the concept. The review of literature revealed four subconstructs or dimensions of corporate identity. and the virtue of any system of measurement is determined by empirical data. reputation. 1999). Melewar and Saunders. thus the division seems somewhat artiﬁcial. 1981. it is important that the corporate identity measures Page 86 . The subconstructs found are: — — — — communication/visual identity behavior corporate culture market conditions. Churchill. Categorizing the elements of corporate identity has proved to be one of the most challenging tasks in the ﬁeld. Kotabe. Thirdly. personality. Lichtenstein et al. Measurement always involves numbers. First. 1979. 1979. for example. Zaichkowsky. 1985. though recent literature suggests that signiﬁcant eﬀorts are being made to remedy this problem. The focus of this procedure is on developing measures (see Appendix 1) which have desirable reliability and validity attributes and properties. reputation. An adapted version of the procedure suggested by Churchill (1979) by which measure of constructs of interests to researchers can be generated can be seen in Figure 2. 1990. the existence of related but distinct concepts such as image. are separated in the model proposed by this paper. the multidisciplinary nature of the subject has meant that there are diﬀerent approaches to the deﬁnition of corporate identity — marketing researchers and organizational behavior researchers. 1989. as well as by the use of related concepts such as image and reputation. for instance. 1978. In a technical sense. The development of a comprehensive corporate identity model whose elements can be tested empirically would signiﬁcantly beneﬁt ﬁrms that are trying to establish strong corporate brands and achieve competitive advantage. We propose three reasons for this diﬃculty. Managerial Implications Managers are becoming increasingly aware of the responsibility they have for steward- ship of the corporate brand in order to differentiate their product and to gain competitive advantage. it is essential that corporate identity be further explored and deﬁned to determine what speciﬁc elements are the most salient to the concept and thus identify areas on which to focus. Bearden et al. Thus. though behavior can be seen as a nonverbal form of communication. and corporate identity management has resulted in some degree of confusion of the terms. the process of measurement or operationalization concerns rules for assigning numbers to objects to represent quantities of attributes. Several scholars have emphasized the need for paying explicit attention the validity and reliability of measure used in marketing research (Jacoby. In the future we will develop appropriate indicators of corporate identity in accordance with the measure development literature. Secondly. Academic Implications Corporate identity is central to the existence of the organization and this is reﬂected in the current interest in corporate identity management. and image in both the academic journals and the trade press.
Melewar and Jenkins Figure 2: Procedure for developing better measures Recommended Techniques Specify domain of construct Literature search Experience Survey Generate sample of items Literature search Experience surveys Collect data Purify measure Coefficient alpha Collect data Assess reliability Coefficient alpha Assess validity Content validity Construct validity used in this research study are developed and investigated for their reliability and validity properties before the main study is conducted. Page 87 . REFERENCES Avison. Journal of Brand Management. 5 (1): 28–39. (1997) ‘The race to go global: brand development in new markets’. S.
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1979) Management behavior (Hatch and Schultz. Bernstein. 1995) Corporate visual identity and its application (Melewar and Saunders. Pfeﬀer and Salancik. 1997) Organizational imagery (Moingeon and Ramanantsoa. Bernstein. 1985) Corporate philosophy (Balmer. 1997. Weick. Markwick and Fill. 1995. 1990. Bernstein. 1997. 1986) — organizational communication (Hatch and Schultz 1997. Balmer and Soenen. 1986) Nationality of ﬁrm (Avison. 1998. 1997) Employee behavior (Hofstede et al. 2000) Corporate goals (van Rekom. 1986) Uncontrollable communication (Moingeon and Ramanantsoa. Olins. Ludlow. 1978) — marketing communication (van Riel. 1995. Peacock. 1996) Behavior Corporate culture Market conditions Page 90 . 1997) Corporate behavior (van Rekom. 1995. Baker and Balmer. 1997. 1997. 1997) Architecture and location (Schmitt and Pan. 1997. 1997) Marketing strategies (Bickerton. 1997. Reitter and Ramanantsoa. 1986) Corporate principles (Schmidt. 1995. Larcon and Ramanantsoa. 2000. Markwick and Fill. 1994. 1995. 1997. Dowling. Morrison. Olins. 1997. 1997) Nature of industry (Peteraf and Shanley.Deﬁning the Corporate Identity Construct APPENDIX 1: THE CORPORATE IDENTITY CONSTRUCT Sub construct Communication and visual identity Sample of items generated from literature Corporate communication (van Riel. Berg and Gagliardi. Peteraf and Shanley. 1995. 1998. Kiriakidou and Millward. 1997) — management communication (Olins. 1997) Corporate strategies (Shaw et al. 1985) Corporate history (Peteraf and Shanley.
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