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Company Branding and Company Storytelling (Lecture notes)

Article by Jesper Hjberg Christensen (Compendium I, pp 81-114)

1. Where does the concept Branding come from? (Branding of cattle in the US, then
used about competitive brands and today it covers more intangible values).
2. What is corporate Branding? (the differentiation by a stakeholder through core
values reflected in products, relations and communication)
3. What is a stakeholder? (the general public and the employees whoever has an
interest in the company or organization).
4. Which four elements does Jesper Hjberg Christensen include in the concept of
corporate branding?
a) Strategic branding (Why and how the business creates value to its owners)
Usually fundamental strategic branding is the responsibility of the
Management. It is a basis for other types of branding and involves: vision
(where do we want to go?), Value proposition (what do we want to offer that
other companies do not offer?), Core competencies (What are our core
competencies?) and mission and values (why are we here?)
b) Marketing branding (How the business differentiates itself from other
businesses through products and through stories)
c) Employee branding (how the management and the employees
communicate who they are and how they live their business)
d) Stakeholder branding (dialogue with stakeholders about the social part and
responsibility of the company).
There is an internal and external environment and keywords in corporate branding are:
reputation, image, culture, values, vision and identity.
Stakeholders may be internal (employees) or external (applicants, the press, customers or
shareholders and investors). They all have an (own) image of the company. Images are
constructed (created) and hold elements from the four branding elements.
External branding is more market-oriented and stakeholder-oriented.
5. Where do people receive their impressions from? (the press, talking to others,
working in a company, etc.)
6. What is the difference between a system perspective and a working life world
perspective? (In the real world social roles are confirmed in the working place
through employees talking with each other).
7. What is the main purpose of the article? to prove that it is not possible to combine
internal and external branding processes
Examples of stories:
8. Polle from Snave, DSBs Harry story or Den Gamle Fabrik (marketing people)
9. Novo Nordisk as an ethical company (communication people stakeholders)
10. Using the companys idea by retelling and re-interpreting them (employees
organisation people) Look at figure 6, p. 92.

There are two approaches to storytelling: the cultural meaning creating and developing
management tool and the marketing approach to storytelling.
Organizations/companies tell different stories (see e.g. p. 94)
There is the organisation-theoretical approach
11. How can we become aware of the stories organizations tell about themselves?
(Appreciative inquiry employees tell stories about their own success at work). Used also
in future workshops where employees view the company 5 years from now and set goals
and visions for the years ahead. (From employees informal stories to create identity
maintain the organisation culture)
There is the marketing dominated approach to storytelling
Only one story is told about the company (the Marlboro cowboy and coca-cola).
(A.P. Mllers corporate core story is med rettidig omhu. Lego has creative play. (Not
a story with a plot, but a fundamental idea). (Comes from management
communicates the companys visions.
12. The construction of a corporate branding story (from an engineering firm)
The management and its employees revealed 3 organisational core stories:
Pioneer, freedom and family (solidarity) (employees)
Exceeding limits under control (management) the core story that forms the basis
for other stories told about the company
Contrasting stories from a younger generation of employees and managers
13. External stakeholder communication
Stakeholders influence and are influenced by the company in which they are stakeholders.
Different kinds of logic are sometimes involved. ISS (cleaning service) is split between
business concerns, pedagogy (for running kindergartens) and the political play when
inviting tenders. ISS cannot tell its own story but has to relate strategically to stories told by
the opponents. (Crisis communication). There is a polyphony of voices
14. Employee branding (the most overlooked discipline).
Image recruitment the attraction of future staff. Although similar to employee branding
(present staff) it is also different from it, in that it aims at attracting future candidates.
Recruitment discourse aiming at attracting new employees. Good stories are told on the
companys recruitment site. A companys values and attitudes are communicated through
recruitment communication such as job advertisements. An example is Ericssons human
recruitment site Because the stories told in connection with recruiting
people were positive, this was also reflected in the marketing brand.
15. Double loop learning (Argyris 1990); self-observation (Luhman). Whenever a
new staff member is recruited a new perspective is put on the company and its
culture is influenced by new ideas. This makes the company or organization look at
itself. The media boomerang (Mette Morsing 1999). (If the employees read about
the visions of their company like Oticon they begin believing in what they read

and react accordingly. Image recruitment may be seen as a value creating chain.
(Thinking about recruiting staff makes the management aware of the companys
values a process that continues throughout the recruitment process). Erecruitment.
The companys good story for the recruitment site should not consist of the coampnys
core story or marketing branding.