You are on page 1of 11

See discussions, stats, and author profiles for this publication at: https://www.researchgate.

net/publication/281745896

WALLY OLINS (1930–2014), corporate identity ascendancy and corporate


brand hegemony. Celebrating the life of Wally Olins: Leading corporate
identity exponent and prominent brand pr...

Article  in  Journal of Brand Management · August 2014


DOI: 10.1057/bm.2014.19

CITATIONS READS

4 309

1 author:

John M.T. Balmer


Brunel University London
252 PUBLICATIONS   7,347 CITATIONS   

SEE PROFILE

Some of the authors of this publication are also working on these related projects:

Corporate Identity: Foundations, Fundamentals and Historiography View project

WALLY OLINS CBE (1930-2014): CORPORATE IDENTITY PIONEER View project

All content following this page was uploaded by John M.T. Balmer on 14 September 2015.

The user has requested enhancement of the downloaded file.


Commentary

Wally Olins (1930–2014),


corporate identity ascendancy and
corporate brand hegemony.
Celebrating the life of Wally Olins:
Leading corporate identity
exponent and prominent brand
proponent
Received (in revised form): 3rd June 2014

John M. T. Balmer
took his PhD at Strathclyde University, Scotland in 1996 and within 3 years was elected Professor of Corporate Identity
at Bradford University School of Management. He subsequently was conferred the title of Professor of Corporate
Brand/Identity Management in the same university in recognition of his seminal scholarship on both territories. In a
similar vein, in 2007, he was appointed Professor of Corporate Marketing at Brunel University, London. All three
Professorial positions are understood to be the first appointments of their kind. Since the early 1990s, he has been a
leading proponent of the strategic importance of corporate identity. He is credited with writing the first articles on
corporate brands (1995) and corporate marketing (1998) and is known for his seminal works on these areas. In 2006 he
co-developed the corporate brand heritage notion. He is the founder, chairman and conference organiser of the
International Corporate Identity Group. He is known for his articles in these areas which have been published in leading
journals such as the California Management Review, European Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Management, Journal
of General Management, Journal of Business Ethics, Journal of Business Research, British Journal of Management, Long Range
Planning, etc. He is Chairman of the Board of Senior Consulting Editors for the Journal of Brand Management.

ABSTRACT This article outlines the nature, significance and legacy of Wally Olins
(1930–2014) vis-a-vis corporate identity and brand management. Celebrated for his
corporate identity/corporate brand consultancy work he is also known for his con-
siderable published output relating to corporate identity and branding. In the writer’s
estimation, Olins helped to inspire a generation of marketing scholars who, in turn,
established corporate identity a distinct area of marketing thought. The author notes
the significance of his binary definitions of corporate identity. Olins states that corpo-
rate identity is essentially design focused. He also states that it relates to an institution’s
core traits and activities. As such, his reflections explain why, today, there are different
approaches (both academic and practitioner) to the area. His explication of the cor-
porate personality is also of note. It is argued that Olins was part of the English corpo-
Correspondence:
John M. T. Balmer rate-level marketing revolution where, along with academics and practitioners, the
Brunel University,
London, UB8 3PH later including David Bernstein and Stephen King, he accorded importance not only to

© 2014 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 1350-231X Journal of Brand Management Vol. 21, 6, 459–468

www.palgrave-journals.com/bm/
Balmer

products and services in marketing contexts but, significantly, to corporations and other
organisations too. For much of his career (1965–2000) he was a champion for corporate
identity and the author herein offers two explanations why Olins distanced himself from
the corporate identity construct post 2000 and focused on brands, and corporate brands.
Journal of Brand Management (2014) 21, 459–468. doi:10.1057/bm.2014.19

Keywords: brands; corporate brand; corporate marketing; corporate identity; corporate


personality

Let us now praise famous men, and our fathers was indelibly linked to the corporate iden-
that begat us. (Ecclesiasticus 44:1) tity domain. He unquestionably, and
deservedly, was the Doyen of corporate
identity consultancy. A scrutiny of his pub-
INTRODUCTION lished output is testimony of the energy he
Many readers of JBM will share my pro- invested in making the corporate identity
found sense of loss at the news of the death concept better known.
of the illustrious British corporate identity Post-2000, and behind the curve, he fol-
and brand consultant Wallace (Wally) Olins lowed others in the sector in effecting a volte
CBE who died on 14 April 2014, aged 83. face by beating the drum for brands and,
Olins co-founded the Wolff Olins cor- more specifically, corporate brands and
porate identity consultancy along with the turned his back on corporate identity.
corporate branding agency Saffron. He was Having embraced the brand perspective
a towering figure within the broad corpo- with vengeance his branding drum roll
rate marketing domain. Olins was a prolific became distinctively faster and louder.
writer on both corporate identity and Regrettably, this drowned-out many of the
branding: his books were translated in 18 great twentieth-century corporate identity
different languages. themes that Olins and others had played-
Few of us can remember a world before out. Wally Olins, in effect, underwent
Olins. Moreover, because of his age and something of an identity change himself:
because he remained, until the very end, having been protagonist for corporate
active in his consultancy work and publish- identity he very much became the face of
ing (Olins, 2014) his passing came as a brand consultancy. Arguably, this personal
shock: Wally Olins seemed invincible. As change of focus was his most successful of all
with so many others, it was a very great his managed identity change programmes.
privilege to have known him. Yet, it is an undeniable truth that his
Erroneously labelled a graphic designer writing on corporate identity spurred scho-
by some, he was a consummate consultant. lars not only to establish corporate identity
Moreover, Olins was a consultant of many as an area of academic research, but also led
parts: strategist, connoisseur of corporate leading business schools to offer courses in
change programmes, corporate psychoanalyst strategic corporate identity management:
and –when the situated demanded – com- Bradford University School of Management
pany confidant, confessor and disciplinarian. and the Department of Marketing at
For much of his professional life, from Strathclyde Business School are British cases
the 1960s onwards, Olins was a cerebral, in point. Erstwhile, corporate identity
skilful and successful recruiting sergeant for practitioners may be surprised to learn that
corporate identity consultancy and scholar- today corporate identity is one of the most
ship. For the greater part of his career, he significant strands of scholarship within the

460 © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 1350-231X Journal of Brand Management Vol. 21, 6, 459–468
Celebrating the life of Wally Olins

broad academic field relating to business views and directness were either loved or
identity (Melewar et al, 2000, 2001; Balmer, loathed by senior managers. He famously
2002, 2008; Cornelisen et al, 2007; He and used to tell senior managers that they must
Balmer, 2007; Pérez and Rodriguez del share the power of his convictions.
Bosque, 2014). I distinctly remember one senior man-
In my assessment of his opus, (and this is ager of a prominent British bank saying how
where I differ from the evaluation of Olins’s much his board member colleagues relished
contribution, as detailed in the obituaries his intellect and appreciated his directness: it
published in the quality British press) his were these attributes which led that finan-
books and publications on corporate iden- cial institution to retain Wolff Olins as their
tity represent the most defining and influen- corporate identity change consultant. In
tial of his oeuvre. They are of seminal many board rooms, when it came to cor-
importance (Olins, 1978, 1979, 1986, 1989) porate identity programmes, Wally, one
and unquestionably have exerted a profound suspects, was very much primus inter pares
influence on a generation of scholars, man- (the first among equals). He knew it and the
agers and consultants. Even today, they are senior managers knew it. He liked to lead
still cited in the academic literature. and he fully expected others to follow.
Nation branding was an enduring passion His English persona, apparently, did not
of his as his JBM article attests (Olins, 2002). always go down well overseas. One promi-
Of course, many practitioners and scho- nent New York-based consultant confided
lars will have been influenced by his more that it was his very Englishness that worked
recent publications on brands and corporate against him in the United States. His com-
brands per se (Olins, 2004, 2008, 2014). mercial forays into North America were, see-
Yet, identities – both human and corporate – mingly, rather slight. However, his reflections
inevitably die. A Benedictine Abbot once on corporate identity were noticed at Harvard
mused that the point of an education at a Business School (HBS). At HBS it was his very
Benedictine school was to prepare students Englishness that was an asset. My long-time
for death. Odd? Not so. A man of wisdom, colleague, Professor Stephen Greyser, invited
the good Abbot realised that, by doing so, his Olins to his MBA elective focusing on corpo-
students would seize life’s opportunities and rate communications and corporate identity.
follow a full and highly meaningful exis- Another of my HBS collaborators – Professor
tence. In this regard, Olins, unquestionably, Renato Tagiuri – was instrumental in getting
lived a very full and a highly meaningful life. his book (Olins, 1989) Corporate Identity:
In this very personal tribute to Wally Making Business Strategy Visible Through Design
Olins CBE, I wish not only to say some- published by HBS Press (the British edition
thing of the man and his achievements, but was published by Thames and Hudson).
also give an individual assessment of his His personality was also mirrored by his
impact and muse on the nature of his legacy. distinctive and peerless sartorial style. There
was also a little of the thespian about him too.
His visual identity scheme was his distinctive
WALLY OLINS THE MAN attire, his look and his commanding pre-
A quintessential English figure, his family sence. His signature wardrobe and accessories
background was, in fact, just a little exotic: drew on an enduring and endearing quad-
Wally Olins roots were Russian and Jewish. ripartite repertoire: a lightly coloured jacket
In character he can, I think, be best descri- or two-piece suit, a snazzy bow tie and
bed as having an idiosyncratic and inimi- strikingly coloured socks. Then there were
table persona. For instance, his strident his spectacles. In his later years, he sported a

© 2014 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 1350-231X Journal of Brand Management Vol. 21, 6, 459–468 461
Balmer

pair of seemingly inimitable and retro-look- In 1965, shortly after his return to London,
ing round black glasses. The latter was remi- he co-founded, with Michael Wolff, the
niscent of images of pre-World War Two celebrated London-based corporate identity
continuity announcers of the BBC. consultancy: Wolff Olins. He sold his con-
His presentations also had a theatrical sultancy in 2001 to Omnicom, a US-based
quality. There was always a dénouement and, advertising and communications corporation,
more often than not, a coup de théâtre too. and in 2001 he founded Saffron corporate
Cleverly, although he appeared to be brand consultants with a former Wolff
from an earlier, somewhat grander, corporate Olins colleague Jacob Benbunan. Most had
marketing epoch, he countered this impres- assumed that Olins was going to retire.
sion by his contemporary and often radical
views on corporate identity, branding and
nation branding. With a slight twinkle in the ACHIEVEMENTS
eye, he also opined on many things relating to His accomplishments were wide-ranging
the corporate world; the quality of work of and were considerable. He led many success-
competitor consultancies and the contribution ful corporate identity/brand change pro-
(or lack of it) of the academy to corporate grammes for a wide variety of organisations.
identity and corporate brand management etc. A good many of these are cited in his pub-
Having read history (as an undergraduate) lications. Among the most celebrated change
at Saint Peter’s College, Oxford, there was programmes include those for: Aston Uni-
never any doubt that Olins was bright, talen- versity (UK), British Oxygen, British Tele-
ted, hardworking, reflective, charming and com, Cunard, Diageo, Orange, Midland
precocious. Occasionally he could be irascible. Bank, Prudential, Renault, Repsol, 3i and
India, history and fast cars were his Volkswagon.
enduring passions and these interests often The above being noted, the great corpo-
infused his writing. rate identity change programmes of the last
Poignantly, a month after his death century were not, in my estimation, by
(16 May) India elected a new Prime Minister Wally Olins. Consider the repositioning of
Narendra Modi. Recently, Wally Olins had the British Monarchy during the First
spoken to Modi about burnishing ‘Brand World War; Franks Pick’s pioneering cor-
India’ and, apparently, this has meaningfully porate identity work for London Transport
informed Prime Minister Modi’s thinking (Balmer, 2012); the corporate visual identity
on India’s role in the wider world. for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines by the
London-based German graphic designer
F.H.K. Henrion; the sheer comprehen-
siveness of the Hong Kong-based airliner
PROFESSIONAL LIFE Cathay Pacific’s corporate identity change
Olins’s roots were in advertising. He worked (Balmer and Greyser, 2002); and the suc-
for the London-based advertising agency cessive strategic corporate identity and cor-
S.H. Benson before moving to Bombay in porate brand initiatives at British Airways
post-independence India, where he lead up (Balmer et al, 2009).
Ogilvy & Mather. Today, we would call him Wally Olins was celebrated for his work
A Suit. on ‘Nation Branding’ and undertook nation
However, he became disillusioned with branding initiatives for Poland and Portugal,
the work and the world of advertising but among other countries.
became fascinated by the new realm of However, some corporate identity
corporate identity consultancy. change programmes were unsuccessful. This

462 © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 1350-231X Journal of Brand Management Vol. 21, 6, 459–468
Celebrating the life of Wally Olins

includes the ill-fated ‘Cool Britannia’ initiative explanations. The first of Olins’s binary
during the premiership of British Prime viewpoints saw corporate identity in narrow
Minister Tony Blair. This project took a graphic design terms. This of course was in
jaundiced view of Great Britain’s identity line with the perspectives of many other
which many found to be unsophisticated corporate identity practitioners. The second
and somewhat naïve. Another was London’s perspective is more holistic and defined cor-
Metropolitan Police corporate identity porate identity in terms of an organisation’s
initiative. It was meant to be a ground- attributes. Consider the following statements:
breaking cultural change programme and
was trumpeted as such (Olins, 1991). It 1. Graphic Design Perspective
failed. The new visual identity was also con-
Most people think that corporate identity
troversial: a ‘modernistic’, and somewhat is about symbols, logotypes, colours,
flaccid, interpretation of the organisation’s typography, even about buildings, pro-
coat of arms. ducts, furniture, about visual appearance,
design. And it is. (Olins, 1989, p. 78)

Awards 2. Holistic Perspective


Wally Olins was the recipient of a number of Corporate Identity is concerned with four
awards. The most illustrious of these was major areas of activity:
conferred in 1999, when her Majesty Queen
Elizabeth II appointed him a Commander of Products/Services-what you make or sell.
the Most Excellent Order of the British Environments-where you make or sell
Empire (CBE) for his corporate identity/ it-the place or physical context.
design work. Within this chivalric order, a Information-how you describe or publicise
CBE is one notch down from a KBE: a what you do.
knighthood.
Behaviour-how people within the orga-
nisation behave to each other and to
Published output outsiders. (Olins, 1989, p. 29)
His oeuvre – especially that on corporate
identity – is without compare among his
Of particular note is Olins’s second iteration
practitioner contemporaries; publications that
of corporate identity, as this advanced the
were, and still are, thoughtful and inspira-
view that corporate identity was something
tional (Olins, 1978, 1979, 1984, 1986, 1989,
more deeper than graphic design and this
1991, 1999, 2000; Olins and Morgan, 1996;
perspective (along with Olins’s arguments
Olins and Selame, 1999). Arguably, the most
that corporate identity is profoundly linked
significant of these is his book: The Corporate
to strategy, culture and organisational
Personality: An Inquiry Into the Nature of Cor-
change) has exerted a profound influence on
porate Identity (Olins, 1978).
my own work. As a consequence this resul-
ted in a radically different perspective on the
ACADEMIC IMPACT: WALLY corporate identity domain.
OLINS BINARY DEFINITION OF
CORPORATE IDENTITY AND HIS
INSIGHTS ON THE CORPORATE Corporate personality
PERSONALITY His thesis on the corporate personality (Olins,
In explaining the nature of corporate iden- 1978) was also influential and, initially, shaped
tity, Wally Olins offered two very different my own thinking on the area. Intriguingly,

© 2014 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 1350-231X Journal of Brand Management Vol. 21, 6, 459–468 463
Balmer

after 1978 he rarely referred to the corpo- In my assessment, there were two reasons
rate personality. This is what Olins said: for this: intellectual and economic. I believe
Corporate personality, on the other hand,
Olins followed the intellectual debate that
embraces the subject at its most profound surfaced on corporate brands (King, 1991;
level. It is the soul, the persona, the spirit, Balmer, 1995, 1998, 2001) and became,
the culture of the organisation manifested increasingly troubled by the economic
in some way. A corporate personality is not impacts of the widespread trend of relabel-
necessarily something tangible that you can ling corporate identity consultancy as cor-
see, feel of touch-although it may be. porate brand consultancy.
The tangible manifestation of a corporate
personality is a corporate identity. It is the The intellectual imperative
identity that projects and reflects the rea- During the early 1990s, two writers argued
lity of the corporate personality. (Olins, that a profound shift was taking place in the
1978, p. 212) branding domain and this was going to lead
Developing his corporate personality thesis to the company brand (King, 1991) and,
further he argued that organisations in their moreover, the corporate brand (Balmer,
early years mirrors the personalities of 1995) coming to the fore.
their founders but once they leave – in the Back in 1991, Stephen King, the cele-
absence of a powerful personality – a corpo- brated English advertising luminary (and
rate personality needs to be managed. The one of the most cerebral consultants of his
first stage was heroic and the second stage age) contended that service-orientated company
technocratic. This is what Olins annunciated: brands (not corporate brands per se) would
come to the fore and detailed how they
In the first or heroic period of a company’s should be managed.
development the personality of the foun- For King (1991) corporate identity,
der gives it its identity. In the second or
because it had been devalued by its connota-
technocratic phase the carefully cultivated
tion with graphic design, argued that the
and developed corporate identity is the
major element that provides the link. It company brand was a better label. However,
becomes the substitute for the personality King (somewhat confusingly) regarded the
of the entrepreneur. (Olins, 1978, p. 78) company brand and corporate identity as
analogous terms. He remarked:
To me, the above represents one of his most
significant reflections on the territory. The term ‘corporate identity’ is used my
many to mean roughly what I mean by
‘company brand’; but since it’s even more
widely used to mean the company logo, it
WHY OLINS EMBRACED THE
seems to me to be a dangerous (as well as a
CORPORATE BRAND NOTION AND cumbersome) phrase (King, 1991).
REJECTED CORPORATE IDENTITY?
For the past 15 years (2000–2014) Olins In 1995, the English marketing academic
became an energetic proponent of the stra- Balmer (1995) formally introduced the cor-
tegic importance of corporate brands and of porate brand notion. His article, seemingly,
corporate brand consultancy. This raises the was the first of its kind to have the corporate
intriguing question why Wally Olins who, as brand in its title. However, unlike King
the premier corporate identity consultant of (1991) Balmer argued that the corporate
his age, undertook a volte face by disregarding brand was not the same as corporate identity.
corporate identity and embraced the corpo- For him, it was a distinct identity type
rate brand notion from 2000s onwards. although both were interrelated. For Balmer,

464 © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 1350-231X Journal of Brand Management Vol. 21, 6, 459–468
Celebrating the life of Wally Olins

Progressively, graphic design driven


corporate identity consultancy activities
seemed passé and had its detractors (Aldersey-
Williams, 2000). The corporate brand
notion, in contrast had the benefit of being
new; seemed strategic in orientation; and had
fewer graphic design associations.
One suspects – because of Olins attach-
ment to corporate identity – his consultancy
Figure 1: Wally Olins (right) with John Balmer in 1994 at the
was losing clients to competitor corporate
first international corporate identity group (ICIG) symposium held brand consultancies (mostly erstwhile cor-
at the Department of Marketing, Strathclyde University, Scotland. porate identity agencies), and this was hav-
Wally Olins was a regular keynote speaker at ICIG symposia and
was, for instance, present at the formal launch of the ICIG at the ing an impact on the bottom line.
House of Lords, Palace of Westminster, London in 1995.

Olins the pragmatist


corporate brands have their roots in corpo- The economic imperative and the diverse
rate identities. Moreover, both the corpo- intellectual debate relating to corporate iden-
rate identity and the corporate brand were tity, corporate brands and company brands
key building blocks of a new marketing (as previously discussed) no doubt unsettled
gestalt that had an overtly organisational and Olins. Reluctantly, he embraced the corpo-
stakeholder foci Balmer (1998), called this rate brand notion and the whole world of
new area corporate marketing. brands and, regregattably, eschewed the
To repeat, Balmer did not view corporate corporate identity notion which he helped
brands and corporate identities as identical to promulgate.
terms. Rather, he saw corporate brands as a
highly meaningful and additional identity type Olins the uneasy pragmatist
and one that was based on a corporate covenant with I once asked him why, in light of his powerful
stakeholders. For Balmer, since corporate brands advocacy of corporate identity he embraced
had their origins in corporate identity, the emergence the corporate brand notion and crucially
of the corporate brand perspective actually under- turned his back on corporate identity? He
scored the importance of corporate identity. admitted that he found this to be painful and
The work of King and Balmer were very explained that he tried to hold out against the
much part of the intellectual debate that was change. The forces of change that militated
increasingly taking place in England. Olins against corporate identity and priviledged
was, I know, aware of the above debate and corporate brand consultancy were too strong
must have mused on these developments. he mused.
For instance, Olins regularly attended ICIG Although this made excellent com-
symposia (see Figure 1) and was fully cog- mercial sense there was some sadness among
nizant of leading-edge scholarship on cor- marketing scholars that Wally Olins’s
porate identity, corporate brands and reflections and insights on corporate iden-
corporate marketing from 1994 onwards. tity (especially in his non-graphic design
explications of the construct) had ended.
The economic imperative
The economic context for Olins making A PERSONAL TRIBUTE
the strategic change is, I believe, straight- Without doubt, my initial research, writing
forward enough. and teaching on corporate identity has been

© 2014 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 1350-231X Journal of Brand Management Vol. 21, 6, 459–468 465
Balmer

inspired, shaped and guided by Olins surprised that none of them read marketing
foundational work and by our initial (and or management at Oxford. However, all
to me defining) conversations in the 1980s of them – at one time or another – held
and 1990s. This led to the introduction of prominent positions in advertising.
MBA, MSc and BA (Hons) electives on
corporate identity, corporate branding
and corporate marketing at the Uni- The mighty troika: Bernstein, King and
versities of Bradford (England), Brunel Olins
(London) and Strathclyde (Scotland). A In their composite, the theses of Bernstein,
number of my students have followed me King and Olins implicitly (rather than
in taking marketing doctorates in the explicitly) presented cogent arguments why
broad corporate identity field. Wally organisations and not only products should
Olins was one of my examiners for my be the focus of marketing and the manage-
PhD in corporate identity. ment of products and product brands.
Shortly after taking my PhD in 1996 I
was, in 1999, appointed Professor of Cor-
Stephen King
porate Identity at Bradford University
Stephen King (1991) alerted us to the
School of Management and in the same
importance and the inexorable rise of ser-
school was also appointed Professor of
vice-orientated company brands. His thesis
Corporate Brand/Identity Management. In
on service-orientated company brands pre-
2007, Brunel University Business School
saged the formal introduction of the corpo-
(London) elected me to the Chair of Pro-
rate brand notion in 1995 and subsequent
fessor of Corporate Marketing.
explications (see: Balmer, 1995, 1998, 2001,
All of the above rather surprised Olins –
Ind, 1998).
as it astonished me - but as I told him, it was
largely his fault!
David Bernstein
David Bernstein’s (1984) treatise formally
WALLY OLINS: A HERALD OF THE introduced the corporate communications
ENGLISH CORPORATE MARKETING notion. Unlike marketing communications,
REVOLUTION? which was directed at customers and which
Without question, Olins was a central figure focussed on products and product brands,
who helped lay the foundations of in what, corporate communications was directed at
today, I would call the English Corporate stakeholders and focused on organisations.
Marketing Revolution. Others include David
Bernstein and Stephen King. Of these only
David Bernstein-(the renowned commu- Wally Olins
nications authority) survives. I wish him ad Olins (1978) disquisition asserted that senior
multos annos. managers had a responsibility to understand
Interestingly, and perhaps significantly, and manage their organisation’s corporate
they were linked by their education and identity. It was insufficient and prospectively
initial profession. All three were Oxford dangerous to only focus management
undergraduates. David Bernstein read Eng- attention solely on the identities of pro-
lish. Stephen King read The Greats (Greek, ducts/product brands.
Latin, Classical History and Philosophy) Their collective insights meaningfully
and Wally Olins read history. Today’s cor- informed my formal introduction and
porate marketing students will, perhaps, be explication of corporate marketing (Balmer,

466 © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 1350-231X Journal of Brand Management Vol. 21, 6, 459–468
Celebrating the life of Wally Olins

1998) along with later refinements and Balmer, J.M.T. (2012) Corporate brand management
imperatives: Custodianship, credibility, and calibration.
iterations of this broad area. California Management Review 54(3): 6–33.
Without realising it, all three were cor- Balmer, J.M.T. and Greyser, S.A. (2002) Managing the
porate marketing’s godparents and the most multiple identities of the corporation. California
Management Review 44(3): 72–86.
important of these was, unquestionably,
Balmer, J.M.T., Stuart, H. and Greyser, S.A. (2009)
Wally Olins. Aligning identity and strategy: Corporate branding
at British airways in the late 20th century. California
Management Review 51(3): 6–23.
FINAL REFLECTION; FINAL TRIBUTE Bernstein, D. (1984) Company Image and Reality.
With the death of Wally Olins we have Eastbourne: Holt Rinehart and Winston.
Cornelissen, J.P., Haslam, S.A. and Balmer, J.M.T.
come to the end of an era. Olins was sui (2007) Social identity, organizational identity
generis – he was one of a kind. Wally Olins and corporate identity: Towards an integrated
was a man of many parts, a man of many understanding of processes, patternings and
products. British Journal of Management 18(1): 1–16.
identities. He was an effective protagonist
He, H.-W. and Balmer, J.M.T. (2007) Identity studies:
and consultant of both corporate identity Multiple perspectives and implications for corporate-
and branding. He was a writer and a man of level marketing. European Journal of Marketing
ideas. Wally Olins not only helped to shape 41(7/8): 765–785.
Ind, N. (1998) An integrated approach to corporate
the corporate identities and brands of branding. Journal of Brand Management 6(5): 323–329.
numerous organisations but also helped to King, S. (1991) Brand building in the 1990s. Journal of
shape an industry. Importantly, his binary Marketing Management 7(1): 3–13.
insights on corporate identity inspired and Melewar, T.C., Saunders, J. and Balmer, J.M.T. (2000)
The salience of Olins’ visual identity structures in
influenced the first wave of scholars work- relation to UK companies operating in Malaysia.
ing in the business identity and corporate Corporate Reputation Review 3(3): 194–200.
marketing domains. Melewar, T.C., Saunders, J. and Balmer, J.M.T. (2001)
Cause, effect and benefits of a standardised corporate
In bringing my personal tribute to a close visual identity system of UK companies operating in
I think it is fair to say that Wally Olins was Malaysia. European Journal of Marketing 35(3–4):
not only one of a kind but was also, regretta- 414–427.
Olins, W. (1978) The Corporate Personality: An Inquiry
bly, the last of a kind. Sadly, we shall not see Into the Nature of Corporate Identity. London: Design
his like again. He will be sorely missed. Council.
Olins, W. (1979) Corporate identity: The myth and
the reality. Journal of the Royal Society of Arts 127:
209–218.
REFERENCES Olins, W. (1984) The Wolff Olins Guide to Corporate
Aldersey-Williams, H. (2000) Ten reasons why Identity. London: Ashgate Publishing.
corporate identity is irrelevant. Royal Society of Arts Olins, W. (1986) The New Guide to Identity: How to Create
Journal 4(4): 4–5. and Sustain Change Through Managing Identity.
Balmer, J.M.T. (1995) Corporate branding and connois- London: Design Council/Gower Publishing.
seurship. Journal of General Management 21(1): 24–46. Olins, W. (1989) Corporate Identity: Making Business
Balmer, J.M.T. (1998) Corporate identity and advent of Strategy Visible Through Design. London: Thames and
corporate marketing. Journal of Marketing Management Hudson.
14(8): 963–996. Olins, W. (1991) Corporate identity and the behavioural
Balmer, J.M.T. (2001) The three virtues and seven deadly dimension. Design Management Journal 2(1): 42–45.
sins of corporate brand management. Journal of General Olins, W. (1999) Trading Identities: Why Countries and
Management 27(1): 1–17. Companies are Taking on Each Others’ Roles. London:
Balmer, J.M.T. (2002) Of identities lost and found. Foreign Policy Research Centre.
International Studies of Management and Organizations Olins, W. (2000) Why companies and countries are
32(3): 11–22. taking on each other’s roles. Corporate Reputation
Balmer, J.M.T. (2008) Identity based views of the Review 3(3): 254–265.
corporation: Insights from corporate identity, Olins, W. (2002) Branding the nation – the historical
organisational identity, social identity, visual identity, context. Journal of Brand Management 9(4): 241–248.
corporate brand identity and corporate image. European Olins, W. (2004) On Brand. London: Thames and
Journal of Marketing 42(9–10): 879–906. Hudson.

© 2014 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 1350-231X Journal of Brand Management Vol. 21, 6, 459–468 467
Balmer

Olins, W. (2008) The Brand Handbook. London: Thames Olins, W. and Selame, E. (1999) Audit Corporate Identity.
and Hudson. London: Financial Times/Prentice Hall.
Olins, W. (2014) Brand New: The Shape of Brands to Pérez, A. and Rodriguez del Bosque, I. (2014)
Come. London: Thames and Hudson. Organizational and corporate identity revisited:
Olins, W. and Morgan, C.L. (eds.) (1996) International Toward a comprehensive understanding of identity
Corporate Identity. London: Trafalgar Square in business. Corporate Reputation Review 17(1):
Publishing. 3–27.

468 © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 1350-231X Journal of Brand Management Vol. 21, 6, 459–468

View publication stats

Related Interests