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The lack of a widely agreed framework to help define and align corporate brand identity constitutes a serious managerial problem and a shortcoming of the academic literature. In response, this article provides such a framework, the Corporate Brand Identity Matrix (CBIM), which draws upon the relevant literature, enriched by hands-on corporate experience gained by its application in three international corporate branding case studies. Corporate brand identity is explored internally, externally and by focusing on the ‘brand core’. The CBIM offers academics and managers a theoretical and practical guide to the describing, defining and aligning of corporate brand identity. It is a tailored alternative to existing frameworks, which have often been designed for product brands, not corporate brands.
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Original Article
The corporate brand identity matrix
Received (in revised form): 15th August 2013
Mats Urde
is Associate Professor of brand strategy at Lund University, Sweden. He is head of Lund Brand Management Research Group
and has contributed to leading journals with pioneering work related to brand orientation, brand core values and brand
heritage. He has more than 20 years of international experience as strategic consultant on the management of brands.
ABSTRACT The lack of a widely agreed framework to help dene and align corporate
brand identity constitutes a serious managerial problem and a shortcoming of
the academic literature. In response, this article provides such a framework, the
Corporate Brand Identity Matrix (CBIM), which draws upon the relevant literature,
enriched by hands-on corporate experience gained by its application in three interna-
tional corporate branding case studies. Corporate brand identity is explored internally,
externally and by focusing on the brand core. The CBIM offers academics and
managers a theoretical and practical guide to the describing, dening and aligning of
corporate brand identity. It is a tailored alternative to existing frameworks, which have
often been designed for product brands, not corporate brands.
Journal of Brand Management (2013) 20, 742761. doi:10.1057/bm.2013.12
Keywords: corporate brand identity; corporate brand management; brand
orientation; managerial framework; corporate brand identity matrix
A serious practical problem for management
is the lack of a widely agreed framework
that can help to dene a corporate brand
identity and also to align its different ele-
ments so that they come together as an
entity. This dislocation between theory and
practice is not only frustrating for those in
charge of corporate brands but, worse, may
derail the brand-building process and ulti-
mately jeopardise overall corporate strategy.
A well-dened corporate brand identity
is the bedrock of the management and
overall long-term building of such a brand
(Kapferer, 1991, 2012; Urde, 1994, 2003;
Balmer and Greyser, 2003; Aaker, 2004;
Balmer, 2008; Hatch and Schultz, 2008;
Balmer et al, 2009; Burmann et al, 2009;
de Chernatony, 2010). The brand manage-
ment discipline has long acknowledged that
the strategic management of brand identity
is a key activity. The focus, however, has
typically been on product branding, corpo-
rate branding having been accorded far less
This imbalance has placed corporate
brand strategists at a disadvantage compared
with their product-focused counterparts.
The term brand managementnormally
assumes that the responsibility is for brands
at the product level (Low and Fullerton,
1994), and product brand managers benet
from an array of established conceptual
frameworks based on theory and tested in
Mats Urde
Lund University,
Möllegatan 7, SE 263 32 Höganäs,
© 2013 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 1350-231X Journal of Brand Management Vol. 20, 9, 742761
practice. This is especially true with respect
to fast-moving, image-based consumer
products (Ries and Trout, 1986). Advertis-
ing agencies, brand consultancies and such
brand-focused companies as Procter &
Gamble, Nestlé or DuPont have developed
proprietary models specically designed for
the purpose of dening and aligning a pro-
duct brand identity. Managers responsible
for the corporate brand are not equipped
with a comparable toolbox. In practice,
they are typically obliged to transfer princi-
ples and frameworks developed for product
brand management, or to use improvised
hybrid models, in a context that is in fact
distinctively different.
For example, the international engineer-
ing company ABB, subject of a case dis-
cussed in detail later in this article, was faced
with the challenge of building a corporate
brand that would succeed in being relevant
to different customer groups and multiple
non-customer stakeholders, across the ve
divisions of the company.
There are three likely general con-
sequences of forcing a product brand fra-
mework into a typical corporate brand
identity context such as in the case of ABB.
First is the neglect of such essential internal
aspects of the corporate brand identity as
the organisations culture, core values
and mission. Second is probable over-
simplication of the positioning and the
value proposition. Lastly, the adopted fra-
mework could place too much reliance on
image advertising as a means of commu-
nication and undervalue the importance
of personal business relationships. Just as
corporate brands differ from product brands
(Balmer, 1995, 1998; Balmer and Gary,
2003; Schultz et al, 2005), so does their
management (Knox and Bickerton, 2003;
Esch et al, 2006; Hankinsson, 2002; Ind and
Bjerke, 2007), and so should their profes-
sional tools.
The very description corporate brand
signals that there is an organisation behind
the brand, and that it is a part of the corpo-
rate brand (Alvesson and Berg, 1992;
Balmer, 1995; Schultz et al, 2005). This
constitutes one of the key differences
between a corporate brand and a product
brand. That distinction is manifested in lan-
guage. The company will typically speak of
itself as we, internally and in public dis-
course, while customers and other stake-
holders will speak of it as they. A product
brand, on the other hand, will be called it
by everyone. This signicant difference has
far-reaching implications for both the
understanding and management of corpo-
rate brands, and for the design of relevant
frameworks. The mission, vision and core
values of the corporation and its culture and
competences are vital elements of a corpo-
rate brands internal component, often sim-
ply absent from frameworks developed for
product brands.
The establishment of a relevant manage-
rial framework for corporate brand man-
agement is furthermore motivated by the
increasing strategic importance accorded to
these brand assets in theory and practice
(Hamel and Prahalad, 1985; King, 1991;
Aaker, 2004). The rise of corporate brands
has been driven by their power as an ele-
ment of strategy (Balmer and Gary, 2003),
as a resource (Grant, 1991, 1996; Barney,
1996; Knox and Bickerton, 2003), as a
competitive tool (Kapferer, 2012), as a con-
tributor to brand performance (Harris and
de Chernatony, 2001; Gromark and Melin,
2011), as a source of equity (Burmann et al,
2009) and as a vehicle for integrated corpo-
rate-level marketing (Balmer, 1998;
Brexendorf and Kernstock, 2007; Balmer
and Greyser, 2009).
In business, the trend is to place
more emphasis on the corporate brand
(Augustsson and Larsson, 2012). Typically,
the intent is to progress from offering cus-
tomers branded products to providing them
with broader customer solutions, with the
corporate brand in the limelight. Knox and
The corporate brand identity matrix
743© 2013 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 1350-231X Journal of Brand Management Vol. 20, 9, 742761
Bickerton (2003) offer practical guidelines
for managers of the corporate brand,
emphasising that the conventions of cor-
porate brandingshould focus on the
importance of setting the coordinatesof
the brands identity, articulating the brand
proposition, positioning the brand, com-
municating it consistently, driving corporate
branding deeper into the organisation, and
monitoring the branding strategy for rele-
vance and distinctiveness. The consequent
shifts in a companys strategy for its corpo-
rate brand may be radical, elevating that
from being no more than exploitation of
the company name or names to nding a
way to represent and symbolise the entire
The purpose of this article is to provide a
managerial framework for the denition
and alignment of corporate brand identity.
The proposed framework, the Corporate
Brand Identity Matrix(CBIM), provides a
template for management in the analysis,
denition, coordination and building of
corporate brand identity for improved
A brand can be thought of as a signthat is
intended to acquire and communicate
meaning (Levy, 1959; Guiraud, 1971;
Mick, 1986). The management of brands
can thus be regarded as the management of
the meaning of signs. According to the
seminal semiotician Charles Sanders Peirce,
A sign, or representamen, is something that
stands for something in some respect or
capacity. It addresses somebody, that is,
creates in the mind of that person an
equivalent sign, or perhaps a more devel-
oped sign. In the context of the present
study, the objectin question is the organi-
sation and the sign is the corporate brand
identity, which Balmer (2010) describes as a
distillationof the total corporate identity.
When that corporate brand identity is
communicated and interpreted, it will cre-
ate an equivalent or more developed sign in
the minds of customers and non-customer
stakeholders. The corporate brand identity
is thus the outcome of a process of encod-
ing. The task of responsible management is
therefore to dene the corporate signand
align it into a single entity (the focus of this
article), communicate it (a process that falls
beyond the scope of this article) and thereby
initiate a decoding process in the hearts and
minds of receivers (Shannon and Weaver,
1964; de Saussure, 1983). This acquisition
of meaning happens in a social setting, and a
corporate brand is a social construction
(Blumer, 1969; Solomon, 1983; Silverman,
1993). Managements own description of
the corporate brand identity is only one
view (Alvesson and Berg, 1992), being an
intended meaning that will differ in various
respects from those perceived and inter-
preted by others (Balmer and Greyser, 2002,
2003). Given the purpose of this article, the
perspective adopted is that of management
and, in particular, corporate brand manage-
ment engaged in the process of dening
brand identity.
This review of the literature discusses the
evolution from the early product brand
models focusing on image to identity-based
product and corporate brand frameworks. It
includes both established practice-oriented
models, and widely cited, inuential theo-
retical identity frameworks that are relevant
to the topic of this article. The aim of the
review is to provide a sound theoretical
foundation for the proposed CBIM and to
position the study in relation to the theore-
tical gap identied, that is, the lack of a
widely agreed managerial framework for
the dening and aligning of a corporate
brand identity.
It has been proposed that, in principle,
there are two different approaches to the
dening of a brand (Knox and Bickerton,
2003; Baumgarth et al, 2011; Urde et al, 2011).
744 © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 1350-231X Journal of Brand Management Vol. 20, 9, 742761
Figure 1 shows schematically that these out-
side-in and inside-out perspectives, respec-
tively, reect the market- and brand-
oriented paradigms: they are different, but
synergistic. This conceptual framework,
generally used in the review and categor-
isation of existing brand models, was the
point of departure for the construction of
the new and original corporate brand
identity framework introduced in this arti-
cle. It was chosen for the explicit and logical
structure that it offers, clearly distinguishing
the internal, core and external components
of a corporate brands identity.
Product branding
The concept of the augmented product
(Levitt, 1960, 1981) expanded on the pro-
ductbrand relationship, and on associated
tangible and intangible benets. The need
to dene the brand and coordinate brand
communication was recognised in the
1960s by advertising agencies and their cus-
tomers, primarily in the fast-moving con-
sumer goods sector. The Ted Bates agency
developed the Brand Wheel, consisting of
ve concentric elds, representing attri-
butes, benets (functional, emotional or
symbolic), values and brand personality,
around the brand essenceat the hub.
Other proprietary models following a simi-
lar logic are UnileversBrand Key and
Johnson & JohnsonsBulls Eye. In the
academic literature, the seminal Brand Con-
cept-Image Model (Park et al, 1986) reinforces
the idea of selecting, implementing and
controlling a brand image over time. Such
models were primarily designed for image-
driven product brands and were intended to
satisfy the needs and wants of the con-
sumers(Kotler, 1984), which is character-
istic of a market-oriented approach (Kohli
and Jaworski, 1990; Hooley et al, 1998).
They are not concerned with the internal
aspects of the brand, which seriously limits
their applicability to the dening of corpo-
rate brand identity.
The inuential Brand Identity Prism
(Kapferer, 1991, 2012), drawing upon the
pioneering work of Asch (1946), shifted the
focus of the earlier models from imageto
identity. The prisms six facets correspond
to the elements of a brands identity:
physique, relationship and reection plus
personality, culture and self-image. The
emphasis on self-image and reection,
respectively, describing what I say to myself
through my choice of brandand what
others say about or think of my choice of
brand, makes the Brand Identity Prism
more suitable for analysis of product brands
than corporate brands. However, Kapferers
inclusion of culture, and the distinction
made between internalisation and externa-
lisation, positions the model as a bridge
Market oriented approach:
Taking an outside-in approach
in defining the brand. The brand
image is key. Satisfying the
needs and wants of the
rand oriented approach:
Taking an inside-out approach
in defining the brand. Brand
identity is key. Satisfying the
needs and wants of the
consumer within the limits of the
brand core identity.
The organisation
The Brand
Promise and core values
The customer and non
customer stakeholders
Figure 1: The market and brand-oriented framework (Urde et al, 2011).
The corporate brand identity matrix
745© 2013 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 1350-231X Journal of Brand Management Vol. 20, 9, 742761
between those relating separately to pro-
duct brand and corporate brand identity.
The importance placed on the identity
denes the model as one of the early brand-
oriented frameworks.
Corporate branding
The management task of dening and
aligning identity is typically more complex
than in the case of product brands, because
of the distinctive characteristics of corporate
brands (Knox and Bickerton, 2003). For
example, management needs to take into
account the fact that: most corporate brands
have multiple customers and non-customer
stakeholders; they cover broad ranges of
products, services and solutions; and an
organisation, with its own culture, is an
essential part of the brand. The corporate
identity is a crucial source in the denition
of the corporate brand identity, which
describes the dening attributes of any
organisation, all of which therefore have a
corporate identity (Melewar and Jenkins,
2002; Balmer, 2010, 2008). Corporate
brand identity in turn describes a distillation
of corporate identity(Balmer, 2010, p. 186).
From a management standpoint, the de-
nition and alignment of corporate brand
identity is the formulation of a strategic
intent: how management wants the corpo-
rate brand to be perceived by internal and
external stakeholders. Consequently, cor-
porate brands are born out of corporate
identities, but live in the minds of groups
and individuals(Balmer, 2010, p. 186).
Existing corporate brand identity frame-
works typically have a core identity (essence)
and an extended identity. Core identity is
dened in the Brand Identity Planning Model
(Aaker, 1996, p. 85) as the timeless essence
of a brand. While it is a useful theoretical
overview in which brand identity is a cen-
tral part, it is to general to works effectively
as a managerial framework specically for
corporate branding. Collins and Porras
(1998) advance the discussion of the
essence of a companys identity in their Core
Ideology Model, which underlines the rele-
vance of the purpose and the core values as
key elements of a corporate brands identity.
This model also provides useful insights
relevant to the topic of this article but it too
does not constitute a managerial frame-
work. Its proponents dene purpose as the
organizations fundamental reason for exis-
tence beyond just making moneyand core
values as the organizations essential and
enduring tenets(Collin and Porras, 1997,
p. 73). These are in turn constituent parts of
such strategic branding processes as those
proposed by Knox and Bickerton (2003), de
Chernatony (2010), Keller et al (2012) and
Melin (1997). The vision of the brand and
its values is the starting point when de
Chernatony (2010) describes the strategic
process for building integrated brands
(p. 76) and the brand essence as manage-
ments identication of the central char-
acteristics that will dene the brand,
and thereby expresses a brand-oriented
approach. The Market and Brand Orientation
Framework positions core values at its centre,
together with the brand promise, in such a
way that the brand core is the strategic focal
point(Urde et al, 2011, p. 3). It further-
more distinguishes three kinds of value:
internal, which is related to the organisa-
tion; core, which encapsulates the brand;
and external, which is intended to appeal
externally to relevant customers and non-
customer stakeholders.
The extended identity typically consists
of elements that reect the core identity.
For example, in AakersBrand Identity Plan-
ning Model, the value proposition and posi-
tion are included, to provide texture and
completenessfor the brand identity, the
brand position being the part of the brand
identity and value proposition that is to be
actively communicated to the target audi-
ence and that demonstrates an advantage
over competing brands(Aaker, 1996, p. 176).
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Brand communication and visual identity
programmes are other expressions of the
corporate brand identity guided by the
core identity (Olins, 1989; Mollerup, 1997).
Management needs to adapt the extended
identity over time, however, to preserve
the core and stimulate progress(Collins and
Porras, 1998, p. 81).
The different elements of a corporate
brand identity framework need to be
aligned, that is, come together as an entity
(Farquhar, 2005). A corporation may in fact
have multiple identities that need to be
aligned (Balmer and Greyser, 2002, 2003).
The AC3ID Test (Balmer et al, 2009) maps
six identity types, thereby clearly making
the point that identity is not a mono-
lithic phenomenon. Its originators also call
attention to the alignment between what is
promised (covenanted) and how that
affects the identities of the corporate brand,
which Balmer et al (2009, p. 7) describe as a
dynamic congruence rather than a perfect
alignment among the different identity
types. The Corporate Branding Tool Kit
(Hatch and Schultz, 2001, p. 131) focuses
on the conjunction among vision, culture
and image, emphasising that to get the most
out of a corporate branding strategy, the
three essential elements must be aligned.
Both these frameworks are centred on the
aligning and managing of different types of
identities, but are not concerned specically
with dening a corporate brand identity.
Table 1 offers an overview of the key
elements of the product and corporate
brand identity frameworks reviewed and
discussed here. It shows that they are struc-
tured as primarily internal, both internal
and external (core) or external. The arrows
illustrate the market-oriented and brand-
oriented approaches to dening brand
identity (Urde et al, 2011). The theoretical
foundation summarised in the table is one of
Table 1: Key elements of product and corporate brand identity frameworks
Attributes, benefits and consumer values (Brand Wheel: Ted Bates)
Self image and reflection (Brand Identity Prism: Kapferer)
Value proposition: (Brand Identity Planning Model: Aaker)
Position (Brand Identity Planning Model:Aaker)
Discriminator and reason to believe (Brand Key Model: Unilever)
Image (Brand Concept-image Model: Park, Jaworski and MacInnis)
Relationship (Brand Identity Prism:Kapferer;Brand Identity Planning Model: Aaker)
Essence (Brand Wheel: Ted Bates)
Kernel values (Brand Identity Prism: Kapferer)
Covenant (AC3ID test: Balmer)
Core and extended core (Brand Identity Planning Model: Aaker)
Core values and promise (Brand and Market Orientation Framework: Urde, Baumgarth
and Merrilees)
Personality (Brand Identity Prism: Kapferer)
Visual identity / Expression / Communication (Olins; Mollerup)
Culture (Brand Identity Prism: Kapferer; Corporate branding tool kit: Hatch and Schultz)
Mission and Vision (Brand Vision Model: De Chernatony)
Purpose (Core ideology model: Collin and Porras)
Organizational values (Brand and Market Orientation Framework: Urde)
Organisational culture (Brand vision model: De Chernatony. Corporate branding tool kit:
Hatch and Schultz)
Core values (Core ideology model: Collin and Porras)
Market oriented approach: Defining brand identity from the outside in
Brand oriented approach: Defining brand identity from the inside out
The corporate brand identity matrix
747© 2013 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 1350-231X Journal of Brand Management Vol. 20, 9, 742761
the starting points for the development
of the new CBIM framework explored in
this article.
Towards a new framework
This article has so far addressed the need for
corporate brand managers to have at their
diposal a managerial framework for the
strategic process of dening and aligning
corporate brand identity. The literature
review has conrmed that there is a critical
theoretical shortcoming in this regard. The
product brand models typically neglect
the internal component central to corporate
brands and are primarily designed for an
outside-in, image-driven approach. This
rather one-sided market-oriented approach
tends to underestimate the signicance of
the organisation and its culture as a source of
identity and the foundation for a corporate
Corporate brand identity frameworks are
rst of all rare, and second limited to either
certain theoretical aspects, such as the align-
ment of an identity, or broad conceptual
overviews that have less obvious application
to management. Several useful descriptions
of the strategic branding processes do exist,
outlining key elements of such tasks, but do
not necessarily explain in detail how those
are to be integrated or managed in practice.
Although the various models offer some
degree of understanding, they are limited in
their ability to establish explicit guidelines for
application and subsequent action on the part
of managers. There thus exists a clear theo-
retical gap to be lled, and the literature
relating to both product and corporate
branding offers a solid foundation on which
to draw in the development of the new fra-
mework proposed here.
The ndings of this study and the conclu-
sions drawn from them were generated by a
multi-method approach to data gathering
and analysis, which Gummesson (2005)
identies as a common feature of con-
temporary qualitative research. A formal
review of the literature relevant to the
management of corporate brand identity
yielded a consolidated comparative under-
standing of the various models and frame-
works currently available to planners and
managers with responsibility for this vital
aspect of business strategy. That overview
then informed the development of a new
and original framework, the Corporate
Brand Identity Matrix, or CBIM. This com-
bined analytical tool and operational guide
in turn formed the basis of a structured case
study investigation (Yin, 1989, 1993) of
the management of three real-world cor-
porate brands in real time. This method
offers the potential for the generation of
concepts, categories, models and general
theories from empirical data (Perry and
Gummesson, 2004).
The choice of the case study method was
further motivated by the opportunity to
study corporate brand management at rst
hand, a form of action research (Lewin,
1946; Argyris, 1973), in which the output
results from an involvement with members
of an organization over a matter which is of
genuine concern for them(Eden and
Huxham, 1996, p. 75). In the present case,
the aim of developing a managerial frame-
work for corporate brand identity coincides
with the genuine concernof the case
companies that shared interest, providing a
rare opportunity to combine the case study
method with action research.
The eldwork was facilitated by personal
access to the management processes of
dening and aligning three corporate brand
identities. Specically, the resulting case
studies describe and discuss the application
of the CBIM framework over a 3-year
period from 2009 to 2011 by strategic brand
managers at three multinational, stock-
exchange listed companies: ABB (power
748 © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 1350-231X Journal of Brand Management Vol. 20, 9, 742761
and engineering), Cargotec (engineering
and logistics) and Trelleborg (polymer
technology). Their scale and scope provided
the opportunity to apply the matrix to a
variety of issues related to corporate brand
management. Of particular relevance to this
article is the fact that the brand strategies of
all three have a clear corporate brand focus.
Each case illustrates a separate aspect of the
total process: describing (ABB), dening (Car-
gotec) and aligning (Trelleborg) the corpo-
rate brand identity.
Multiple data sources were exploited
in all three case studies, including archival
records; internal documents relating to
business strategy, positioning, brand strategy
(for example, corporate brand platforms),
and corporate culture (for example, the
our-waykind of documents); codes of
conduct; market research, customer and
employees surveys; and advertising and
communication initiatives. The ABB case
further involved personal coordination of
six workshops attended by 80 managers in
total, at which the focus was on description
of the corporate brand identity. At Cargo-
tec, the opportunity was to observe and lead
the application of the CBIM to the task of
dening the corporate brand identity, in 12
workshops in 10 countries involving 110
managers. The CEO and the executive team
took an active part in the process during those
workshops, providing their expert input into
the use of the matrix, and also in meetings and
interviews. In the Trelleborg case, in-depth
analytical and exploratory discussions with
corporate brand management were followed
by three workshops at the head ofce, addi-
tionally involving the communications
department, which examined how the matrix
was applied to achieving congruence within
the corporate brand identity.
The development of the matrix was
further rened during its use as a workshop
model in executive education programmes
in Scandinavia. Participants analysed more
than 50 business-to-business and business-
to-consumers corporate brands encompass-
ing manufacturing, retailing, services, insti-
tutions and not-for-prot organisations,
during full-day sessions. They applied
established brand identity frameworks typi-
cally used in product brand management,
such as Kapferers Brand Identity Prism, in
parallel and in combination with the
new CBIM. These bench testsdelivered
insights into the strengths and weaknesses of
the available alternatives, and into managers
expectations of the new model.
This purpose-designed methodology,
combining the case study and action
research approaches, permitted the drawing
of condent generalisable conclusions and
the discussion of the theoretical and man-
agerial implications of the CBIM.
This section rst explains the criteria that
guided the development of the new frame-
work, before discussing its structure and the
integration of its nine constituent elements
into a three-by-three matrix.
Developing the CBIM framework
On the basis of inputs from the literature
review and the case studies presented in
the next main section, two sets of criteria
governed the process by which the CBIM
was developed, respectively: theoretical and
From a theoretical point of view, a usable
framework for the dening and aligning of a
corporate brand identity needs to:
include the internal component;
balance the external and internal compo-
nents, and link them into a coherent entity;
dene the coreand extendedelements
of the corporate identity, and the key
relationships between the two;
distinguish between different types of
values and promises;
The corporate brand identity matrix
749© 2013 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 1350-231X Journal of Brand Management Vol. 20, 9, 742761
clarify what differentiates the corporate
brand identity.
From the managerial point of view, such a
framework needs to:
provide a structured and comprehensible
overview of the corporate brand identity;
guide the identication and selection of
different types of values and promises;
guide relevant internal and external
inform discussion of key correspondences
between the different elements of the
corporate brand identity;
suggest means of leveraging the corporate
brand identity, and guide the creation
and maintenance of competitive value
Bearing in mind these 10 key requirements
for the contributions to be made to theory
and practice, the logic and structure of the
Market and Brand Orientation Framework
(Urde et al, 2011) were chosen to form the
basis of the new and original three-by-three
CBIM matrix shown in Figure 2.
The selection and specication of the
nine elements were guided by the theore-
tical and managerial criteria established at
the outset. A rst theoretical foundation was
the key identity elements from existing
brand identity models, as earlier summarised
in Table 1. For each horizontal row in the
CBIM, the key identity elements were
considered, grouped and regrouped. The
objective was to select labelsfor the nine
elements using established terminology that
would work and tin a managerial con-
text. This selection process was iterative
between the theoretical and the empirical,
which is typical for case study research. The
resulting matrix is the outcome of discussion
and bench-testing of each tentative version
within the case companies. Their feedback
inspired the development of the frame-
work, for example, in the inclusion of the
competenceselement, which was viewed
by the informants as a vital component of an
effective corporate brand identity, but had
not been included in the original theoretical
foundation. Another example of action
research helping to shape the nal frame-
work was the labelling of the mission and
visionelement, based on such verbatim
comments as its better to group these
concepts together since we often confuse
them. The resulting matrix is therefore not
limited to the accumulation and re-struc-
turing of elements of existing models, but is
a unique managerial framework that has
been developed and tested in co-operation
with managers.
Elements of the CBIM framework
The nine elements of the CBIM in Figure 2
dene the totality of a corporate brands
Mission & Vision Culture Competences
Value proposition Relationships Position
Expression Personality
Promise and core values
Internal ExternalExternal / Internal
Figure 2: The CBIM.
750 © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 1350-231X Journal of Brand Management Vol. 20, 9, 742761
identity. Its internal (sender) component is
described in terms of three characteristics of
the organisation: its mission and vision, its
cultureand its competences. The exter-
nal (receiver) component comprises value
proposition,relationshipsand position.
The matrix is completed by three ele-
ments that are both internal and external.
Personalitydescribes the corporate brands
individual character, whereas expression
denes the verbal and visual manifestations
of the brand. The brand core, consisting
of a brand promise and supporting core
values, is at the heart of corporate brand
Three aspects of the framework demand
comment before the individual elements are
discussed. First, the arrows radiating from
the centre symbolise the fact that all ele-
ments of the matrix are interrelated and
form a structured entity. The content of one
element echoesthat of the others, with the
core as the centre of the framework. In
a coherent corporate brand identity, the
core reects all elements, and every element
reects the core.
Second, the CBIM differentiates bet-
ween three types of value: organisational
(bottom row); core, summing up the
essence of the corporate brand identity
(centre of middle row); and external(top
row), for transmission to relevant customers
and non-customer stakeholders.
Third, it allows for a market-oriented,
brand-oriented or combined approach to
the process of dening and aligning corpo-
rate brand identity. Typically, a market-
oriented approach is initiated by considering
the external element, such as the value pro-
positions. In a brand-oriented approach, the
internal elements and the core constitute
the foundation and the point of departure.
Internal elements
The three internal elements in the matrix
relate to the realities of the organisation and
its values. Its mission and vision, the corpo-
rate culture and its various competences
are the bedrock of the internal compo-
nent of the corporate brand identity. The
emphasis placed on these elements is a dis-
tinguishing feature of the CBIM. It is worth
noting that not all internal values are rele-
vant in the denition of the corporate brand
identity, aptly described by Balmer (2010) as
The corporate mission is vital to the cor-
porate identity, in explaining why the cor-
poration exists and what engages and
motivates it, beyond the aim of making
money (Collin and Porras, 1998). A com-
panys vision extends the mission by for-
malising its view of where it is heading
and what inspires it to move forward
(de Chernatony, 2010). In the denition of
corporate brand identity, mission and vision
are sources of commitment (Senge, 1990)
and willingness to support (Greyser, 2009)
from the organisation itself and beyond
(Alvesson and Berg, 1992). For an organi-
sation with a brand-oriented approach, the
mission typically represents a point of
departure in the process of dening corpo-
rate brand identity (Urde, 1994, 1997, 1999).
The culture of an organisation is a broad
reection of its corporate attitudes, values
and beliefs, and of the ways in which it
works and behaves (Hatch and Schultz,
2001; Schroder and Saltzer-Morling, 2006).
From a strategic point of view, this element
in the CBIM represents a source of differ-
entiation and potential competitive advan-
tage (Brexendorf and Kernstock, 2007;
Burmann et al, 2009). Kapferer (2012)
describes the corporate culture as a source of
the brandsaspirationand its products; ser-
vices and solutions are not only representa-
tions of its culture, but also a means of
communication. Heritage and track record
(Urde et al, 2007; Beverland, 2009), country
of origin (Balabanis and Diamantopoulos,
2011) and iconic leaders (Holt, 2004) are
potentially signicant aspects of a corporate
The corporate brand identity matrix
751© 2013 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 1350-231X Journal of Brand Management Vol. 20, 9, 742761
culture that inuence the nature of the
corporate brand identity.
The inclusion of competences as an
element in the CBIM confers extra strategic
relevance relating to the creation and
maintenance of sustainable competitive
advantage. Those encompass an organisa-
tions capabilities and processes (Grant,
1991, 1996; Stalk et al, 1992; Leavy, 2003),
while its core competences (Prahalad and
Hamel, 1990) are particularly important in
the denition of corporate brand identity.
The competitiveness and value of a corpo-
rate brand as a resource are reected in the
answers to such strategic questions as what
the organisation is particularly good at, what
special knowledge and ways of working
make it stand out, and what it does better
than the competition.
Internalexternal elements
Personalityand expression, located to
either side of the brand corein the middle
row of the matrix, bridge the internal and
external components of the corporate brand
The brand coreis dened here as an
entity of core values supporting and leading
up to a promise. This positions core values at
the heart of the CBIM, underlining their
pivotal role and importance. An appropriate
question to initiate a strategic discussion about
a corporate brand core would thus be: What
do we promise and what are the core values
that sum up what our brand stands for?In
the CBIM, the brand core is its centre; it is
ideally coherent with the other elements, and
vice versa. The emphasis placed on the brand
core and its role in the integration of cor-
porate brand identity is a key aspect of the
new framework. The corporate brand pro-
mise gathers the core values together as a
meaningful whole (Urde, 2009). It is com-
municated externally and has a guiding role
internally for the organisationsliving the
brandinitiatives as discussed by Ind (2007),
Burmann et al (2009) and Baumgarth (2010).
to give focus, guidance and coordination in
the management of brands. A dened core
permits a dynamic approach to corporate
brand building over time.
In the CBIM, the personality element
denes the combination of characteristics or
qualities that form the corporate character.
Keller and Richey (2006) note that corpo-
rate brand personality differs from product
brand personality, which typically relates to
consumer and user imagery for a specic
product brand. A corporate brand person-
ality is more dependent on the personality
of the employees representing the corpora-
tion. A relevant question that a responsible
manager might ask, relating to this element,
could therefore be: What combination of
human characteristics or qualities forms our
corporate character?This personality is to a
large extent shaped by the way it is expres-
sed (Bernstein, 1984), a correspondence
indicated in the matrix by the arrow
between the two elements.
The expression element is concerned with
verbal, visual and other forms of identica-
tion as part of a corporate brand identity. A
question that might be posed to elucidate this
element is: What is unique or special about
the way we communicate and express our-
selves, which makes it possible to recognise
us at a distance?’‘Expressionis made up of a
combination of tangible and intangible fea-
tures, typically tone of voice, design, graphic
style and logotype (Olins, 1989; Mollerup,
1997). A corporate brandsexpressionalso
comprises its brand prototype, a agship pro-
duct, which is representative of the brands
qualities (Kapferer, 2012). The CBIM
embraces visual identity as part of the
corporate brand identity, but not at its heart.
External elements
Adened corporate brand identity repre-
sents the way in which the corporation
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wants its brand to be perceived externally.
The three external elements in the top row
of the CBIM will inuence that image and
reputation to a signicant extent. They
need to be consistent with the brand core
and with the other elements in the frame-
work. For corporate brands, typically ser-
ving multiple customer groups and
stakeholders, they furthermore need to be
carefully integrated and adapted to the
needs and expectations of target audiences.
According to Kapferer (2012), a brand
identity creates a model with which audi-
ences can identify, that mirrors the custo-
mers self-image and creates a reection of
it. In the CBIM framework, it is important
to note that self-image and reection relate
to customers and non-customer stake-
holders. These are aspects that need to be
considered early in the process of dening
corporate brand identity.
The value proposition element of the
CBIM concerns the combinations of
appealing arguments directed to customers
and non-customer stakeholders (Frow and
Payne, 2011; Rintamaki et al, 2007). An
effective value proposition should lead to a
favourable relationship between customers
and the brand and ultimately to positive
purchase decisions (Aaker, 1996, 2004), as
well as a favourable reputation (Greyser,
2009). The CBIM draws attention to a key
management challenge, namely, the for-
mulation of specic value propositions,
which are at the same time consistent with a
broad and overarching brand core. This
particular issue will be discussed in the ABB
case study.
Relationships, and how they are built
over time, reect and dene a corporate
brand identity. This is an element that
denes a mode of conduct, and the choice
of a brand is, as Kapferer (2012) puts it, also
a choice of a relationship. In the CBIM, the
correspondence between relationships and
culture is emphasised by a vertical arrow.
The way an organisation with a corporate
brand delivers service to its customer, works
with them and relates to them needs to be
reected in the corporate brand identity.
Given that a corporate brand typically has
multiple audiences to which it has to relate,
multiple relationships have to be integrated,
in that one forged with one stakeholder
group potentially inuences relations with
others (Fournier, 1998; Farquhar, 2005).
The position element denes how man-
agement wants the corporate brand to be
positioned in the market, and in the hearts
and minds of key customers and non-cus-
tomer stakeholders (Keller et al, 2012). It is
closely related to the corporate brand iden-
tity (Kapferer, 2012), but must not be con-
fused with what is usually meant by
positioning. In the CBIM framework, the
position is included as a point of reference
for the process of positioning that follows
the denition of the corporate brand iden-
tity. The choice of an intended position is a
way to differentiate the brand identity (Esch
et al, 2006). The link between the position
and the mission and vision is emphasised by
a diagonal arrow in the CBIM. This implies
a need to align the organisations reason for
being and its direction with the intended
Using the framework
As a management tool, the framework is
designed to support all those working
operationally or strategically with the cor-
porate brand identity. In Table 2, each of
the frameworks elements is described by
indicative questions, the purpose of which
is to initiate the discussion of a particular
element in practice.
The three case companies illustrate different
applications of the CBIM in business prac-
tice: rst, to describe the corporate brand
The corporate brand identity matrix
753© 2013 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 1350-231X Journal of Brand Management Vol. 20, 9, 742761
identity; second, to dene it; and third, to
align it. The case studies will demonstrate
the hands-on experience derived from using
the CBIM.
Describing corporate brand identity:
The ABB case
ABBs strategy has a clear focus on the cor-
porate brand. ABB is a stock market listed
company operating in the power engineer-
ing and automation sectors, the result of a
merger in the 1990s between the Swedish
ASEA and Swiss Brown-Boveri. It com-
prises ve divisions, is present in more than
100 countries and has a current turnover
exceeding 30 billion, approximately
equivalent to $39 billion at the conversion
rate obtained in 2012.
The ABB corporate brand covers multi-
ple businesses with numerous specialist
products, services and solutions. A critical
issue for the groups corporate brand man-
agement was the implementation of an
existing brand identity platform, and
adherence to it. Two key challenges were
discerned: rst, how to further the com-
pany-wide understanding of the platform,
to explain what it is and what it represents,
beyond that of a logotype and a graphic
design programme; and second, how the
platform could and should be applied in
order to add value at both the business- and
product-area level.
At the rst stage of the case study, the
CBIM was applied to the task of describing
the ABB corporate brand identity. Existing
multiple data sources exploited were: the
corporate brand platform (a primary
source); the corporate design guide; codes
of conduct and documents describing
ABBs way of working and its culture; cus-
tomer research records; and relevant policy
and strategy documents. Analysis of the
content of this documentation was supple-
mented by in-depth executive interviews
and a sequence of workshops led by the
author, to generate the overview of the
ABB corporate brand identity. Figure 3
shows the outcome schematically.
At the second stage of the process, staff in
the Force Measurement product area (con-
cerned with techniques for measuring ten-
sion in steel) took part in workshops, in
which they were asked to describe their
units identity as a part of the ABB cor-
poration. The representatives of this pro-
duct area thus made specic contributions
to the overall description of the corporate
brand identity, relating to unique compe-
tences relevant to their unit, more targeted
value propositions to be put to their custo-
mers, and a sharper description of their
position. With specic reference to the
Table 2: Indicative questions for the application of the CBIM framework
Element Indicative questions
Value proposition What are our key offerings and how do we want them to appeal to customers and non-customer
Relationships What is our intended position in the market, and in the hearts and minds of key customers and
non-customer stakeholders?
Personality What combination of human characteristics or qualities forms our corporate character?
Core What do we promise, and what are the core values that sum up what our brand stands for?
Expression What is unique or special about the way we communicate and express ourselves making it possible
to recognise us at a distance?
Mission and vision What engages us, beyond the simple aim of making money (mission)? What is our direction and
inspiration (vision)?
Culture What are our attitudes and how do we work and behave?
Competences What are we particularly good at, and what makes us better than the competition?
754 © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 1350-231X Journal of Brand Management Vol. 20, 9, 742761
expressionelement, they added the pro-
duct name Stressometer as being a sig-
nicant contributor of their business and
This case demonstrates how the CBIM
was applied to the describing of corporate
brand identity at an aggregated corporate
level and at the product-area level. It illus-
trates the need for linkages to be made
between different parts of any corporation.
In practice, the process provided a compre-
hensible overview that improved the gen-
eral understanding of the ABB corporate
brand identity, and also its business rele-
vance at the product-area level.
Dening corporate brand identity: The
Cargotec case
This stock market listed Finnish company is
in the business of cargo handling. In the
run-up to the case study, it had decided to
pursue a one-companyapproach, focusing
on its corporate brand. A new business
strategy, offering customers global logistical
solutions, drove the change to the brand
strategy. The business idea was to create
customer value and competitive advantage
by bundling Cargotecs specialised lifting
devices, machines, service agreements and
IT networks into customer-specic solu-
tions. A key objective of the companys
new business strategy was to integrate its
service networks. As a result of these initia-
tives, major international customers, such as
Maersk Line, the multinational shipping
and container handling operator, are now
offered integrated solutions rather than
individual branded products.
For Cargotecs corporate brand manage-
ment, the task was to build a stronger cor-
porate brand. Its brand portfolio contained
three market-leading international daughter
brands, Hiab, Kalmar and McGregor, all
corporate brands in their own right at the
time of acquisition. At the beginning of the
case study process, the Cargotec mother
brand was generally unknown in compar-
ison with awareness of the daughter brands.
The proposal brought to the CEO and the
executive team was to let the daughters
dene the mothers identity. The logic was
to harness their cultures and track records to
a Cargotec corporate identity rooted in the
organisation, based on established values
and promises earned and offered in the
market by the daughter brands.
The CBIM framework was rst applied
to the task of dening the individual iden-
tities of the three daughter brands. The
Mission & Vision:
Improve performance
Drive innovation
Attract talent; Act responsibly
Automation and power technology
Project design and management
Value proposition:
Energy efficiency
Grid reliability
Industrial productivity
Lower environmental impact
Leading edge technology
Innovation & quality leadership
ABB logo & name
ABB graphic style
Industrial design
ABB Promise and core values:
Power and productivity for a
better world
Leading edge technology,
inclusiveness, passion
ExternalExternal / InternalInternal
Figure 3: The CBIM as applied to the ABB corporate brand identity.
The corporate brand identity matrix
755© 2013 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 1350-231X Journal of Brand Management Vol. 20, 9, 742761
input was obtained in 11 workshops con-
ducted on 3 continents, led by the author,
in which a total of 110 managers gave their
professional views of their ownbrand
Hiab, Kalmar or McGregor and then of
the newCargotec corporate brand. Each
participant prepared for the workshop by
lling in the matrix. In the sessions, groups
of managers presented the identity of their
brands and later discussed in plenary session
one aggregated framework for the corpo-
rate brand identity.
On the basis of the input from the pro-
cess, an internal survey completed by more
than 3000 respondents rated such proposed
elements of the identity as personality traits,
ways of working, values and promises. An
external survey of customers and non-cus-
tomer stakeholders provided important
additional input and resulted in nal adjust-
ments to the proposed Cargotec corporate
brand identity.
For management, a fear in any major
branding process is that the result will be
disregarded by the organisation, as yet
another HQ initiative. To build the neces-
sary legitimacy and engender commitment,
initiatives were undertaken to involve staff
in the process and to share the frameworks
arising from the workshops widely via the
corporate intranet.
This case example shows how the CBIM
can be used as a structured framework for
the dening of a corporate brand identity.
Aligning corporate brand identity: The
Trelleborg case
This Swedish polymer technology company
has four divisions: Engineered Systems,
Automotive, Sealing Solutions and Wheel
Systems. The companys rapid growth over
the past decade has been driven to a large
extent by acquisitions. Its decision to focus
on Trelleborg as the corporate brand
was based on the intent to drive growth
internationally, to bring clarity to the
corporate structure and to avoid being
labelled a conglomerate by the nancial
markets. The opportunity to leverage the
corporate brand and harvest synergies was
another important driver of the corporate
brand strategy.
In this case study, the CBIM was applied
to the alignment between the core and the
extended identity, and to the potential gaps
between them. Starting from a dened
overview of the corporate brand identity,
the focus was on the key relations between
the correspondences in the CBIM, identi-
ed by the arrows in the general version of
the matrix in Figure 2. The Trelleborg
brand core, dened as Solutions securing
values: innovative and reliable solutions that
seal, damp and protect, was a point of
reference in these discussions. The structure
of the matrix sparked questions and detailed
discussions felt to be relevant by the com-
panys corporate brand management and its
Brand Council. Those debated included:
To what extent does the Trelleborg cor-
porate culture match the relationships
striven for? Is our vision inspiring, and
how does it encompass the brand core?
Does it point towards the position to which
we aspire? One question in particular,
relating to Trelleborg personalityand the
way in which it was expressed, provoked
special interest among participants with
responsibility for corporate communica-
tions. From a strategic point of view, debate
focused on the extent of the companys
competences in polymer technology and
the need for that to be reected in the value
This case study thus demonstrates, by
application of the CBIM, the role of the
brand core and the means by which gaps
can be detected and better alignment of the
corporate brand identity thereby achieved.
In practice, the corporate promise and the
core values are frequently disregarded as
ne wordswith little or no business
756 © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 1350-231X Journal of Brand Management Vol. 20, 9, 742761
Reecting on the case studies, the corporate
brand is clearly considered as a strategic
resource and competitive advantage by all
three companies. The main general issue is
the perceived vagueness of what that brand
actually is and how it may be best used in
practice. In the workshops conducted, a rst
perceived hurdle to be overcome was to
expand the productbrand mindset inu-
enced by best practice and by examples that
often related to image-driven product
branding. In response, before introducing
the CBIM to the workshop process, the
distinction between product branding and
corporate branding was discussed. A second
hurdle was the perception that the man-
agement of corporate brands is primarily the
responsibility of the marketing and bran-
ding department. Management understood
intellectually that this was not an ideal
situation, but was how it seemed to work in
practice. To address this issue, participants in
the workshops were selected from different
managerial levels and functional divisions of
each case company. In these settings, differ-
ent views and perspectives of the corporate
brand identity were confronted and con-
solidated. A verbatim comment by a human
resources manager indicated the importance
of a broader view of corporate brand iden-
tity: Finally our role is claried in relation
to the business. The inclusion of compe-
tencesas an element of the matrix was
suggested by individuals from the case
companies as described earlier. The compa-
niesstrategic planning processes typically
conform to detailed and established struc-
tures. A Head of Strategy said, for example,
the corporate brand needs to be a more
formalized input into our strategy process.
The CBIM helped to bridge the discussion
between different areas of responsibility, in
this case with strategy.
The denition of the corporate brand
identity was a rst crucial step in the provi-
sion of an overview and general guidance.
In the workshops, these were called master
versions. The second essential step, to make
those relevant to the different parts of the
corporations, was considered in feedback
discussions to be as challenging and impor-
tant as the formulation of the corporate
brand identity itself. The localisation and
adaption of the broader corporate brand
identity to the specic functional areas was a
necessary prelude to its activation.
In some workshops, the participants were
asked to describe the current situation and
the future aspiration for each element of the
CBIM. For example, what was the com-
panys current culture and how did they
want it to evolve? This gave an indication of
potential gaps between current and ideal
identity, which in turn spurred discussions
on how to close those gaps and plan the
appropriate management actions.
The application of the CBIM to the
description of an existing corporate brand
platform suggested the relative strength of
ofcialvalues and statements. A technique
used was to select key parts of an existing
platform and ask participants to include
those in their descriptions of the corporate
brand identity. The result was that some
ofcialvalues and statements were con-
sidered to be merely ne words, whereas
others received strong support and were
freely elaborated upon with examples from
the participantsown business experience.
From a managerial standpoint, hollow
valuesthat are only weakly rooted intern-
ally, or not at all, and lack credibility among
customers and non-customer stakeholders
demand review and revision.
The importance and inuence of the
core values and corporate promises varied
among the case companies. In one, the
brand core was clearly the hubof
the operation and the point of departure for
the completion of the matrix. This can
be interpreted as an indication of the
strength and level of a corporations brand
The corporate brand identity matrix
757© 2013 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 1350-231X Journal of Brand Management Vol. 20, 9, 742761
Theoretical implications
This article contributes to the eld of cor-
porate brand identity by providing a
bespoke managerial tool that integrates
existing theory into a single framework,
which has been developed and tested in co-
operation with managers. In so doing, it
addresses specic theoretical shortcomings
identied in the relevant literature.
The CBIM rst places strong emphasis
on the internal component of a corporate
brand identity. It thereby sets itself clearly
apart from frameworks developed for
product brands, and also from existing
corporate brand identity frameworks, by
including competences as a critical element
of the model. As the diagonal arrow in
Figure 2 shows, it furthermore emphasises
the correspondence between competences
and the value proposition.
The brand core is placed at the very heart
of the CBIM. In that respect, the new frame-
work is consistent with the logic of most
product and corporate brand frameworks; the
keydifferenceisinthedenition of the brand
core as a set of core values leading up to and
supporting a promise. That more complete
and relevant denition of the brand core is
specically applicable to corporate brands,
unlike, for example, the classic brand essence
developed by an advertising agency in the
1960s to guide the strategy of product brand-
ing. Vagueness in the denition of the core of
the brand, whether product or corporate, is a
theoretical weakness to be found in many
existing frameworks. The CBIM uniquely
positions the core values and promise as a
beacon to guide the internal and external
brand building processes.
A distinctive theoretical feature of the
CBIM is its combination of elements
surrounding the brand core and the key
correspondences between it and those ele-
ments, as shown schematically in Figure 2.
It thereby provides an overview of
the essential relationships to be analysed,
measured and tracked in practice, mapping
the domain of corporate brand management
and dening its raison dêtre.
The CBIM furthermore claries, denes
and explains the roles and function of dif-
ferent types of value as part of a corporate
brand identity. Internal values related to the
organisation are clearly distinguished from
the dual internalexternal values related to
the brand core, and from the external values
related to the corporations value proposi-
tions, relationships and intended position.
Lastly, the newly proposed matrix
integrates the market-orientation and brand-
orientation paradigms. The process of den-
either an outside-in(market-oriented) or
inside-out(brand-oriented) perspective. The
CBIM is in that sense balanced, and reects
the theoretical proposition that those para-
digms are different but synergistic. It takes
particular account of the conceptualisation of
brand orientation as a mindset with the brand
core identity as its strategic hub.
Managerial implications
The purpose of this article is to provide a
framework for the management of corpo-
rate brand identity. Accordingly, ve
implications for corporate brand manage-
ment are now suggested.
First, the CBIM offers management a
structured overview of the corporate brand
identity and claries what it is, how it works
and how to build it. The answers to these
questions are vital for the understanding,
internal support and commitment from the
organisation, its top management and the
board. The experience of branding that
resides within an organisation has often
been gained in the realm of product brand-
ing. By using a relevant framework, corpo-
rate brand management can avoid the risk of
misunderstandings, clashes of models and
taken-for-granted best practice.
The CBIM guides the denition of the
corporate brand identity and its core, a
758 © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 1350-231X Journal of Brand Management Vol. 20, 9, 742761
necessary point of reference for those
charged with managing it. The framework
can assist management in this task in two
ways. First, the extended identity may lead
to the denition of the core identity or,
second, that denition of the core may
inuence the outer elements of the identity.
The framework may be used in the selec-
tion and denition of values, promises and
other elements of corporate brand identity.
Unlike existing frameworks, the CBIM is
a management tool specically designed for
corporate brand identity, which can be used
in combination with other models designed
for product brands. In practice, it is rare to
nd the strict application of a brand strategy
with only one corporate brand or of a
multi-branding strategy consisting of only
product brands. The responsibility of cor-
porate brand management is therefore often
extended to encompass product brands
that have different roles and relationships
vis-à-vis the corporate brand. The CBIM is
an alternative, when the unit of analysis is a
corporate brand. When the task is to dene
the identity of a product brand, several
established models are available.
The CBIM guides the alignment of the
corporate brand identity. Its structure sug-
gests key correspondences among the ele-
ments, such as that between culture and
relationships, and personality and expres-
sion. Do they in fact correspond? Are there
gaps that need to be addressed? Does
the brand core full its role as the centre?
The analysis of such correspondences
between the elements and the core raises
important issues for managers during the
brand building process. It may also be useful
in a review or a redenition of an existing
corporate brand identity.
Limitations and future research
The framework presented in this article has
been adapted and developed for corporate
brand management. It focuses on, and is
thereby also limited to, the denition and
alignment of corporate brand identity.
Important further insights could be derived
from additional research into the application
of the CBIM framework, including studies
of the actual implementation, communica-
tion, measurement and tracking processes in
practice. For example, the correspondences
indicated by the arrows in Figure 2 could be
further evaluated and quantied.
From the managerial point of view, a key
task is the closing of gapsbetween a cur-
rent and ideal corporate brand identity. The
CBIM framework shows how such gaps
might be identied, and therefore further
research on ways of closing them would
respond to a critical managerial need. The
three case studies in this article analyse brand
strategies in which the corporate brand is in
the limelight. Further case studies of orga-
nisations pursuing alternative corporate
brand strategies, such as endorsement, could
be used to explore the wider application of
the framework.
The author gratefully acknowledges the
insightful and helpful comments of the two
anonymous Journal of Brand Management
reviewers. Special thanks are also extended
to the case companies and to Emeritus Pro-
fessor Stephen A. Greyser, Harvard Business
School, and Ragnar Saevarsson and Sesselia
Birgisdóttir of Lund University for valuable
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The corporate brand identity matrix
761© 2013 Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 1350-231X Journal of Brand Management Vol. 20, 9, 742761
... Not that scholars have not proposed brand identity theoretical frameworks in the last 30 years, as they did on branding books (Aaker, 1996;Aaker & Joachimsthaler, 2000;Kapferer, 2008;Keller, 2013;Burmann et al., 2017). While other authors were more generically understanding brands and their evolution (Goodyear, 1996;McEnally & de Chernatony, 1999;Merz, He, & Vargo, 2009), discussing brand building for competitive markets (Ghodeswar, 2008), and investigating corporate and organization identities (de Chernatony, 1999;Urde, 1999Urde, , 2013Balmer, 2001), which overlaps with brand identity, as will be discussed in the corporate branding section. However, a general brand identity theory is still lacking, as researchers do not agree on its components or how they are related to other constructs. ...
... Corporate identity and organizational identity are related to a set of beliefs and values that executives and stakeholders hold about the company and that are enduring and distinct (Aaker, 1996), which can include culture, strategy, structure, and heritage, among others (Balmer, 2001). Unlike consumer brands, corporate brands have a broader marketing mix (Balmer, 2001), a complex set of products and services (Urde, 2013), and relationships with multiple stakeholders (de Chernatony, 1999;Balmer, 2001;Urde, 2013). On the other hand, consumer brands can be more imaginary constructions and focused on intangible values, which is not entirely possible in corporations, as they need to be based on reality (Kapferer, 2008). ...
... Corporate identity and organizational identity are related to a set of beliefs and values that executives and stakeholders hold about the company and that are enduring and distinct (Aaker, 1996), which can include culture, strategy, structure, and heritage, among others (Balmer, 2001). Unlike consumer brands, corporate brands have a broader marketing mix (Balmer, 2001), a complex set of products and services (Urde, 2013), and relationships with multiple stakeholders (de Chernatony, 1999;Balmer, 2001;Urde, 2013). On the other hand, consumer brands can be more imaginary constructions and focused on intangible values, which is not entirely possible in corporations, as they need to be based on reality (Kapferer, 2008). ...
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Objective: This paper aimed to provide a systematic review of brand identity and understand how literature streams impact the current brand identity frameworks. Method: There are few systematic reviews about this salient topic, and the existing ones have not analyzed how the research in brand identity has evolved in the last 30 years, what have been the leading research streams and gaps, and which future avenues of study could be pursued. To fill this gap, this paper analyzed 67 articles published in 24 leading academic journals (Academic Journal Guide grades 3, 4, and 4*) between 1990 and 2021. Main Results: Five key research streams were identified: brand identity frameworks; consumer behavior; corporate branding; visual brand identity; co-creation. Despite the impressive progress made over the last 30 years, our review points out what we defined as a “middle-age brand identity crisis”, since there is still no convergence among scholars about what brand identity is and what would be its main components. Also, the current research streams uncover concepts and ideas that were not previously included in brand identity frameworks. Relevance / Originality: This study performed a comprehensive systematic analysis of the brand identity literature, highlighting essential recent research not considered by the current brand identity frameworks and connecting it to branding constructs. We also identified that there is still a lack of consensus regarding the brand identity components and dimensions. Theoretical / Methodological Contributions: This paper contributes to the literature by presenting a new framework to shed light on the interactions of brand identity with other branding constructs, proposing that brand identity has a core (brand essence) and extended identity (composed of personality, relationship, symbology, and cultural expressions). A new brand identity taxonomy is also proposed, with complexity and tangibility as its dimensions.
... 2.1 Introducing corporate identity, corporate personality and corporate expression Numerous authors have researched CI and its elements (Balmer, 2001a;Hatch and Schultz, 2003;Melewar, 2003;Melewar et al., 2018;Suvatjis et al., 2012;Urde, 2013) with varied viewpoints, perspectives and terminologies (Balmer, 2001a;Devereux et al., 2020). These diverse views result in a lack of agreement on a universally accepted definition of CI (Devereux et al., 2020;Kitchen et al., 2013;Melewar, 2003). ...
... Relationships (e.g. to staff, customers and other stakeholders), positioning, presentation Balmer and Greyser (2006) The six C's of corporate marketing 2000; Harris and de Chernatony, 2001;Hatch and Schultz, 2001;Urde, 2013), with corporate brands developing out of corporate identities (Balmer, 2001a;Balmer, 2012). ...
... CP addresses the "attitudes and beliefs of those within the organisation" (Balmer, 2001a, p. 256;Balmer, 2015), reflecting human characteristics (Keller and Richey, 2017), character (Urde, 2013) and personality traits (Banerjee, 2016) that give it individuality (Devereux et al., 2020). It includes organisational culture (Abratt, 1989) and employees' shared values, beliefs and behaviour (Harris and de Chernatony, 2001;Hatch and Schultz, 1997). ...
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Purpose Family businesses feature prominently in economies, including the South African wine industry, using websites to convey their family identity. This research paper aims to explore the family identity elements that family wineries use on their websites, their alignment and how these are communicated online. Design/methodology/approach Based on Gioia’s methodology, a two-pronged approach was used to analyze 113 wineries’ websites’ text using Atlas. ti from an interpretivist perspective. Findings South African wineries use corporate identity, corporate personality and corporate expression to illustrate their familiness on their websites. It is portrayed through their family name and heritage, supported by their direction, purpose and aspirations, which emerge from the family identity and personality. These are dynamic and expressed through verbal and visual elements. Wineries described their behaviour, relevant competencies and passion as personality traits. Sustainability was considered an integral part of their brand promise, closely related to their family identity and personality, reflecting their family-oriented philosophy. These findings highlight the integration that exists among these components. Practical implications Theoretically, this study proposes a family business brand identity framework emphasising the centrality of familiness to its identity, personality and expression. Using websites to illustrate this familiness is emphasised with the recommendation that family businesses leverage this unique attribute in their identity to communicate their authenticity. Originality/value This study contributes to understanding what family wineries communicate on their websites, specifically by examining the elements necessary to create a family business brand based on the interrelationship between family identity, personality and expression with familiness at its core, resulting in a proposed family business brand identity framework.
... Frameworks were proposed by Kapferer (2008Kapferer ( , 1986, Aaker (1996a), Aaker & Joachimsthaler (2000), de Chernatony (1999de Chernatony ( , 2001, Burmann, Jost-Benz, et al. (2009), Burmann et al. (2017), and Keller (2003aKeller ( , 2009). Most of these models were based on consumer goods, which inspired authors to expand them and create specific frameworks for other branding areas, such as corporate brands (Balmer, 2012;Balmer & Gray, 2003;Coleman et al., 2011Coleman et al., , 2015Urde, 2013) and place brands (Cai, 2002;Ruzzier & de Chernatony, 2013). ...
... Besides, brand identity can also be considered an internal management concept (Burmann et al., 2017;Burmann, Hegner, et al., 2009) that needs the participation of employees as brand builders (de Chernatony, 1999;Harris & de Chernatony, 2001). It expresses the corporate strategy, competitive advantage, and company values (Balmer, 2012;Urde, 1999Urde, , 2013. ...
... Nonetheless, how can companies manage something not entirely under their control, such as consumers' perceptions? On the other hand, authors like Burmann et al. (2017), Coleman et al. (2011Coleman et al. ( , 2015, and Urde (1999Urde ( , 2013 have taken a different approach and included internal corporate aspects into their models (such as vision, mission, and human resources initiatives), while keeping the brand image as a separate construct. ...
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This master’s thesis presents a new brand identity model for consumer goods called Brand Identity Canvas (BIC), with the objective of helping academics and practitioners build more relevant and stronger brands. Our work updates the current and most influential brand identity models theorised mainly in the 1990s, including components and discussing interactions not previously addressed by scholars. We adopted the Design Science Research methodology, which is adequate for building artefacts and theoretical frameworks. The framework development was based on a literature review and 11 in-depth interviews with practitioners (marketing managers and directors) and academics (marketing and branding professors). The new model has two parts: the first is managerial, with a description of the intrinsic characteristics of the brand and its influences; the second is expressive, with a mood board that explores the brand’s visual aspects. The BIC presents academics and practitioners with an updated framework for defining and developing a brand identity for consumer goods, with dimensions, components, and relations representing an advance on the existing models.
... The concept of Corporate Brand Identity Matrix (CBIM) proposed by Urde (2013) describes the 10 elements of the CBIM framework that describe the totality of corporate brand identity in aligning the gap between the brand identity and the company's reputation (Urde, 2013). The following is a Figure 2.2 which describes the elements of the CBIM framework with the external and internal components of the organization. ...
... The concept of Corporate Brand Identity Matrix (CBIM) proposed by Urde (2013) describes the 10 elements of the CBIM framework that describe the totality of corporate brand identity in aligning the gap between the brand identity and the company's reputation (Urde, 2013). The following is a Figure 2.2 which describes the elements of the CBIM framework with the external and internal components of the organization. ...
... From Figure 2.2 (Urde, 2013) it can be concluded that the internal component (sender) is described in 3 (three) organizational characteristics; 1) mission and vision, 2) culture, and 3) competence. While the external component (receiver) consists of; 1) value of proportion, 2) relationship, and 3) position. ...
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Customers loyalty is the key to build a company's existence and sustainability as reflected in customer perceived of corporate brands. The purpose of this study is to obtain evidence that the concept of "customer is pivotal for corporate success" (Kotler, 2009) is still significant in a sustainable marketing management strategy.
... Brand identity can be defined as a unique set of associations that the strategist aims to create or maintain (Aaker, 1996) which is utilised as an essential tool to differentiate and manage brands (Da Silveira, 2013). Due to its abstract nature and the breadth of disciplines to which it can be applied, brand identity has been studied by several authors (Aaker, 1996;De Chernatony, 2010;Ghodeswar, 2008;Kapferer, 1992;Urde, 2013;) who offer multidimensional models and processes with more theoretical than empirical results (Coleman et al., 2011). Although some authors focus the main elements of brand identity on its most visual part, such as the logo, taglines, colours, or characters (Ward et al., 2020), brand identity goes much further. ...
... In this way, dimensions such as brand personality (Aaker, 1996;De Chernatony, 2010;Coleman et al., 2011;Kapferer, 1986;Urde, 2013) that can be linked to a character (Aaker, 1996;Ward et al., 2020); the most visual part (Aaker, 1996;Coleman et al., 2011;Kapferer, 1986;Mindrut et al., 2015;Upshaw, 1995;Urde, 2013;Ward et al., 2020); the product or service (Aaker, 1996;Ghodeswar, 2008;Mindrut et al., 2015;Upshaw, 1995); or those values related to the organisation (Aaker, 1996;Coleman et al., 2011;De Chernatony, 2010;Kapferer, 1986;Urde, 2013) are commonly repeated by the various researchers over the years. ...
... In this way, dimensions such as brand personality (Aaker, 1996;De Chernatony, 2010;Coleman et al., 2011;Kapferer, 1986;Urde, 2013) that can be linked to a character (Aaker, 1996;Ward et al., 2020); the most visual part (Aaker, 1996;Coleman et al., 2011;Kapferer, 1986;Mindrut et al., 2015;Upshaw, 1995;Urde, 2013;Ward et al., 2020); the product or service (Aaker, 1996;Ghodeswar, 2008;Mindrut et al., 2015;Upshaw, 1995); or those values related to the organisation (Aaker, 1996;Coleman et al., 2011;De Chernatony, 2010;Kapferer, 1986;Urde, 2013) are commonly repeated by the various researchers over the years. ...
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Museum brand management is a practice increasingly used in the museum sector, at least at a primary level. The scarce academic literature on the subject has created the opportunity to approach museum brand management from a deeper perspective, including its brand identity. For this purpose, an online Delphi study consisting of three rounds of questions was developed. A total of 12 experts, from the public and private sector, as well as academia, participated in the process, which was carried out between 2019 and 2021. The main objective was to identify a brand identity model for museums and its adaptability to the post-COVID era from a theoretical point of view. The main dimensions that compose the agreed model are: the product, the person, the symbol, the organisation, the territory and the digital sphere. According to the experts, this model is versatile enough to be adapted to all museums, regardless of their type and size/structure. This study provides a theoretical validation of a brand identity model, and it also demonstrates a growing focus on marketing and brand management by experts and academics.
... In our review, we have seen a variety of structures to arrange brand identity elements, like prism (Kapferer, 2008), matrix (Urde, 2013), and concentric circles (Aaker, 1996). We are using Aaker's (1996) structure of the brand identity model because of its simplicity and comprehensiveness. ...
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Extant rebranding conceptualisation limits its scope to redesigning the visual brand identity elements, whereas practical and academic references suggest otherwise. Motivated by this, our study strives to build a holistic understanding of this phenomenon by proposing a comprehensive rebranding framework. This study proposes a conceptual model of rebranding based on the identity–image dynamics. For doing so, we have conceptualised rebranding as a comprehensive change of existing brand identity, triggered by construed brand image discrepancy. The model defines rebranding as a change in the core and external brand identities, with those having a concomitant effect on construed brand image discrepancy to create an alignment. Further, leadership, quality of change communication, employee participation and brand age have been proposed as enabling conditions for the process. The model will assist managers in rebranding decisions as it places equal emphasis on its rightful conception and successful implementation. This will also sensitize managers about their pivotal role in getting the employee’s buy-in for the process, which is critical for achieving the desired results.
... In fact, it may be argued that brands are particularly suited as evaluative standards because they are deliberately designed to reflect a strong, unique, and idealized identity (Malär et al. 2012). This is essential for the role of brands as symbols that communicate what a company or product stands for (Urde 2013). As a result, brand identity is often constructed in such a way that it lies in the extremes. ...
To what extent do consumers incorporate the identity of brands they endorse on social media into their self-concept? We argue that, contrary to popular belief, online brand endorsements may not necessarily lead to inclusion of the brand into the self and may, consequently, lead to contrast effects that negatively affect consumers’ self-evaluations. We test our hypotheses across five studies and find that consumers who endorse a brand on social media subsequently negatively adjust their self-evaluations on traits that reflect the brand's key personality traits. This effect occurs only if they endorse the brand (i.e., by “liking” or “following” it), but not when they just visit the brand's social media page. Moreover, the effect is moderated by brand symbolism, with stronger effects if the brand is perceived to have low brand symbolism. The downwards shift in consumers’ self-evaluations negatively affects brand outcomes. We also explore the role of incentives as counter mechanism. In conclusion, our findings reveal a dark side to promoting consumer endorsement of brands on social media, one with implications not only for consumers but also for brands.
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Kompetisi antarsekolah/madrasah (selanjutnya disebut sekolah) dan antarperguruan tinggi semakin ketat. Kompetisi tersebut beiringan dengan semakin tingginya kesadaran masyarakat tentang pentingnya pendidikan. Permintaan terhadap pendidikan yang sesuai dengan kebutuhan masyarakat semakin meningkat. Para orang tua semakin jeli memilih sekolah apa, madrasah mana, atau perguruan tinggi apa yang dianggap akan mampu memenuhi harapan mereka. Oleh karena itulah, pengelolaan pendidikan harus dilakukan secara modern dengan mengadopsi berbagai strategi perusahaan dalam menjual produk. Jika tidak demikian, sekolah dan perguruan tinggi akan kehilangan pelanggan atau dengan kata lain, tidak memiliki siswa/mahasiswa lagi. Marketing merupakan hal sangat penting dalam menyiapkan lembaga pendidikan untuk bersaing dengan lembaga pendidikan lain. Marketing sering dipahami oleh lembaga pendidikan terbatas sebagai promosi, sosialisasi, menyebar brosur dan spanduk. Pemahaman seperti harus diluruskan agar lembaga pendidikan memahami lebih mendalam dan kemudian dapat menggunakannya dalam praktik pengelolaan pendidikan. Pada sisi lain, kajian tentang marketing belum banyak yang diadopsi ke dalam manajemen pendidikan. Buku ini ditulis untuk memberi kontribusi secara teoretis dan praktis terkait persoalan tersebut. Dengan hadirnya buku ini, kami berharap dapat membuka dan menambah referensi pembaca tentang marketing jasa pendidikan. Tidak hanya secara teoretis, buku ini secara praktis dapat digunakan untuk para pengelola pendidikan dan para peneliti sebagai referensi praktik pengelolaan lembaga pendidikan dan penelitian bidang manajemen pendidikan
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Health care professionals are ageing, and there is a severe, global need to attract future employees. This study examines the construction of employer brand image among young health care professionals, and related elements. The qualitative research data were collected through email and personal interviews from young nursing and physician students. The analysis results indicate that organisations can affect their employer brand image for future employees through supportive working culture and human resource practices as well as direct marketing actions. The marketing and human resource practices targeted towards young health care professionals are underused. The results can help health care organisations in planning recruitment and marketing processes according to young health care professionals' expectations. This study integrates human resource management research and marketing research relating to employer branding and recruitment.
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The paper determines the organizational and effective approached to the use of the rebranding technology in marketing sphere of international entrepreneurship. The main components of the effectiveness of the corporate rebranding for entrepreneurs were distinguished. The model of complex assessment of the effectiveness of corporate rebranding for the provision of the interrelationship between the marketing strategical goals and results was developed. The decomposition and systematization of indicators of the stakeholder effectiveness in the model of the complex assessment of the rebranding for entrepreneurs.
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In 1995 I wrote an article on Corporate Branding and Connoisseurship which was, arguably, one of the fi rst articles to explicitly mention corporate brands in its title and to focus on both corporate brands and identity in terms of content. Today, 15 years on, I have been invited to refl ect on developments in corporate branding scholarship. I draw on a good deal of my own work on the terriitory (both individual and collaborative) dating back to 1995 when my first article and musings on institutional brands enti-tled Corporate Branding and Connoisseurship appeared in The Journal of General Management ( Balmer, 1995)At that time, reference to corporate brands was or so it seemed to me then in British contexts, was not very occasionally mentioned in management parlance; received fl eeting attention in branding books and for strategic and design consultancies; was ignored or viewed as a dimension of an organisations corporate identity. For the main, the branding domain was primarily concerned with the important marketing areas of product and services brands.
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This article explains the utility of adopting an identity-based view of the corporation, which underpins a diagnostic tool of identity management outlined in this article. Using British Airways as an extensive case history, it examines and analyzes how British Airways' senior executives have intuitively adopted an identity-based perspective as part of the strategic management of the carrier. The analysis is corroborated by insights from the former CEO of British Airways, Lord Marshall, as well as his predecessor, Lord King. The overriding message is that calibrating the multiple identities of the corporation is a critical dimension of strategic management.