Branding is one of the major marketing activities of today’s corporate world. Branding consists with many interesting issues like brand equity, brand loyalty, brand associations, customer satisfaction etc. Corporate branding is the newer edition of branding which influenced this research. This research has been conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of contemporary corporate branding activities. It is mainly a quantitative study but some qualitative tools have also been used to conduct the study. A detail research questionnaire has been used to collect responses from the respondents. Interpretations and findings of the research have been discussed in elaborate manner. The study has found that corporate branding activities are very effective for enhancing employee attachment. The study also finds that corporate branding is effective for a brand to succeed. Another finding of this study is that, corporate branding activities facilitate high brand recognition, brand recall, brand image, brand equity, brand visibility, customer attachment, employee commitment, sales and customer commitments. The scarcity of researches in this field caused some troubles to conduct this study to review the previous literatures. These types of researches are highly valued to the brand managers of different companies in related industries.
Brand is a valuable, grace, and charismatic word in the corporate world. The word brand is most commonly used word in business arena and the same word brand stays in general mind with some short of elegance. This elegance is only elegant when the brand is a good brand. It is the mastery of any business organization to make its brand as an elegant one. The idea of branding is not only confined today into a product or service branding but it has become so spread and enriched that businesses are very keen to promote their corporate brand along with their product or service brand. This is why it is vastly significance for the corporate giants to have a strong corporate brand.
The idea of branding is not a new one. The history of branding is as old as the history of business. The modification and development of these practices has become more sophisticated and significant over time. With the passage of business times, the brand and branding has reached newer dimensions. Now everyone thinks of a brand. It is very common that some persons also consider themselves as a brand. So it can be measured the significance of branding at the corporate level while people present themselves as a brand. This is why the study of corporate branding has emerged.
The strategic significance of corporate branding has been elevated by the modern-day proliferation of branded product line offerings and is reflected in the increasing academic attention to the subject over the past decade (Balmer 1995, 1998, 2001, 2005; 1991; Macrae, 1996, 1999; Daffey & Abratt, 2002; Hatch & Schultz, 1997; 2001; Urde, 1999, 2003). These all researchers and the contemporary corporate branding practices have made the ground for conducting this study.
Corporate branding is practiced by the corporate giants for achieving a good return for the brand. It is actually necessary to measure whether these activities are actually valuable for the brands to perform. This is the background of this study. The main objectives of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of corporate branding practice.
Brand is not a very ancient word but very popular one. The popularity of this brand enriched this with various literatures. To define brand there are number of references. Among them, According to the American Marketing Association (AMA) (2008), a brandis a name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or a combination of them, intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of seller and to differentiate them from those of competition. This is considered as the most appropriate definition of brand. But the activity of brand and branding has already gone beyond this definition. This research is conducted on Corporate Branding. Many previous literatures have been reviewed to gain the theoretical bases and to set the research layout. Some literatures regarding the topic are reviewed here for the better understanding of this paper and to match the literature consequences of this field.
Brand and Branding
Chernatony and Donald (1992) described a brand as, an identifiable product augmented in such a way that the buyer or user perceives relevant unique added values which match their needs most closely. Furthermore, its success results from being able to sustain these added values in the face of competition (Hsu, Huang, Ho & Tzeng 2011). Keller & Lewi (2008) described a brand as a product, but one that adds other dimensions that differentiate it in some way from other products designed to satisfy the same need. Firms are using branding as a strategic tool in today‘s business environment with increasing regularity. Organizations develop brands as a way to attract and keep customers by developing value, image, status, or lifestyle. Although brands and branding are not new ideas, firms are applying them to more varied settings where the role of branding is becoming more and more important.
Conventional marketing wisdom states that corporate branding will boost consumer awareness of both the corporation and its products (Souiden, Kassim and Hong 2006). This awareness sometimes builds the perception of corporate charisma among the customers which powers the corporate houses to endeavor corporate branding activities. Branding and corporate branding are two different things. Schmidt (2004) mentioned that, there is no real consensus of the definition of corporate branding and it has been conceived as many different things such as a metaphor, a conceptual framework or philosophy, a management process, a strategic tool-kit and a communication facilitator. However other literatures regarding corporate branding are as follows,
A corporate brand is a valuable financial asset which acts as an interface facilitating the interaction of multiple stakeholders with the corporation (Harris and de Chernatony, 2001). As the “visual, verbal and behavioral expression of an organization’s unique business model” (Knox and Bickerton, 2003, p. 1013) the corporate brand is the embodiment of a corporation’s unique values. There are many themes in the corporate branding literature, including strategic focus, orientation and complexity. Strategies of corporate branding seek to strengthen relationships with a diverse range of stakeholders including employees, shareholders and suppliers (Harris and de Chernatony, 2001; Knox and Bickerton, 2003). In the quest to achieve long-lasting relationships with internal and external stakeholders the focus advances from the product to that of the corporation (Hatch and Schultz, 2003; Merrilees and Miller, 2008; Xie and Bogs, 2006). In taking centre stage, the corporation can no longer hide behind product actors; instead, as the lead actor, it must consistently deliver the brand promise to each stakeholder. Thus, as the audience for the brand reaches beyond the consumer (King, 1991; Knox and Bickerton, 2003), top management must develop and preside over a strong strategic corporate brand perspective (Hatch and Schultz, 2003; Merrilees and Miller, 2008).
Corporate brand imagery develops through the different dimensions of the corporate marketing mix, namely corporate identity, corporate communications, marketing and stakeholder management, corporate brand management, corporate reputation, and organizational identity (Balmer and Greyser, 2006). The resultant mixture of these elements, allows organizations to develop more elaborate and meaningful associations across a range of stakeholder groups. Thus, a higher level of complexity is attributed to the corporate brand (Hatch and Schultz, 2003). Corporate branding also requires that management engage in the process of linking strategic vision, organizational culture and corporate images (Hatch and Schultz, 2003). The mixture of internal and external brand communication allows for the improvement of a congruous corporate brand identity. Harris and de Chernatony (2001) contend that clear communication of the corporate brand story to stakeholders, specifically employees, builds internal consistency.
Adamson (2002) stated that corporate branding is about the customer’s perception of both product quality and the company behind the product. Some commentators have presented definitions that include both the seller and the customer perspective, and they argue that corporate branding should be seen as involving both the identity of the company and the products. Others (Keller and Aaker, 1998; Keller, 2000; Aaker and Joachimstahler, 2000; Kowalczyk and Pawlish, 2002) pointed on customers as the primary stakeholders and draw the attention to the importance of these stakeholders coherently positive perception of the corporate brand. Kowalczyk and Pawlish(2002) suggested that a good image of organizational culture amongst external stakeholders is key to corporate branding .
Another important issue is the increasing awareness of the importance of corporate social responsibility that many companies are now integrating into their corporate brand. But the augmented focus on what the organization stands for, its ethical principles, its attitude towards stakeholders, the environment etc. is a major confront to companies.
Kunde (2000) is the only author who goes so far as to claim that corporate branding should become a corporate religion.
Corporate Branding Strategy
Corporate branding strategy tries to create unique identity and position for its products, services and ensures that both product and organization create value beyond that of their competitors (Ind, 1997). Corporate branding strategy can create added value for the corporation and implement its vision and make unique position. Also it can enable the corporation to bring further influence to its tangible and intangible assets. It is a degree of approval by the parent brand that has two extremes: First, the homogeny model where both the corporate level and the business units are all positioned and profiled. Second, the variety model where business units are different from the corporate level (Van Riel and Bruggen, 2002).
Van Riel and Bruggen (2002) defined the corporate branding strategy as a systematically planned and implemented process of creating and maintaining a favorable reputation. They also mentioned its constituent elements by sending signals to stakeholders used the corporate brand. Some factors impact the creating strategy of the corporate brand. Corporate strategy, business model, organizational culture, pace of innovation, added-value lever, resources and brand vision are factors that should be taken into account when choosing a branding strategy (Kapferer, 2008).
Importance of Corporate Branding to Companies
Souiden, Kassim and Hong (2006) stated that, with the increase in global business, the use of corporate branding is becoming an important hurdle that multinationals have to address. For instance, the increase in global corporate mergers and other global alliances and the desire of companies to keep their names have resulted in complex and clumsy names (e.g. SonyEricsson Mobile Communications, DaimlerChrysler Benz, PricewaterhouseCoopers) (Souiden, Kassim and Hong 2006). This also creates confusion about companies’ identities and erodes brand equity (Wah, 1998). On the other hand, co-branding and mergers can boost sales, transfer the positive associations of the partner brands to a newly formed brand, and consequently enhance brand equity. This can be realized particularly when both parties in the merger are high-profile companies with strong brands. Confirming this view, Ueltschy and Laroche (2004) report that the co-branding of two high-equity brands is mutually beneficial; however, the co-branding of high-equity and low-equity brands can be potentially dangerous for the high equity partner.
The impact of a corporate brand on consumer evaluation has received a rather confined attention from researchers. However, given that multinationals are increasingly moving from the branding of products towards corporate branding (Kowalczyk and Pawlish, 2002), researchers are gradually paying more attention to the effect of corporate branding (Olins, 2000). Various approaches and explanations have been proposed by a few scholars, who have attempted to enlighten us on the effects of a corporate brand on consumer perception. Most of such researches have, however, focused on the way companies set their branding strategies. Olins (1989) proposes three approaches to structuring corporate identities: the monolithic (i.e. use one name and a visual style), the endorsed (i.e. the corporate identity is used in association with the name of subsidiaries whose visual styles can be different), and the branded (i.e. the corporation’s products are under different brand names and appearances). Laforet and Saunders (1994) criticize Olins for not including in his proposed system some of the complexities of brand structure, such as the predominance of nested branding (Aaker, 1991). Murphy (1987), in an earlier work, identified four-level system of corporate identities, namely, corporate-dominant systems, brand-dominant systems, balanced systems, and mixed systems. Laforet and Saunders (1994) in their analysis, acknowledge the existence of different brand types, some of which they dub the corporate brand name (i.e. where corporations make their names synonymous with a product class (e.g. Kellogg cornflakes, Heinz tomato ketchup) and they are often used when a company conducts its business in a very defined market), the house brand name (i.e. where companies use the names of divisions [houses] to promote products in different markets or segments (e.g. Coca Cola with Fanta)), the family brand name (i.e. name that is used to cover a family of products (e.g. Mars, Snickers)), and mono brand name (e.g. Procter and Gamble (Ariel)). Laforet and Saunders (1994) show that more than 50 percent of the companies they studied were mixed brands using a combination of mono, house, and a family brand and that 32 percent of the products used a brand-dominant approach. They conclude that house names tend to appear more often than the corporate identities.
Brand Image is one of the biggest assets of a brand or company. Brand image could be defined as perceptions about a brand as reflected by the brand associations held in the consumer memory (Keller, 1998). In other words, brand image is the overall mental image or inner image of mind of customer of how they think of the brand. Brand image can be isolated and related to other brands (Faircloth, 2005). Understanding brand image (how consumers perceive a brand) provides valuable and necessary information for developing brand identity (Aaker, 1996a). Keller (1993) said that the powerful, valuable and unique brand association of brand image plays an important role in determining the differential response that makes up brand equity. Marketing studies suggest that brand image is an important factor affecting brand equity (Aaker, 1991; Biel, 1992 ; Biel, 1993). In addition, Villareji-Ramos and Sanchez-Franco (2005) highlighted on the impacts of marketing communications and price promotion on brand equity, indicating that brand image is an antecedent of brand equity. Furthermore, Faircloth, Capella, and Ahord (2001) found that the more positive brand image, the more consumers are willing to pay and the greater the brand equity will be.
Many weak brand image companies often merge with or acquire high brand image companies to increase their market share. There have been many examples such as the Lenovo merger with the IBM PC department, BenQ acquired Siemens Handset department and the Tata Motos Ltds from India will acquire Jaguar and Land Rover to increase their international brand image (Cheng & Ming 2010) On the other hand, companies also want to take advantage of acquiring strong image brands to improve their weaker image. They hope that consumers will change their perception about their brand‘s inferiority, and maintain cognitive consistency among the consumers, as in the balance relationship put forth by balance theory (Heider, 1958). The balance theory (Heider, 1958) proposes that ―consumers value harmony among their thoughts and that they are motivated to reconcile incongruent thoughts (Dean, 2002). In addition, the research of Dalakas and Kropp (2002) finds that highly identified fans prefer to have favorable attitudes toward sponsors, and are more likely to use sponsor products. In studying charitable event sponsorship, Dean (2002) thought that if consumers have a preexisting positive sentiment toward the event, they will likely adopt a positive attitude or even change their existing attitude to the sponsor. That is the better the image brand that an inferior image brand acquires, the more the brand equity of the inferior image brand will increase (Cheng & Ming 2010).
This research is descriptive in nature. The study used a structured questionnaire to gather quantitative data. In the introduction part of the questionnaire the instruction to fill up the questionnaire has been written. The study explained the questions to the customers if they do not understand any. The survey questionnaire is divided into two parts. Among the parts, part A was designed to collect some basic personal information of the respondent. Part B was designed to measure the effectiveness of corporate branding.
Total number of sample size was 60. This research has been conducted through non probability sampling techniques. This technique is applied because it is the least expensive and least time consuming of all sampling techniques. At the same time, these sampling units are easily accessible, measurable, and cooperative.
The number of respondents is not that large because of some limitations. As this research is conducted on corporate branding, the respondents mainly were the corporate managers and executives and some respondents felt reluctant to participate on the study, which impeded this study to take a large sample size.
This research has been conducted in a way which used both the quantitative as well as some qualitative tools. This research used a detailed questionnaire as a quantitative tool and it was developed to collect the response from the corporate managers and executives. This questionnaire helped to collect response about the effectiveness of corporate branding. The responses of the questionnaire were accumulated to measure the effectiveness of corporate banding. Different qualitative tools have also been applied to explore different tools of corporate branding. Different depth interviews and several focus group discussions have been arranged with some corporate managers and executives. Among other secondary sources numerous research papers on branding got the highest priority. Apart from these various books, journals, reports, websites, statistical surveys, etc related with the research topic also served as the sources for secondary data. To analyze the research finding SPSS 10.0 is used.
INTERPRETATION ANDFINDINGS OF THE STUDY
Corporate branding looks for building employee attachments. This study finds whether corporate branding is helpful for employee attachment or not. Let’s focus on the study output,
75% of the respondents have answer yes to this question, and another 25% answered no with this answer. So the study denotes that corporate branding is helpful for Employee attachment.
This study tries to find the experts and general opinion of how important corporate branding is to facilitate brand recognition. Let’s focus on the study finding,
This study finds that 47.9% of the respondents are agree with the statement, Corporate branding activities facilitates Brand recognition. So it can be denoted that, corporate branding is effective for facilitating Brand Recognition.
Let’s focus on the study to find, whether Corporate Branding has any impact on brand recall or not,
This study finds that 41.7% of the respondents are agree where another 12.5% is strongly agree with the statement, Corporate branding activities facilitates Brand recall. So it can be denoted that, corporate branding is effective for facilitating Brand Recall.
Let’s focus on the study to find, whether Corporate Branding has any impact on brand image or not,
Interpretations & Findings:
The study findings are different on this aspect. The study shows that 39.4% respondents are agree, 14.6% respondents are strongly agree and 35.4% respondents are on neutral point. So it can be denoted that corporate branding can increase brand image but this cannot be taken as referral point.
Interpretations & Findings:
The study findings are different on this aspect. The study shows that 39.6% respondents are agree, 14.6% respondents are strongly agree and 35.4% respondents are on neutral point. So it can be denoted that corporate branding can increase brand equity but this cannot be taken as referral point.
The study findings are different on this aspect. The study shows that 39.6% respondents are agree, 12.6% respondents are strongly agree and 31.3% respondents are on neutral point. So it can be denoted that corporate branding can increase brand equity and this can be taken as referral point.
Interpretation & Finding:
The study findings are different on this aspect. The study shows that 54.2% respondents are agree, 10.4% respondents are strongly agree and 20.8% respondents are on neutral point. So it can be denoted strongly that corporate branding can increase customer attachment and this can be taken as a referral statement.
Interpretation & Finding:
The study findings are unanimous on this aspect. The study shows that 54.0% respondents are agree, 10.4% respondents are strongly agree and 20.8% respondents are on neutral point. So it can be denoted strongly that corporate branding can increase Employee Commitment and this can be taken as a referral statement.
The study findings are unanimous on this aspect. The study shows that 52.2% respondents are agree, 14.6% respondents are strongly agree and 22.9% respondents are on neutral point. So it can be denoted strongly that corporate branding can increase sales and this can be taken as a referral statement.
The study findings are unanimous on this aspect. The study shows that 50.0% respondents are agree, 10.4% respondents are strongly agree and 22.9% respondents are on neutral point. So it can be denoted strongly that corporate branding can increase Customer Commitment and this can be taken as a referral statement.
Overall Effectiveness of Corporate Branding
There was a single question on the questionnaire which was given to judge the overall effectiveness of Corporate Branding. Let’s focus on the study outcome,
70.8% of the respondents have answer yes to this question, and another 29.3% answered no with this answer. So the study denotes that corporate branding is effective for a brand to succeed.
This research develops a framework of corporate branding strategy for various corporate brands. This platform can also be used for many companies in different industries to define the branding strategies. This study has been mainly conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of contemporary Corporate Branding practices. The study ultimately found that, Corporate Branding is very helpful for ensuring better business opportunities. It helps a company to enhance Brand Recognition, Brand Recall, Brand Image, Brand Equity, Brand Visibility, Customer Attachment, Employee Commitment, and Customer Commitment. Finally, the analytical framework presented in this research can be applied to other industries for corporate branding study.
Students, Prentice Hall, London (UK).
I am Syed Ahmed Tajuddin, an MBA student of Department of Marketing, Jagannath University. I am conducting a research on “Evaluating the Effectiveness of Contemporary Corporate Branding Practices: A case study of Apollo Hospitals Dhaka.”This is a mandatory research work for the fulfillment of Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree. The purpose of this research is truly academic. Your valuable opinion and information are extremely important to conduct the study. Information provided by you will be kept totally confidential. So, I earnestly request your cooperation.
***A short literature is attached with this questionnaire. Please read it before answering the questions. This is for your better understanding of this questionnaire.
(Questions for determining variables for discriminant analysis)
Name:……………………………………………… ContactNo:………………………………….. e-mail………………………………………………
Age (please tick mark): 15-25 25-35 35-45 45-Above
Education (please tick mark): High School Some College Degree
Graduate Post Graduate
Occupation (Please encircle): 1. Student.
2. Professionals (eg. Teacher, Accountant, Lawyer, Consultant etc)
3. Engineering (both soft and hard)
4. Service Industry.
5. Manufacturing Industry.
6. Public Service.
Job Position: Top Management Mid-Management Line Management
(Measuring Effectiveness of Corporate Branding)
|Corporate Branding activities facilitate Brand Recognition|
|Corporate Branding activities help customers to recall the brand|
|Corporate Branding activities increase Brand Image|
|Corporate Branding activities increase Brand Equity|
|Corporate Branding activities enhances Brand Visibility|
|Corporate Branding activities increase Customer Attachment|
|Corporate Branding activities increase Employee Commitment|
|Corporate Branding activities generate more Sales|
|Corporate Branding activities increase Customer Commitment|
Corporate branding includes the practice of using a company’s name as a product brand name. It is an attempt to use corporatebrand equity to create product brand recognition. It is a type of family branding or umbrella brand. Corporate branding creates a positive brand image which not only promotes a single product/service but also promotes the brand as a whole. Corporate branding is not limited to a specific mark or name. It can incorporate multiple touch points. These touch points include; logo, customer service, treatment and training of employees, packaging, advertising, stationery, and quality of products and services. Any means by which the general public comes into contact with a specific brand constitutes a touch point that can affect perceptions of the corporate brand.
Brand Recall is the extent to which a brand name is recalled as a member of a brand, product or service class, as distinct from of brand recognition. For example if anyone is asked to recall some soft drink brands name and if s/he utters the name of Coca-Cola as the first brand then others, it is assumed that the first recalled brand name (often called “top of mind”) has a distinct competitive advantage in brand space, as it has the first chance of evaluation for purchase.
Brand image is the current view of the customers about a brand. It can be defined as a unique bundle of associations within the minds of target customers. It signifies what the brand presently stands for. It is a set of beliefs held about a specific brand. In short, it is nothing but the consumers’ perception about the product. For example, Volvo holds a brand image of safety, BMW holds the image of performance and Mercedes Benz holds the image of luxury.
Brand equity is a phrase used in the marketing industry which describes the value of having a well-known brand name, based on the idea that the owner of a well-known brand name can generate more money from products with that brand name than from products with a less well-known name, as consumers believe that a product with a well-known name is better than products with less well-known names.
Brand visibility refers to the ability to gain the attention of the target audience. There are always going to be several brands competing for the attention of the consumer, brand visibility facilitates a specific brand to make the brand visible among the number of competitors.