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Strategic corporate brand alignment: Perspectives from identity based views of corporate brands

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Purpose ‐ This article aims to advance comprehension of corporate brands via the adoption of identity-based perspectives of corporate brands. It aims to outline a normative, diagnostic, model of corporate brand management ‐ The AC4ID Test. The origins of the model date back to the late 1990s. The model is predicated on the need to understand the seven identity types forming a corporate brand constellation. The seven corporate brand identity facets are the actual, communicated, conceived, covenanted, cultural, ideal and desired corporate brand identities. As a general but not an absolute rule there should be meaningfully strategic alignment between the corporate brand and other identity modes in the corporate brand constellation. The notion of temporal misalignment is also articulated. Temporal misalignment is important since different identity types inhabit diverse time frames and, sometimes, temporal misalignment can be perilous (it is often a necessary dynamic too). The notion of the identity-wheel of change is articulated: a change of one identity may trigger a chain reaction throughout the corporate brand identity constellation. Design/methodology/approach ‐ This article is enlightened by extant research and conceptualisations on corporate brands and corporate branding theories. It is also informed by recent, cross-disciplinary reviews of the identity literatures. The AC4ID Test framework incorporates recent insights vis-à-vis the diagnostic framework in corporate branding contexts. Findings ‐ Adopting identity-based perspectives of corporate brands provides an advance in terms of our comprehension of them. A corporate brand can be viewed as a distinct identity type. An identity mode that is capable of being separate and divisible from the corporate identity from which it is derived. Corporate brands have multiple/attendant identities, which may be characterised as a constellation of corporate brand identities: these identities inform the identity of the AC4ID Test of Corporate Brand Management. Originality/value ‐ The AC4ID Test corporate brand identity framework outlined in this article draws on recent advances in the field and adapts earlier versions of the framework so that it has a utility for the corporate branding domain.
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Keywords: Brand management; Corporate branding; Corporate communications; Corporate culture; Corporate identity; Corporate image

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 20, 2012

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