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Economia, or a woman in a man's world

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Purpose ‐ Why would a body seeking to represent its members as the prime advisers to business choose a domestic goddess for its main visual image? The paper aims to examine recent changes to the visual branding of a professional body by reference to its logo, and those of competing bodies, to illustrate the importance of visual communication in establishing professional reputation. The paper seels to trace the historical antecedents of the logo and analyse the relevance of its components to the body's current mission. Design/methodology/approach ‐ A descriptive and historical analysis is followed by a discussion of alternative theoretical frameworks that might be used to draw conclusions about the significance of professional badges. Findings ‐ Visual rebranding is expensive but may be unclear. Despite statements about modernisation and clarification, new badges can contain as many contradictory messages as old ones, which may be a result of inward facing viewpoints and competing internal forces within organisations, detracting from the clarity of the intended external message. Research limitations/implications ‐ Money spent on rebranding may be wasted if the organisation does not have a clear view of its market position and how it might differentiate itself. Practical implications ‐ Appeals to different philosophical schools may be successful in generating insights, but those insights still need to be validated. If they can be validated, in-depth knowledge of a body of writings may be unnecessary. Originality/value ‐ Little previous work has examined the visual branding of professional bodies and discussed alternative approaches to analysis. The dialogue format makes the content more accessible.
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Keywords: Accounting history; Brand image; Market position

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 2, 2009

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