Brand Name and Corporate Image

720 words | 3 page(s)

It would potentially be very easy to confuse or combine the idea of brand name and corporate image. When one thinks of brand name, the name makes one think of the parent company or corporation. The idea that one has about the corporation is a result of its corporate image, reach makes one think of the brand. They seem conceptually interchangeable, but on closer examination, these two concepts are very different things, though they are related. This essay will demonstrate the differences between brand name and corporate image and will demonstrate their interrelationship.

Casey Jones and Daniel Bonevac (2013) assert that “a brand is a definition of a particular company or product” (p. 117). Early in their article “An Evolved Definition of the Term ‘Brand’” they identify traditional explanations for what ‘brand’ is which includes signs, symbols, logos, promises, contracts, personalities, images, and/or perceptions. These notions, they assert, are too vague and do not account for or explain how brands can be “built, strengthened, weakened, and destroyed” (Jones & Bonevac, 2013, p. 117). But brand-as-definition does explain how brands can be established and then modified. If a company is the subject or thing being defined, then the brand must be the definition. The brand represents or expresses qualities of the services and products offered by the company. The brand is like the face of the company – it is the most immediate point of contact between consumer and company, but it is not the whole company, any more than a person’s face is the whole person – biology, personality, preferences, etc. The brand is just a way in which the company is able to interact with the consumer. It emphasizes qualities and elements the company wants to project, in the way that a person will smile, maintain hygiene (such as cleanliness and fresh breath), and choose the right words to greet a person and engage them.

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So, if the brand is the definition of the corporation, or its face, then what exactly is its image? One consideration of corporate identity is that it is “a multidisciplinary construct with several elements” (Melewer, Sarstedt, & Hallier, 2012). It has been defined as “a key element, which gives a business identity its distinctiveness and relates to the attitudes and beliefs of those within the organization” (qtd. in Melewer, Sarstedt, & Hallier, 2012). Corporate identity includes such elements as communication, design, culture, behavior, industry identity, and corporate strategy (Melewer, Sarstedt, & Hallier, 2012). Together, these elements – much like the many elements which compose an individual’s personality – present an image to the world that allows them to “have control over the outcomes of an interaction by presenting information about themselves selectively” (Melewer, Sarstedt, & Hallier, 2012), though a better description might be “strategically.” Melewer, Sarstedt, & Hallier (2012) liken this to the way a person may dress, behave, and speak.

Brand and corporate image are interrelated in the sense that brand represents a piece of information or an element of a corporate that it selectively (or strategically) presents to others as a way to control outcomes (in most cases, this means to encourage consumers to purchase goods or services). Brand may be the dress or behavior or language that the corporate uses in order to influence the consumer. Brand is one element of the corporation’s image; it may have many brands which represent different elements of the corporation. Brand becomes a way in which image is controlled, and corporations may cultivate many different brands in order to control different aspects of their consumer bases or reputation. Some researchers liken image to “visual systems such as flags, ensigns, and emblems” (Melewer, Sarstedt, & Hallier, 2012), which sounds a lot like the idea of brand as symbol or sign. This also suggests a connection between the two at a visual level. Either way, both brand and corporate image are intended to signal to others – consumers, competitors, and colleagues all alike – what the company stands for and their intentions and purposes. Brand and image are quick, visual ways of broadcasting information about the company in a way that allows the company to control the outcomes and influence others.

  • Jones, C., & Bonevac, D. (2013). An evolved definition of the term ‘brand’: Why branding has a
    branding problem. Journal Of Brand Strategy, 2(2), 112-120.
  • Melewer, T.C., Sarstedt, M., and Hallier, C. (2012). Corporate identity, image and reputation
    management: A further analysis. Corporate Communication: An International Journal, 17(1).

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