Are the Strategic Stars Aligned for Your Corporate Brand?

 

Harvard Business Review / Vol. 79, no. 2

Abstract

 

In recent years, companies have increasingly seen the benefits of creating a corporate brand. Rather than spend marketing dollars on branding individual products, giants like Disney and Microsoft promote a single umbrella image that casts one glow over all their products. A company must align three interdependent elements–call them strategic stars to create a strong corporate brand: vision, culture, and image. Aligning the stars takes concentrated managerial skill and will, the authors say, because each element is driven by a different constituency: management, employees, or stakeholders. To effectively build a corporate brand, executives must identify where their strategic stars fall out of line. The authors offer a series of diagnostic questions designed to reveal misalignments in corporate vision, culture, and image. The first set of questions looks for gaps between vision and culture; for example, when management establishes a vision that is too ambitious for the organization to implement. The second set addresses culture and image, uncovering possible gaps between the attitudes of employees and the perceptions of the outside world. The last set of questions explores the vision-image gap–is management taking the company in a direction that its stakeholders support? The authors discuss the benefits of a corporate brand, such as reducing marketing costs and building a sense of community among customers.But they also point to cases in which a corporate brand doesn’t make sense–for instance, if you are a product incubator, if you’ve recently experienced M&A activity, or if you are expecting fallout from risky ventures. INSETS: What a Corporate Brand Can Do for You;When a Corporate Brand Doesn’t Make Sense.

Read it here.

Authors: Mary Jo Hatch & Majken Schultz