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  The IUP Journal of   Brand Management :
Re-Examining the Meaning of Corporate Branding: Does Corporate Advertising Give Useful Insights?
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The paper re-examines the meaning of corporate branding from a conceptual and an interpretive methodological perspective through a two-stage process. The first phase is dominated by a semiotic deconstruction of corporate advertisements of four of the largest banks in Nigeria. The second engages customers of these banks in an interpretive interview process. A framework of narrow and broad discourses on the meaning of corporate branding is evolved. The discourses contend that the meaning of corporate branding, which is commonly conceived as an embodiment of promise, could also be understood as an expression of corporate personalityŚwith the propensity to create meanings. This paper makes a departure from the usual positivistic approach to corporate branding by examining the meaning of this concept from an interpretive point of view. This gives an opportunity to examine what corporations, the custodians and owners of corporate branding, have to say about the meaning of the concept.

 
 
 

The notion of corporate branding has, in the last two decades, attracted the interest of academics and practitioners (Abratt and Kleyn, 2012; Fetscherin and Usunier, 2012; de Roeck et al., 2013; Balmer, 2014; Melewar and Alwi, 2015 and Melewar et al., 2017). An important issue emerging from the unprecedented rise in interest in this concept is the disagreement concerning its meaning. On the one hand, corporate branding is conceived as a phenomenon that addresses the communication of cues to create a favorable reputation among stakeholders (Brønn, 2002); and on the other, it is a phenomenon that comes to life through the interplay of vision, culture and image, held by stakeholders (Hatch and Schultz, 2001). The disagreement is further made evident if one considers de Chernatony’s (1999) conception of the subject, which states: “It is a strategic tool for a clear positioning. It facilitates greater cohesion in communication programs, enables staff to better understand the type of organization they work for, and thus provides inspiration about desired styles of behavior”.

Another perspective that equally challenges existing viewpoints is that of Balmer and Greyser (2003), which conceives the concept as an ‘explicit covenant’ that exists between business organizations and their stakeholders (Balmer and Greyser, 2003). Similarly, Argenti and Druckenmiller’s (2004) and Ind’s (1997) opinions challenged existing viewpoints by arguing that corporate branding is a phenomenon that comes to life when a business organization is marketed as a brand. Importantly, the variety of ways in which the meaning of corporate branding is constructed in literature reflects the discord and disagreement that envelopes the discipline. It appears that failure to achieve a universal agreement on the subject might have, in addition to other factors, encouraged the development of a number of papers on the subject (see, for instance, de Chernatony, 2006; and Kärreman and Rylander, 2008).

 
 
 

Brand Management Journal, Corporate Branding, A framework of narrow, Broad discourses, Meaning of Corporate Branding, Integration of Narrow and Broad Discourses.