Corporate identity and corporate communications: creating a competitive advantage

John M.T. Balmer (John M.T. Balmer is Chair of Corporate Identity, University of Bradford Management Centre, Bradford, UK.)
Edmund R. Gray (Edmund R. Gray is Chair of Department of Management, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, USA.)

Industrial and Commercial Training

ISSN: 0019-7858

Publication date: 1 December 2000


Recent environmental trends are forcing senior managers to give greater import to corporate identity and corporate communications. They are discovering that conventional methods of redressing identity problems are becoming progressively less effective because, in our opinion, the traditional focus has viewed corporate identity and corporate communications as functional rather than as strategic. We suggest a much broadened view that looks at corporate communications as a three‐part system process – primary, secondary, and tertiary. In many companies these three are out of balance. Primary communication should present a positive image of the company and set the stage for a strong reputation. Secondary communication should be designed to support and reinforce primary communication. Tertiary communications should be positive and result in a superior reputation if the other two stages of corporate communication are properly conceived. The authors postulate that senior managers who implement this can invest their organisation with a competitive advantage.



Balmer, J. and Gray, E. (2000), "Corporate identity and corporate communications: creating a competitive advantage", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 32 No. 7, pp. 256-262.

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Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

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