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Uncovering the corporate brand's core values

Mats Urde (Lund University, Hoganas, Sweden)

Management Decision

ISSN: 0025-1747

Article publication date: 1 May 2009




This paper aims to describe the uncovering of a corporate brand's core values and implications for strategic management of its track record.


The paper examines the specific track records of Volvo, IKEA, IBM, and Scanpump, focusing on core values and how they evolve. Based on multiple sources of evidence, the track records of the case companies emerge as patterns of values that are: perceived externally by customers and non‐customer stakeholders; and rooted internally within an organisation.


Four categories of core values emerge, termed true, aspirational, potential, and hollow.


The Core Value Grid is proposed as a managerially useful model on “how to build true values and avoid hollow values”. In principle, a corporate brand cannot be stronger externally than it is internally. Rooted core values with track records supporting a brand promise represent the essence of a corporate brand, guiding internal and external corporate brand building and management. The foundation of a corporate brand risks being undermined by hollow core values and empty promises.



Urde, M. (2009), "Uncovering the corporate brand's core values", Management Decision, Vol. 47 No. 4, pp. 616-638.



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Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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