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Corporate identity as an enabler and constraint on the pursuit of corporate objectives

Shirley Leitch (Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia)
Sally Davenport (Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 20 September 2011




The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between corporate identity, corporate marketing and the pursuit of corporate objectives, particularly those objectives that require action at a societal level.


The research is based on a literature review and an holistic, multiple method case study, drawing on e‐mail newsletters, interviews, web sites, media articles and organizational documents.


Corporate identity may serve as a constraint on behaviour that limits strategic and tactical options. It may also constitute a strategic resource that enables action. The seven distinctive characteristics of front organizations identified in the paper enable them to overcome some of the constraints experienced by other organizational types in pursuing corporate objectives requiring action at a societal level.

Research limitations/implications

Future research directions include: analysis and theory development in relation to the design and marketing of a “packaged present” CI; the expansion of this analysis to other types of temporary organizations; and further exploration of the implications of temporality for corporate marketing.

Practical implications

Deploying an “active” definition of corporate identity can take practitioners beyond the audit‐based approach, with its focus on understanding “what the organization is”, to a strategic approach to corporate marketing focused on the temporal question “what does the organization wish to become?”


This paper begins to address two significant gaps in the corporate marketing and corporate identity literatures: the first in relation to corporate identity and temporality; and the second in relation to temporary organizations, particularly front organizations. The paper identifies seven distinctive characteristics of front organizations, which provide the basis for future research.



Leitch, S. and Davenport, S. (2011), "Corporate identity as an enabler and constraint on the pursuit of corporate objectives", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 45 No. 9/10, pp. 1501-1520.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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