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Positioning and differentiation by using brand personality attributes: Do mission and vision statements contribute to building a unique corporate identity?

Diana Ingenhoff (Department for Media and Communication Science, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland)
Tanja Fuhrer (Department for Media and Communication Science, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland)

Corporate Communications: An International Journal

ISSN: 1356-3289

Article publication date: 2 February 2010

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the current state of mission and vision statements on corporate web sites and to analyze differentiation strategies through the use of online brand personality attributes in order to find if and how the attributes are effectively used to build up a unique corporate identity.

Design/methodology/approach

Content analysis is used to investigate similarities and differences between sectors and industries in Switzerland, based on the brand personality scale of Aaker. Also, the paper focuses on the impact of the communication of brand personality elements, in terms of positioning and differentiation, using correspondence analysis.

Findings

The claim that companies do present brand personality by frequently communicating respective attributes through mission and vision statements published on their web site are supported. However, top management does not seem to be geared towards industry norms when phrasing the statements, as a considerable similarity in statement content is found across industries. The results show that companies position themselves using their competitors as a frame of reference.

Research limitations/implications

The results may lack generalizability to small and medium‐sized businesses and other industries.

Practical implications

As most companies in the study position themselves using the same attributes and specifically emphasize “competence,” the results include practical implications for the need to develop uniqueness and differentiation by other means.

Originality/value

This paper discovers a gap between the claim that organizations seek uniqueness in their personality attributes and the reality of their involvement in mutual coorientation when defining their identity, forcing them to adapt to each other.

Keywords

Citation

Ingenhoff, D. and Fuhrer, T. (2010), "Positioning and differentiation by using brand personality attributes: Do mission and vision statements contribute to building a unique corporate identity?", Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 15 No. 1, pp. 83-101. https://doi.org/10.1108/13563281011016859

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited