Do your employees think your slogan is “fake news?” A framework for understanding the impact of fake company slogans on employees

Linda W. Lee (Nottingham Business School, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK)
David Hannah (Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)
Ian P. McCarthy (Beedie School of Business, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada)

Journal of Product & Brand Management

ISSN: 1061-0421

Publication date: 24 June 2019

Abstract

Purpose

This article explores how employees can perceive and be impacted by the fakeness of their company slogans.

Design/methodology/approach

This conceptual study draws on the established literature on company slogans, employee audiences, and fake news to create a framework through which to understand fake company slogans.

Findings

Employees attend to two important dimensions of slogans: whether they accurately reflect a company’s (1) values and (2) value proposition. These dimensions combine to form a typology of four ways in which employees can perceive their company’s slogans: namely, authentic, narcissistic, foreign, or corrupt.

Research limitations/implications

This paper outlines how the typology provides a theoretical basis for more refined empirical research on how company slogans influence a key stakeholder: their employees. Future research could test the arguments about how certain characteristics of slogans are more or less likely to cause employees to conclude that slogans are fake news. Those conclusions will, in turn, have implications for the morale and engagement of employees. The ideas herein can also enable a more comprehensive assessment of the impact of slogans.

Practical implications

Employees can view three types of slogans as fake news (narcissistic, foreign, and corrupt slogans). This paper identifies the implications of each type and explains how companies can go about developing authentic slogans.

Originality/value

This paper explores the impact of slogan fakeness on employees: an important audience that has been neglected by studies to date. Thus, the insights and implications specific to this internal stakeholder are novel.

Keywords

Citation

Lee, L., Hannah, D. and McCarthy, I. (2019), "Do your employees think your slogan is “fake news?” A framework for understanding the impact of fake company slogans on employees", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPBM-12-2018-2147

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Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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