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Exploring the corporate image formation process

Mai An Tran (Brunel University, Middlesex, UK)
Bang Nguyen (Department of Marketing, East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai, China)
T.C. Melewar (Middlesex University Business School, Middlesex University, London, UK)
Jim Bodoh (Radley Yeldar, London, UK)

Qualitative Market Research

ISSN: 1352-2752

Article publication date: 12 January 2015




This paper aims to demonstrate the need to explore the image formation process to develop a more holistic definition of corporate image. Diminishing trust in managers has created increasingly negative perceptions toward corporations. Stakeholders are constantly evaluating and scrutinizing corporations to determine their trustworthiness and authenticity. To develop their perceptions toward these corporations, stakeholders rely on the key role of corporate image. In the present study, the complex relationships between corporate image, corporate reputation, corporate communication and corporate personality are investigated. These concepts form a corporation’s image formation process.


Radley Yelday (RY), the communications agency collaborating in this research, facilitated 15 interviews with their employees. Using a semi-structured interviewing method, discussions were guided toward the topic of corporate image among the respondents.


Findings reveal the importance of corporate image under seven different dimensions: visual expression, positive feelings, environments expression, online appearance, staff/employees appearance, attitude and behavior and external communications (offline, online and effectiveness). Theoretical and managerial implications are discussed with suggestions for future researches.


The authors develop a conceptual model that illustrates the corporate image formation process. The model includes seven dimensions – both with tangible and intangible aspects – forming corporate communication and corporate personality. These, in turn, translate into the corporate image. With time and experiences, corporate image creates a more consistent reputation, which consists of five different levels: awareness, familiarity, favorability, trust and advocacy. As demonstrated in this research, the seven key dimensions influencing this process are: visual expression, positive feelings, environment, online appearance, staff/employees appearance, attitude and behavior and external communications.



Tran, M.A., Nguyen, B., Melewar, T.C. and Bodoh, J. (2015), "Exploring the corporate image formation process", Qualitative Market Research, Vol. 18 No. 1, pp. 86-114.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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