Balmer, J. and Illia, L. (2012), "Corporate communication and corporate marketing", Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 17 No. 4. https://doi.org/10.1108/ccij.2012.16817daa.001Download as .RIS
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Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Corporate communication and corporate marketing
Article Type: Guest editorial From: Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Volume 17, Issue 4
The discovery of identities is undeniably the basis of scientific inquiry, and it is also indubitably the case that advances in management, marketing and communications are meaningfully informed by scrutinising institutions via identity-based perspectives (Balmer, 2008). Corporate communication and corporate marketing are two disciplines that:
have an institutional focus;
accord importance to corporate identity in terms of an institution’s defining attributes;
have a clear stakeholder/customer agency;
recognise the critical importance of personnel;
note the importance of CSR and ethics;
provide managers with an analysis to take strategic decisions;
cover gaps between who the company is, who the company wants to be, and how others see the company;
focus on both communication and behaviours with the final aim to reduce the gaps between the two of them;
analyze the company per se and not only its communication;
take into account of the various ways in which communications relating about a firm are conveyed (content of a message, behaviour, product performance, etc.); and
take into consideration that everything a company says, makes or does – de facto –communicates.
Reflecting on the past, the recognition of the importance of identity and the efficacy of keeping identity in the forefront of scholarly and practitioner deliberations spurred John Balmer (then a marketing lecturer and part-time PhD student) to organise the first International Corporate Identity Group (ICIG) Symposium in 1994. This was held at Strathclyde Business School.
A year later, in 1995, the ICIG was formally launched at the House of Lords in the Palace of Westminster, London.
Since that time, John Balmer has – in most years – organised (in recent years working with others) an annual symposium devoted to corporate identity and related areas. ICIG symposia afford a unique platform at which a small group of scholars and practitioners can share their insights on identity-related and, more recently, on broader corporate marketing issues.
The ICIG inheritance is in many regards a peerless one. Since 1994, ICIG symposia have been held in Glasgow, have been hosted in London several times – including the Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre in Westminster – and have also been run in Edinburgh, Brighton. More recently they have also migrated to the continent – ICIG symposia have been held in the resort town next to Lake Bled (Slovenia), as well as in Spain and Switzerland. Some have been held at leading centres of learning such as the University of Oxford, Brunel University (London) and at St Gallen University (Switzerland), and of course at the IE’s historic campus in Segovia, Spain. In 2012, Aarhus University (one of Denmark’s oldest and most prestigious universities) will graciously host the next ICIG event in this most historic of Scandinavian locations.
There is something else that is special about the ICIG, and that is the recognition it has been accorded by policy makers and senior scholars. As such, over the years, captains of industry, would-be EU commissioners, British ministers of state and peers of the realm, along with leading academics and consultants have spoken at ICIG symposia. In addition, many of the foremost scholars of the field have at some time or another participated in ICIG symposia over the last three decades.
In 2011, John Balmer – working very closely with Dr Laura Illia – organised the 14th ICIG Symposium at one of Spain’s foremost centres of management research: IE University Madrid (the symposium was held at the University’s heritage campus in Segovia). The symposium included a number of scholars from top academic institutions running programs of study in corporate communication. The symposium was an unmitigated success.
Readers of this journal for the last three decades will be all too aware of the close and cordial links between this journal and the ICIG. Several special issues of CCIJ based on ICIG symposia have appeared over the years –including one of the very first Special Issues of this journal – and a number of papers presented at ICIG symposia have also appeared in this journal as stand-alone contributions. For details of earlier Special Issues of the ICIG that have appeared in CCIJ, see Balmer (1999), Powell et al. (2007) and Balmer et al. (2009).
In both our opening presentations at the 14th ICIG symposium, we respectively noted the importance of identity and identifications in corporate communications, corporate marketing, management and organisational contexts. John Balmer, mindful of the large number of communication scholars present at this symposium, also made the prescient observation (building on his earlier work; see Balmer, 2008) that we should not forget that identification is a critically important construct in communication.
This special issue reflects the importance of corporate communication and corporate marketing for studies on identity and identifications in their various permutations. As such, reference is not only made to corporate identity but also to corporate brand identity, organisational identity and social identity – among other identity perspectives. In part, too, this special issue marshals insights from identity-based views of the firm and the ACID test model, which – in whole or in part – takes account of actual, communicated, conceived, cultural, ideal and desired identities. The seven articles included in this special issue are variously informed by reviews of the literature along with empirical case studies and include contributions from continental Europe. Many of the articles that have been accepted for this Special Issue focus on the management of change, on corporate identity, and are mindful of the importance of identification (in its various permutations). As such, these articles chime with the title of the symposium and this special issue and, while mindful of the core precepts of CCIJ, are also multidisciplinary in perspective.
The first article – penned by the guest editors (Illia and Balmer) – explicates the natures, histories, similarities and differences of, and between, corporate communication and corporate marketing. As such, the article seeks to provide a general introduction to the nature of these two fields, along with their bases and rationales. We believe such an overview to be timely and of relevance to the international readership of CCIJ in terms of being appraised of the nature, similarities and differences of these critically important fields.
The second article (Johansen and Nielsen) addresses CSR as a form of corporate self-storying that highlights isomorphic processes influencing legitimacy as a key organisational concern.
The third paper (Elving and Kartal) conducts an experiment to explore whether and when CEOs should adopt a consistent or inconsistent behaviour with the corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies of the company.
The fourth article (Bonaiuto, Caddeo, Carrus, De Dominicis, Maroni and Bonnes) analyses empirically how reputation is conceptualised as the believed effects any social agent (ranging from a person to a company to a country) can have. It explores how food’s reputation is the beliefs about food’s effects on its consumers.
The fifth paper (Invernizzi, Romenti and Fumagalli) investigates the role of strategic communication during a change management process within the internationally famous Ferrari corporation. The aim is to show that strategic communication, through its main components, can be a pivotal lever that supports continuous improvement and helps drive organizational success. The final paper (Zamparini and Lurati) presents the results of exploratory research aimed at understanding how firms operating in regional clusters use the clusters’ collective identity in their external communication and combine it with the communication of their individual identity. In particular, the paper aims to detect different behaviours among different types of firms.
Finally, we wish to thank the team of reviewers who provided feedback to the authors in a most expeditious manner.
As with earlier special issues of CCIJ, we are most grateful to the Editor of CCIJ, Wim Elving, for his support, encouragement and for his conviviality. His attendance and reflections at ICIG events are always much anticipated and highly appreciated.
Mindful of the provenance of ICIG symposia and the special issues derived from ICIG symposia that have appeared in this journal, we are confident that this special issue will meaningfully inform and advance our knowledge of the identity territory. Moreover, we hope that it will shed light on issues of corporate identity, identification and the management of change. Read on and enjoy!
John M.T. BalmerBrunel University, London, UK
Laura IlliaIE University, Segovia, Spain
Balmer, J.M.T. (1999), “Corporate identity”, Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 4 No. 4, Special Issue
Balmer, J.M.T. (2008), “Identity based views of the corporation: insights from corporate identity, organisational identity, social identity, visual identity and corporate image”, European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 42 Nos 9/10, pp. 879–906
Balmer, J.M.T., Powell, S.M. and Elving, W. (2009), “Explicating corporate identity”, Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 14 No. 4, pp. 363–473
Powell, S., Balmer, J.M.T. and Melewar, T.C. (2007), “Corporate and organisational marketing”, Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 12 No. 4, pp. 319–432