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Article
Publication date: 11 April 2016

Linda Deigh, Jillian Farquhar, Maria Palazzo and Alfonso Siano

This paper aims to extend corporate social responsibility (CSR) theory by exploring how firms engage with community. The community is frequently cited as a stakeholder of…

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to extend corporate social responsibility (CSR) theory by exploring how firms engage with community. The community is frequently cited as a stakeholder of the firm, but in spite of its status in networks it has not been the focus of research. Drawing on community theory and Carroll’s pyramid for the foundation of this study, the authors undertake an empirical investigation to advance knowledge in CSR engagement with a particular stakeholder group.

Design/methodology/approach

To generate an in-depth insight, the study adopts a multiple case study approach involving the purposeful selection of three retail banks in Ghana as units of analysis. It draws on multiple data sources to strengthen its findings.

Findings

The study finds that community engagement consists of four spheres of activity: donations, employee voluntarism, projects and partnerships. Philanthropy forms part of largely ad hoc CSR actions by firms. The study also finds that philanthropy is not merely a desired function of the CSR pyramid but an essential one.

Practical implications

This research imparts increased understanding of how firms engage with an important but frequently overlooked stakeholder group – community.

Originality/value

This study presents specific theoretical extensions to CSR through its identification of four core activities of community engagement.

Details

Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, vol. 19 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-2752

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Article
Publication date: 12 March 2018

Alfonso Siano, Agostino Vollero, Maddalena Della Volpe, Maria Giovanna Confetto, Pantea Foroudi and Maria Palazzo

The role of metaphors in information management has generally been acknowledged owing to their ability to convey immediately huge amounts of information and richness…

Abstract

Purpose

The role of metaphors in information management has generally been acknowledged owing to their ability to convey immediately huge amounts of information and richness. Their role is more and more important in the current digital context of communication and marketing activities, as the decision speed and accuracy are crucial. The purpose of this study is, thus, to analyze physical metaphors as tools for making sequential decisions to achieve effective integrated corporate communication (ICC).

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws on the critical analysis of literature on corporate communication and stakeholder management as building blocks for implementing an integrated approach to corporate communications.

Findings

A revision of two well-known physical metaphors in the communication literature (the “wheel” and “umbrella”) has been proposed. It is argued that integrated communication within corporate communications is more complex than in marketing communications, as it involves a greater variety of elements to coordinate and harmonize. The proposed physical metaphors suggest an effective sequential decision-making as they allow a clear distinction between different decision levels.

Research limitations/implications

The paper adds to the debate on the link between theory and practice of ICC. From a practical standpoint, the proposed metaphors as simple and concrete tools for handling complex information and ICC problems could aid novice practitioners and students of corporate communications courses.

Originality/value

The paper shows that while scholars have concurred that ICC is crucial for different type of organizations, the use of physical metaphors can be beneficial for the reality-based challenge of ICC.

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Article
Publication date: 7 May 2021

Alfonso Siano, Maria Giovanna Confetto, Agostino Vollero and Claudia Covucci

In the democratic digital environment, brand managers frequently deal with the unauthorized use of the brand by third parties. The phenomenon, known as brand hijacking…

Abstract

Purpose

In the democratic digital environment, brand managers frequently deal with the unauthorized use of the brand by third parties. The phenomenon, known as brand hijacking, has been treated in different and sometimes conflicting ways in the academic and professional literature. The aim of this paper is to clarify the meaning of brand hijacking and to shed light on the various motivations and intentions underpinning the phenomenon.

Design/methodology/approach

A Delphi-based survey among both academic and professional experts was conducted to explore the key features of brand hijacking and expand existing theories.

Findings

The results of the Delphi survey enable the main brand hijacking actions to be mapped, based on two motivational axes (utilitarian–idealistic and destructive–constructive) and on the various intentions that guide the hijackers. The results help re-define the key elements of brand hijacking, through the lens of non-collaborative brand co-creation.

Practical implications

Managerial implications are presented in terms of the corporate response to the two main effects of hijacking, namely, brand reputational damage and brand repositioning.

Originality/value

The paper helps to shed light on the main components of brand hijacking, thus gaining expert consensus in refining the existent conceptualization in relation to a rapidly changing brand management scenario because of the gradual loss by brand managers of their traditional control.

Details

Journal of Product & Brand Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1061-0421

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Article
Publication date: 8 September 2020

Maria Palazzo, Agostino Vollero and Alfonso Siano

Increased public scrutiny and stakeholder pressure have given more importance to strategic corporate social responsibility (SCSR) and its three dimensions – orientation…

Abstract

Purpose

Increased public scrutiny and stakeholder pressure have given more importance to strategic corporate social responsibility (SCSR) and its three dimensions – orientation, process and value creation. At the same time, they provide banks the inspiration needed to pursue business goals, attain positive performances and communicate their social responsibility efforts. This paper analyses whether and how companies in the banking sector use corporate websites to communicate SCSR dimensions.

Design/methodology/approach

A content analysis was performed based on the corporate websites of leading banks included in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index and the Hang Seng Corporate Sustainability Index to assess the prominence of SCSR communication.

Findings

The study shows that banks give less prominence to SCSR on corporate websites differently from companies belonging to other sectors, as they are less likely to expose their orientation to SCSR and pay slightly less attention to value creation than other companies.

Practical implications

The paper provides theoretical insights into SCSR dimensions and how they are communicated on corporate websites. From a practical standpoint, the study provides guidance for managers in the banking sector aimed at improving their communication efforts, avoiding decoupling issues and adopting a consistent value creation perspective.

Originality/value

Few studies have used a value creation perspective to differentiate between the dimensions of a SCSR approach. The paper fills this gap by assessing the communication efforts adopted by banks and insurance companies in this area.

Details

International Journal of Bank Marketing, vol. 38 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0265-2323

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Article
Publication date: 13 November 2017

Alfonso Siano, Maria Palazzo, Pantea Foroudi and Agostino Vollero

The aim of this conceptual paper is to review Bernstein’s communication wheel to make it a tool that can be used in the selection of a corporate communication mix.

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1470

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this conceptual paper is to review Bernstein’s communication wheel to make it a tool that can be used in the selection of a corporate communication mix.

Design/methodology/approach

A critical analysis of Bernstein’s communication wheel shows it to be a checklist, a starting point in the examination of corporate communication mix, but it is not as such of great help to the decision maker.

Findings

The findings of reviewing literature highlight that the principle of a clear distinction between strategic decisions and operational decisions is applicable also in the field of corporate communication. For each stakeholder relationship, the authors’ framework suggests typical combinations of activities and means to be used. These combinations are useful to experiment with expert systems which are functional to the choices of corporate communication mix.

Practical implications

The analysis of communication gaps gives directions for formulating strategic decisions. In this framework, tactical decisions concern the components of the communication mix architecture (or communication chain): activities, means and vehicles of communication. On the contrary, Bernstein’s communication wheel includes only generic channels (or media) and gives no indications as to the architecture of the communication mix.

Originality/value

This study illustrates the hierarchy of decisions relating to corporate communication mix, the communication wheel could also be useful in communication planning. If this assumption is held to be true it then becomes possible to lay out a framework for a progressive decision-making path that means making sequential choices (first strategic, then tactical). In the stakeholder approach, the aim of strategic decisions is to choose the stakeholder groups on which a firm has to focus its corporate communication activities.

Details

The Bottom Line, vol. 30 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0888-045X

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Article
Publication date: 5 February 2020

Maria Palazzo, Pantea Foroudi, Philip J. Kitchen and Alfonso Siano

Based on the managerial perceptions from large firms, this paper aims to explore the emergence, growth and importance of corporate communications and how it is evolving…

Abstract

Purpose

Based on the managerial perceptions from large firms, this paper aims to explore the emergence, growth and importance of corporate communications and how it is evolving and creating competitive advantage for Italian firms.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative approach is deployed, comprising in-depth interviews with senior managers from Italian corporations from a broad spectrum of industries, including: energy, telecommunications, automotive, transport, retail chain, appliances, technology and engineering, private shipping, government-owned holdings, marketing consultancy and construction.

Findings

The paper offers insight into corporate communications (corpcoms) practices in the sampled companies. The paper shows that corpcoms involves a complex range of activities leading to performance – managed and implemented under CEO direction.

Practical implications

Corpcoms is perceived as a strategic concept with effective application relative to managing corporate image and reputation. The findings offer insights for communication professionals who deal with corpcoms, branding and marketing communications.

Originality/value

Corpcoms can be viewed via the lens of social actors’ perspectives, i.e. via practitioners – including brand managers and senior executives, as they possess practical knowledge of business practice in specific contextual business settings and have the managerial ability and remit to design, implement and evaluate integrated corpcoms.

Details

Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, vol. 23 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-2752

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Article
Publication date: 30 May 2018

Agostino Vollero, Maria Palazzo, Alfonso Siano and Domenico Sardanelli

The purpose of this paper is to analyse how service and product-based industries communicate their efforts in corporate social responsibility (CSR) as legitimacy-seeking…

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1301

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse how service and product-based industries communicate their efforts in corporate social responsibility (CSR) as legitimacy-seeking strategies. The service companies are thus compared to product companies in their use of different rhetorical strategies and associated legitimacy approaches on their corporate websites.

Design/methodology/approach

A thematic content analysis of the websites of companies belonging to the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index was conducted, to identify different rhetorical strategies (institutional, political and strategic), each associated with modes companies use to gain legitimacy (cognitive, moral and pragmatic).

Findings

The study shows that service and product companies differ in terms of how they symbolically manage legitimacy. Service companies are less active in communicating CSR in two out of three of the identified rhetorical strategies. Other differences are observable at an industry level.

Practical implications

The study provides an in-depth understanding of legitimacy approaches elicited by online CSR communication. Managers of service companies can benefit from suggestions on how to use CSR content to sustain specific legitimacy strategies.

Originality/value

This study represents a starting point in connecting the ongoing debate on legitimacy theory with different rhetorical CSR approaches. It demonstrates that the seeking of legitimacy is to some extent restrained within the service industry.

Details

The TQM Journal, vol. 30 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2731

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Article
Publication date: 12 February 2020

Agostino Vollero, Maria Palazzo, Alfonso Siano and Pantea Foroudi

The purpose of this paper is to analyses consumers’ hostile responses and “creative” re-interpretation of a proactive corporate social responsibility (CSR) brand…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyses consumers’ hostile responses and “creative” re-interpretation of a proactive corporate social responsibility (CSR) brand communication campaign on social media by a leading Italian company in the energy industry that came to be perceived as a reactive corporate social irresponsibility performance.

Design/methodology/approach

Taking Palazzo and Basu’s framework of scapes (2007) as a starting point, the paper explores the intersection between branding and CSR studies. After consideration of the lack of empirical studies on this subject, a content analysis of tweets generated from the campaign “Guerrieri” of Enel is performed.

Findings

Findings show the dialogic bottom-up approach results are ineffective because of the hijacking of original intent of the company in implementing its CSR communication initiatives. That is to say that corporate brand (CB) strategies can be easily re-interpreted in social media-scape from an opposing perspective, raising the risk of digital hijacking and boycotting initiatives.

Practical implications

From a practical standpoint, the study informs managers so that they can evaluate complex problems implicated in the creation of CSR activities aimed at engaging consumers and virtual communities. Besides, the paper would like to aid managers when they face discontent or activism, suggesting they should turn the attention of their stakeholders through a re-evaluation of relevant CSR activities, potentially leveraging on a loyal public, which has completely interiorised CB values and can act as brand ambassadors.

Originality/value

The paper is one of the first attempts to study the nexus between CSR and CB in digitally empowering contexts, clarifying the crucial role of social media-scape.

Details

Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, vol. 24 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-2752

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Article
Publication date: 5 February 2020

Maria Palazzo, Linda Deigh, Pantea Foroudi and Alfonso Siano

This paper aims to explore the relationship between community relations (CR) and the concept of place branding (PB) by analysing several companies in a developing…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the relationship between community relations (CR) and the concept of place branding (PB) by analysing several companies in a developing sub-Saharan country – Ghana, and developing a framework that links the selected concepts together.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper provides an analysis based on a multiple case study approach, with an interpretivist analysis of secondary and primary data derived from archival documents and in-depth interviews of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and brand managers from purposefully selected cases of private financial institutions. The data gathered were qualitatively analysed to identify and interpret common themes about CR, PB and other relevant factors such as culture. Based on analysis of the qualitative data, a comprehensive framework for CR and PB was formulated.

Findings

Findings show that in the developing sub-Saharan country Ghana, the process of establishing a place brand is complex because of influences exerted on CR practices by culture, management agenda of private organisations, government intervention and the fragmentation of efforts to generate a coherent dialogue with numerous stakeholders.

Practical implications

The study shows that managers can leverage on an array of CR elements, including moral and ethical obligations of the company, provision of economic benefits, integration, common goals between the corporation and its communities, responsibility to stakeholders, proactive action, partnerships across sector lines and active leadership, to boost PB. Thus, this research will help policymakers, country brand managers and communication professionals in structuring a proper PB starting from the efforts made in the CR field.

Originality/value

This research can be considered one of the few studies undertaken with a view to understanding and developing a CR framework that links with PB in a developing country. The study identifies several important moderators of PB and factors influencing CR. All issues are approached from the study of PB that promotes economic, commercial and political interests at home and abroad.

Details

Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, vol. 23 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-2752

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Article
Publication date: 7 August 2017

Francesca Conte, Alfonso Siano and Agostino Vollero

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the engagement of chief executive officers (CEOs) in corporate communication and focus on how their approach to communication…

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1533

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the engagement of chief executive officers (CEOs) in corporate communication and focus on how their approach to communication develops in relation to the longevity of their tenure. The paper also explores how founder centrality is linked to the objectives of CEO communication and the CEOs’ use of personal social media.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper brings together the relevant literature from different disciplines, related to leadership communication, CEO longevity and founder centrality, and reveals a number of unexplored issues. Four research questions were defined and an exploratory survey was carried out, involving 93 CEOs from large companies located in Italy.

Findings

The results show that CEOs are strongly engaged in institutional communication. Short-tenured CEOs seem more engaged in building and consolidating relationship networks with specific stakeholders (customers and employees), while long-tenured CEOs tend to be more involved in institutional and financial communications.

Research limitations/implications

Due to the exploratory research design and the circumscribed sample from a single country (Italy), further cross-national evidence is needed to substantiate the suggested links between engagement in communication activities and longevity. The study highlights the managerial and communication skills that CEOs must be provided with during their corporate tenure, thus suggesting the need to further examine the “life cycle” of CEO communication activities.

Originality/value

The paper sheds light on CEO communication dynamics. It is the first of its kind in the Italian context, where some factors, such as longevity of tenure, seem to play an important role in shaping corporate communication objectives and activities.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 22 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

Keywords

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