Corporate Brand and Corporate Brand Management (1995-2015)


Foundations, Developments, and Recent Insights, special issue Journal of Product and Brand Management; Deadline 31 May 2016


Corporate Brand and Corporate Brand Management (1995-2015): Foundations, Developments, and Recent Insights.


Professor John M.T. Balmer, Professor of Corporate Marketing, Brunel School of Management Brunel University, London (UK); quondam Professor of Corporate Brand/Identity Management, Bradford University School of Management, Bradford (UK). Email: .

Dr. Weifeng Chen, Centre for Research in Marketing, Brunel Business School, Brunel University, London (UK). Email:


This year (2015) marks the 20th Anniversary of the formal introduction and initial explication of the corporate brand notion as expounded in the article, “Corporate Branding and Connoisseurship” published in the Journal of General Management (Balmer 1995). Seemingly, too, this is the first paper that makes explicit reference to corporate brands in its title. Almost twenty years on, we note the exponential growth of interest in corporate brands by scholars and practitioners alike over the last three decades and the strategic significance accorded to the concept today. This special edition marks and celebrates this significant milestone in the annals of corporate brand scholarship.

Within the corporate marketing field, it is clear that the corporate brand has become an increasingly important concept and, in addition, a mainstream senior management as well as an organisational-wide concern. Today, many of the world’s most valuable and favourable brands are corporate brands. Unquestionably, they can be an organisation’s most valuable strategic resource and treasured asset. Moreover, where organisations follow an explicit corporate brand orientation (Balmer 2013), the corporate brands may serve as an organisation’s cornerstone: a centripetal force that guides and informs an institution’s purposes, activities, culture and ethos.

In celebrating this significant milestone, the guest editors of this special edition welcome articles which further explicate the foundations, developments and recent insights vis-à-vis corporate brands and their management and, in addition, advance scholarship and practice relating to corporate brand identification-marshalling social identity theory- (Balmer and Liao 2007; Balmer et al 2010) and the emerging field of corporate brand orientation (Balmer 2013) which unambiguously applies the brand orientation notion to corporate brands. In addition, we welcome empirical papers which have an industry or geographical/national foci.

The above being noted, confusion and ambiguity all-too-often abounds within the corporate brand canon. Sometimes, too, there is unfamiliarity with the foundational literature in marketing from the mid- 1990s to early 2000’s, occasionally, too, scholars and practitioners apply product/service brand analytical frameworks, theories, and strategies which, quite often, are ill-suited to corporate brands. One of the aims of this special edition is to further clarify to the above

Furthermore, we wish to further burnish the theoretical aspects of the area and this is another objective of this special edition. For instance, whilst the economic theory of the resource based view of the firm (Balmer and Gray 2003) and social identity theory have been applied to corporate brands (Balmer and Liao 2007), there is still a need for corporate brand scholarship to have stronger theoretical foundations (Mukherjee and Balmer 2006). Papers which make a meaningful advance-in theoretical terms-on this area are especially welcomed.

We invite submissions on a broad range of topics relating to corporate brands with the proviso that submit ions meaningfully draw on and engage with the foundational articles on the domain which appeared in the late 1990s. In this regard, the guest editors welcome both conceptual and empirical contributions as well as literature reviews. Theory-building case studies are also welcomed.

Articles should engage with both theoretical and instrumental issues relating to the corporate branding territory. Manuscripts should adopt an unambiguous corporate-level/corporate brand stance and, usefully, should be informed by a corporate marketing perspective (Balmer 1998; Balmer and Greyser 2006; Balmer 2011).


Corporate marketing scholars were the first to identify the importance of the corporation as a brand from the mid-1990s onwards (Balmer 1995; 2001, 2001a, 2012; Ind 1996, 1998; Bickerton 2000; Gray and Balmer 2001; Harris and deChernatony 2001; Knox and Bickerton 2001; Burt and Sparks 2002; Aaker 2004; Knox 2004; Merrilees and Miller 2008; Vallaster et al 2012). Six years after its formal introduction in 1995, scholars of organisational behaviour-seemingly inspired by the extant corporate marketing literature on corporate brands – began to show interest in the corporate brand concept (Hatch and Schultz 2001).

The Guest Editors salute the work of JPBM vis-à-vis corporate brand scholarship. The JPBM has also published a good number of significant articles which have informed the corporate branding oeuvre (Saunders and Guoqun 1997; de Chernatony and Cottam 2008; Curtis et al., 2009; Kaufmann et al., 2012; Foster., et al 2010).

In “Corporate Branding and Connoisseurship” Balmer (1995) reached the conclusion that corporate brands are meaningful not only to customers but stakeholders; found that employees are of fundamental importance; noted that corporate brands are multidisciplinary in scope and concluded that comprehending the distinct and differentiating aspects of an organisation’s corporate identity traits was of critical significance and that an organisation’s corporate brand manager was none other than the CEO. These insights are of significance in terms of comprehending, building and managing corporate brands.

Six year later, Balmer (2001) examined the corporate brand notion in greater depth and, significantly, noted the differences between corporate and product brands in terms of management, responsibility, cognate disciplines, focus, and values and, building on the aforementioned, went on to argue (Balmer and Gray 2003) that where a product brand gestation was short and corporate brand’s gestation was long.


Some suggestions for broad themes for articles submitted to this special edition include, but are not limited to:

  • The corporate brand concept: foundations, developments, recent insights
  • Corporate brand management: foundations, developments, recent insights
  • Corporate brand architecture: foundations, developments, recent insights
  • Corporate brand architecture: an examination of Balmer’s (2001/2003 ) corporate brand architecture typology (familial, Shared, Surrogate, Supra, Multiplex and Federal
  • Corporate brands and corporate marketing: foundations, developments, recent insights.
  • Corporate brand alignment and calibration: foundations, developments, recent insights
  • Corporate brand identification: foundations, developments, recent insights
  • Corporate brand orientation: antecedents, foundations, developments and recent insights
  • A comparison of corporate marketing, organisational behaviour, and critical/postmodern perspectives vis-à-vis corporate brands
  • Linking Ethical Corporate Marketing, Ethical Corporate Identity and Ethical Corporate Brands
  • Ethicalisation and Ethical Corporate Brands
  • Corporate brand orientation: theoretical and case study insights
  • Corporate rebranding: purposes and processes
  • Corporate brand culture: theoretical and instrumental perspectives
  • Corporate heritage brands: foundations, developments, recent insights
  • Corporate brands and small/family businesses
  • Corporate brands in business to business contexts
  • Corporate brands: an appraisal of key theories and frameworks
  • Corporate brands and their management in BRIC nations
  • Corporate brands in developing economies
  • Corporate brands: a business history perspective

Deadline for submissions: 31st May, 2016.
All papers need to be submitted online to the Special Issue on “Corporate Brand and Corporate Brand Management (1995-2015): Foundations, Developments, and Recent Insights” through the ScholarOne System ( after 1st November 2015.

For informal enquiries kindly contact BOTH guest editors.


Aaker, D.A. (2004). “Leveraging the corporate brand”, California Management Review, Vol. 46, No. 3. pp. 6-18.

Balmer, J.M.T. (1995), “Corporate branding and connoisseurship”, Journal of General Management, Vol. 21, No. 1, pp. 24-46.

Balmer, J.M.T. (1998), “Corporate identity and the advent of corporate marketing”, Journal of Marketing Management, Vol. 14, No. 8, pp. 963-996.

Balmer, J.M.T. (2001), “The three virtues and seven deadly sins of corporate brand management”, Journal of General Management, Vol. 27, No.1, pp.1-17.

Balmer, J.M.T. (2001a), “Corporate identity, corporate branding and corporate marketing – Seeing through the fog”, European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 35, .No. 3-4, pp. 248-291.

Balmer, J.M.T. (2003), “The three virtues and seven deadly sins of corporate brand management.” In J.M.T. Balmer and S.A. Greyser (2003) Revealing the Corporation: Perspectives on Corporate Identity, Image, Reputation, Corporate Branding and Corporate Marketing, Routledge, London and New York.

Balmer, J.M.T. (2011). “Corporate marketing myopia and inexorable rise of a corporate marketing logic: perspectives from identity based views of the firm”, European Journal of Marketing. Vol 42, No. 9-10. pp. 879-906.

Balmer, J.M.T. (2012) “Corporate brand management imperatives: custodianship, credibility and calibration”, California Management Review, Vol. 54, No. 3. pp.1-28.

Balmer, J.M.T. (2013) “Corporate brand orientation: What is it? What of it?”, Journal of Brand Management, Vol. 20. No. 9. pp. 723-741.

Balmer J.M.T. and Gray, E.R. (2003) “Corporate brands: what are they? What of them?” European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 37. No.7-8. pp. 972-997

Balmer, J.M.T. and Greyser, S.A. (2006), “Corporate marketing: Integrating corporate identity, corporate branding, corporate communications, corporate image and corporate reputation”, European Journal of Marketing. Vol. 40. No.7-8. pp 730–741.

Balmer, J.M.T. and Liao M-N. (2007). “Student corporate brand identification: an exploratory study”, Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 12, No. 4, pp. 356-375.

Balmer, J.M.T, Liao, M and Wang, W. (2010), “Corporate brand identification and corporate brand management: how top business schools do it”, Journal of General Management, Vol. 35, No. 4 , pp. 77-102.

Bickerton, D. (2000), “Corporate reputation versus corporate branding: the realist debate”, Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 42-48.

Burt, S. and Sparks. L. (2002). “Corporate branding, retailing and retail internationalisation”, Corporate Reputation Review, Vol. 5, No. 2-3. p. 194-215.

Curtis. T., Abratt.R., Minor. W, (2009) "Corporate brand management in higher education: the case of ERAU", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 18, No. 6, pp.404 – 413

de Chernatony. L. and Cottam. S. (2008) "Interactions between organisational cultures and corporate brands", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 17, Vol . 1, pp.13 – 24

Foster.C, Punjaisri, K., and Cheng. R (2010) "Exploring the relationship between corporate, internal and employer branding", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 19. No. 6, pp.401 – 409.

Gray, E.R. and Balmer, J.M.T. (2001) “The corporate brand: a strategic asset.” SAM: Management in Practice, Vol. 4. pp 1-4.

Hatch, M. J. and Schultz. M. (2001) “Are the strategic stars aligned for your corporate brand?”, Harvard Business Review, Vol. 18. pp. 657-663.

Harris, F. and deChernatony L. (2001). “Corporate branding and corporate brand performance”, European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 35, No. 3-4, pp. 441-456.

Ind, N. (1997). The Corporate Brand, Macmillan, London

Ind, N. (1998). “An integrated approach to corporate brand management”, Journal of Brand Management, Vol. 6. No. 5. pp. 323-329.

Kaufmann. H.R., Vrontis.D., Czinkota.M. andHadiono.A, (2012) "Corporate branding and transformational leadership in turbulent times", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 21. No. 3, pp.192 – 204.

Knox, S. and Bickerton, D. (2003). “The six conventions of corporate branding”, European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 37, N0. 7-8, pp. 998-1016.

Knox, S. (2004). “Positioning and branding your organisation”, Journal of Product and Brand Management, Vol. 13, No. 2. pp. 105-115.

Merrilees, B. and Miller, D. (2008). “Principles of corporate rebranding”, European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 42, No. 5-6. pp. 537-552.

Mukherjee, A. and Balmer, J.M.T. (2006), “New frontiers and perspectives in corporate brand management: in search of a theory”, International Studies of Management and Organizations, Vol. 37. No.4. pp 3-19.

Saunders.J, and Guoqun. F, (1997) "Dual branding: how corporate names add value", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 6, No, pp.40 – 48.

Vallaster, C., Lindgreen, A. and Maon, F. (2012). “Strategically leveraging CSR: a corporate branding perspective”, California Management Review, Vol. 54. No. 3. pp.34-60.