Analyse The Differences Between The Corporate Identity, Branding, Image And Reputation Of Mc Donald's, Presenting An Argument As To The Need For Changes To Their Communication Activities

2484 words - 10 pages

Scholars have long been consumed with efforts to determine how the constructs of identity, image, reputation and brand are conceptually related and relevant in an organisational context. (Kärreman, 2008, 103) In today's commercial environment, large corporations face increasing pressure to manage the symbolic dimensions of their activities and thus the associated strategic implications, so this pursuit is made even more relevant (Dacin, 2006, 95) While researchers across several disciplines have explored these constructs, a significant dilemma in the study of these paradigms is that they are frequently misinterpreted or confused with each other. To fully elucidate their individual ...view middle of the document...

) The 'summation of these (unique) tangible and intangible elements' (Zinkhan, 2001, 152) mean that corporate identity is not replicable, an effect which has been associated with 'superior business performance' (Zinkhan, 2001, 153) The blend of physical, operational and human characteristics and values (Topalian, 1984, 55) that manifest themselves through communications, behaviours, and 'stakeholder discourse' in the corporate environment (Balmer, 2001, 249) are central to this definition. Collective 'outward presentations' can be seen as the organisations 'ideal self-image,' or how a corporation perceives itself to be / wants to be perceived (Zinkhan, 2001, 153.) Identity cannot be falsely constructed and than any attempt to do so will have an unfavourable outcome (Cornelissen, 2008, 70), however organisations that ensure that their 'core values' are strongly defined and consistently communicated will maintain competitive advantage (Ibid,72).Attributes that help to define an organisation's identity include symbolic and visual distinctiveness, strategic communication and organisational behaviour (Cornelissen, 2008, 66)(Ambiola, 2007, 341) Multinational corporation McDonald's serves as a perfect practical illustration of these features. Founded by American immigrant Ray Kroc in 1955, McDonald's is currently the world's largest fast-food chain, and has developed a prominent and highly distinctive visual identity during this time, as the 'golden arches' are recognisable in hundreds of countries (McDonalds Corporation, 2008.) With the stated mission 'to be our customers' favourite place and way to eat,' operations are orchestrated though a global strategy described as the 'plan to win. (Ibid)' This basic philosophy centres on the premise of 'exceptional customer service' which is instilled in all organisational members, and communicated through advertising strategies and workplace behaviours (Ibid). Quick service, inexpensive menu options and a strong emphasis on the universality of their product are all characteristics of their broader identity. As these elements are consistently and forcefully communicated in all markets they have entered, their corporate identity appears to be strongly defined.As corporate image is the construct most frequently confused with that of identity, it is an important to clarify its correct meaning and explore why this confusion exits. As with the theoretical debate surrounding the notion of corporate identity, corporate image attracts similar dispute (Balmer, 2001, 243). Described as the subjective 'public reality' of an organisation, image differs from identity primarily because it is a reality as opposed to an ideal. (Abimbola, 200, 343) (Zinkhan, 2001) While corporate identity is considered to 'reside inside an organisation' image can be viewed as being formed in the external audience and stakeholders heads (Ibid) (Melewar, 2003, 200) Thus while identity is constructed from internal perceptions attitudes and...

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