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Taking brand initiative

Taking Brand Initiative
How Companies Can Align Strategy,
Culture, and Identity Through
Corporate Branding

Mary Jo Hatch, Majken Schultz
Foreword by Wally Olins

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Taking Brand Initiative

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Taking Brand Initiative
How Companies Can Align Strategy,
Culture, and Identity Through
Corporate Branding

Mary Jo Hatch, Majken Schultz
Foreword by Wally Olins

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Copyright © 2008 by Mary Jo Hatch and Majken Schultz. All rights reserved.
Published by Jossey-Bass
A Wiley Imprint
989 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94103-1741—www.josseybass.com
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Readers should be aware that Internet Web sites offered as citations and/or sources for further
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is read.
Limit of Liability/Disclaimer of Warranty: While the publisher and author have used their
best efforts in preparing this book, they make no representations or warranties with respect

to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this book and specifically disclaim any
implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. No warranty may
be created or extended by sales representatives or written sales materials. The advice and
strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation. You should consult with a
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Jossey-Bass also publishes its books in a variety of electronic formats. Some content that
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Hatch, Mary Jo.
Taking brand initiative : how companies can align strategy, culture, and identity through
corporate branding / Mary Jo Hatch, Majken Schultz.—1st ed.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-0-7879-9830-1 (cloth)
1. Corporate image. 2. Corporate culture. 3. Branding (Marketing)
I. Schultz, Majken. II. Title.
HD59.2.H38 2008
658.8'27—dc22
2007049669
Printed in the United States of America
first edition
HB Printing 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

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Contents

Foreword

ix

Preface

xiii

Introduction

xvii
Part One: The Basics

1

1.

What Is Corporate Branding?

2.

The Value of Brands

21

3.

Who Are You?

45

4.

Diagnosing Your Corporate Brand

67

Part Two: Managing Corporate Brands

3

93

5.

Managing Corporate Brands as Organizations Grow

6.

The Influence of Employees and Their Cultures

125

7.

Through Stakeholders’ Eyes

149

Part Three: Pulling It All Together

95

175

8.

Aligning Vision, Culture, and Images

177

9.

Getting into Enterprise Branding: Catching the
Third Wave

203

v

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vi

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CONTENTS

Glossary of Key Terms

231

Notes

233

References

247

The Authors

251

Index

253

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For our daughters, Jennifer Cron and Julie Junge-Jensen

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Foreword

I have a little story to tell.
Many, many years ago when Britain still had a flourishing
industrial base, my then company Wolff Olins was appointed
by the chairman of one of the largest machine tool companies
to create what we were starting to call a corporate identity
programme.
Our client was about to launch a new range of CAD CAM
machines—that is, computer-aided design and manufacturing
equipment. We were told that CAD CAM was going to sweep the
world and that the new machines being designed by our client’s
company were state of the art. So he desperately wanted them to
be first to market. Breakthrough in design, relatively easy to operate, superb global backup and service. That was the intention.
The new corporate identity was to relaunch the company. Our
programme was to be thorough and rigorous. The identity was
to be launched first internally, to the workforce, and then to the
importers and the newly formed global dealer network, and finally
externally, to customers, potential customers, and the technical
press worldwide. With the benefit of the new machines and our
new identity our client’s company was to turn itself from a lowishprofile, respected, conservative, rather traditional organisation
into a high-profile world leader.
We were thrilled. Wolff Olins was small and we saw this as our
big chance. At the time, the early 1970s, this type of corporate
identity activity was new. We were young and very excited. Our
client would make a huge impact in the world and we would too.
ix

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x

FOREWORD

We could see this job as a breakthrough for the corporate identity
business and for our own company.
We had been appointed after a competitive pitch, and we were
working directly with the chairman, a charming, determined, and
forceful man totally committed to the project.
We did our homework very carefully. We carried out interviews amongst competitors, suppliers, and customers. We learnt
that our client’s company was well respected in the outside world,
but regarded as a bit conservative—even old-fashioned.
We also learned that the machine tool business as a whole was
changing fast. Computers were the new thing. The company that
initiated CAD CAM on a grand scale had a chance of cleaning up
in world markets.
Then we did the internal interviews. With very few exceptions
we were told that although the new machines were superb conceptually, they were nothing like ready to launch. There were very
many features of the detailed design that needed to be cleaned
up; the machines were difficult and expensive to make and new
small faults kept emerging. It also became clear that the proposed
global service network was badly trained, understaffed, and didn’t
understand how the machines could most effectively be utilised
in different industrial situations. In other words, we were told that
the company was just not ready.
On top of all that, it was clear to us that there was deep discomfort within the organisation. The culture of the business was
traditional, cautious, and low-profile. People at all levels were terrified of what they were being pushed into. Phrases like “putting
all your eggs in one basket,” said with a negative shake of the head,
became familiar to us.
We went back and told all this to the chairman—our client.
He discounted all of it. He told us not to worry about what we had
heard; this was all traditional corporate caution, even pessimism,
typical of the old style of the company, which had to be broken.
Above all he was deeply concerned about the competition getting
out there first and losing prime mover position.

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FOREWORD

xi

Although we were doubtful, we wanted to believe him. We
went back and did more interviews with the shop floor and most
of the management, with similar results. They didn’t like it.
They weren’t comfortable. They were anxious. But the chairman
remained absolutely firm—launch in six months. At meetings
between the chairman and his top managers, which we attended,
doubts were raised, but in a muffled, implicit sort of way. Nobody
spoke up as they did when they were with us or alone with each
other because they were intimidated. There was clearly a tacit
agreement amongst managers not to rock the boat. We found
the rift between the top management and chairman disturbing,
but when we spoke to him about what we had heard he evidently
thought we were exaggerating.
Anyway despite our fears we went ahead. We wanted to
believe that it would be OK. We prepared the newly refreshed
brand; shortened the name, redesigned the logo with new colours,
new typography—the works. It was, though I say it with hindsight,
a brilliant piece of work, well planned and well executed. And we
launched.
What happened? It was a disaster from which the company
never truly recovered. We had helped to turn a decently performing,
low-profile, medium-sized company into a badly performing highprofile company. The machines weren’t ready. Deliveries were late.
The products didn’t perform. Service was slow and inadequate.
A couple of years later the company went into receivership.
___________
Why do I tell this story?
Because through that experience I learned a lesson that I never
forgot, an experience that Hatch and Schultz carefully lay out page
by page in this very thoughtful, thorough, intelligent, insightful
book. Get it right. And get your team behind you. Get the inside
and the outside working together. Don’t kid yourself. Develop a
brand based around real performance—not hype.

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FOREWORD

Schultz and Hatch have a lot of experience. What they write
about really happens. They recognise that brands need a mix of
functional and emotional content. That the whole company has
to believe in what it is doing, but that even then things can and
often do go wrong.
They believe you should not try to quantify the unquantifiable.
For example, they are sceptical about attributing a financial value
to a brand on the basis of theoretical and complex econometric
measurements. So am I.
I enthusiastically endorse the authors ’ approach. Hatch
and Schultz know what they are talking about. This is a very
worthwhile book.
Wally Olins
Goring-on-Thames
December 2007

Wally Olins is the co-founder and former chairman of Wolff Olins
and currently the chairman of Saffron Brand Consultants. One of
the world’s most experienced practitioners of corporate identity and
branding, he has been consulting with leading companies, regions,
and institutions all over the world and is the author of numerous
renowned books and articles on corporate identity and branding. Olins is a visiting fellow at Said Business School in Oxford
and adjunct professor at Lancaster University and Copenhagen
Business School. Learn more from www.wallyolins.com.

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Preface

This book was inspired by a joint venture between the authors and
corporate branding leaders from some of the world’s most wellbranded companies. Corporate brand managers from the LEGO
Group, Nissan, Novo Nordisk, Johnson & Johnson, ING Group,
Telefónica, SONY, and Boeing all participated. Known as the Corporate Brand Initiative (CBI), this undertaking involved regular
meetings on both sides of the Atlantic to focus on defining and
refining the field of brand management by sharing issues and challenges as they arose. CBI was supported by the Copenhagen Business School and the University of Virginia, with funding from the
LEGO Group.
We created CBI in partnership with this particular group of
managers because we felt that they sat at the forefront of corporate
branding as an exciting new business practice. Being in the vanguard meant that the participants had few role models to follow,
and CBI was a means for them to build an intellectual foundation
for their work and to help one another develop processes and practices that would benefit their firms.
In part, participants agreed to join CBI to explore the value
of organization theory in their world and to help educate students
about corporate brand management. Members included a COO
and functional executives from Marketing, Communication, and
Human Resources, all of whom operated across multiple functions
in their organizations to produce corporate brand thinking and
influence decision making company-wide. This book documents
the knowledge that CBI produced.
xiii

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xiv

PREFACE

Acknowledgments
We have many people to acknowledge for their indispensable help
with this project. Those involved in CBI include Simon Boege,
Francesco Ciccolella, Stefan Gerond, Esther Trujillo Gimenez,
Erich Joachimstahler, Iben Eiby Johannesen, Philip Mirvis, George
Overstreet, Mark Perry, Alberto Andreu Pinillos, Caty Price, Owen
K. Rankin, James Rubin, Mike Rulis, Kåre Schultz, Julie Staudenmier, Anne Toulouse, Frank Banke Troelsen, and Denise Yohn. In
addition, CEOs Jørgen Vig Knudstorp and Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen,
both of the LEGO Group, and Peter Ingwersen of Noir were more
than generous with their time in sharing their experience and
knowledge with us.
We thank Philip Mirvis, Lee Bolman, and Kåre Schultz for
much good advice on early drafts of the book; Phil in particular
played many roles, he was our sounding board, adviser, devil’s
advocate, and writing coach. Several others were instrumental in
helping us refine some of the case stories. Deserving thanks in this
regard are Nick Adams, Doug Childs, Charlotte Ersbøll, Andrea
Higham, Iben Eiby Johannesen, Esben Karmark, Tom Lassiter,
Mark Perry, James Rubin, Mike Rulis, and Paul Vinnogradov.
Wally Olins and Edgar Schein have been our mentors over
many years and continue to be sources of inspiration to our work
on corporate branding and organizational culture respectively.
Our study of Wolff-Olins, the corporate identity and branding
firm Wally co-founded, seeded our early writings on corporate
branding and we learned a great deal working with Wally’s many
colleagues there, particularly Hans Arnold, Doug Hamilton,
Jonathan Knowles, Paul Vinnogradov, John Williamson, Charles
Wright, and Pamela Wooley. We also thank David Aaker, Yun Mi
Antorini, John Balmer, David Bickerton, Lesley de Chernatony,
Rosa Chung, Gary Davies, Charles Fombrun, Andrea Higham,
Nikolas Ind, Esben Karmark, Simon Knox, Martin Kornberger,
Stan Maklin, Kasper Ulf Nielsen, Niels Christian Nielsen, James
O’Rourke, Davide Ravasi, Cees Van Riel, Violina Rindova, and

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PREFACE

xv

Nikolas Trad, with whom we have enjoyed many scintillating
conversations regarding branding matters over the years.
The team at Jossey-Bass, especially Neal Maillet, Jessie Mandle,
Carolyn Carlstroem, Kasi Miller, Rob Brandt, Andrea Flint, and
Hilary Powers, were indispensable in getting this book into print.
Finally, we thank Skype, without which this book would have been
significantly more costly and altogether less fun to write.
Mary Jo Hatch
Ipswich, Massachusetts
Majken Schultz
Copenhagen, Denmark
December 2007

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Introduction

A corporate brand is one of the most important strategic assets a
business can have. In our globalizing world, companies that manage their corporate brands effectively gain advantages of market
entry, penetration, and differentiation over their competitors in
ways that help them integrate their wide-ranging activities. But
no brand does this perfectly forever—the environment they face
changes constantly, with ever-shifting patterns of competition and
fluctuations in stakeholder support.
Alongside the growing importance of corporate brand in the
midst of change comes the need for a different sort of brand management. No longer do marketing departments rule the domain
of branding. Instead, responsibility radiates out from the very
top of the company to every nook and cranny in the organization
and, beyond even this, into the web of stakeholders that make up
the enterprise. As a consequence of these changes, current ways of
thinking about corporate branding are in need of an overhaul.
For the past several years we have worked alongside executives as they dealt with a range of challenging business issues.
Nissan needed to reinvent itself as a strong niche player to correct past sins of copying archrival Toyota instead of forging its
own identity. As a medium-sized company from a small country,
Novo Nordisk needed to make a broad enough gesture to get
noticed on the global stage. Telefónica, a huge bureaucracy trying
to reinvent itself following privatization, was flailing about as it
acquired the also newly privatized telephone companies of several
Latin American countries while juggling the shift from landline

xvii

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INTRODUCTION

to mobile services. Boeing was struggling to redefine itself after its
acquisition of McDonald Douglas and to recover from contracting
scandals. Johnson & Johnson, rated among the world’s top corporate brands, needed to establish itself in China. And the LEGO
Group was in the throes of a financial meltdown, the result of not
knowing how best to respond to the shifting play patterns of kids
who are growing older and ditching traditional toys for electronic
games and other gizmos.
What brought these managers together was the recognition
that they were all facing corporate branding problems. Through
the Corporate Brand Initiative (CBI), a three-year collaborative
self-study that produced the frameworks presented in this book, we
were able to track these managers as they became experts in handling corporate brands, not in the restrictive sense of logo design
and consistency of message but in the sense of drawing on all the
people who make up their enterprises.
As the CBI managers learned from each other, so we learned
from them how each stakeholder plays an important role in defining the meaning and creating the value of the brand that connects
the stakeholders to the enterprise. Together we developed and
learned to use the brand management techniques described in this
book. In the process, we developed a diagnostic model for assessing how well companies manage their corporate brands through
alignment of their strategic visions, organizational cultures, and
stakeholder images, along with a theory of organizational identity
dynamics that underpins the model.
In Part One, we guide you through the basics of what makes
corporate brands work—and why they sometimes don’t. Our
examples show what corporate branding in the wider domain of
the enterprise means, how corporate branding as we see it differs
from what marketers and economists describe, and how the managers we studied shifted their practices as they began to employ
these new ways of thinking in their companies.
Part Two examines the variety of management practices
and processes involved in the execution of full-scale corporate

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INTRODUCTION

xix

branding. We begin by describing the varying roles leaders play
in branding over the life of the organization. Then we shift attention to how employees serve and are served by the corporate
brand they help build through their everyday work activities and
the organizational culture they create. Finally, we explain how
brands can become part of the stakeholder communities through
which they live without jeopardizing the delicate relationships
that sustain them.
Part Three concludes by pulling all the threads of corporate
branding together. There we show you how the LEGO Group
found its way back from the brink of disaster by learning to align
its vision, culture, and images through corporate branding. To
show you how to do the same for your corporate brand, the final
chapter translates the knowledge presented in this book into concrete steps. It includes reflections on where the field of corporate
branding is headed, how best to prepare yourself to manage your
corporate brand, and the dilemmas branding presents as well as
advice for how to confront them based on our studies of the CBI
companies and others that have built strong corporate brands.
The pages of this book include plenty of examples of brand
executives using the ideas we offer to execute brand strategy. The
examples are meant to inspire you to try similar things in your
organization, but beware of imposing any of these ideas as a readymade solution. The corporate brand management practices that
are right for your company will need to come from the unique
values and meanings that you and your enterprise alone can provide. The VCI Alignment Model and the organizational identity
dynamics conversation that underpin it all are designed to set the
stage for your success. Once you have mastered these tools, you
should be ready to lead your corporate branding effort now and
into the future.

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Taking Brand Initiative

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Part One

THE BASICS

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