Revisiting the Complexities of Corporate Branding: Issues, Paradoxes, Solutions

Richard Gyrd-Jones, Bill Merrilees, Dale Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The evolution of corporate branding literature since the seminal paper by Balmer is evaluated. The literature exhibits signs of maturing, which is evidenced by multiple theoretical underpinnings and a widening scope. Four themes are identified: (i) corporate brand as differentiation; (ii) corporate brand as corporate communication; (iii) corporate brand as a values-based approach; and (iv) corporate brand as internal branding approaches. We give special attention to issues of corporate communication, corporate identity, corporate vision, multiple stakeholders, alignment, multiple voices, corporate values and organisational culture. The themes are examined through a ‘paradox’ lens. Each theme is discussed in terms of the theoretical challenges arising from complexities in that aspect of corporate branding, ensuing apparent paradoxes and possible solutions for each paradox. The paradoxes are not treated as an aberration, but rather are useful as a foundation for developing theory in corporate branding. We believe that these are natural conditions in a complex area involving multiple external and internal stakeholders. The aim is to reconstruct corporate branding theory through greater sensitivity to complex nuances. The four areas of solutions to specific paradoxes assist both theory development and corporate branding practice.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Brand Management
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)571-589
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Cite this