Corporate versus product branding
An Akzo Nobel case study

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Page 5: Reputation

Akzo Nobel 3 Image 6Reputation management is primarily long term and affects all the company’s stakeholders - shareholders, customers, employees, suppliers, government regulators, the media and even competitors. As a public company, Akzo Nobel is accountable to society for its activities. Its behaviour as a corporate citizen ultimately determines the continuance of its licence to operate.

Akzo Nobel has been developing competitive strengths in terms of its products and its communications, giving it a competitive edge. This is illustrated in the chart showing developments between 1950 and the year 2000. Today’s managers need to be able to involve employees in the decision making process and encourage them to share responsibility for business activities. This shared ownership leads to shared commitment. Akzo Nobel wants managers who command and control, but who also influence employees to buy into a common purpose, a set of directions and responsible business practices.

Corporations are publicly accountable for the value of their shares, financial strength, community behaviour, environmental responsibility, technological developments, etc. In other words, organisations today are judged by the quality of their corporate citizenship. At the same time, an organisation like Akzo Nobel draws on diversity and actively seeks to exploit local knowledge and the different perspectives that people from diverse backgrounds bring to the overall benefit of the company.

The benefits of corporate branding

Corporate brands can be used to build confidence. The best way to do this is to ensure that individual products do not overshadow the company as a whole and its values. At the same time, the marketing of product brands should not be hampered by the corporate brand. Developing a close connection between the individual brands, the business units of the company and the overarching company through corporate branding creates a clear competitive advantage for Akzo Nobel. The corporate brand creates credibility for new products in terms of quality and service and of course, successful new products can also add to the status of the corporate brand. The benefits of corporate branding include:

  • enhancing awareness of the company
  • creating a favourable impression of the company
  • altering perceptions of the company.

It therefore makes sense to pass on the benefits of corporate branding to individual products.

Akzo Nobel | Corporate versus product branding