Corporate versus product branding
An Akzo Nobel case study

Page 1: Introduction

This case study focuses on how Akzo Nobel, an organisation with many separate business units, an extremely diverse range of products and a large operating area, is developing a common thread of relationships between its business units based on corporate branding that reflects the central values of the company.Akzo Nobel, headquartered in Arnhem, the Netherlands, is a market-driven and...
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Page 2: Core purpose and values

Akzo Nobel recognises that much of its strength lies in its diversity and therefore it seeks to channel this diversity in a positive direction to enhance the corporate branding of the company. The core purpose of the organisation has been established as: ‘diversity as core competence.’In practice, this means avoiding a centralised, hierarchical management structure in favour of a...
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Page 3: Corporate brand

Akzo Nobel serves both large industrial markets, such as the oil and aerospace industries and local consumer markets, such as chemists or DIY stores. Branding for such an organisation is therefore much more complex than, say, for McDonalds, with its standardised operations and retailing outlets wholly focused on the consumer market. The vital question is how to create a corporate brand that...
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Page 4: The challenge

Akzo Nobel currently has 27 ‘autonomous’ business units each with its own distinctive culture. Increasingly, however, units are developing a stronger association with corporate branding. The organisation gains a strength from the sum of its parts working together. The corporate brand is not an exclusive property of the Board of Management or corporate headquarters - it is shared by all...
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Page 5: Reputation

Reputation 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...
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Page 6: Corporate versus product branding

Akzo Nobel faces the challenge of creating a balance between corporate and product branding within its business units. The following examples set out to highlight some of the issues involved. Akzo Nobel Chemicals. Akzo Nobel Chemicals uses Akzo Nobel branding as a matter of course - it seems to be the right thing to do! This organisation feels that trying to sell without the Akzo Nobel name would...
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