Organizational identity is very important in the organizational theory. It is a field of study under the broad category of organizational theory. This field of study is based on the query on the identity of an organization. It seeks to find out the answer to the question of what is the identity of people as an organization. Albert and Whetten first defined this concept in 1985 and later Whetten updated it in 2006. Organizational identity is dependent on knowledge, behavior and attitude of the objectives of an organization. In an organization, a central, distinctive identity can improve the effectiveness and performance and can frame a mechanism for decision making process (Whetten, Foreman & Dyer, 2014). According to Alvesson (2016), the organizational identity can be seen as a device for facilitating the conception and execution of the strategic actions. This generates more value for the organization. At the same time, on the individual level, the organizational identity has influence on the employees’ choices on strategic, operational and organizational issues (Bartel, Baldi & Dukerich, 2016). Hence, it can be said that, a strong identity of the organization has a positive impact on the employees’ view on the organizational objectives.
According to Whetten, Foreman and Dyer (2014), organizational identity has three different attributes, namely, central, enduring and distinguishing attributes. An organization must have these three attributes to have a strong and valid identity. However, the concept of organizational identity is related but very different from organizational image (Haslam et al., 2014). Organizational image refers to the people’s opinion and global impression about an organization and is based on people’s knowledge and beliefs about the organization. Hence, organizational identity depends on the attributes of the organization while organizational image depends on people’s perception based on the activities of the organization.
The background of this research report relates to the difference in the concept of organizational identity and image. How the concepts are related as well as different from each other and their impacts on the organizational performance provides the scope for this study. The aim of the study is to find out the connection among advertising, public relations and marketing with the organizational identities. The influence of the organizational identity and image on the organizational communication and vice versa is the research topic for this report. Lack of secondary data is the major limitation of the study. Since, the topic is very subjective and relative to perspectives, it is difficult to prove any particular point. This report can help the future researchers by opening up a new direction on the organizational communication and its influence on organizational identity.
Secondary data analysis will be conducted for this research since primary data cannot be collected. Qualitative analysis will be performed on the secondary data on organizational identity and organizational communication, gathered from various academic literatures, such as, journals, books, magazines, official websites, etc.
Defining Organisation Identity And Image
Organisational identity has three main attributes and they are distinctive in nature. As opined by Albert and Whetten (2014), organisational identity is related to the central attributes and these attributes have altered the history of an organisation. These attributes are important and if these attributes were missing, the organisational history would have changed. Enduring attributes are related to the deeply ingrained with the company and these can be related to the embedded history of the organisation. In addition, distinguishing attributes are used by the companies in order to separate itself from other companies and the organisations want to set the minimum standards through the norms of organisations. As opined by Jo Hatch and Schultz (2017), organisational identity is made by the leaders of an organisation and this is the core beliefs and values that can guide the behaviour of the organisation. Organisational identity refers to the members' perception, feeling and thinking style for the organisation; however, corporate identity can differ with the organisational identity. However, the management can sway the organisational identity through media attention. On the contrary, an employee’s perception of the organisation can be completely different from the media’s perception of the organisation. An organisation manages the identity of the organisation in a way that can impact the purchase decision of the customers. Additionally, the organisations use mainly four actions to build the organisational identity, analogies, storytelling, pouring social evaluations and establishing alliances. The identity of an organisation can be conceived as the visual manifestation of the organisational reality and this can be expressed through name, products, logo, colour and motto of the organisations. It is significant to tap the mind of the consumers through the identity of the organisation as organisations itself need to take actions in order to differentiate itself in the market. For instance, FedEx organisation changed its name from Federal Express to demonstrate that it listens to the customers' wants. It took a vow to maintain the identity through identity audit, designs and objectives of the organisation.
On the other side, the organisational image is a concept that creates impressions of the organisations or individuals. Through the organisational image, the management wants to convey the message to the customers. As stated by Alvesson (2016), organisation image encapsulates the similarity of an organisation and it has a strong impact on the customers that can enhance the organisational experiences. The organisations use mainly organisational image in seeking the membership, identity of the organisations, aligning the decisions, comparing the organisations and understanding the roles of the organisations. In an industry, there are many similar organisations and a brand image can envision the activities of the organisation that can separate the organisations from others. In this regard, the communication channels of the organisations must be used. As suggested by Rafeli and Pratt (2013), the image can be defined as the function of how constituencies perceive the organisation based on the message it sends through logo and name through self-preservation.
Organizational Communication Channels
Organizational communication refers to the communication among the employees within an organization. There are various channels for communicating in an organization. These are used to deliver messages and get feedbacks from the employees and the management (Men, 2014). As stated by Stephens, Barrett and Mahometa (2013), effective communication can improve employees’ performances and hence, organizational productivity can improve. Suitable communication channel must be chosen for specific tasks to be completed. Some tasks require complex channels, facilitating clarity in communication, while some require simple channels.
The channels for organizational communications are of many types. Face-to-face communication, broadcast media, digital channel, mobile and written communication are various types of channels that are used by the organizations for their daily internal communications (Mykkänen & Tampere, 2014).
The most common and effective communication channel is the face-to-face communication. Physical presence, attitude, body language, voice tone, and facial expressions of the speaker matters the most in this type of communication. These help in delivering the message directly and quickly and interpreting those messages by the audience becomes easy. For emotional messages, this type of communication is most effective as it helps in clarifying ambiguity between the speaker and the listener (Dijk, Antonides & Schillewaert, 2014).
Broadcast media is used for communicating with a mass audience. Radio, TV and loud speakers are used for this. Within an organization, which has office locations in different parts of the world, the CEO or President may communicate or address the employees through television feed broadcast or announcement.
MacInnis, Park and Priester (2014) state that digital or electronic channels include email, intranet, internet and social media networks. For one-to-one, or group communication, this channel is used most frequently. This is a less personal but more efficient communication channel. Web conference is another type of digital communication that is helpful when a conference is arranged for employees located in different cities.
Mobile communication is mostly used when communication is required in with a small group or on an urgent basis. It saves the time required for arranging face-to-face meetings.
Written communication is performed when a message needs to be delivered only and does not call for a personal interaction. Memos, notices, newsletters, policy letters, manuals are the types of written communication (Men, 2014).
Necessity of Brand Image for an Organization
Brand image refers to the impression or imprint of the brand that is developed over a period of time within the consumer’s mind. The brand image is very important for any organization. It is one of the determining factors of sales and revenues of an organization. In simple terms, the brand image or reputation is the accumulation of views and beliefs about a particular brand. The features, nature and value of a brand is portrayed through its image or reputation (Jayapal & Omar, 2017).
According to Storesund and Olsson (2015), the brand image of an organization is the mirror, which reflects the key values of the organization. The modern generation identifies with an organization through its brand image. The visual identity of a company catches the eyes of the consumers. People tend to form their opinion about an organization just by seeing it, even before knowing about it in details, hence, visual representation is the most important thing for an organization to build a strong brand image. It also helps in differentiating one organization from the other. The brand image is extremely important in today’s industrial world as it helps in pushing the organization and its products ahead of the competition and gaining trust of the consumers.
The elements that are most essential in creating a brand identity for the organization are, meaning of the logo, attractive and meaningful tagline, differentiation, durability and flexibility, coherence, and its look and feel. Creation of a strong brand image requires few steps. Firstly, the organization must identify its key audiences. Unless it could identify its audience correctly, its marketing strategy might fail completely (Buil, De Chernatony & Martínez, 2013). Secondly, it should determine the critical organizational goals, as without any short and long term goal, the brand image will not sustain. Thirdly, the brand persona must be properly developed. It should be appealing and articulate about product’s benefits and its USP. This helps in developing the image and direction. Lastly, key messages from the brand should be well designed and developed properly. The organization must develop key messages for its brand, which would be the takeaways for the consumers while interacting with the brand. The key messaging includes the unique aspects of the organization and its way of business and value added for the consumers, along with a snapshot of the brand personality (Black & Veloutsou, 2017).
As stated by Ramaswamy and Ozcan (2016), once the steps are taken for developing a strong brand image, the organization should take steps for solidifying the brand image. Effective public relations, proper and accurate content, social media interaction and search engine optimization are the ejective ways for solidifying the brand image for an organization.
Impact of Advertising on Organizational Identity and Image
In recent times, most of the organisations are started to recognise the benefits related to the positive brand image and identity. For an organisation, the brand identity and image are not just the profitability and survival process, the organisations are trying to create a positive reputation for the organisation. The stakeholders of the organisations should understand that the companies have to run in the highly competitive market. Each of the stakeholders may have a different perception based on the beliefs, knowledge, feelings and impressions of the organisation (Saveri & Ling, 2013). However, the organisations are trying to influence the customers through the advertising and these advertising impact the consumers' purchase decisions. These advertisements create a favourable image of the organisations and it can boost the organisations' sales through enhancement of customers' satisfaction and loyalty. However, the advertisements can improve the relationship between organisations and potential customers; in addition, these attract the future employees and investors (Arai, Ko & Ross, 2014). The visible manifestation of the communication through advertising can improve the corporate image of the organisation and it increases the visibility of the brands among the customers. The uses of symbols, logos, designs and products can promote the organisational image and identity. For instances, the International Brewery, Ilesa, the organisational image has been built through promotional materials through advertisements, investors, packaging and media.
AIDA model is an advertising model and it is often used by the organisation's management. The first stage of AIDA model is to generate the attention of the customers. The products and services that are offered must create attention and it can be done through eye-catchy advertisements. The second step of the model is to maintain the interest of the customers, as through the first step, potential customers are attracted to the products and services. The interest of the customers grows through product details and necessity. If the interests of the customers increase, the sellers can persuade the customers to purchase the services or products. As stated by He and Lai (2014), advertisements of the organisation create desire of the customers as well. The customers feel a desire to buy the products and these need to be transferred into actions by follow-ups. Most of the e-commerce websites, like Amazon, uses this model as they give the advertisements on web pages of the same products that have been searched by the potential customers.
When an organisation is running slow and the organisation needs a push, the advertisements can improve the performance of the organisation. Moreover, the people in today’s society believe in brand names, logos and show off their status. The organisations are trying to use the communication channel properly in order to advertise their brand names. The advertisements can be done through print media, online, social media and out-of-home advertisements (billboards, hoardings). The advertisements increase the organisational identity and it is a weapon of the organisation that helps in fighting with the competitors. As pointed out by (Shockley-Zalabak, 2014), the global emerging market is all about attracting the customers towards the organisation, however, prices of the services and products play an important role in this.
Influence of Public Relations on Organisation
Public Relations (PR) is the planned, deliberate and sustained efforts of the organisation to maintain a mutual understanding between public and organisations (Miller & Barbour, 2014). For an organisation, public relation can be many as general (community, pressure group and general public), financial (shareholder, investors and bankers), the media (Television, radio, national and trade press), commercial (Customers, suppliers and competitors), authority (Trade association, central and regularity bodies) and internal (employees and trade unions). The main functions of the public union are to report the financial condition of the organisations, to make aware of the organisations about consumers’ lifestyles, to aware of the crisis public relations and to make industry relations. The traditional role of the public relation was to communicate and gain the acceptance of progress and policies of the community. Nowadays, the new roles of the PR are to focus more on marketing, operate within marketing departments and incorporate marketing with PR functions (Hogg & Terry, 2014). PR professionals help to determine the public attitudes for the organisation they are in. Moreover, PR professionals help in planning and serve as a warning system of the organisation. In this regard, each of the large organisations keeps the PR to design a plan in order to take the crisis communication in a proactive manner and to execute the plan. PR determines the relevant target market of the communication of the organisation along with deciding on tools through which advertisements can be given (Kramer, 2014). PR tools that the organisations can use House Ads, Public service announcements, speakers, photographs, films and corporate advertising.
Marketing strategies of the organisation are set by the marketers and it makes a profitable relationship with all the stakeholders. Giving advertisements expend money from the organisation; however, these allure the customers to purchase the products. The customers get to know about the offerings of the organisations and the organisations use the channel of the advertisements in launching the new products (Hogg & Terry, 2014). PR can help in giving the ideas of products and services. Moreover, the expansion plan of the organisation and any changes of the organisation can be stated through PR. PR can use the innovation tool if the business is small and regular scanning of the communication through articles, news, presentations and public appearances that help the organisation in gaining the positive perception of the organisation. PR of an organisation can impact economic way also as this can pose awareness that can enrich with better positioning.
Role of Marketing in an Organisation
In recent times, there are various organisations that play the role of major players in the market who can provide quality products at low prices. In addition, the competition in the market has been increased due to a lot number of companies (Hollensen, 2015). In order to shine among the many organisations, the only road to reach the customers is the marketing. Social media is giving the marketing policy in a cost-effective way that can capture the major market of the organisation. Most of the companies gain customers and success through the marketing policy. Marketing helps an organisation to achieve the competitive advantage of the organisation. Moreover, the marketing plays a significant role in managing the relationship between the customers and the organisation. Marketing gives the confidence to the organisation in gaining the success and profitability.
Moreover, the marketing is a critical function that can oppose the crucial functions of the organisation. In profit led organisation, the management tries to grab maximum customers that can boost up the sales and increase the profitability and revenue. As opined by Hair and Lukas (2014), marketing helps the customers with branding and it increases the brand value of the organisation. Marketing is related to the participation of the organisation in customer interaction that can increase the organisation image. The role of the marketing is to illuminate in the customers' mind when they need to buy such services or products. For instance, MacDonald's always takes the advertisement and marketing seriously and they choose a common and trending subject for marketing. The marketing strategy of McDonald is innovative and they provide customers exclusive offers through membership cards, emails, points and bulk purchase.
Concept of Brand Loyalty and its Impact on Consumer Purchasing Decision
Brand loyalty can be defined as positive feelings that customers feel when they buy products from the organisations. Brand loyalty towards the organisation makes the customers repeatedly purchase the products again and again. The competition in the market is high, however, customers purchase from the same organisations and it demonstrates that the organisation has brand loyalty. Brand loyalty is the result of the organisation's identity and images. Moreover, organisations can use several channels of communication for PR and advertisements, and these communications can increase the brand loyalty of the organisation when the customers find that the products and services are high quality. Word-of-mouth plays an important role in increasing the brand loyalty of the organisation and business' values rest on brand loyalty also (Kramer, 2014).
Aaker model describes that brand equity can be a combination of brand loyalty, brand awareness and brand associations (Aaker & Biel, 2013). These all three factors can give products and services value. Brand management concept starts with the idea of organisational identity and it can be described as unique brand an association of the organisation that represents a brand stands for the brand image and customers. Aaker model deals with the brand as products where products scope, uses, values and product attributes are important factors. Brand as organisation describes as organisational attributes and local working of the organisation. Brand as person explains as consumer relationship with organisation and brand as symbol describes visual imagery of the organisation that tracks the brand heritage.
Brand loyalty gives the organisation power to raise the price also; however, the customers base will not decrease for this reason. In addition, consumer’s preferences change and the consumers are aware of the organisations that are present in the market. Consumer behaviour depends on the brand name, product quality, price and promotional factors (Haslam et al., 2014). Customers become loyal to one such brand as the switching barriers are low in economic, psychological and technical parts.
It can be concluded from the above research report that, organizational identity and organizational image are interdependent as well as quite different concepts, and both are extremely important for any organization. The identity is created by the organization while the brand image is created in the minds of the consumers. The brand or organizational image depends on many factors, and marketing strategy is one of them. The advertisements, public relations and marketing are all interdependent and is extremely essential for creating a brand image for an organization. Various literatures have been consulted to highlight various aspects of the above mentioned elements of the organizations. The communication channels of the organizations, necessity of brand image for the organization, impact of advertisement on the organizational identity and image through the AIDA model, influence of the public relations on the organization, role of marketing on an organization and concept of brand loyalty have been discussed in the report. It can be concluded that all these elements and concepts are interdependent and influential in developing the organizational identity and image.
It is found that, brand loyalty is dependent on both the organizational identity and image and brand equity is a combination of brand loyalty, brand associations and brand awareness. The organizations can make effective usage of the communication channels to create a strong image among the consumers’ minds. Similarly, for effective and wide marketing, the organizations can use public relations. Through a strong identity and image, an organization can stay ahead in a highly competitive market and increase its sales. Organizations must study the demographic and psychographic factors to understand the tastes and preferences of the consumers and must utilize that knowledge for developing a brand image. At the same time, the PR, advertisements and marketing strategies are other essential factors that can help the organizations to have a strong identity and image.
From the above research report, few things can be recommended for an organization.
Firstly, all the organizations, that want to make a strong organizational identity, must ensure that they have all three attributes as defined by Whetten. Centrality, distinctiveness and continuity must be achieved by the organizations, which includes the factors that changed the organization history, the factors that have been embedded in the nature of the organization and the distinguishing factors for it, which makes them different from the others.
Secondly, small organizations usually do not have a separate PR department due to lack of capital. Hence, for them, social networking sites are a very good option for marketing. These social media sites can advertise the products or services of the small organizations at a very low cost but can make them reach a bigger audience.
Thirdly, the organizations must do a thorough research for making a strong brand image. Unless they could segment and target their market precisely, it is difficult for them to survive in the industry.
Fourthly, the marketing strategy must focus on the USP (Unique Selling Point) for an organization, which is the most important factor for building a strong brand image.
As stated by Albert and Whetten, an organization can maintain a same identity throughout the life of the organization, or it may make a permanent change at some point in the life or it may change to a new one and again revert to the original one to improve their performances and to create a bigger brand image.
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