Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the current state of mission and vision statements on corporate web sites and to analyze differentiation strategies through the use of online brand personality attributes in order to find if and how the attributes are effectively used to build up a unique corporate identity. Design/methodology/approach – Content analysis is used to investigate similarities and differences between sectors and industries in Switzerland, based on the brand personality scale of Aaker. Also, the paper focuses on the impact of the communication of brand personality elements, in terms of positioning and differentiation, using correspondence analysis. Findings – The claim that companies do present brand personality by frequently communicating respective attributes through mission and vision statements published on their web site are supported. However, top management does not seem to be geared towards industry norms when phrasing the statements, as a considerable similarity in statement content is found across industries. The results show that companies position themselves using their competitors as a frame of reference. Research limitations/implications – The results may lack generalizability to small and medium‐sized businesses and other industries. Practical implications – As most companies in the study position themselves using the same attributes and specifically emphasize “competence,” the results include practical implications for the need to develop uniqueness and differentiation by other means. Originality/value – This paper discovers a gap between the claim that organizations seek uniqueness in their personality attributes and the reality of their involvement in mutual coorientation when defining their identity, forcing them to adapt to each other.
Corporate Communications: An International Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 2, 2010
Keywords: Corporate identity; Brand identity; Mission statements; Switzerland