Methods to reveal the corporate identity

There are many methods to reveal the actual corporate identity.

Van Riel and Balmer have presented three methods. The first one is Balmer’s affinity audit which is a specialized method using the principles of ethnography. Then there is laddering technique which relies on means and interviews resulting in Hierarchial Values Maps. And not lest to reveal the actual corporate identity there is also the Rotterdam Organizational Identification Test which reveals the degree of acceptance by personnel and the desired corporate identity as articulated by senior managers (van Riel, Balmer, 1997, p. 343).

All the above-presented methods are extensive and in-depth and require a lot of resources in the corporation and outside of the corporation. There is also a more pragmatic and less time-consuming way to reveal the desired corporate identity called the Spiderweb method (Bernstein, 1986 in van Riel, Balmer, 1997, p. 348).

The main advantage of the Spiderweb method is its simplicity and effectiveness. It could be used also in smaller organisations. It is a qualitative technique. It uses group discussions with top and senior managers which usually result in a large number of attributes. In the next stage, participants have to choose the eight most important characteristics and rate them with a school figure from one to ten regarding the actual (perceived) and the desired corporate identity.

A sample of a Dutch company on a wheel with eight spokes, representing a ten point-scale, with the zero value in the centre and the maximum ten-value at the end of each spoke is seen in a figure attached (van Riel, Balmer, 1997, p. 348).

Bernstein-s spiderweb method a sample of a Dutch company

Image source: van Riel, Balmer, 1997, p. 349

Source: van Riel, Cees B. M. and Balmer, John M. T.. 1997. Corporate identity: the concept, its measurements and management. European Journal of Marketing: 31/5/6, p. 340-355.


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