Corporate Brand Equity Derives from Overall Impression by All Stakeholders

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According to Fombrun(1996, 194) a company’s corporate brand equity or reputation derives from the (healthy) relationships with the following audiences:

the local community
government, and
the public at large

Corporate reputation is formed by all the different stakeholder groups of the organisation in response to information received, and experience of the organisation. The various groups take different cues and different sets of attributes into account and each will give these a different weighting. This is why each one of these groups will probably form a different image of the organisation. Investors and stock brokers will probably emphasise financial performance, while the consumer public will give importance to high product quality. Together these images/views of the different stakeholder groups over time form the corporate reputation (Caruana, 1997).

Corporate reputation is sometimes defined as the “collective opinion of stakeholders toward an organisation based on its past record”. A good reputation is then “awarded” to those organisations who are seen to have a good behaviour and with whom they have had positive experiences (Frost & Cooke, 1999, 22). Fombrun (1996, p.37) also defines a corporate reputation as the overall estimation in which a company is held by its stakeholders; the “net” emotional reaction of customers, investors, employees, and the general public to the company’s name.

Fombrun (1996, 62-72) concludes that each stakeholder group expect something different from an organization, this being the reason why a company will develop inconsistent images with different constituent groups. For example, customers expect reliability, investors and suppliers expect credibility, employees expect trustworthiness, communities expect corporate responsibility (see figure 3-2, 72). In a study of the reputation of a certain company among the financial community and the readers of Mail...
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