In an increasingly competitive marketplace, greater emphasis is being placed on brand image development as the basis for consumer discrimination. Advertising has a central role to play in developing brand image, whether at the corporate, retail or product level. It informs consumers of the functional capabilities of the brand while simultaneously imbuing the brand with symbolic values and meanings relevant to the consumer. These two functions of advertising closely parallel the informational and transformational schools of advertising effects and theories on the central and peripheral routes to consumer persuasion. Such dichotomous approaches to explanation are unlikely to represent the reality of consumer choice in that brand image is likely to be formed by the simultaneous absorption of advertising messages based on both the functional and expressive capabilities of brands.
Most studies on corporate branding and image have focused on the influence of external communication such as advertising and public relations. Less attention has been paid to the strategic role that internal communication and training can play. This study examines the internal communication and training functions at Singapore Airlines – one of the world's best international airlines – and how it is used strategically to enable cabin crew and ground staff to live its corporate values and consistently deliver on its brand promise of being 'a great way to fly'. It shows that internal communication and training should be treated as the 'first frontier' in the battle for the customer: when it is founded on strong corporate values, internal communication and training can help transform key employees such as cabin crew into 'walking embodiments' of the core values, and key touch points into opportunities for fulfilling the brand promise.
There has been considerable focus on how external communication – advertising, public... [continues]
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