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Corporate Reputation Review

Volume 5 Numbers 2 and 3

Gaps Between the Internal and External
Perceptions of the Corporate Brand
Gary Davies and Rosa Chun
Manchester Business School

Corporate Reputation Review,
Vol. 5, Nos. 2/3, 2002, pp. 144–158
# Henry Stewart Publications,

Page 144

The corporate branding and reputation literatures both refer to the significance of gaps between the employee and customer perceptions of the corporate brand. There is a generally held view that the two perspectives should be aligned. In particular there is a view that any gaps between the two should be reduced. In this study a standardized ‘Corporate Personality
Scale’ was used, to measure the employee perceptions (referred to as identity) and customer perceptions (referred to as image) of the corporate brand image of two department stores. The stores were both part of the same group, but traded under different names and in different locations. Gaps were identified between the image and identity for both stores. In one, the image was found to be superior to the identity. In the other, the identity was superior to the image.
The former store had benefited from a substantial investment in store redesign but investment in staff and their training had been neglected.
The results are discussed within the theory of retail marketing and the more general work on corporate branding. Some practical implications are identified.
If image and identity co-evolve, then any gaps between them are likely to promote a change in one or both. It is argued that identity will lead image rather than vice versa and that, if gaps exist, then having an identity that is superior to one’s image is preferable to having an image that is superior to one’s identity.

The challenges of corporate branding differ in…...

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