20 Citations (Scopus)


Despite the widely recognized relevance of corporate branding (CB) to gain competitive advantage, CB studies suffer from highly fragmented perspectives that make it difficult to discern the value of CB and orient its practices. Our study is aimed at clarifying how CB has been approached in the academic and practitioners' literature so far to identify the contribution of these different perspectives. To investigate the debate on CB, we adopted a systematic software-assisted content analysis, appropriate when the research aims are to disentangle multiple perspectives on a phenomenon. Software-aided content analysis allows a rigorous treatment of a text highlighting recurrent themes, their semantic links, co-occurrences and correspondences among lexical units. Our findings suggest that CB is a crucial crossroad between ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ of a company acting as a ‘bridge’ among key intangibles and as an ‘inside–outside’ interface between company and stakeholders. The Thematic Analysis of Elementary Contexts highlights four clusters related to how CB and communication have been conceived. In discussing the findings, we propose integrated marketing communications (IMC) as a conceptual and managerial framework capable of making sense out of CB complexity and casting light on the complementarities between the often conflicting academic and practitioners' views on CB.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)260-283
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Marketing Communications
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • communication
  • content analysis
  • corporate branding
  • intangible assets


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