Polysemic Corporate Branding

Institute of Marketing and Communication Management

Brands are inherently and inescapably polysemic, as their meanings derive from the accumulation of numerous actions by organizations and the involvement of various stakeholders. This was the topic of conversation during a summer lunch when the three authors got back together right after the first lockdown. The conversation continued for several months, in a dialogue between the "corporate" and "marketing" souls of the Institute, discussing the managerial challenges that polysemy poses to corporate brand managers: how can managers loosen control and embrace the diversity of brand meanings held by stakeholders, while maintaining strategic direction in the dynamic conversations that develop with them?

The recently published chapter in The Routledge Companion to Corporate Branding is the result of such a conversation. Using the metaphor of a colour wheel, the authors discuss the managerial tradeoffs inherent in polysemic corporate brand management.

Zamparini, A., Visconti, L. M., and Lurati, F. (2022) Polysemic corporate branding: Managing the idea. In Iglesias, O., Ind, N., & Schultz, M. (Eds.) The Routledge Companion to Corporate Branding (pp. 300-320). London: Routledge.