Corporate visual identity in foreign markets : An analysis of the relationship between firm- and market-level factors and CVI adjustments of multinational firms and their performance

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för marknadsföring (MF); Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för marknadsföring (MF)

Abstract: Purpose: The purpose of this study is to analyze how major transnational firms adjust their corporate visual identity (CVI) when entering foreign markets and to determine whether there is a relationship between firmand market-level factors and CVI adjustments as well as an impact on a company’s performance. Methodology/approach: A deductive approach was applied utilizing triangulation with quantitative research through a content analysis of websites of transnational firms (n=329) and qualitative research through semi-structured interviews with six firms. Findings: Out of all observed companies, 46.2% adjusted at least one element of their CVI when entering a foreign market, with most changes being incremental and the slogan being adjusted most often. The greater the international experience of a firm, the less likely are CVI adjustments. Out of the qualitative analysis, a major impact of global branding strategies arose, which often sets strict guidelines for local managers. There are positive relationships to the industries of food processing and restaurants and a negative relationship to the industry of automotive & truck manufacturers. Whether B2B or B2C markets are targeted is, however, not significant. The firm’s performance is not affected by CVI adjustments as no significant relationship has been found. Managerial implications: Managers cannot follow one general conclusion with regards to CVI adjustments found within literature, they should rather take the individual firm- and market-level factors of their business environment into account and use this study as well as additional scientific evidence as the starting point for their own decision-making process. Research limitations/implications: Limitations include the number of items and the convenience sample, as well as the limitation to only one foreign market per company for the analysis. The empirical data represents a certain point in time and does not reflect any developments that may have occurred over time. Further research may include a statistical analysis of the factor of global brand strategy and an investigation on how CVI adjustments and with it a firm’s performance change over time. In addition, a follow-up study could take into account all foreign markets a multinational firm operates in. Originality/value: This paper is one of the first to analyze adjustments of CVI elements and theirrelationships with firm- and market-level industries on a global scale, not limited to few companies or countries. Thus more general conclusions can be drawn.

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