Corporate Communication, Identity, Image, and Social Responsibility


Seminar Paper, 2010

11 Pages, Grade: 1,7



Table of Contents

1 Introduction

2 Corporate communication activities and tools
2.1 Theory – Corporate Communication
2.2 Current identity, activities and tools

3 Corporate Identity
3.1 Theory – Corporate Identity
3.2 Current identity, activities and tools

4 Corporate Image
4.1 Theory – Corporate Image
4.2 Current image

5 CSR programme and Corporate Communications
5.2 Theory – CSR
5.2 Assess the role of CSR within the organisation

6 Communication programme and Stakeholders
6.1 Identify stakeholders
6.2 Stakeholder and CSR consistency
6.3 Identity and CSR consistency
6.4 Image and CSR consistency

7 Communication Recommendations

Reference List

1 Introduction

This part of the progressive assignment about BMW Motorrad Australia is about the organisation’s communication activities, its identity and image, as well as its CSR programme. As BMW is a monolithic company, the information supplied about the mother company is also valid for BMW Motorrad Australia.

2 Corporate communication activities and tools

This section first defines corporate communication and secondly presents BMW’s current communication activities and tools.

2.1 Theory – Corporate Communication

Corporate communication is a key factor for the success of an organisation. “By ‘corporate communication’ we mean the corporation’s voice and the images it projects of itself […]” (Argenti & Forman, 2002, p. 4). According to Argenti and Forman (2002, p. 4), “corporate reputation, corporate advertising and advocacy, employee communications, investor relations, government relations, media management, and crisis communications” are part of corporate communication. Furthermore, “corporate communication is […] the processes a company uses to communicate all its messages to key constituencies” (Argenti & Forman, 2002, p. 4). Consequently, one of the main tasks of corporate communication is to create a positive relationship with the organisation’s stakeholders.

2.2 Current identity, activities and tools

Due to its corporate communication strategies, BMW created a unique identity. BMW is present in all media by advertising. Moreover, BMW produces booklets, brochures and CDs to promote its products. BMW also publishes theBMW Magazin. This premium magazine for BMW drivers is released twice a year in 29 languages with a total circulation of 2.9 million (Jahreszeitenverlag, 2009). Furthermore, BMW is present when it comes to famous events. For example, BWM will support the 2012 Olympic Games/Paralympics by providing 4,000 cars for athletes and other people involved (Auto-Motor-Sport, 2009). At the moment, BMW is in the media because the company supports Munich to become host of the Winter Olympics in 2018 (Reithofer, 2010). Events like the Olympics are famous worldwide and many people will watch them and see the BMW logo while following the Games.

Due to this variety of identity activities and tools, BMW is well known all over the world.

3 Corporate Identity

After providing some theory about corporate identity, this section will describe the identity of BMW.

3.1 Theory – Corporate Identity

Corporate identity is created by the company and is the organisation’s apparent manifestation. The identity is a company’s visual representation and should not be confused with the image. According to Howard (1998, p. 4) “this visual representation usually takes the form of a corporate signature and a corporate symbol or logo.” It is important to have a clear corporate identity in order to stand out from the competitors. Stakeholders immediately recognize an organisation that has a strong identity, for example due to a clear, well-known, and distinctive logo. Therefore, in order to be successful, the different components of a corporate identity need to be standardized and unitary. Furthermore, products, services, and employees are part of corporate identity (Argenti, 2009). Table 3.1 gives a summary of corporate identity theory.

Table 3.1 Summary of Corporate Identity theory

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3.2 Current identity, activities and tools

BMW is one of the best producers of cars and motorcycles in the world (Dimension Data Holdings plc, 2010). The whole company makes use of one visual style and stakeholders are able to recognise BMW immediately.

BMW’s slogan is “Freude am Fahren” which is internationally translated by “Sheer Driving Pleasure”. Furthermore, BMW has been using the tagline “The Ultimate Driving Machine” since several years (UK-German-Connection, n.d). Figure 3.1 shows the logo of BMW (BMW Group, 2010).

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Figure 3.2 Company logo

The blue and white colours refer to Bavaria and therefore the B of BMW. Bavaria is a German state where BMW started its production (Triebel, 2005). The logo comes across as dynamic and elegant. It is known worldwide.

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Figure 3.3 BMW buildings

The buildings BMW uses as sales- and showrooms, normally located on busy main roads, look always similar: light-coloured with huge panorama windows to exhibit the vehicles. Figure 3.3 illustrates BMW buildings.

The homepage of BMW Motorrad dealer Morgan and Wacker (n.d.) shows a picture of the dealer’s white-painted store with the BMW logo.

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BMW Brisbane (2010) exhibits its cars in a bright building with panorama windows at the corner of a street.

Regarding its products and services, BMW emphasizes forces like quality, safety, clean production and uniqueness. Regarding its employees, BMW provides an identity as good employer, for example due to the company’s work-life balance programme (BMW Group Responsibility, 2008).

4 Corporate Image

This chapter defines corporate image and describes the image of BMW.

4.1 Theory – Corporate Image

Corporate image is the stakeholders’ perception of an organisation. According to Argenti (2009), an organisation normally has different images because it has diverse constituencies with different point of views. “The corporate image comprises all the visual, verbal and behavioral elements that make up the organization. […]. If managed effectively, it should protect the organization against competition […].” (Howard, 1998, p.3). Therefore, a fragile or a stable corporate image influences an organisation’s sales volume and “will also affect the marketability and acceptability of the company’s products, services and human resources” (Howard, 1998, p. 4). In order to achieve an organisation’s mission, the image should be planned carefully and systematically and managed persistently (Howard, 1998). Due to researches conducted with stakeholders, organisations might be able to comprehend their image and find out how to improve.

4.2 Current image

According to BMW Motorrad Australia (n. d.), the companies image is the key factor in order “to be recognized as a uniquely client-focused, quality-oriented organisation”. BMW is known as “the world’s biggest luxury carmaker” (Germany Autos Report, 2010, p. 35). Having asked people of different ages what comes to their mind when thinking about BMW, they concordantly referred to words like speed, freedom, elegance and style. Some also referred to driving pleasure and luxury. Being asked about BMW motorcycles, they especially referred to speed, freedom and style. This indicates that BMW’s image is explicit. According to Busse (2006), BMW stands for quality, dynamic, and elegance. Howard (1998, p. 85) maintains that people associate words like “performance, style, speed” with BMW. Furthermore, BMW is considered to be a good employer (German Business Etiquette, 2009) and a pioneer related to the production of environmentally friendly vehicles (Germany Autos Report, 2010, p. 40).

5 CSR programme and Corporate Communications

First, this section provides theoretical information about CSR, secondly the role of CSR within BMW will be analysed.


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Corporate Communication, Identity, Image, and Social Responsibility
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