Corporate advertising is sometimes portrayed as a wasteful use of corporate resources. Critics say it is self-indulgent ego-stroking by management that often backfires to reflect negatively on the company and/or is seen by consumers who don’t like or understand it. (See typical talking points with a good example of how not to do corporate advertising here.) Some go further and suggest it is subversive. (See this classic 1970 essay by Milton Friedman.) When done right, though, corporate advertising is a valuable tool for facilitating corporate survival.
Successful corporate advertising helps companies shape a coherent umbrella identity for their disparate products and activities and, for companies with contentious public relations issues, advance viewpoints and mitigate image problems. It does this through messaging that builds positive perceptions among the company’s many capital providers, including customers, public opinion leaders, employees, and shareholders. It differs from traditional brand advertising in that it is centered on the company and the benefits of the corporation to society, rather than an individual product produced by the company and simply increasing profits by acquiring and retaining customers.
Like all advertising campaigns, good corporate advertising is effective on different levels. Its value is always a function of its objectives and the quality of its content. Continue Reading →