By Kuah Guan Oo
Photo by Marina Ismail
SERDANG, May 30 (UPM) – A joint research paper on corporate image by two lecturers of Universiti Putra Malaysia and their co-researcher from University of Technology Petronas has been selected by the Emerald Group Publishing as its 2014 Highly Commended Paper winner .
The research on “Building a unique online corporate identity” was led by Assoc. Prof Dr Zulhamri Abdullah, a corporate branding lecturer who is the director of the Centre of Entrepreneurial Development & Graduate Marketability (CEM) of UPM.
His co-researchers are Assoc Prof Dr Yuhanis Abdul Aziz, head of the Department of Management and Marketing of UPM’s Faculty of Economics and Management and Assoc Prof Dr Shahrina Md Nordin, of the Department of Management and Humanities of University of Technology Petronas.
Their paper was chosen for the Marketing Intelligence & Planning category by the jury of the UK-based global publisher, whose stated mission is to link research and practice to the benefit of society.
According to its website, the company manages a portfolio of more than 290 journals and over 2,350 books and book series volumes. It also provides an extensive range of online products and additional customer resources and services.
Dr Zulhamri and Dr Yuhanis were elated over the Emerald selection, saying that it took them almost two years to complete their research and content analysis on the current state of mission and vision statements on the corporate websites of 300 Malaysian and 214 Singaporean corporations, based on Aaker’s brand personality criteria.
Combining their respective field of expertise – Dr Zulhamri in communication and corporate branding, Dr Yuhanis in services marketing and Dr Shahrina in corporate communication – the trio had painstakingly analysed the online mission and vision statements of these public-listed companies and examined how the Aaker’s criteria were effectively used to develop a unique corporate identity.
Dr David A. Aaker is a marketing guru and professor of marketing at the University of California at Berkeley.
“Sad to say, we found that these companies had failed our test to project themselves to the level or standard of corporate identity in the context of five characteristics used to analyse and judge their online vision and mission statements,” said Dr Zulhamri.
The five criteria are sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication and ruggedness, each of which has its own sub-characteristics. (http://www.emeraldgrouppublishing .com/authors/literati and http://www.emeraldinsight.com/10.1108/MIP-04-2013-0057) .
“The results were a surprise to us as well, because it showed rather poor planning and projection of corporate image by these public-listed companies.
“But we are looking at them at the upstream level which may bear only an indirect relationship as these companies tend to focus on their assurance of goods and services at the downstream level ,” he said.
Dr Yuhanis who said her role in the research was analytical, considered the Emerald limelight an achievement because most of the other research work selected were mainly on marketing, not so much on corporate communication.
“Most market researchers would focus on downstream activities, not upstream like web sites for corporate identity, branding and image,” she added.
Like Dr Zulhamri, she saw the Emerald award as an international recognition for their research. – UPM/kgo
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