Reviewed by Dr Jessica Backlund (MA, PhD) and Shaun Powell (Btech, AIMgt, BAHons) from the International Corporate Branding and Identity Center... A good introduction to corporate communication, which covers the major developments in the field up to 1995 including chapters on corporate identity and corporate image. If this was an up to date version then it would of possibly been awarded more than 4 stars, which is due mainly to its age. An updated version would be very welcome from this author whom is a leading figure in the academic fields this book covers.
Full review: This book, first published in Dutch in 1992, aims to integrate the existing knowledge of corporate communication, to define the discipline and sum up what has been said about it (up until 1995). It also presents useful ways of implementing the ideas.
What then is corporate communication?
The author, a professor in corporate communication at the Business School of the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, defines it as the framework in which the various communication specialists in an organisation integrate the organizational message. This integration can help to define the corporate image and improve corporate performance.
The book consists of six chapters. The first one is an introduction to the field. It looks at the nature of corporate communication, for example what different types of communication there are and issues surrounding the different types.
Chapter two deals with corporate identity. It starts off with a theoretical discussion of the concept, which covers issues such as how a strong corporate identity can be useful and what different types there are. The second half of the chapter covers practical ways of measuring corporate identity.
Chapter three is similar in its form to chapter two, but focuses on corporate image instead of identity. After a theoretical start, the chapter looks at measurement methods used in practice.
In the fourth chapter several reference models are discussed, as well as practical models. Van Riel also presents his own corporate communication strategy model.
Chapter five looks at ways of organising the corporate communication process in order to integrate all the corporate messages that come from different sources.
The last chapter looks at case studies from four large international companies, in order to highlight the importance of theory in corporate communication.
The book has plenty of analytical discussions, models, diagrams and references to academic works but also practical examples and applications, and will appeal to both academics and practitioners, but is really more academic in content. The chapters are concise and not too long, and each one begins with an abstract. The book has a good mix of theoretical discussion, real life examples and ways of practical implementation. This book would suit anyone interested in corporate image, corporate identity and of course, corporate communication, especially those looking for an overview of these fields up until 1995.