SAN FRANCISCO: Companies are not using PR for corporate branding,
even though business leaders do not perceive a difference between the
corporate brand and corporate reputation.
The role of PR in corporate brand management was the topic of a panel
held during the ICCO annual summit, moderated by Bob Druckenmiller,
chairman of Porter Novelli International.
The panelists were Paul Argenti, professor of management and corporate
communications at Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, John Onoda, SVP
and chief communications officer of Charles Schwab, and Burghardt
Tenderich, SVP of Applied Communications.
Druckenmiller revealed the results of a Tom Harris survey of 700 clients
on their attitudes toward the brand. "We asked, do they believe that in
the future their organizations would have to be managed as a brand, and
64% said yes. And more than 30% said they already were," Druckenmiller
reported. "But the majority said they did not have the internal
He also said most of the companies surveyed said there was "not really"
any difference between corporate brand and corporate reputation, but
that the resources they need internally are not PR, but brand
Onoda said one reason for PR's absence from the corporate branding
process is the result of weak in-house PR leadership. "In most major or
developed corporations, corporate communications is a minor, almost
irrelevant function," he said. Onoda added that PR agencies must help
their corporate counterparts gain credibility with strong
"A major impediment is that you have weak corporate partners," Onoda
said. "I advocate going in, understanding the business plan, and saying
where communications can have the most value. The greatest gain is by
making smarter clients."