Internal factors affecting brand performance
In terms of effective branding, several recent trends have indicated the need for greater attention within the organisation than has traditionally been the case. With increased emphasis on corporate branding, the team responsible for managing a brand is becoming larger and more diverse and all staff, as the corporate brand's representatives, affect consumers' perceptions of the corporate brand. Furthermore, the shift in emphasis in the literature from the externally perceived brand image to the internally created brand identity entails actively creating how an organisation wishes to be perceived. To project a consistent corporate brand successfully to consumers, all staff need to have congruent perceptions about the brand's identity. The aim of this research was to identify internal factors influencing brand team members' and consumer-facing staffs perceptions of their brand's identity and the impact of these factors and perceptions on consumers' perceptions and brand performance. A conceptual model was developed and associated hypotheses formulated. Studies were conducted using postal questionnaires with three stakeholder groups in the financial services sector: (i) brand team members, (ii) consumer-facing staff and (iii) consumers. Although failing to identify correctly all of the intervening variables, support was found for sections of the conceptual model. The research confirmed that larger corporate brand teams increased the diversity of members' functional backgrounds. While brand teams composed of members with diverse functional backgrounds potentially have a wider range of knowledge and information available to them, diversity in brand team members' characteristics was found to impair the congruency of their brand perceptions. The importance of congruent brand perceptions among different stakeholder groups and the effect of congruent brand perceptions on brand performance were demonstrated. The results emphasised the need for improved internal brand communications and highlighted the influence of consumer-facing staff on consumers' brand perceptions.