Publication Details

This article was originally published as Leitch, S & Motion, J, Retooling the corporate brand: A Foucauldian perspective on normalisation and differentiation, The Journal of Brand Management, 15(1), 2007, 71-80.


In this article we draw upon the social theory of Michel Foucault to explore the neglected tension between normalization and differentiation in corporate branding. The mainstream response within the corporate marketing literature to addressing this tension is exemplified by Deephouse who argues for the identification of a ‘strategic balance point’35 which would lead managers to strive for the singular identity that represents the ideal compromise between differentiation and conformity. In contrast we contend that corporate brands exist in multiple discourse contexts, that the tension between normalization and differentiation must be managed within each of these contexts, and that the brand positioning may therefore vary between and within discourse contexts. We also argue that corporate marketers consider the use of strategic ambiguity in managing the tension between normalization and differentiation because it facilitates the creation of flexible interpretations and therefore allows multiple branding strategies to evolve and flourish.



Link to publisher version (DOI)