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Change, re-branding, and communications: The fluctuating identity of a major UK organization
Unformatted Document Text:  Tracking Number: ICA-7-10798 17 plain texts), such as newsletters, memos, etc., were sent to staff and the press without the clear identity or concept of the brand conveyed in the message – inevitably subject to cynicism. It is suggested that an organization undergoing change transitions should develop informal discussion groups as powerful agents for change. Its underlying philosophy is to communicate change issues in an interactive atmosphere. Essentially, a mode of face-to-face communication aims to be reinforced and mobilized by the open discussion with regard to the change dimensions. The framework of the findings is given in Figure 2. A fundamental issue is the extent to which the re-branding to Avonia signaled a devaluation of the core identity of the firm. Though employees were reasonably clear about the strategic aims and external threats to the organization, the history and strong brand name of British Distribution had enabled them to maintain positive perceptions of the organization. Because many employees had relatives and parents who had worked for the firm, this sense of social identity was a powerful force within the firm, membership of which was valued, even in the absence of high pay or highly develop career paths. The re-branding undermined the sense of affirmation to the organization, with a name that was perceived to smack of consultant-speak and served to deny the heritage of the organization. A major complaint was that nothing positive was given by the company to serve as an aspirational goal or sense of purpose to the organization. All employees could see was rationalization of jobs and a new name that had no resonance with either them or with the external world. Managing change does destabilize members' identity, but in this case, the shift was too great - employees asking ‘what kind of organization is this?’ were bewildered. The case for strategic change was unanswerable, yet a combination of poor communication strategies and a name- change that further de-legitimized the company, seriously challenged members’ commitment and morale. In this case, the organization tried to project a desired future image with a ‘go-ahead’ name and hoped that the desired identity change would follow. It is clear from the findings that this pull was nothing like enough. The re-branding was not understandable to employees, consumers or

Authors: Kulvisaechana, Somboon. and Stiles, Philip.
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background image
Tracking Number: ICA-7-10798
17
plain texts), such as newsletters, memos, etc., were sent to staff and the press without the clear
identity or concept of the brand conveyed in the message – inevitably subject to cynicism. It is
suggested that an organization undergoing change transitions should develop informal discussion
groups as powerful agents for change. Its underlying philosophy is to communicate change
issues in an interactive atmosphere. Essentially, a mode of face-to-face communication aims to
be reinforced and mobilized by the open discussion with regard to the change dimensions. The
framework of the findings is given in Figure 2.
A fundamental issue is the extent to which the re-branding to Avonia signaled a devaluation of
the core identity of the firm. Though employees were reasonably clear about the strategic aims
and external threats to the organization, the history and strong brand name of British Distribution
had enabled them to maintain positive perceptions of the organization. Because many employees
had relatives and parents who had worked for the firm, this sense of social identity was a
powerful force within the firm, membership of which was valued, even in the absence of high
pay or highly develop career paths. The re-branding undermined the sense of affirmation to the
organization, with a name that was perceived to smack of consultant-speak and served to deny
the heritage of the organization. A major complaint was that nothing positive was given by the
company to serve as an aspirational goal or sense of purpose to the organization. All employees
could see was rationalization of jobs and a new name that had no resonance with either them or
with the external world.
Managing change does destabilize members' identity, but in this case, the shift was too great -
employees asking ‘what kind of organization is this?’ were bewildered. The case for strategic
change was unanswerable, yet a combination of poor communication strategies and a name-
change that further de-legitimized the company, seriously challenged members’ commitment and
morale.
In this case, the organization tried to project a desired future image with a ‘go-ahead’ name and
hoped that the desired identity change would follow. It is clear from the findings that this pull
was nothing like enough. The re-branding was not understandable to employees, consumers or


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