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The corporate museum as branding tool


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Lehman, KF and Byrom, JW 2006 , 'The corporate museum as branding tool', paper presented at the International Colloquium of the Academy of Marketing’s Brand and Corporate Reputation Special Interest Group, 7-8 September, Manchester, UK.

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The purpose of this paper is to explore the nature of branding in relation to the corporate museum. Corporate museums are taken here as referring to museums with managed collections which are situated within for-profit organisations.

In-depth case study research was undertaken in four different organisations operating in the following industry sectors: brewing, publishing, sport and banking. Research took place in Australia and the Republic of Ireland and involved interviewing those working within the museum facility (or responsible for its operations) across organisational hierarchies. In addition, visits were made to all of the museums and detailed field notes were taken relating to the museum experience.

Selected findings relating to the use of the corporate museum as a branding device are presented here, including the importance of the building as part of the brand, marketing communications issues, and the education of younger consumers. It is shown that the corporate museum had a significant role as a branding device for the organisations studied.

Research limitations/implications
Given the lack of previous research in this area, the paper’s findings are somewhat exploratory. However, the in-depth nature of the research across different industry sectors does not reduce their validity. There is the potential to extend this study into different industries and other national contexts, in order to see whether the findings presented here are supported elsewhere.

Practical implications
For those involved in either curatorship or museum marketing, or for-profit firms with corporate museums, the paper provides a discussion of some of the key issues pertinent to branding in the corporate museum context.

Originality/value of paper
Whilst a growing literature exists on the management and marketing of public or not-for-profit museums, there has been relatively little research to date on museums run by for-profit organisations. To the authors’ knowledge, this paper represents one of the first attempts to assess the role of marketing and branding within corporate museums.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Authors/Creators:Lehman, KF and Byrom, JW
Keywords: Corporate museum, branding, marketing communications, Australia, Ireland
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