Corporate identity in the context of strategic pricing of a company

Abstract

Considering to changing market conditions, managers have to continually make several decisions that can significantly affect the competitive fight and market position of the company. One way that a company can differentiate itself from competitors and identify themselves in a certain way is corporate identity. A corporate identity is a tool through which an enterprise can identify itself, create a market position in the market, and differentiate itself from competitors. One of the main reasons for the need to continually build a corporate identity is the ability to differentiate itself from the competition and the ability to influence potential and existing customers. Another way through which companies can strive to achieve their market goals is a marketing mix that is a set of marketing tools through which the company can meet the needs of its customers. One of the tools of the marketing mix is also the price, which is the only tool of the marketing mix that is the source of income for the company. For this reason, product pricing is an important step in managerial decision making. Effective strategic pricing of the company is one of the important and decisive attributes of the company's survival and prosperity.

Keywords: Corporate identityproductpricingstrategy

Introduction

Today's global marketplace and the continually changing environment require from managers constant activity and awareness about the actual situation, market requirements and also regularly taking decisions in different spheres. Since the competitive fight for customers is one of the basic characteristics of the current market, managers must do their best to be successful in this competitive struggle and to build a market position. Because of this, strategic management that is focused on long-term planning and direction of the organisation is essential for companies. According to Birnerova and Kral (2013), the first step in the strategic management process is to set out a business philosophy that includes general business objectives and values, and thus it creates a base for setting a consistent system of objectives, based on which the enterprise can subsequently carry out its activities. Concerning corporate objectives, Jakubikova (2013) states that marketing goals are increasingly part of corporate goals, while corporate philosophy, corporate identity and overall corporate goals are the starting point for marketing goals planning. According to Krizanova, Majerova, and Zvarikova (2013), the company's standard strategic objectives are related to the achievement of predefined sales or market share values. Their achievement is conditional on obtaining stable consumer preferences and a specific competitive advantage.

Corporate identity is one of the essential starting points for the existence of a company. The identity means for a company the same what personality means for a person. It is the visible individuality of a person, and it is something that can be influenced. At present, manufacturers not only provide physical products to their customers but also provide a variety of services, integrated solutions and intelligent services that offer many benefits to manufacturing companies as service providers as well as to their customers (Kanovska, 2018). This approach is necessary if companies want to improve their market position in a competitive environment. Likewise, this approach and the provision of additional services are essential for building and improving corporate identity. The aim of every company should be an effort to win customers' favour and in the same way to achieve the market position.

As Mikolas (2005) states, mainly corporate identity is a factor that has a significant impact on the company's competitive potential. Melewar and Karaosmanoglu (2006) point out the importance of corporate identity because it is generally recognised at present as a useful strategic tool and it can be achieved competitive advantage through it. Other business goals undoubtedly include uncovering and satisfying customer needs and wishes, and that through the right combination of the marketing mix and thereby achieving other goals of the company, while pricing decisions are one of the key decision-making processes in the creation of marketing strategy (Jakubikova, 2013).

The paper aims to identify the basic theoretical background of corporate identity and strategic pricing and to point out the relationship between these two topics. Another aim was to identify consumers' attitudes to price and loyalty program as factors that influencing their shopping decision making.

The paper is divided into two basic parts. The first part is focused on the identification of theoretical background related to corporate identity and strategic pricing decision of the company. The second part consists of analysis with a questionnaire survey that was aimed at consumer attitudes towards price and loyalty program as factors influencing their purchasing behaviour and decision-making.

Literature Review and Theoretical Framework

Corporate identity

The term of corporate identity first appeared in the 20th century, when Black (1994) defined corporate identity as a collective personification of the company derived from its history, philosophy, culture, strategy, management style, employee behaviour and reputation. Since that time, many authors have dealt with the issue of corporate identity and the interest of corporate identity as a management issue as well as an academic discipline has increased significantly (Kiriakidou & Millward, 2000). Veber (2000) characterises the corporate identity as an effort for external distinctiveness, uniqueness and individuality that reflect in components such as design, culture, corporate behaviour, communication and product. Bielikova (2005) states that all definitions express the same meaning, and that corporate identity is purposefully created concept that embraces the intrinsic structure, functioning and presentation of a particular company in market environment, expressing its originality and specificity compared to other businesses. Paliderova, Bielikova, and Spuchlakova (2015) define corporate identity as a strategically organised idea that is based on corporate philosophy, corporate vision and a long-term business goal and it manifests itself in corporate behaviour as well as internal and external communication. In the context of corporate identity, they also point out to corporate social responsibility (CSR), which they regard as an essential aspect of corporate identity. In recent years, sustainability, accountability and fair trade have become increasingly important in business activities (Moravcikova & Gregova, 2016). Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), which includes for example ecological, economic and social aspects, is considered as a symbol of accountability to society. In connection with the ecological aspects, Palus, Matova, Krizanova, and Parobek (2014) report that the emergence of environmental policies, their growing popularity and the interest in highlighting of the environmental performance of products are at present reflected in all spheres of production and consumption, especially in the context of promoting sustainable development. The fact that there is a significant relationship between social identity and environmental behaviour is also confirmed by Kliestikova, Krizanova, Corejova, Kral, and Spuchlakova (2018). Social responsibility should gradually become an integral part of the core values of all companies that create and represent the overall identity of the company.

Contemporary authors Eun-Mi and Hyun-Shin (2017) point out that corporate identity is the strongest useful asset that brings intangible value to a company. They also point out that it is the fastest means by which consumers feel the vision and direction of society.

The corporate identity aims to create a clear presentation of the company in the process of internal and external communication. Other goals of corporate identity include building a positive image, shaping a positive corporate culture, identifying employees with the company, aligning of the internal and the external image of the company, creating a sense of confidence and trust towards the company. In terms of corporate identity functions, these include information and communication function, image-building function, relationship-influencing functions and integration functions.

The building of corporate identity

Since corporate identity is unique to every company, its design is tailored to every company to cover all elements and dimensions. Corporate identity creation is influenced by several factors. The public has a priority in the process of creating a corporate identity. The public is understood as any group that shows real or potential interest or have an impact on achieving corporate goals (Cihovska, Hanulakova, & Lipianska, 2001). Reputation expresses goodwill which expresses the market position of a company concerning competing companies. Podhorska and Siekelova (2016) report that self-generated goodwill originates from intangible assets not recognised in the financial statements of the companies. According to Bielikova (2005), it is possible to change the corporate identity through traditional marketing methods, or by applying new marketing approaches.

The components of corporate identity

Many authors have different views on which components represent corporate identity. Melewar and Karaosmanoglu (2006), they realised research, in which they considered seven components of corporate identity: corporate communication, corporate design, corporate culture, corporate behaviour, organisational structure, industrial identity and corporate strategy. In their opinion, these components represent what makes the organisation unique. Hornak (2007) considers corporate design, corporate communication, corporate culture and product, or services to be essential elements of corporate identity.

Building and improving every single component is essential for companies. Corporate communication is particularly important in that it creates a link between the corporate identity of the company and the established strategic goal and it is possible to achieve a positive reputation with it. Horakova, Stejkalova, and Skapova, (2008) state that communication is essential to ensure that all interest groups - employees, customers, shareholders and others, understand the identity of the organisation, its values and strategy. Corporate communication based on the correctly selected communication mix leads to increased consumer loyalty to products, and it also leads to their better market positioning. For this reason, it is important to create and build a long-term relationship with customers through communication (Moise & Cruceru, 2012). The brand is another tool that significantly affects corporate identity, and it is part of it. Kliestikova and Janoskova (2017), which deal with brand issues, they state that customers perceive as more valuable brands those, whose socio-cultural profile of the country of origin is convergent with the national profile.

Offered product or service can be considered as the essential component of the corporate identity. It is the essence of the existence of the company without which the other elements would not be useful (Vysekalova & Mikes, 2009). Svoboda (2003) defines the product as everything, what an enterprise can offer to the public. The product can be considered an important element not only in terms of corporate identity but also in terms of the marketing mix. This fact is pointed out by Birnerova and Krizanova (2008), who define the product as the most important tool of the marketing mix. It is because the other tools of the marketing mix, which is to determine of price, build of distribution, communication, rationalisation of the process, provision of services to the customer and so on, it depends on the character of the offered product.

The basic tools of the marketing mix include product, price, distribution and promotion. According to Zamazalova (2008), the price is one of the most important marketing variables of the merchant. Because of it, pricing decision making of product in the context of the product as a component of corporate identity and as a tool of the marketing mix is an essential step in managerial decision making.

The strategic price decision making of company

Decision making is one of the primary management functions. At the top level of the company, there is strategic decision making that is more complicated and complex than tactical and operational decision making. The consequences of strategic decisions are long-term character (Jankelova, Hudakova, & Misun, 2013). According to Hintosova and Volosin (2005), the choice of overall strategic orientation of the company is the basic strategic decision. Strategic decisions aim to provide a competitive advantage and change the overall scope and direction of the company (Johnson, Scholes, & Whittington, 2005). According to Birnerova and Kral (2013), among the principles for the specific expression of the company's marketing strategy include deciding on the effective use of resources (determining their amount and their premeditated allocation) to build a productive product-market relationship, in line with the company's objectives. Strategic price decision making is related to the effective use of resources, because of the revenue from the sale of products is related to a set price for individual products.

Zamazalova (2008) characterises the price as the amount for which products are offered on the market. According to Kita (2010), the price depends on the value that the customer attributes to the product. Consequently, pricing policy aims to create the meaning of the value perceived by the customer. The price acts as a factor of marketing competency the more intensive as it reflects the technical capability of the product. The price affects demand, the company's position towards competitors and its overall market position, it informs buyers, is subject to regulation, or it is deregulated (Jakubikova, 2013). According to Zamazalova (2008), it is necessary to set goals, determine demand, estimate fixed and variable costs, analyse costs, prices, and prices and offers of competitors, choose a pricing method, and finally choose a final price when it is setting pricing and pricing policy.

Marketing managers need to consider a variety of different circumstances and factors in their pricing decisions. Some circumstances push the price down, while other contexts slightly increase the company's interest in the higher valuation of its products. Indeed, pricing is a search for a suitable compromise. All these factors and circumstances can be divided into two groups, namely internal corporate factors and external corporate factors (Birnerova & Kral, 2013). Jakubikova (2013) states that external factors include: the nature of the market, the nature of the offer, the price elasticity of the offer, the competition and the customers. She also states that internal factors include the company's marketing objectives and the organisation of the pricing policy (the degree of centralisation, decentralisation in the pricing decision, marketing mix, and differentiation of products).Price is a significant factor that affects demand, and it is a mean of attracting a customer, bringing it to a store and increase customer numbers. The price is also a factor influencing the efficiency of business and production activities. The price facilitates communication to the trader. Price is very often linked to communication tools or sales promotion. An example is sales promotion by price - an action discount - which inform the customer through a leaflet (Zamazalova, 2008).

Price adjustments include the provision of price discounts and price differentiation (Cibakova & Bartakova, 2007). The need to examine consumer attitudes and behaviour in the economy is closely related to price adjustment (Graessley, Horak, Kovacova, Valaskova, & Poliak, 2019), that also is dealt by Meilhan (2019), while he focuses on working together to create customer value in the online platform economy in his research. Customers should have an advantage in determining price adjustments, especially those who buy large quantities, or long-term customers. The second option is favouring of goods, increasing their prices by price adjustments due to outside corporate impulses, which increase their bid quality.

Loyalty programs are related to corporate identity and pricing decisions. They are an instrument of corporate identity, but they also relate to pricing policy, as it is a way of discounting prices or price advantage. Loyalty programs are an essential customer relationship management (CRM) tool that can identify, reward and maintain of profitable customers (Kumar & Reinartz, 2018). These programs aim to strengthen customer and business relationships by offering value-added products or services for profitable market segments and ultimately to increase customer loyalty and sales performance (Chang & Wong, 2018). According to Steinhoff and Palmatier (2016), loyalty programs include various marketing activities, including reward cards, gifts, and other methods designed to improve customer attitudes and behaviours. By put forward this card, the buyer usually receives either a discount on the current purchase or the allocation of points they can use for future purchases, and thus a purchase price advantage occurs.

Research Method

The paper aims to analyse the corporate identity in the context of the company price decision making. The tool we have chosen is a consumer survey. The questions in the questionnaire were compiled and developed based on the study of literature (Rasovska & Ryglova, 2017; Svoboda, 2003; Vysekalova & Mikes, 2009; Zamazalova, 2008). In the survey, the task of respondents was to identify, which factors are important for them when they are visiting a restaurant. The questionnaire survey aimed to find out the importance of price and loyalty programs for consumers, and whether selected respondents use loyalty programs in gastronomic companies. oThe questionnaire was created and distributed in electronic form to respondents from Žilina district, via Google Form, while the questionnaire survey was conducted between 21/01/2018 and 21/03/2018. Subsequently, we evaluated the questionnaire through descriptive statistics.

Survey file

The survey file consists of 314 (100 %) respondents. In the questionnaire survey participated 152 women, representing 48 % of the survey and 162 men, what is 52% of the survey. In terms of age, 42 (13%) respondents under the age of 20 participated in the survey. The largest group was respondents aged 21 to 30, which is 122 (39%). There were 88 (28 %) respondents aged 31 to 40, and there were 62 (20 %) respondents over 40 years

Findings

In the questionnaire survey, we were founding out, what factors are important to consumers when they visit a restaurant. Respondents had a chance to rate ten factors (food quality, meal choices, beverage menu, interior, additional services, staff access, business presentation, loyalty programs, the same attire of the staff) they could meet in restaurants. Evaluation scale consisted of marks from 1 to 5, while 1 means very important and mark five means the least important. The results of this research question show that the approach of staff is the most important for selected respondents. This factor was described as very important by 212 (68 %) respondents. Considering the issue of corporate identity in the context of price decision making, we focused on the results of price factor and loyalty programs. As far as price is concerned, 84 (24.75 %) respondents rated this factor as 1, so very important and 120 (38.22%) respondents rated this factor as 2 and thus important. Loyalty program factor, 42 (13.38 %) respondents marked 1 (very important) and 68 (21.66 %) marked 2 (important). The complete results of these two factors - price and loyalty programs are shown in Figure 01 .

Figure 1: The attitude of respondents to the prices and loyalty programs
The attitude of respondents to the prices and loyalty programs
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Another goal was to find out whether selected respondents use loyalty programs in gastronomic companies. The survey results show that most respondents use loyalty programs only in some firms. This answer was chosen by 74 respondents, which is 47 % of the survey file. Other 130 (41 %) respondents were not interested in loyalty programs. From this group, 102 (32 %) respondents do not use loyalty programs, and 28 (9 %) responded that they are not interested in loyalty programs. Loyalty programs are regularly used by 36 (11 %) respondents.

Figure 2: Loyalty programs
Loyalty programs
See Full Size >

Based on the results of the questionnaire survey, we can say that the price is a relatively important factor for customers when they choose a company because 274 (87.26 %) of the respondents marked the price with a mark of 1 to 3, which is "important". Concerning loyalty programs, 47 % of respondents said that they use loyalty programs only in some selected companies, resulting in significant loyalty from consumers (Figure 02 ).

Discussion and Conclusion

Discussion

Corporate identity is important for companies in terms of their social status. At present, it is common, that in many sectors almost all business entities offer the same product at the same price, under approximately the same technological conditions. Corporate identity can decide on the success of the company. The fact that corporate identity has become a significant phenomenon in the organisation's management is also confirmed by Svoboda (2009). Since corporate identity is according to several authors, an important source of competitiveness, the corporate identity theory needs to be made more widely known to managers, employees, business owners and consumers. As report Paliderova et al. (2015), developing corporate identity is a permanent process that needs to be improved.

Podnar (2005) states that a company with a strong and exemplary corporate identity is a company with successful and satisfied employees as well as a financially successful company with a clear strategy, vision and mission. In the context of the company's financial success, strategic pricing, as well as corporate identity building, it is essential for every company to obtaining the necessary amount of money. Therefore, it is also important to point out the financial management of the company, which is an essential part of every company (Siekelova, Kliestik, Svabova, Androniceanu, & Schonfeld, 2017). It is mainly because of that marketing managers need to be able to redistribute available money as efficiently as possible within their roles.

Based on the analysis of the theoretical background, we can say that there is no clear definition of the concept of corporate identity. Podnar (2005) states that there is no universally valid definition of corporate identity and in the theoretical understanding of corporate identity is relatively homogeneous. Melewar and Karaosmanoglu (2006) also confirmed in their contribution that there is a lack of a clear definition of corporate identity. Like the corporate identity itself, the components that create corporate identity are not entirely uniform. However, corporate culture, communication, design and product or service, can be included among the primary components. In the context of corporate image, Bidin, Muhaimi, and Bolong, (2014) realised research through components of corporate identity. The results of their research show that all components of corporate identity, including corporate behaviour, communication, design, culture, strategy and personality have a significant contribution to the company's image. Based on this finding, they are recommending that managers should carefully build these components to create an excellent corporate image. Nguyen and Leblanc (2001) report that corporate reputation and corporate image have the potential to affect customer loyalty to the company in a competitive environment. The results of their research show that the degree of customer loyalty tends to be higher when the perception of corporate reputation and the corporate image is favourable.

According to Svoboda (2009), one of the basic requirements for marketing is an identifiable product, coming from an identifiable manufacturer, which implies a clear link between marketing (marketing mix) and corporate identity. Specific tools of corporate identity are very important for the effective operation of the company and its progress, but most of these tools represent significant financial expenses for the company. Here we come to why the link between corporate identity and strategic pricing is essential. Companies should consider the components of corporate identity in strategic pricing, because these components create potential added value of products. On the other hand, there opens the issue of consumer decision-making and their ability and willingness to pay for the product higher price and also to realise the added value of the product. One of the main goals of corporate identity is to build a positive image that can be achieved through sales promotion. Sales promotion, which includes loyalty programs, is a major component of communication policy. Corporate communication is one of the basic components of corporate identity. The objectives of all of these areas are inherent in attracting loyal customers. These are the main reasons why we can conclude that there is a significant link between the loyalty programs and the corporate identity. For this reason, we have focused on loyalty programs in the context of corporate identity and strategic pricing of a company.

Conclusion

Based on the identified theoretical background, we can say that corporate identity has great importance in the context of strategic pricing of a company. One is the fact that most of the components of the corporate identity represent a cost to the company, while the product is the essential component, without which the other components would have no meaning for the company. An important marketing tool for the product is price policy because the price is the only component of the marketing mix that is a source of income for the company. The value of the offered products can be increased by the building of the components of corporate identity. However, it can significantly affect the price of the product not only in terms of customer value but also in terms of financial value. That is why it is essential for managers to consider the added value that their products have regarding corporate identity when taking strategic pricing decisions. In terms of corporate identity, it is important for all types of companies to build and try to continually improve their corporate identity because it is a way in which a company can improve employee relationships, improve relationships with existing customers, and it is also chance to gain new customers. Finally, it is a way how a company can increase its competitiveness and improve its market position.

Acknowledgments

Contribution is a partial output of scientific project VEGA 1/0718/18: The impact of psychographic aspects of pricing on the marketing strategy of companies across products and markets.

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30 October 2019

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Moravcikova, D., & Paurova*, V. (2019). Corporate identity in the context of strategic pricing of a company. In & M. Özşahin (Ed.), Strategic Management in an International Environment: The New Challenges for International Business and Logistics in the Age of Industry 4.0, vol 71. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 327-337). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2019.10.02.30