Corporate identity influences sustainability and innovation

In the journal of Technological Forecasting & Social Change is an interesting article about the effects of corporate identity on innovation strategies and sustainability (Staub et al., 2016). In this article corporate identity (the overall image of a company in the minds of customers, investors and employees) is divided into so called “hard” and “soft” identity drivers.

  • Hard corporate identity drivers are hardly changed and can be identified by the corporate culture, corporate behavior and corporate philosophy.
  • Soft corporate identity drivers can be identified by the corporate image, design and communication.

Innovation in this article is classified as product innovation, process innovation, marketing innovation and organizational innovation.

It is interesting to see that the combination of hard and soft corporate identity drivers have a positive effect on process innivation, which has a positive effect on sustainable corporate performance.

Product innovation is effected by only hard corporate identity. Both product innovation and hard corporate identity positively effect sustainable corporate performance.

Companies heading for innovation and sustainable corporate performance perhaps first focus on their soft corporate identity drivers, but as these drivers do not have an effect on all of the innovation strategies or on sustainable performance, companies should focus on hard corporate identity drivers to carry out innovation strategies and maintain sustainable performance.


Norbert Bol


Staub, S., Kaynak, R., & Gok, T. (2016). What affects sustainability and innovation—Hard or soft corporate identity?. Technological Forecasting and Social ChangeVolume 102, January 2016, Pages 72-79.

Photo credit: ifindkarma via / CC BY

One thought on “Corporate identity influences sustainability and innovation

  1. Opnieuw heel boeiend, Norbert! Heb ooit mijn doctoraalscriptie geschreven over product en procesinnovaties op het gebied van de geld – en kapitaalmarkt. Maar ja, dat is al weer bijna 30 jaar geleden…

    Liked by 1 person

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