Public sector corporate branding and customer orientation

Susan Whelan, Gary Davies, Margaret Walsh, Rita Bourke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objectives of branding and marketing in the public sector can differ in nature from those in the private sector, to include an improved responsiveness to public needs, rather than an increase in customer numbers. In addition, the customer orientation (a disposition that will influence brand perception) of public services is often questioned. Drawing from prior work in the private sector on the relationships expected between employee and organization customer orientation (hereafter referred to as CO), corporate brand personality, and both employee and customer satisfaction, the authors propose a number of models. These models are tested using structural equation modeling on data from a study of the employees (n = 302) and customers (n = 200) of a public hospital. Corporate brand personality mediates the positive links between employee customer orientation (hereafter referred to as ECO) and satisfaction; ECO influences brand personality, which in turn influences satisfaction. However, while both the needs and enjoyment dimensions of ECO improve customer satisfaction, the former has an unexpected, negative effect on employees. Organization customer orientation (hereafter referred to as OCO) influences customer, but not employee, satisfaction. The paper discusses the implications for managing and researching corporate branding in the public sector. © 2009 Elsevier Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1164-1171
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Business Research
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010


  • Corporate branding
  • Customer orientation
  • Public sector


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