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The "image" is what the public is supposed to see when the corporation is mentioned. The ordinary man and woman on the street usually have a wry view of public relations, advertising, hype, hoopla, and therefore also of corporate image—and this often for good reasons. But a good corporate image is a genuine asset; it translates into dollars at the counter and higher stock valuation. The concept is usually associated with large corporations, but small businesses also have a corporate image even if neither their owners nor customers think of it that way. In the absence of active efforts, corporate image "simply happens": it is how a company is perceived. Management, however, may actively attempt to shape the image by communications, brand selection and promotion, use of symbols, and by publicizing its actions. Corporations trying to shape their image are analogous to individuals who will dress appropriately, cultivate courteous manners, and choose their words carefully in order to come across competent, likeable, and reliable. In the personal as in the corporate case, the image should match reality. When it does not, the consequence will be the opposite of the one intended.
THE ELEMENTS OF IMAGE
A corporate image is, of course, the sum total of impressions left on the company's many publics. In many instances a brief, casual act by an employee can either lift or damage the corporate image in the eyes of a single customer or caller on the phone. But the overall image is a composite of many
by . and shows no loyalty to vendors. Different publics may have different views of the corporation depending on their different interests. 3) its reputation for innovation or technological prowess. and 6) the perceived trends in the markets in which it operates as seen by the public. 2) the reputation and performance of its brands ("brand equity"). stockholders. Image versus Images Only in the best of cases does a corporation enjoy a single reputation. performance. and the community. At the Core: Business Performance The single most important factor in the corporate image is a company's core business performance. 4) its policies toward its salaried employees and workers. 5) its external relations with customers. usually based on concrete events. The major elements are 1) the core business and financial performance of the company.thousands of impressions and facts. A company's brand image may be very good but its reputation among suppliers poor—because it bargains very hard. Smallness has its advantages. A company may be valued for providing very low prices yet disliked for its employment practices or indifferent environmental performance. A company may be highly regarded on Wall Street but may be disliked on the Main Street of cities where it has closed plants. pays late. Sometimes a charismatic leader becomes so widely known that he or she adds a personal luster to the company. It is much more likely that a small business will have an all-around reputation for excellence than that a very large conglomerate will merit all-around praise.
and so on—took on opposite and negative connotations. it will have layoffs. nevertheless. by survey. The investigators select appropriate samples of the public and interview them. Corporations. telephone surveys are the most common. It fell into bankruptcy almost abruptly on December 2. its vendors will be more uneasy. No amount of corporate image polishing could have saved Enron's reputation after that. profitable corporation with a steady earnings history will. investors. The core business had failed. its reputation heads straight south. much as politicians do. A growing. A profitable company that. They employ the methodology of marketing surveys used both in polling and in support of advertising. and the community in which it operates. entrepreneurial spirit. Suddenly every aspect of the company that had been admired and lauded—its audacity. had a stellar reputation as the 7th largest corporation measured in revenues. Enron's reputation imploded. exhibits huge gyrations in earnings will fare worse: its earnings and dividends will be unpredictable. its employees nervous. Enron Corp. They use statistical methods of extrapolation to project from the sample what the public as a whole (or selected publics) think.. an energy trader. please its customers. When a business fails in its core function. for these reasons alone. the Justice Department began to investigate it for fraud. of course.definition. also rely on the much "harder" . MEASURING THE CORPORATE IMAGE Corporations evaluate their image. 2001. profitability. includes financial results. energy. its stock will fluctuate. innovativeness.
Even more important.measures such as sales and stock performance. "Toyota periodically surveys U. “We’ve got to work on improving our brand!” And. Surveys of the corporate image are sometimes motivated by sagging sales and a miserable press. perceive and speak of you. economy.S. The theory of the corporate image holds that.S. illustrates measurement and a response to it. It’s your reputation and promise – how you walk and talk and behave in business. A recent campaign launched by Toyota Motor North America Inc. a brand is how others see. then. whereas a forgetful or poorly informed public may come to hold negative impressions about the company and may ultimately shift more of its patronage toward competitors. to be treasured. The surveys suggested [that] Americans' awareness of Toyota's U. It’s about integrity. As reported by Jamie LaReau in Automotive News.S. a well-informed public will help a company achieve higher sales and profits. all things equal." The company launched a print and TV program to highlight the company's contributions to the U. It’s not something that can be contrived by a new coat of whitewash or silly. presence had declined since 2000 '� even as the company was building and expanding plants. they’d go on to talk about a catchy new slogan. An organization’s brand is its heart and spirit. changing corporate colors or (groan) updating the mission statement. An organization’s brand – whether major corporation or entrepreneurial .davidhenderson. consumers' perceptions of the automaker. It’s a living thing.com/2010/01/26/how-‐to-‐damage-‐a-‐good-‐brand-‐ image/ Wish I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard an in-house marketing person exclaim. self-serving slogans. cherished and nurtured. http://www.
Funky. oddball and inconsistent TV commercials but a good brand. not keeping their word. It’s called brand loyalty. nonetheless. most organizations that suffer from a poor brand image come about it because of self-inflicted actions … such as doing shoddy work. D. GEICO is a good brand. But. my daughter became a GEICO customer. Knock on wood. after all. I’ve been fortunate … I haven’t needed to turn to GEICO very often over the years. They’ve also been my insurance company for more than a decade. vendor or business partner can damage your brand. when my nice Volvo was scratched on the roof and trunk by a vandal. That is. Permit it to happen enough and your brand could be ruined. My first impression was it looked more like a junkyard than professional body shop but that’s where GEICO has an office. can we? A brand is only as good as its weakest link. The bad behavior of an employee.C. But recently. with vast information resources at our fingertips. And. GEICO said they’d have it repaired.endeavor – is also fragile and can be easily damaged. Particularly in today’s digital era. When I dropped off my car. And when that happens. Because of me. Bailey's Crossroads Auto Body Here’s an example – GEICO. cheating and lying. Your brand becomes tarnished. we can quickly determine who has a good brand and who does not. the GEICO customer service agent said it . good-as-new. it can be like having some clumsy and foolish work associate spill paint on your beautiful Brioni suit. their brand promise. GEICO and the body shop work together on claims. GEICO steered me to their Express Office at Bailey’s Crossroads Body Shop in a suburb of Washington.
pitted and blistered. Here’s what I quickly saw: Paint that was not smooth and shiny but rather looked like an orange skin. because it’s a bit long to repair a few scratches. but. at first.” Yeah. Because here was a GEICO vendor – Bailey’s Crossroads . they admitted my car had been smashed in their body shop. Then. Broken parts in the floorboard of my car. I was furious. The clue were broken parts left in my car. He lied in front of the GEICO agent and me. GEICO is now promising that if my car goes to another body shop. Then. not only about the fact that my car’s finish had been ruined but the vehicle had been damaged. the first place was guaranteed. “Guess that wasn’t a very good idea. Amateurish attempt to repair the side of my car that had been bashed by the body shop. Not only that.would take a couple of days. and the body shop owner had lied about it. I could go on … but you get the picture. denied.” the GEICO customer service agent shared with me about Bailey’s Crossroads Body Shop. torn and ruined by the body shop’s machines. I began to see what happened – the body shop had damaged my car … a fact that they. That stretched into five days … odd.” No. Trim on the right door bent by the damage. It will cost me more time and bother but what option do I have? “We gave them an award for their speedy work. Weather stripping around doors ripped. I thought … no. it reminded me of those old TV commercials of a car paint job for $29. it was not. Overspray of paint on the hood. the “touch-up” that I requested had turned into a complete and shockingly sloppy paint job of my car roof and trunk. In fact. it will be done correctly … “guaranteed. he added. back window and rubber trim.95. Three days later. I thought.
” you will want your advertising to look very sleek and modern. like “cutting edge technology” or “kid-friendly service. sans serif fonts in your marketing materials. your corporate image building could consist of bright.corporateimagemaintenance. and have a logo that people associate with the latest and greatest websites or gadgets. For example. colorful decor and a cartoon mascot. There are many great ideas out there that will help you with the corporate image building process. if you own a software company and you want people to think of “cutting edge technology.” Now think of some images and ideas that will help you associate your company with the ideas. http://www. Try to come up with a positive association with your business that can be easily summarized in three words or less. You will want to use modern.Body Shop – which was the weakest link in GEICO’s brand image doing shoddy and deceitful work … and their paint was spattering on GEICO’s good brand image. First Steps The first step to take is to identify a simple key idea you want to convey to your potential customers. On the other hand.com/corporate-image-building How To Start Corporate Image Building Step 1: Get Your D&B® Business Credit Report Find Your Com pany Have you recently started a business corporation? It is never too early to start corporate image building. The next step after you have done your initial branding and advertising is . if you are a restaurant that wants to cater to families with small children.
but it doesn’t hurt to tweak your brand here and there. if a factory has an environmental accident. For example. Damage Control Another important aspect of building your corporate image is “damage control” if something bad happens. like a marinated portabella mushroom with mashed potatoes and onion gravy. A steak house that expands to California may want to consider adding a vegetarian option to the menu at its new location.community outreach. a sports bar that has Yankees paraphernalia on the walls in New York may want to have Orioles paraphernalia on the walls in Baltimore. take the time to determine how local tastes may differ from the tastes of people where you are already operating. Try to stick with your theme. the corporation that owns the factory should take quick steps to reassure the public that the problem is being contained. . so it may be worthwhile to provide services to such a person at a discount. For example. If you are opening a restaurant in a new state. but would enable a different kind of local diner to also enjoy the experience. which would stray too far from its original branding. The kid-friendly restaurant owner may want to do volunteer work at a local children’s hospital. such as a chemical spill. That kind of menu item would be in keeping with the “meat and potatoes” theme. The steakhouse may not want to add an item like vegetable stir fry. The high tech software company may want to get in the paper for providing services for the website of an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose work focuses on Silicon Valley. and to show support for environmental causes. You don’t want your new restaurant to be so different from your others as to be unrecognizable or sacrifice economies of scale. Expanding your Corporate Image Another aspect of corporate image management is to tweak your corporate image to appeal to new audiences.
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