Corporate image building


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Corporate image building

  1. 1. If image is important for the individual, it is essential for an organisation. Image should be treated asan asset and should be planned, developed analysed and managed along with other valuable assets.The right image greatly enhances an organisation’s sphere of influence and is as important as otherassets such as capital, plant and technology.“The greatest risk to your professional image is the failure to factor image into your businessdecisions”. Marilyn MondejarCorporate Imageis the picture a company’s audiences have of it. It will be determined by all a company’s actions. Theproblem a company faces is that different audiences will interpret a message in different ways. Themanagement of the corporate image is thus an ongoing task.Corporate image includes information and inferences about the company as an employer, as a seller,as an investment and as a corporate citizen. A company will have more than one image dependingon the nature of the interaction it has with the different groups. Since people tend to "humanize"companies (Bayton, 1959), corporate imagemay also include characteristics often attributed tohumans such as "caring", "friendly", and "ruthless" and so on.The first step in attempting to influence and manage the corporate image of an organization is tounderstand the process by which corporate image is formed. The figure provides a conceptualframework of the corporate image formation process. The framework suggests that there arenumerous sources that influence and hence affect the image of an organization. These sources canbe broadly classified into two major groups or spheres of influence: a) internal and controllablesphere of influence; and b) external and noncontrollable sphere of influenceInsert fig.1Internal Spheres of InfluenceWithin the internal sphere of influence are atleast five major sources that help form a corporateimage:a) corporate personality and identityCorporate Personality and Corporate Identity: Every company has a "personality" which can bedefined as the sum total of the characteristics of that organization. These characteristics can bequantitative (e.g., size of organization, volume of sales) or qualitative (e.g. reputation, quality ofproducts and services) in nature; and they serve to distinguish one organization from another.These qualitative and quantitative characteristics collectively comprise the corporate personality.
  2. 2. The term, corporate personality, refers to who and what the company is, rather than how thecompany is perceived by the public.A company also has an "identity" which can be described as an ideal self-image. Ideal self-image isthat image which the company would like the public to hold (Sirgy, 1982).b) corporate advertisingCorporate advertising seeks to inform and influence the publics attitudes about a companysactions, characteristics, or viewpointsis a tool often used to deliver this information and, by doingso, influence stakeholders image of the corporationc) brand imageBrand image consists of functional, symbolic and experiential aspects of the product or service (Park,Jaworski, & MacInnis, 1986) including the influence of product advertising on the brand. Intuitively,one would expect a significant interaction between brand image and corporate image. This isespecially true for brand names such as Coke or Sony, where the company name (or a part of it) isalso the brand name. In such cases the interaction effect would be maximum.d) public relations Public relation programs can be used to project an image of a company that is environmentallyconscious which can do wonders for the company.e) frontline employee behaviorIn many situations, direct contact with frontline employees of the company serves to formimpressions about the company. The courtesy and knowledge of the telephone receptionist, theefficiency of the service engineer or the sincere concern of a sales manager in dealing with thecomplaints of a customer, will help form or reinforce an organization’s image.External sphere of influence a) Industry Image b) Country-of-Origin ImageResearch has shown that knowledge of the country-of-origin affects both the image of the brand and the company (Darling & Arnold, 1988). This interaction helps explain the halo effect associated with Japanese cars and German machinery. Consumers, for example, may form an image that Mitsubishi is a maker of high quality automobiles just knowing Mitsubishi is a Japanese company without ever having had direct dealings with the company. c) Press Reports: There is also a link between company public relations, press reports and the image of the company. d) Word-of-mouth: Word-of-mouth is personal communications between two or more people. This includes stakeholders conversations with family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and so on. In the absence of direct interaction with the organization, the stakeholder may form opinions and impressions of the organization based on what others say about the company.Corporate Communication
  3. 3. is the process that translates corporate identity into a corporate image. The identity needs to becommunicated to employees, customers, suppliers and shareholders if it is to have any value. Therole of design within this is to visually signify what a company stands for.”The development of an image should revolve around many things including: • staff training to help develop a customer service “culture” • community awards, including Certificates of Merit for sporting and cultural achievement and Staff Excellence Awards • school education programs • Council’s involvement in community activities and events • the wearing of Corporate uniform by staff • the wearing of a name badge by staff in all encounters with the public • the preparation of cost effective, informative and interesting publications. Surveys and the invitation for public comment, where appropriate, should be included in some of these publications to evaluate stakeholder interest and to promote community involvement. Some of the important roles for developing Corporate Image: 1. Role of the General Manager and Directors i) The General Manager and Directors should rate the enhancement of Company’s corporate image highly in the day to day running of the organisation and its functions i.e. informing the customer of what is happening on a weekly or even daily basis 2. The Role of the Customer First Manager in Corporate Image i) To prepare, develop and review the Corporate Image. ii) To manage and oversee the implementation of the Strategy 3. The Role of the Communications Officer in Corporate Image i)To have input into the development and review of the Corporate Image. ii) To implement those sections of the Strategy and Action Plan which are the responsibility of the Communications Officer. iii)To receive information from the various Departments that will, through its dissemination, improve and enhance the corporate image of the company 4. The Role of Staff in Corporate Image i) Staff members are at the forefront in liaison with the company’s stakeholders. Each and every action that is performed by staff members is deemed to be an act of the company. Therefore, the way the staff deal with customers at the counter, in the field, on the telephone and in response to written or electronic requests will reflect on the organisation. As a result they are in the best position to recommend changes to Management which will benefit both the customer, in the form of superior levels of service, and the company, by way of time and cost savingsPUBLIC RELATION OF AN ORGANISATION
  4. 4. Public relations is a discipline of management that can greatly enhance the communication process and, therefore, the image of the organization. It is one of the most important tools in building a positive corporate image.Importance of Public Relations of an organizationPublic relations enables the community to gain an impression of the organisation and thisperception will be the basis for, and the influencing factor in, establishing the company’s corporateimage.The organisation as an entity, and each individual involved, have important roles to play inraising the profile of the organisation and achieving good public relations.The following guidelines are submitted ii) The management should respect the role of the media to inform the public and therefore should not expect the media’s view to be always positive and in accordance with those of Council. iii) Councillors should be mindful of the public nature of their meetings and of the expectations the electors have in respect of their chosen representatives. iv) Company should operate an open access policy. Directors (or in their absence,section Managers) should supply information to the media when requested in accordance with various codes, policies and resolutions of the same v) It is vital to be aware of all the staff members as they being a critical component in achieving a corporate image. vi) Regular team meetings need to be set in place to ensure that communication flow exists. Staff members should be encouraged to strive for excellence in every facet of their work and should be consulted, not only on ways to improve work performance, but also to enhance the corporate image through effective public relations in the work place. vii) It should also be ensured that knowledge, confidence, a positive attitude and an appearance that reflects the corporate image are attributes that all staff embrace; not just those in regular contact with the public. viii) All the related informations and objectives should be conveyed to staff on a regular basis through informal discussions with work groups, monthly team meetingsCOMPONENTS OF AN INDIVIDUAL IMAGEIn order to create a positive professional image, impression management must effectivelyaccomplish two tasks: build credibility and maintain authenticity. When you present yourself in amanner that is both true to self and valued and believed by others, impression management canyield a host of favorable outcomes for you, your team, and your organization.
  5. 5. Everyone in the organisation has a role to play in developing and enhancing the corporate image. Itis essential for a leader to be natural and humane in practice and analysis. The most important goalis to measure against your own experiences. Very often what makes leaders great is that they couldtranscend personal feelings to help a person to see only they can help themselves to be moreproductive but also more effective and intelligent.Keys to enhance Individual Image: To understand the core competencies and character traits you want people to associate with you. Assess how do others currently perceive you.  Employ appropriate traditional and social identity-based impression management strategies.  Pay attention to the balancing act—build credibility while maintaining authenticity.  If you are the leader in charge, you have the authority to make the decision, but also the responsibility to do so and take the consequences. Authority and responsibility go hand in hand.  Consider carefully before you commit or act and if necessary take extra time to consider the implications, risks and how to implement strategies. Another one that sounds obvious, but consistency, integrity, ingenuity and reliability are things that make or break leaders.  It is important to communicate wisely and never consider it a weakness to ask for help. When a person is too proud to ask for help it sows the seeds of failure early as when they cannot ask for help or advise when it is really needed, either emotionally or symbolically as a way to save face, they lose their ability to act and implement change or strategy, as well as losing integrity and ability to inspire at one stroke.  Not only does everyone start somewhere, but no one ever stops learning and expanding in experience and knowledge. Sometimes we may feel wise and capable but be able to be stunned at the most simple of insights.  Know what is going on and stay in touch. Not only within your team, but in the company, your clients, your suppliers and the general world around you.  Be proactive. Oddly enough some individuals love or loathe this word. It means being aware and acting against possible problems and also to make possible opportunities into real opportunities.Vital components an individual must inculcate; A positive attitude towards, and belief in the organization Innovation and creativity in furthering the organization’s objectives
  6. 6.  Being accountable for their own performance Understanding the importance of their contribution and role in the organization Accepting ownership of problems and responsibility for solving them To actively seek opportunities to enhance knowledge and experience Be respectful of, and helpful to, colleagues and able to openly discuss problems and issues.Effective corporate branding requires all company employees to adopt and behave according to a companys set of core values. Thus, strong corporatebrands are associated with employees who are closely aligned with the core corporate values. Values are especially important as they are at the core of thecorporate brand, are critical to how service brands differentiate themselves, and can inspire behavioral changes, motivation and commitment. ADVERTISING AND CORPORATE IMAGE In an increasingly competitive marketplace, greater emphasis is being placed on brand image development as the basis for consumer discrimination. Advertising has a central role to play in developing brand image, whether at the corporate, retail or product level. It informs consumers of the functional capabilities of the brand while simultaneously imbuing the brand with symbolic values and meanings relevant to the consumer.WHAT IS ADVERTISING?a) A definitionThe Advertising Association defines advertising as:“Any paid for communication in media intended to inform and/or influence one or more people”Advertising is a direct means of reaching a desired audience at a cost and you can control what isincluded in the message and how and when it is delivered.Advertising plays an important role in an organization, helping to generate revenue and profit bystimulating sales. Advertising raises market awareness of an organizations products and servicesand generates leads for a sales force to follow up. By building a brand image for products,advertising differentiates the products from competitors and helps to create customer preference. Italso helps to develop a corporate image that builds market confidence and trust in an organizationas a supplier.To meet the varying demands of their target consumers, advertisers commonly use rational appealand emotional appeal in their advertising in an attempt to influence consumer behavior (Chu, 1996)Kotler (1991) defined rational appeal as rationally oriented purchase stimulated by directly givingexplanations of a product’s advantages. Rational appeal focuses on the benefits consumers mayenjoy. In an advertisement, it emphasize that a product or service could achieve the function andbenefits consumers desire. He defined emotional appeal as the stimulation of consumers’ purchaseintentions by arousing their positive or negative emotions. Positive emotional appeal covers humor,love, happiness, etc, while negative emotional appeal involves fear, a sense of guilt, and so on.Corporate AdvertisingCorporate Advertising as a basic tool of Public Relations is that broad area of non-productadvertising aim specifically at enhancing company’s image and increasing lacking awareness.It can be defined as “paid use of media that seeks to benefit the image of the corporation as a wholerather than its product or services alone”
  7. 7. Corporate Advertising is a promotional strategy that is designed to not only interest consumers inproducts and services offered by an organization, but also to cultivate a positive reputation amongconsumers and others written the business world. The focus of Corporate Advertising is on thecompany itself, with the attention to the products produced by the organization being a byproductof the advertising effort.Types of Corporate AdvertisingThe four types of corporate advertising commonly used by organizations are:PR Adinstitutionally Adcorporate Identity Adrecruitment AdPUBLIC RELATIONS AD: it is typically used to improve the company’s relations with labour,government, customers or even suppliers. Thus, when a company sponsors arts events, programmeson television or charitable activities, they are engaging in PR. PR Ad is used when a company wishesto communicate directly with one of its important publics to express its feelings or to enhance itspoint of view to that particular audience. They are designed to enhance a company’s generalcommunity citizenship and to create public goodwill.INSTITUTIONAL AD: otherwise called corporate advertisementInstitutional advertising is marketing designed to promote a company rather than a specific good orservice. It can be designed to make the public more aware of a company or to improve thereputation and image of an existing company. Depending on the company, this can be a form ofbrand advertising.Institutional Ads serve these purposes amongst others:To report company’s achievement or accomplishmentTo position company competitively in the market placeTo reflect a change in corporate personalityTo shove up stock prices of companiesTo improve employees moraleTo avoid communication problems with agents, dealers, suppliers, customers etc.CORPORATE IDENTITY AD:this is embarked upon on rare occasion such as when organization decides to change its name, logo,address, trademark or corporate signature or in case of a merger. When such occasions occur, thereis need for Corporate Identity Advertising, this is to communicate the change to the publics.RECRUITMENT AD: This is used when the prime objective is to attract employment applications.Recruitment advertising, also known as Recruitment Communications and Recruitment Agency,includes all communications used by an organization to attract talent to work within it.Recruitment advertisements typically have a uniform layout and contain the following elements: the job title heading and location an explanatory paragraph describing the company, including the Employer Brand a description of the position entry qualifications
  8. 8.  the remuneration package (not always provided by the employer) further details and from where application forms may be sought  Image Advertising:It is a type of marketing that attempts to improve the companys reputation or increase theacknowledgment of its importance in relation to its competitors. This ad educates the public aboutthe companys leadership and market position in an attempt to show the company as a primaryreason a particular industry is prospering or beneficially impacting consumers.  Opinion, or Advocacy, Advertising:This corporate advertising is primarily concerned with influencing public opinion on issues ofimportance to the company. The ad is educational, and may not even mention the company in amajor way.Its role is to implement product flow through the channels of distribution; to act as a catalyst inacquainting the consumer and to induce him to buy the product. Advertising is a device ofpersuasive communication through which a prospective industrial buyer becomes aware of thecompany and its product. Through the awareness or knowledge thus acquired the buyer showsinterest or liking for the product and finally makes purchases at least on trial basis. One may then saythat the ultimate purpose of advertising is to create sales which of course depends on the functionalrelationship between non-personal communication (through advertising messages) and sales.dvertising as a tool that aids in increasing demand for a product and, thus opens the way for largescale production at lower cost which ultimately passed on to the consumers in terms of lower pricethey pay for the product. Also, it increases the variety and quality of good offered, stimulatescompetition in technical progress, subsidizes the press and television services and thus, helps inproviding employment.What makes a good advertisement?Determine who the target market is – ratepayers, residents, community groups, stakeholders,visitors or others.Use a strong headline which clearly indicates what the advertisement relates to. If room permits,mention a benefit or make the headline newsworthy.John Caples, author of “Tested Advertising Methods”, has analysed the top ten most commonly usedwords in successful headlines. They are:-You Your How New WhoMoney Now People Want WhyAll vital facts are included. A handy checklist is to ask the five “W’s” when writing the copy for youradvertisement – Who, What, When, Where, Why.All possible objections are answeredUse simple words that your audience understands. Do not use jargon and acronyms. For example –Instead of Useadjacent to next to or near toapproximately aboutascertain find out
  9. 9. assistance helpbehind schedule latebeverage drinkcommence start or begincurrently nowendeavour tryin attendance present or theremanufacture makemerchandise goodsprior to beforesubsequently latersufficient enoughterminate endUse short sentencesUse graphics, diagrams, maps or photographs if appropriate