An Image is a dynamic & profound affirmation of nature, culture, and structure. Corporate image can be defined as the perceived sum of the entire organization, its objectives, and plans. The corporate image is a perception held by the public based on its portrayal through branding, public relations activities, media, various stakeholders, employees, labour unions, and consumer advocacy groups. Corporate image decides the sales and revenue of the company. The corporate image comprises all the visuals, verbal, and behavioural elements that make up the organization. Image is created by things that are done, and how they are done. In a world where brands are finding it difficult to get a recall, Image management helps a brand to differentiate itself from the competition and adds value to the brand, instills confidence in employees and creates customer loyalty. Image accounts for a significant measure of the success and failure of the organization. The company image integrates the values, mission, vision, and strategy of an organization.
Image management focuses on the very heart & soul of any organization to the extent of evaluating and determining the organization’s key purpose. It represents the highest level of functional control in the organization. The customer’s mind, heart, emotions, and perceptions have become the ultimate battleground for managing customer relationships. The corporate image is formed by customer perception which is a function of various factors including suppliers, employees, community, shareholders, media, and the customer attitude. A clear image is the sum total of perceptions of the organization objectives and plans. The image becomes concise when it encompasses the company’s products, services, management style, communication activities, and actions. The image further becomes concrete when it accurately reflects the organization’s level of commitment to quality, excellence, and relationships with various stakeholders.
Benefits of a Strong Image
- Complete awareness among managers of the firm’s long-range goals.
- Clearly defined corporate objectives and directions
- Improved insights into competitive positions and market conditions
- Improved both internal and external communications
- Positive accountability to the customers about the firm’s position in the industry and the market
- A better understanding of the organization in the financial community
- A Better understanding of the company, its goals, and directions by employees, suppliers, media, and other stakeholders.
Influence on the Image
- Product – consistency in providing high-quality products puts the company above the competition and has a positive impact on the image.
- Service – Even when the products are of regular quality, an exceptional level of customer services puts the company on a high pedestal.
- Finance – Companies with a strong financial backbone have a greater chance of success and greater clout.
- Employees – Happy & productive employees have a powerful influence on the market.
- Corporate citizenship and corporate social responsibility – Company taking up strong positions on social causes and doing their bit to improve the life of citizens has a major impact on the image of the company.
- Corporate governance – Company corporate governance policy leave a strong impact on the image of the company.
Thus the companies need to project an image that reflects its honesty, integrity, reliability, and credibility. The company should be careful about its actions, pronouncements as they are instrumental in shaping the image of the company.