The corporate image is a dynamic and profound affirmation of the nature, culture and structure of an organization. This applies equally to corporations, businesses, government entities, and non-profit organizations.
Looked at from a marketing perspective, corporate brand management needs to be an on-going, synergistic management tool, not the one-time “corporate image exercise” as practiced by so many organizations and almost all corporate identity consultants.
The corporate brand provides a mechanism for the organization to:
- Differentiate itself from competition.
- Create recognized added-value to the products and services marketed or delivered by the organization.
- Attract and maintain customer relationships in order to prosper in an increasingly competitive and constantly changing global marketplace.
The corporate image also represents the highest level of brand personality and characteristics that can be created and communicated to customers and marketing partners [and hence the linkage to relationship marketing].
In today’s world of deteriorating product brand power, rising perceptions of parity products, reducing employee loyalty, and increasing competition, the corporate brand image has taken on renewed importance.
Previously, a company’s visual identity system was sufficient to project and protect the image of the organization. Today, all aspects of the corporate brand image need to be managed, from the refinement of the mission statement to how well the troops on the front line understand, communicate, and portray this mission.
Corporate image management matches the expectations and understanding of both customers and employees about what the organization stands for, where it is heading, and what its core strengths, traditions, and principles are.
The underlining principle of this discipline is simply this: if it touches the customer, it’s a marketing issue.™
Nothing touches the customer more than how he or she perceives your corporate image. This fundamental perception will be a major factor that determines whether the customer will decide to conduct business with you and, more important, enter into a long-term and mutually rewarding relationship with your organization.
There may be no greater marketing issue than management of the corporate image in today’s increasingly competitive markets.
Without a doubt, corporate image management will be a key marketing discipline well into the future.
The ultimate battleground for winning and maintaining customer relationships now takes place in the minds, hearts, emotions, and perceptions of your customers.
KEY POINT: the corporate image represents the highest level of brand personality that can be created and communicated to customers and marketing partners.
TAKING ACTION: where and how can you place greater resources in winning the battle for the minds, hearts, emotions, and perceptions of customers?
Is your corporate brand giving you sufficient differentiation in the market? Why or why not?
How can your corporate brand provide added value to the products and services marketed and delivered by your organization?
What does your organization stand for? Where is it headed? What are its most important core strengths, traditions, and principles? Are these found within your corporate image, as perceived by your key constituents?
This article is partially excerpted from the book The Best of the Monday Morning Marketing Memo, available in Kindle and paperback formats at Amazon.