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Every organization has a corporate image, whether it wants one or not. When properly designed and managed, the corporate image will accurately reflect the level of the organization's commitment to quality, excellence and relationships with its various constituents including current and potential customers, employees and future staff, competitors, partners, governing bodies, and the general public at large.
As a result, the corporate image is a critical concern for every organization, one deserving the same attention and commitment by senior management as any other vital issue. This is perhaps even truer for new and medium-sized businesses that must grapple for customer attention and the recruitment of financial and human resources without the aid of large communications budgets.
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 and communicates the organization's mission, the professionalism of its leadership, and the calibre of its employees.
Everything an organization does, and does not do, affects the perception of that organization and its performance, products, and services. These perceptions affect its ability to recruit the financial resources, people and partnerships it needs to attain its goals and objectives. This premise has two predominant concerns for companies entering the 21st Century:
Corporate image management focuses on the very heart and soul of the organization, even to the extent of evaluating why the organization exists and determining the organization's key purposes. It represents one of the highest levels of functional control of the organization.
Perhaps more importantly, the corporate brand provides a mechanism for the organization to:
The corporate brand comprises all the visual, verbal and behavioural elements that make up the organization. In many respects, the corporate image should be a dynamic actualisation of the Chief Executive Officer's vision, integrated with the corporation's mission and strategic plan. It should be thoroughly planned and constantly managed in order to support and sustain the corporation's mission. If managed effectively, it should protect the organization against competition from new competitors or from current competitors offering new products and services. Unfortunately, this is usually not the case.
The corporate image combines the organization's self-perceptions with those of its constituents. It is the raison d
Steven Howard is Asia's leading marketing consultant and positioning specialist, with over 22 years experience. The author of two books and numerous articles, you may reach him at www.howard-marketing.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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