Over the last decade developing a ‘Corporate reputation’ has become central to a company’s success in the market place.
Corporate reputation is concerned with how people perceive and feel about a company generally over the longer term. It can be defined as a “perceptual representation of a company’s past actions and future prospects. Describing the firm’s overall appeal to all its key constituents when compared with other leading rivals (Fombrun, 1996, pp. 72).
This definition refers to peoples or stakeholders perceptions of a company which have been formed from its past, present and future actions. Focusing on a company’s overall appeal when compared to their competitors.
Here of course, it is important to acknowledge that people can buy into and recognise the reputation of companies whose products and services they have never experienced directly.
For example, Rolls Royce and Ferrari are seen as a high quality and exclusive brand; which has been formed over many years and shared through the images in the media and the marketing that surrounds these companies’ products and services.
So, what are the basic ingredients of developing a corporate reputation?
It is important that companies communicate their core mission & corporate values clearly to external and internal stakeholders. There should be a logical and common thread through the mission & values that help to form the company’s reputation.
It’s insufficient for companies to only communicate about products or services. They need to communicate effectively about the range of issues that may affect their operations, their interaction with the environment and industry as well as about the company’s own identity, history & culture.
Corporate identity + Corporate image = Corporate Reputation.
Corporate identity & image help to form corporate reputation. Corporate identity is concerned with internal (i.e. employees) perceptions. Whilst corporate image is the external perceptions (i.e a range of stakeholders including consumers, suppliers, PR agencies etc.) of the corporate brand.
Both corporate identity and corporate image are interrelated and need to be congruent with each other then they will help to shape the reputation that a company has. It’s no good having an identity from within the company that suggests shoddy working practices, cutting corners and poor quality whilst portraying externally that key values are high quality, employee empowerment and effective working practices.
Our Digital Marketing & Social Media programme focuses on the importance of corporate/brand image and how to build on your current understanding – Find out more here
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Dr Ian Grime
Associate tutor of In Professional Development