Corporate Image Management A Marketing Discipline For The 21st Century


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. The corporate image communicates the organization’s mission, the professionalism of its leadership, the caliber of its employees and its roles within the marketing environment or political landscape.

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.

Historically, thinking and writing about the subject of corporate image has come from the area of graphic design, with most attention given to name selection, typography, logo design and usage rules, color palettes, uniforms, and marketing collateral. This approach no longer suits the global, dynamic, cross-border and cross-cultural world in which a growing number of today’s businesses and organizations operate. What is needed, instead, is a practice called Corporate Image Management. This is a holistic management discipline designed to prepare organizations to compete for resources, partners, customers and market share well into the early years of the 21st Century.

Corporate image management is founded upon modern cooperate identity practices and the marketing premise that 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 approach evaluates corporate image from a marketing, rather than a graphic design, perspective. The premise has two predominant concerns for companies entering the 21st Century:

* an understanding that the corporate image is a major strategic concern that can have a direct impact on the level of success the organization achieves through its other marketing and management efforts, and
* an understanding that a coherent corporate image needs to be integrated into the organization at all levels.

Looked at from a marketing perspective, corporate image management becomes an on-going, synergistic management tool, rather than a one-time “corporate image exercise” as currently practiced by most organizations and almost all corporate identity consultants. Corporate image management, therefore, becomes a comprehensive and all-embracing process that internalizes a new skill set for managing relationships between constituents at all levels in the organization. Its goal is to enable sustainable relationship advantages to be developed with key audiences. Since the process of corporate image management is on-going, these relationship management skills are applied to all current, prospective and future relationships. It applies equally to commercial, non-profit and government organizations.