Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Identity, Image, and Reputation

Introduction
Image Identity and Reputation go hand in hand. It is impossible to separate them from each other. All these three aspects are important for the Goodwill of the company.
Identity: An organization’s identity is visual expression of the organization’s reality which can express through the name, product, services, logo, motto or all other tangible pieces created by the organization and communicated to constituencies. Identity-building is the only thing an organization has complete control over. Therefore, an organization has to be aware of the aspects that contribute to a positive corporate identity.
Image: An organization’s image is an indication of the organization’s identity seen from the viewpoint of the company’s constituencies. Often, organizations have to change their names in order to adapt to changes in their environment. Logos are also an important component of a organization’s branding strategy. They can be simply symbols or just names or a combination of both. The most famous corporate logos are the Coca-Cola logo or the Nike “Swoosh”. A company must ensure that its logo and name somehow reflects the overall approach of the company’s strategy.

Reputation: Reputation is the opinion or a social evaluation of the public toward a person, a group of people, or an organization. It helps a company to attract more talented employees or investors. Furthermore, it gives an organization a higher acceptance among customers. A good reputation can also help in times of crisis. Johnson & Johnson, for example, survived the Tylenol crisis because of its good reputation.

Life Experience Example

The best example that comes to my mind is the Apple computers. They have gained fame in each and every aspect of their way in dealing with public image. Improved share price day by day, new quality innovations in every short span of time keep the consumer very well bonded to it and help the company to reinforce its image, identity and reputation. For example promotions among college students like one of their great moves to sell the Mac-book with student discounts of 10% and a free iPod helped them build their identity in younger generation with vigor. Apple recently changed its personal web service “.Mac” to the name “mobileme.com”. This name change was done because of the strategic importance of the iPhone division in the overall corporate strategy.

Another Example

Couple of years back, my company decided to change its logo (identity) in order to give the company a new image of professionalism for both primary and secondary constituencies and came up with a great combination of black and red color in its logo. While promoting my company, I placed an article about the company on Wikipedia. Soon after a couple of days there came in messages of several other administrators asking about the existence of the company and what the company is notable for. After replying to several of the e-mails the administrators agreed to place the article on the Wikipedia. This was because the company had a strong image, identity, and reputation in the hardware market. Had it been any other non-reputed company the administrators would not have agreed to place the article on Wikipedia. This example shows that a company must have strong reputation because tied to that reputation is the company’s identity and image.
Links:

Video: Beyond the logo- Branding through Identity Design

video

Video: How to Create a Corporate Identity

video

10 comments:

  1. I agree with Mayank that corporate image is everything. A logo is a reflection of that company's image. When people see a logo, they have thoughts and emotions associated with that companay.

    Here is a little about my experience with Identity, Image, and Reputation.


    The importance of leadership in inspiring vision

    A few years back, I read a great book about leadership called The Secret, written by Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller. It focused on a management model developed for the Chick-fil-A company called the SERVE model. SERVE was an acronym standing for See the Future, Engage and Develop Others, Reinvent Continuously, Value Results and Relationships, Embody the Values. I am going to focus on the S part of SERVE model and reinforce what it says in Chapter 4 of the course text about using vision to shape identity. According to The Secret, having a vision for the future is a key element in communicating your corporate identity. Giving vision and direction to employees creates a strong, tightly knit sense to unity and a common focus. Unity with a common focus communicates a very stung message to your clients. This helps send a consistent and clear message to your constituencies about what your company does and how it conducts its affairs.


    My experience with a client that inspired true vision

    For many years, I have been working for a client that offered clear and consistent vision to its employees, contractors, vendors, and other constituencies. The morale for this client was so high, that its employees were willing to give vast amounts of their time and effort to make it more successful. This company was extremely transparent in its vision and direction, which sent loud and clear communication signals to everyone in the industry, including its competitors. Everyone loves working for them, including all the people in my company. This company is a true example of a corporation that truly inspires vision.

    Here is a good article about the importance of inspiring vision.

    http://www.businessweek.com/smallbiz/content/nov2008/sb20081125_348248.htm

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  2. The definitions from Mayank Agrawal about Identity, Image, and Reputation are very descriptive. The life experience example about Apple computers and free iPod are up-to-date. The own example about the logo and the entry in Wikipedia shows how fast-moving the time is in the age of the Internet.

    It’s very important for a company to get the right name. Based on a product the selling will be better if everyone know about the quality and the use. Therefore branding and strategic brand management are critical components of identity management programs. Companies often change their institute name to signal identity change or to make their identity better as the reality.

    Reputation in the basic meaning describes the reputation of a person, a group or an organization. A high reputation is equated with a good reputation. Said in simplified terms, reputation helps us to calculate a little better how somebody will behave in future. This calculability has the advantage that decisions will get easier and costs will be saved. Confidence and reliability are an important base for such estimates. Reputation also can be understand as a cultural major or an social resource. Companies count reputation as one of the immaterial assets and is the goodwill, for example patents and brand rights of enterprises.

    Nowadays a huge part of the business in my financial institution runs on internet. The presentation on the own web-side is an important way to show our identity and our image. Therefore it’s necessary to be up to date about the products, the conditions, and the internet security. We cannot take the liberty of saving up for the safety in the net.

    The network infrastructure costs much money every year. We cannot afford it to provide our customers a low security standard. The consequence would be on the one hand the decline in the internet transactions and on the other hand a increasing the recourse claims. The image and the reputation would decrease.

    My comment based on a currently "real-world" example from my occupation. The topic from the chapter four was pick up in an article from the “Financial Times London”, published June 2nd 2009. Complete in electronic form – the link will give the whole article.

    “Reputation means everything on the web”
    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/2a452b32-3631-11de-af40-00144feabdc0.html

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  3. I think the public image and reputation are the integrated results of all corporate communication to its external constituencies.

    Life Experience Example

    One of my friends works in New Oriental Education & Technology Group (EDU), the biggest English language education corporation in China which is now traded in NYSE. Due to the development of globalization, Chinese people are now devoting huge amount of time in learning English. This leads to the formation of a big education market. And New Oriental is the most well known brand in China. What is the most interesting is that the corporation does not spend much on advertising campaign. We seldom see its ads either on TV or on newspapers. Instead, the corporation focuses on quality control of its education programs. It takes a great many measures to satisfy the customers and manage to build a positive and inspiring image among all the constituencies. In this example, the face to face communication with the help of customers’ feedback does have a better result than normal advertising campaign. The ongoing concerns about the public image and reputation should always have priority in corporate external communication affairs.

    More information about New Oriental:

    http://www.fool.com/investing/international/2007/10/16/new-oriental-makes-the-honor-roll.aspx

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  4. To establish strong image and good reputation, a company has to work hard to meet the required satisfaction that is demanded by the customers. Saudi Arabia is country that mostly based religious beliefs and tradition due to its history. Because of their beliefs and high standards of morals, they expect high quality of products and especially food products.

    I have an interesting story regard company’s reputation and image. It is Al Safi Company. Al Safi is well-known company that produces dairy products in Saudi Arabia. This company started 20 years ago as a small business in which they provide their products to only the capital, Riyadh. This company focuses at first in its identity, image, and reputation. I recall when they are in business they have lowered their prices in order to compete with really good quality. They were successful by using low price strategy, but simultaneously they were engaging in massive social responsibility. They were building mosques and hospitals, giving money to charities, and mainly in helping disabled people by constructing special facilitated parks for them. Of course they were doing this in phases, but they informed their loyal customers about what the company intended to do. Here the customers felt, as they are a part of this long-term plan commitment. Therefore, Al Safi sales increased dramatically along with its reputation. They made relations with big and small retailers all over the kingdom. Their aim is that their products to be reachable to every customer. In 2005, Al Safi have reached 55% market share among 7 competitors.

    What I have learned is that the long-term objectives along with good communications for both internally and externally is essential for company prosperity. Al Safi was communicating with their customers by involving them in the company future. We see how they get hold of their initial market to build a sold logo that represent the customer satisfaction and then using its image to expand all over the kingdom. I have learned that strong brand image along with reputation come from hard work and dignity over long period.

    Here is a relative links that talks about how to manage company’s reputation. It’s basically 7 steps on order to do so.

    http://www.ehow.com/how_2103121_manage-companys-reputation.html

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  5. My Personal Experience

    I don't have much professional experience being that I'm only 21, but I do have a story. As a few of you guys already know, I'm from Erie, PA. It's the fourth largest city in Pennsylvania but with the least amount of things to do for ages 18-20. When I was 19, there was a specific night club that all of us underage college students liked to attend. It was usually fun, but there was one thing that still gets under my skin til this day. Their dress code was so strict that it was frequently in the newspaper for their discriminatory practices.

    There are two main types of discrimination. Disparate treatment is intentionally discriminating against a person because of their age, sex, religion, ethnicity, race or color. Disparate impact are methods or rules that people use to discriminate against someone or a certain group of people that may or may not be intentional. An example would be in the 1960s, many African-Americans were given aptitude tests, because most African-Americans didn't have H.S. Diplomas and the employers would use their weak scores as a reason to give any white man the job.

    In my case being a young African-American male from the inner-city, the dress codes that were upheld at many of the clubs downtown were designated mostly to reject a certain type of people. Just to give you an idea of some of the dress codes, I posted a blog written by another female about the same problems.

    The dress code was very strict and very SPECIFIC. NO NEW-ERA OR "NEW-ERA LIKE" FITTED CAPS, NO LONG-CHAIN NECKLACES, NO SUNGLASSES, NO TIMBERLAND BOOTS, NO PLAIN WHITE T-SHIRTS, SHIRTS CAN'T GO PASSED YOUR POCKETS OR SHIRTS MUST BE TUCKED-IN, PANTS MUST BE SECURE AT THE WASTE, PANTS CANNOT BE BAGGY, NO HOLES IN JEANS. This dress code was imposed strictly to keep young urban African-Americans out, and many of the problems that occured on the night club's premises were mostly because of the strict discriminatory dress code. It only took two years for the Erie Times News to run it in the local paper, and soon enough, all the clubs and bars downtown relaxed their dress codes. But it was too good to be true because two months later, the clubs were back at it again.

    Finally, a press conference was held with one of the downtown club owners. His defense, was that he wanted his club to have a classy identity, and he thought that the dress code wasn't aimed to keep black-Americans out. The owner didn't change his mind about his dress code, and as a result many people boycotted this club. Their image and reputation was permanently damaged. But under new management, the Owner's Nephew who sought to remedy his Uncle's wrong-doings, decided to change the name of the club and turn it into the largest sports bar in Erie.

    Oh yeah... And there's no dress code.

    Here is a link/complaint

    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/306260/night_club_dress_codes_what_are_their.html?cat=9

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  7. I agree with everyone’s postings. Identity, image, and reputation are becoming even more important. The development of technology including the internet, has allowed people to share information instantly. Therefore if any individual has a bad experience with a product or service, they can express their thoughts to millions of people.

    Personal Experience
    I don’t have any professional experience with reputation or image but I have a lot of experience as a consumer. Currently I am looking for a new car. Buying a car is such a large investment and I want to make sure that I get the best possible value. Therefore, I am thoroughly analyzing different makes and models. During the beginning of my search I was looking at several Chrysler products. This was around the time that they went bankrupt. Obviously, Chrysler going bankrupt made me question their reputation and image. They scenario happened several weeks later with GM products. I have yet to determine which car I am going to get however I have narrowed my focus. I currently drive a Toyota which has nearly 200,000 miles and it has yet to give me any major problems. Already understanding that Toyota has a reputation of making quality vehicles, I’m pretty sure I am going to purchase a Toyota.

    Suggested Link
    The following link discusses the affects of word of mouth even in today’s internet savvy world.

    http://thebrandbuilder.blogspot.com/2005/08/brand-reputation-reputation-brand.html

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  8. When a corporation decides to change its vision, there must be consistency among all identity elements including the corporation logo. Name change, and/or logo change alone does not change the public’s perception of that corporation. We’ve discussed a number of companies whose logos are familiar on an international level including McDonalds, Nike, and Coca Cola. A company’s logo should almost instantly call to mind who they are, what they do, and what they stand for.

    Our discussion on company identity, in particular branding through the use of logos, reminded me of when Nationwide Insurance Company changed their logo back in 1992. When the local Nationwide agency removed their old N and eagle logo, replacing it with an empty blue frame, I was baffled. For a long time, my husband, who is in the financial services business, and I would drive by the building and wonder aloud about Nationwide’s rationale for using what we felt was a very abstract and meaningless symbol as their new logo. As time went on, we stopped discussing it, and now, 10 years later, we accept that empty blue frame as part of Nationwide’s identity.

    As a result of our study on identity, image and reputation, I decided to look into the history of the blue frame. If I had been at all curious, rather than critical, back in 1992, or had access to the Internet so I could easily research it, I would have found the logo change was the result of a total change in Nationwide’s corporate vision. That vision necessitated a corresponding change in corporate identity. The new symbol was designed, according to Nationwide, as “a ‘living logo’ which frames candid images of people in life's moments, graphically demonstrating the company's focus on its customers.” The strategy was successful since the company more than doubled its assets between 1993 and 1999. The blue frame still makes me a little uneasy when I see it, but at least now I understand the big picture.

    http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/08-30-1999/0001012132&EDATE=

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  9. I really appreciate Mayank’s explanations of how company’s image, identity and reputation can benefit them in their business. Preserving and improving reputation has become the priority for any organization. Companies are using its reputation to increase its competitiveness. In financial market company’s image plays an important role in deciding whether to invest in company or not.

    My Experience:

    I was working in Nokia Company as an electronics engineer during my training period. The problem that was going on with Nokia at that time is that there BL-5C mobile batteries are not working properly. These batteries got overheated while charging. Approximately 46 million handsets are there in market with BL-5C battery. Nokia had build there image and reputation by working hard during several past years. Company’s image and reputation was on stake due to this problem. Customers are really scared to use these handsets. Company had taken the responsibility and they issued a statement that BL-5C battery from Matsushita could potentially experience overheating initiated by a short circuit while charging. Company said that around 100 incidents of overheating have been reported. Company said that BL-5C battery is used in hundreds of millions of Nokia phones, but only the ones made by Matsushita are affected, and only during the time period from December 2005 and November 2006. Moreover company said that anyone with a BL-5C Nokia-branded battery will have to contact Nokia to determine if their phone is part of the recall. Nokia took the responsibility of changing the battery of every customer who is affected by this problem. This way company had shown that they really care about their customer by providing them all information about the problem and by taking steps to mitigate the problem. Company realization of the fact that this problem can destroy company’s image and reputation helped them to sustain and grow in the business.


    Website:
    http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/33373/145/

    Video:
    http://it.truveo.com/Nokia-Recalls-46-Million-CellPhone-Batteries/id/946484992

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  10. That’s really a good descriptive start with the blog Mayank. I totally agree that Image and reputation go together, and if they get hurt then definitely you don’t at all feel good about your identity.

    The first video in your post, Beyond the logo, is really good. I completely agree that visual memory is better than any other type. So, if a symbol or a logo is related to a brand then it speaks itself for the brand. For example, Apple computers and its other products. Just by looking at a gadget with a picture of a fruit on it, one recognizes the brand. If you see the swoosh on shoes then its Nike, double golden arch making an M, its McDonalds etc…

    I personally don’t have relevant work experience with logos or image & identity of a company because of working at day-to-day execution position. But I can feel and experience the reputation of an organization by looking at various symbols/logos. If I am driving and feel hungry, the guiding sign boards on my way with “M” attracts me, if I see four rings partially overlapping on one another in front of a car (Audi) it catches my attention and gives me an idea about size of the pocket of a person driving it.

    So, I do understand the importance of image, reputation and identity in a growing and maintaining a business.

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