The image of the company - what is it and how to build it?

The image of the company consists of many elements.

The slogan "image of the company" gives rise to a huge number of ideas. It seems to us that it is a series of small external details that the company presents. However, this is a somewhat misconception, because such a vision is only a substitute for the definition of this concept. So what is it in essence? Let's check. 

For years, companies have been creating their desired image, hoping that if there is no crisis, everything will be fine. But whether on company image consists only in the absence of problems that the environment may notice? In this article, we will explain exactly what it is image building company, in what categories they should be considered and with what tools we can properly create it.  

The image of the enterprise - definition

Marketing concepts can often be difficult to understand. Some things seem obvious, but when we have to explain a given concept, we don't really know how to put it into words. Scientific definitions that try to explain the marketing terms come to the rescue. According to Leszek Żabiński in "Marketing, concepts, research, management" the image of the company "is a set of beliefs and thoughts about him, his brand or products. " Gray and Balmer in "Managing Corporate Image and Corporate Reputation" recognize the company's image as "an image created directly in the minds of recipients ”. Also Wojciech Budzyński in "Public relations: strategy and new techniques of image creation" refers to the minds of consumers, writing that "The image of the company is its reflection in the consciousness of representatives of social groups that are part of the company's environment".

Consumers' awareness, their perception of the company, the result of experiences with the organization, a set of associations about it - these are the main elements that make up the company's image. Expanding the subject matter, Józef Penc in the "Market image of the company" proposes to define the image of the company as "The composition of the company's personality that stems from its philosophy, history, culture, strategy, management style, reputation and the behavior of its employees and other representatives. It is a projection of the company's personality that people perceive, identify with, and express their own opinions and feelings towards. "

Positive image of the company - quotes

A company that wants to build its image well thinks that consumers should perceive a given organization in the best possible way in their awareness. Therefore, each company should strive to build a positive image of the company. Leszek Żabiński points out that: "A positive image allows buyers to gain greater loyalty to the company and its products, and may also contribute to gaining a competitive advantage."  Focusing on building a positive image can become a source of tangible benefits. Because the positive image of the company "Increases sales by increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty, facilitates access to capital, attracts investors and potential employees, reduces the effects of competition, ensuring the company achieves above-average profits.""(Halina Wojnarowska," Image and reputation of the enterprise ")

Company image vs brand image 

Is there such a thing as image types? The term image refers to a number of projects aimed at creating the desired image of our entity in the eyes of the recipients. According to A. Figiel, in the book “Consumer ethnocentrism. Domestic or foreign products”: Brand image can be identified as a set of perceptions that are the reaction of consumers to the brand. On the other hand, the image of the company is a composition of the company's personality, arising from its philosophy, strategy, management style, reputation and behavior of employees and other company representatives..

Image building is about how the environment, both internal and external, sees our company and how it perceives its individual activities. The image of the company consists not only of the image itself, but also expectations, experiences and feelings communication related to our company. The products and services we offer are also important.

The image of a company is a concept that applies not only to the external environment, i.e. customers, suppliers or the media, but also to the internal environment, i.e. primarily employees. Employees are a real pillar of the company's image. They are the business card of the company and the first people in contact with the client. Therefore, their relationships with customers and management are also absolutely important. If work in the company is not satisfying or positive for them, they will present such an image of the company to the outside.  

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The above image does not appear out of nowhere. Recipients very carefully watch everything that falls within their circle of interest. If there is also a company in it, they will surely capture every positive and negative aspect of its operation. Unfortunately, we often deal with a situation in which these unfavorable situations will see the light of day. In the era of the Internet and the coexisting social media in it, nothing can be hidden. One dissatisfied customer and all the achievements so far may be crumbling. Then the image can change dramatically in the eyes of the recipients.  

Is image the same as identity?  

The image is very often confused with the concept of the company's identity, but this phenomenon is a kind of mirror image of the image. The identity of the company is defined as a series of activities aimed at creating a positive image. Therefore, it is not the image of the company itself, but only a set of ideas and tools that are used to achieve the goal.  

Of course, certain aspects of identity affect its perception by the environment, including way of communicating with the client, organizational culture of the company, values that the company follows in its business every day, attitude to competition and all social aspects that are close to consumers. Thus, it can be said that creating an image of an enterprise begins with defining the specific identity of the enterprise.  

What influences the image of the company?  

Many factors contribute to the image of a company. Everything depends primarily on the actions taken by the company. If the company is aware of its advantages and disadvantages, it is much easier to start the so-called. creating the image of the company. However, it should not be forgotten that the lack of action also leads to the creation of an image of the company in the minds of recipients. However, it will certainly be a less desirable image than the one we would like to create consciously.  

The most important thing is a well-thought-out strategy based on values, truth and the ability to deal with crisis situations. Depending on the size of the entity, these activities may be more or less extensive. That is why it is so important to move away once and for all from the belief that marketing and public relations they are manipulation and lies aimed at consumers in order to manipulate their actions.

How a company behaves towards its customers will define its image. What is particularly important - the company must take care of it every day. Process image creation because it is not a one-time thing, it is a constant striving to build mutual trust between the company and its environment.  

Building a positive image of the company 

The image of the company should start from defining the previously mentioned strategy, i.e. setting the goals we want to achieve and the ways to achieve them. We should set out the main values of the company, its vision and, above all, its mission, as well as some specific aspects that significantly distinguish it from the competition. It should be based on that.  

Let's also think about the current image of the company on the Internet and the awareness of it among recipients. If no one knows the company yet, such a "tabula rasa" is an ideal opportunity to create an image from scratch. Let us remember that one of the most important issues is also defining the target groups to which all messages will be addressed. In view of such a division, it will be easier to design activities.  

The next step is consistent and thoughtful visual identification, i.e. all kinds of colors, typography, logos, slogans, letterheads, websites, social profiles - all this should be kept in a similar spirit and at the same time distinguish the company so that it will be remembered faster.  

The Internet gives us a lot of opportunities to show our best side. So let's remember to keep all information up-to-date. Let's show what is happening in the company, let's communicate with recipients, let's create a unique bond that the environment can only share with our company.  

The most important rule - remember about customers!  

Many brands focus largely on acquiring more and more new projects. This, of course, greatly develops the company in terms of services, but it must not forget about existing customers. You must constantly work to keep the good ones alive relationship with customerswho have already trusted the brand. They generate greater profits for the entity than potential future customers, so it is worth getting as much information as possible from them - what they like about cooperation and what should be changed. Thanks to this information, you can influence the image of the company - improving customer service, introducing improvements in the products offered, etc.

Questionnaires for obtaining information are also an ideal support in internal communication of the company. This is another area that should be constantly monitored - keep track of the internal situation and resolve any crises. Good results of customer or employee satisfaction surveys are also a great opportunity to show off the company's successes. So let's remember when planning a strategy about ideas on how we could maintain good relations with clients or employees, so that they feel respected and appreciated by the company.  

If there is a crisis, let's face it - respond to both positive and negative comments on a regular basis, solve problems, and be polite and helpful. Customers will surely appreciate the company's attitude, even in the event of disputes.  

CSR, or corporate social responsibility 

Many brands are involved in activities for the benefit of the community - this is the so-called Corporate Social Responsibility, i.e. corporate social responsibility. It manifests itself in supporting charities, collecting food or donating products for a good cause. Some companies take their own initiatives and involve other partner companies as well as customers. This can be done locally or on a larger scale, and the willingness to help is important. Sometimes the positive image of the company directly affects the effects of such initiatives, which in many cases are impressive and bring a lot of good, for example to the local community.  

Media relations – communication with the media is important

The image of the company is also influenced by relations with the media. They have a direct impact on the dissemination of information about the company on a local or national scale. Therefore, caring for good relations with the media is one of the key activities. How to care for communication in this area? Provide the media with information about the entity's activities, new products or services, innovations or new technology used in the company.  

If the image strategy is to be properly implemented, you need a specialist or even a whole team who will deal with it comprehensively and will conduct an ongoing evaluation. In the event that we do not have adequate resources inside the company, it is worth hiring an external one PR agency. One that will professionally deal with the subject of the company's image and, as a result, accelerate business development.

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Negative image of the company and its consequences

The company's image is affected by a number of various internal and external factors. One negative opinion may mean little, but sometimes it is enough to trigger an avalanche of further unfavorable events that can lead to a real image crisis.

We live in a world created by other people's opinions. The Internet has enabled us to react immediately, while at the same time providing a sense of anonymity and impunity. He made the comments, whether real or made up, spread at the speed of light. Giving us little time to react properly. The important role of those responsible for image creation it is therefore necessary to closely monitor the media and public opinion, including the Internet.

A negative image creates prejudices against the company and its offer. Comes in brand identity. Clients begin to look suspiciously at the company's day-to-day operations, approaching further interactions with reserve. The distance of potential customers results in a reduced number of transactions, which significantly affects the company's financial results and, consequently, may lead to its collapse.

The image of the company is also of great importance in perceiving the company as an employer. Negative opinions about the company effectively deter potential candidates. According to research conducted by TalentLyft, employees are much less likely to leave companies with a strong brand. As many as 75 % people actively looking for job offers declare that before reacting to an offer, they actively look for information about the employer. The vast majority of such candidates declare that if they encounter negative comments about the company, they resign from further cooperation.

How to take care of the company's image?

The battle on the market is currently not fought over the real and physical values of the products offered, but over their perception, i.e. the opinions and feelings that a given brand evokes in the hearts and minds of recipients. A clear image promotes the recognition of a given brand. On the other hand, the positive emotions with which it is identified are transferred directly to the offered products or services, as well as to the enterprise itself, and even to the people managing it.

The image is created primarily through the message contained in the mission of a given organization. A well-formulated mission, which shows the goals and methods of the company's functioning, has a significant impact on the perception of the company by the immediate and further environment. The image of the company is also influenced by the personality of the owner and ambassadors associated with a given brand. It is they who constitute the "guarantee" which ensures that the promise that the brand makes to its surroundings is kept.

In order to start creating a specific image, the first step is to honestly answer the following questions: what are the strengths and weaknesses of my company, what distinguishes my brand, what values do I follow in my daily business, what is my brand pursuing and aspirations, what companies inspire me, who exactly do I want to reach with my communication and who is my target group, what my recipients expect, what are their needs, problems, problems and preferences, and how my offer can solve their problems or meet their needs.

Shaping the company's image it's a process. It is the result of comparing and confronting one's own expectations and those of our immediate and further environment. Our goal is to strive for the compliance of the company's mission and the expectations of all selected target groups.

The image of the enterprise and the instruments of its shaping

Shaping the image allows the company to appear in the minds of consumers. It should be noted at the outset that these are not actions performed once. The process of creating a company's image takes place all the time it exists on the market. The selection of appropriate shaping instruments depends on many factors. How long has the company been on the market, does it have a good reputation, and in what industry does it operate? Among the factors that have a real impact on the image, the following should be mentioned:

  • rational factors - knowledge, experience, awareness,
  • social factors - social norms, challenged values, social imitation,
  • emotional elements - expectations, wishes, prejudices, likes and dislikes.

Public relations offers a lot of tools that allow you to shape the company's image. Of course, there is no need to use them all at once. A lot depends on the adopted action strategy. The basic tools include:

  • conducting internal communication audits. In this way, the company can check how quickly new information is spreading among employees,
  • constant and positive contact with the media, which are a great tool for shaping the image,
  • maintaining positive relations with investors,
  • creating a visual identity, i.e. corporate identity, which assumes the implementation of the graphic design, colors and individual elements used during marketing campaigns, and which will be associated with the company,
  • organizing social campaigns, events and industry meetings,
  • e-PR activities, i.e. everything that involves creating an image on the web and using social media,
  • activities in the field of CRS, i.e. corporate social responsibility.

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Of course, there are many more tools of all kinds, and more are constantly appearing as the media develops at a dizzying pace. However, it should be remembered that the selection of appropriate instruments should depend on the organization's goals, needs and expectations.

Branding and public relations

Creating a brand image is an extremely important element of public relations. It is thanks to appropriate financing, involvement in the process and a properly constructed public relations strategy that we can increase the value of the company's image. Nowadays, more and more companies recognize the crucial importance of public relations in building a brand reputation, and its use in marketing is becoming more and more important. That is why it is worth investing in professional public relations services and creating the desired image of the company that will appeal to consumers and bring the company the expected benefits.

How to build an image outside?

The company's image can be built inside and outside the organization. The methods used in the first case assume creating a strong and well-coordinated team. On the other hand, building an external image is what customers notice. How can you act?

  1. Expert texts. We like to learn from the best, so why not show that the company is an expert in its industry? It is primarily a great way to reach people interested in a given field. The content can be published on a blog or cooperation with industry portals can be established.
  2. Attending industry meetings is a good way to meet people working in the same area. It is also a method of finding potential customers who will be interested in entering into cooperation or will take advantage of the company's offer.
  3. A website that allows customers to familiarize themselves with the company's offer is highly desirable. If a business wants to be visible online, it should bear in mind that there is no better way to inform potential customers what they are doing. When building a website, it is worth filling it with substantive content and ensuring an appropriate border design. A good solution that will build trust among customers is also to create a "team" tab, which will include all the people who make up the company. You can limit yourself to the photos themselves, but much better results are achieved by adding short biographical notes.

The methods should also include podcasts and webinars. This is a very fresh form of creating the company's image, but it can turn out to be much more effective - after all, it allows you to stand out from the competition!

Shaping the company's image - why is it profitable?

The value of the company's image is invaluable for any organization. There are many factors that affect the image of a company, such as marketing campaigns, quality of products or services, social activities or the way of communication with customers. A well-built company image attracts customers, increases their trust and loyalty. Therefore, investment in the company's image should be one of the key elements of the business strategy of any organization, especially in the Internet era where information spreads quickly and affects the company's reputation.

Worth knowing:

What is a company image?

The image of a company is how it is perceived by customers, employees, competitors and the general public. It is not only a logo or office decor, but also a way of communicating, operating on the market, and even corporate social responsibility. The image of a company affects its credibility, customer trust and ultimately its profits. That is why it is so important for the company to take care of its image and consistently implement its mission and values, as well as to be transparent and proactive in communication with the environment. When a company's image is positive, it is easier to win new customers, attract investors and retain engaged employees.

What influences the company's image?

The image of a company is not only its logo and name, but above all how it is perceived by customers and potential investors. The company's image is influenced by many factors, such as the quality of products or services, the way the company communicates with customers, as well as its social and ecological commitment. It is important that the company has consistent values and is guided by them in all aspects of its operation. Customers are increasingly paying attention to the ethical attitudes of companies, and a positive image can bring significant benefits to the company, such as increasing revenues or gaining customer trust. Improving the company's image is a long-term process, but nowadays you can make it much easier to build it by using various tools and communication channels available on the Internet.

How to build a positive company image?

Building a positive image of the company requires many activities and, above all, effective strategies. The first step is to define the goals you want to achieve. Next, you should analyze the markets in which the company operates and the competition. It is also important to take care of the image on the Internet, including on social networks and the company's website. Professional customer service, shaping a positive image of a product or service, as well as caring for good relations with business partners are also of key importance. All these elements contribute to a positive image of the company, which contributes to its greater popularity, higher profits and customer loyalty.

How to take care of the company's image?

The company's image is a key aspect of business, which is why it is so important to take care of it properly. The first step is to build a coherent and clear message that will faithfully reflect the company's values and goals. Next, make sure you appear in the right places professionally and consistently. It is also important to take care of relations with customers and business partners and to react to possible criticism or comments in social media. Thanks to the proper care of the company's image, you can gain credibility, trust of customers and stand out on the market.

How to improve the company's image?

Improving your company's image is key to success in today's competitive business world. The first step is to understand what customers and the community want, and then formulate a strategy to meet their expectations. It is important to maintain consistency and authenticity while doing so. Good communication with customers and the community through social media and other channels is essential in building a positive image of the company. Let's also not forget about professional training for the team so that it can create the best possible impression on customers and the community. Improving the company's image is not an easy task, but with the right strategy and approach, it will certainly succeed.

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