Your corporate image is your CV; taking time and resources to create one works in more ways than one
“If your business is not a brand, it is a commodity” – Donald Trump ne day I went to pay a visit to a friend who is business man. As I entered the office I was attracted by the big white wall in front of me and immediately I thought, “why waste all this space?” When I reached the office of my friend, I asked him why he was not making use of the white wall at the entrance through professional corporate communication and imaging.
My friend then told me: “My company or I do not need any advice, or investment, in the corporate image, for the issue has been taken care of by the company’s logo and the various catalogues we distribute.” As one who loves anything to do with organisational communication, I immediately realised what ails most companies in the world of today; the perpetual confusion and the conceptual reductionism, in the sense that corporate image is only about a logo or brand of a product that is graphically well designed and appeals to the sight. We forget that corporate imaging goes beyond the graphic image without excluding it.
The syndrome of Goliath has made many companies, institutions and organisations to take the path of self-destruction.
OThe basis of the argument by such organisations is that it is a waste of money and time, or that the product or the company is already in the market, or the institution is a public one, hence does need corporate imaging and communication. Such companies or organisations forget that corporate image is an integral factor (intangible element) that is irreplaceable, inseparable and absolutely necessary, for it is one of the constitutive elements of any organisation. The corporate image includes the graphic identity (logo), physical and management philosophy (mission, vision, and values), human capital (company’s stakeholders), marketing and advertising, communications strategies (reputation, media etc.) among others. The fact of the matter is that if a company or organisation does not project the correct image, it will never grow nor produce to its capacity. Inevitably, it disappears sooner rather than later.
One needs to have a look at most organizations’ social media profiles, websites, adverts etc., to discover the vision a company places on its corporate image. Many organisations dream of playing in the big boys’ club of the likes of Coca-cola, P&G, General Motors, Safaricom, Hilton Hotels, Equity Bank and others, without going through the necessary steps. These organisations never reached their level of business “monopoly” in a flash. They had to invest a lot of resources and time on the corporate image. Indeed, many of them went through difficulty due to wrong decisions made, have seen their sales drop and others have even faced reputational problems.
One may rightly ask, how come they are still in the market and leading in market shares and sales? The answer lies in their corporate imaging, in that they had a sound and correct corporate image, by ensuring that their reputation remained intact. This way they conveyed to their market target and general public trust and confidence, assuring them that the product or service they were buying or receiving is of good quality, guaranteed and supported by a serious organisation.
Just to illustrate, allow me to cite the case of KQ. At some point, Kenya Airways managed well their corporate image to the extent that KQ became a symbol of excellence, professionalism and sustainable company when it comes to air travel. Does anyone remember the ‘Pride of Africa’ adverts? However, the airline has not recovered from the bad reputation it has gained lately due to financial mismanagement, and this has cost it dearly and will do so for some time. Currently when one talks of KQ, the immediate adjectives that come to mind are corruption, organisa-