Five facts about corporate identity and corporate reputation
FACT 1: Managing your corporate reputation increases your competitive advantage because if your business is pitching for a project and your fees are the same or close to your competitor, the business with the best reputation will win.
FACT 2: Competitors cannot copy or steal your business reputation.
FACT 3: It has been proven that companies with tip-top corporate reputation have a healthier bottom line.
FACT 4: Businesses with a healthy corporate reputation recover from crisis more quickly than businesses without.
FACT 5: Good corporate reputation means that you will be able to increase your pricing as your goods will be perceived to offer higher value.
So how do you ensure that your business grows and maintains a healthy corporate reputation?
First of all you need to ensure that there are no gaps between your perception of your business (corporate identity), and your public’s perception (corporate image) of your business. Davies et al, 2003 says “a distinction is made between ‘identity’ (as the internal stakeholder view of the company) and ‘image’ (as the external stakeholder view of the company)”.
The first thing to understand is that corporate identity includes a lot more than logo design, letterheads, brochures and website design! Corporate identity is actually a combination of symbolism (logos/visual), communication and behaviour.
Symbolism includes the attributes that make up the visual identity of your business, eg, logo, colours, tagline, signage, location, website, reception area, history, uniform, livery, music (if you advertise on radio) etc. It is important to keep this element consistent; as a business grows, quite often the symbolism evolves and after a few years your business could be sending out mixed signals. It is important to revisit this area annually and commission a good branding agency to help you to audit your business messages and achieve your desired market position.
All businesses should have communication plan as well as a marketing plan. A communication plan sets out your strategy for corporate reputation and includes your corporate communication mix. It will prioritise your stakeholders and how your business expresses itself to engage key stakeholders, eg investors or local government if your business is looking for planning permission. A communications plan will also include a risk assessment to mitigate reputational damage to your reputation.
If you make promises within your marketing messages, these need to be delivered to create and sustain trust. For example, if you portray your business as a friendly, family run business – you need to make sure that the person who answers your telephone is friendly and approachable. If you are reading this and you are the owner of a family run business, you may find this article interesting: family business information.
Vicky Vaughan (MD, The Brand Surgery) is a Chartered Marketer and is qualified to help your business with corporate reputation including corporate identity and corporate communications plans. Call her for a confidential, no obligation chat today on 01903 824229. The Brand Surgery is based in Worthing, West Sussex and has been established for ten years.
Contact The Brand Surgery, branding and marketing agency in Worthing, Sussex to discover how you can measure and improve your business corporate reputation.