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Five reasons why you should have a Good Corporate Image

‘There’s no such thing as bad publicity’, a phrase often associated with the 19th century American showman and circus owner, Phineas T. Barnum, and probably one of the most idiotic clichés still loitering around the halls of colleges and universities teaching everything from GCSEs in Business Studies to MBAs.

It may well have been relevant in Barnum’s time, but not today.  Today, bad publicity will harm your business and your corporate image will be damaged. Fact.

Ask Pepsi, Dove, Uber, Papa John’s or Facebook how their recent gaffs played out.  Millions lost and stock nosediving.

Or take the example of, The Sun in our fair city. The author of Stick It Up Your Punter! Chris Horrie, estimates that Liverpool’s boycott of that rag, sorry, newspaper, has cost News International (in 1989 prices) approximately £15 million a month, every month for the last 28 years! If you’re going by those figures and I’m more than happy to, that makes this city’s boycott of The Sun one of the longest and most successful that Britain has ever witnessed.

If that sobering thought doesn’t tell you that you should take more care of your brand image, then nothing will. A tainted image can cripple even the most famous of established brands and if your reputation is in tatters and you’re not the multinational that Rupert Murdoch is, then your business is at risk of not being your business any more.

A lot of start-ups and new businesses talk about building products, gaining customers and beating competitors, which is all well and good, but fewer talk about the importance of building a strong corporate image.

A strong corporate image has to be one of your most important strategical weapons. It is a security factor for customers and reassures them that they are buying from the best, both in product and service.

Moreover, a strong corporate image influences the attitudes not only of consumers, but your employees too, as well as the media, industry analysts, and influencers for example towards your business. It’s hard to build a strong corporate image in a highly crowded and competitive sector, but guess what, it’s even more difficult to get it back if you fuck it up!

Impact of leadership actions:

The recent removal of John Schnatter, has seen Papa John’s stock fall by more than more than 33% in the past 12 months both as a result of its struggles to contend with its bigger rivals, Domino’s and Pizza Hut and compounded by Schnatter’s use of the N word in a conference call on how to avoid fuck-ups in the future especially around race. The company has been dropped by Purdue University and the NFL and has created visible and long-term damage to the corporation’s image with the impact seen on reputation, brand trust, customer relations and staff morale.

Impact of product performance:

When Samsung released the Galaxy Note 7, it was greeted with a fanfare of trumpets, so trumpety was it, the solo was played by the guy from the Lurpak ad, it was given so much praise for its design and features, if it could, it would have given itself a blowjob. I actually suggested this as a design feature for the upgrade, but was I thanked; no, a restraining order was my reward? Anyhoo, it was in such high demand at the time of its launch in South Korea, it broke pre-order records and led to release delays internationally due to stock shortages. However, Samsung quickly put sales on ice (so did some punters with their arses) and broadcast a voluntary recall when it was discovered that a battery manufacturing defect caused some of the handsets to overheat, resulting in explosions and fires. The result of this disaster? The company got so much negative media coverage, resulting in a product recall so costly it was estimated that Elon Musk could have built 2 more Tesla’s with it, the Model 3s obviously, not the Roadster, that would be fuckin’ ridiculous (it was $5.3 billion btw).

Impact of employee actions:

Fuckin’ Jared Fogle…again.  That’s all I’m going to say here, work out for yourself the ramifications of hiring an accused child molester.

Basically, corporate image is fragile, so fragile it seems even glancing at it sideways could cause it to shatter, and every section of an organisation, products, managers or staff matters in terms of creating a positive corporate image, and how your business is perceived, and more than anything, corporate image i.e. your reputation is something that should be handled with care. A soiled reputation, like a six-day old baby with diarrhoea, can cripple even the most well-established business.

Redeeming your image can be costly. Once your reputation is destroyed, your business is in danger of not being your business anymore.

Remember:

  • A strong image or corporate reputation is a strong marketing and promotional tool
  • A good name comes with credibility and trust
  • Your corporate image establishes integrity, boost customer confidence, enhances loyalty and builds lasting client relationships
  • Corporate image is fundamental in increasing your business ROI