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Five faces of corporate image

Every corporation has a face, captured by its name identity and its image, including the overall image-delivery system to push that name in the marketplace. Whether you like it or not, your corporate image is out there and is fully exposed. Following are the Five Faces of Corporate Image.

The question is not which one is best, but which is the best suited for you and why. All images are good if they really ring the cash registers, otherwise these masks are sometimes the main reasons for the sinking of total marketing strategies and business plans.

Hippies: When the image of a corporate identity is simply a spinning burst of soft colors like a freeze-frame slice from a kaleidoscope and you can hear bee-bop music from the 60s, then it’s about time for everyone to ride a painted microbus to a peace rally. It would project that everything is very cool and it moves very slow, sometimes to a rhythm. This type of image is very common in consumer-packaged goods. Colors are often very pale and very soft. The names are overly slip-n-slide. Today a very large number of companies have adopted this style to appease the consumer.

Morticians: The image is of dull and dark colors fading to black. Dark suits are a must. Artificial smiles, firm hand shakes and powerful scents. Some distant sound of an organ piped throughout the organization. It would appear all are hypnotized. This kind of image is very common in professional or financial services and recently banks are dropping this altogether to adopt the earlier image on a fast-track basis. This image has too much rigidity and often named after the founders, some great landmark or a city or country.

Ivy Leaguers: Here is some distinct element of intellectual snobbery. Sometimes it really exists and most of the time it is just a show. In both cases, the image is driven with an elitist language and style, Times Roman fonts and formal lingo. Money and sense of security is the prime thrust. Dark green, dark burgundy and dark blue are the most sought-after colors. Famous and literary types of names are used as the corporate monikers. The Internet has made a big punch in style of corporate communications. Now everyone can appear smart and savvy.
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Cybernauts: Here, things are mouse driven. What you see is not what you get. It is here today and gone tomorrow. Ingenuity and stupidity are both displayed in a simultaneous interaction. Don’t blink too fast. Great ideas, packaged as silly brands and named in the most ridiculous fashion is the standard. Colors are mostly transparent, total imagery and business model is translucent and corporate name identity is transient. As the technology changes, so do the names. There is a constant surgery to an existing name, primarily for trademark conflicts and secondly the names do not match the business.

Dinosaurs: Here the long corridors and the stale smell of the office will lead you to the graveyards. Grey and dull color schemes and overuse of florescent lights of the squarely placed HQ speak loud and clear of the glories of the past. The corporate names are several feet long. Some get telescoped or initialized to some weird and strange acronym and initials. Sometimes one can trace the bloody battles of mergers and acquisitions of the past in their lineage as each has left a distinct mark on the corporate name, sometimes a word or others a letter or two.

Then there are also images of No Bodies. Here nothing makes a difference and nothing is so important. What name? What image? What identity? The corporation is like a humongous school project. Run by the seat of the pants without a blueprint. Chasing opportunities in a panic and in the dark. Welcome to the largest group on companies gathered on this planet today. These groups of corporations with images of No-bodies are derived from two main sources; those that have no appreciation for building a proper image and do not care and those who see this as a direct threat to their other priorities and keep pushing aside their desires to do this professionally one day. Sometimes the day comes and often it never comes.

Makeover-Techniques


No matter what, keep an open mind and study the subject and the best way is to measure the cost of your current advertising and branding budgets over the existing name identity and it’s personae. You can bring in brand new knowledge in your organization on how to make a brand new makeover. First it is very easy, very inexpensive almost a small percentage of what you are spending now and once you project you name and image correctly you will boost your market positioning very fast. It is a sophisticated system and not to be confused with the traditional branding circus. Makeovers are easy things. Best we look in the mirror.

Naseem Javed, author of Naming for Power and Domain Wars, is recognized as a world authority on global name identities and domain issues. Javed founded ABC Namebank International, a consultancy he established a quarter century ago, and conducts executive workshops on image and name identity issues. For comments reach Naseem at njabc@njabc.com.

The opinions expressed herein or statements made in the above column are solely those of the author, & do not necessarily reflect the views of Wisconsin Technology Network, LLC. (WTN). WTN, LLC accepts no legal liability or responsibility for any claims made or opinions expressed herein.

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