16 Nov Does your company have an identity crisis?
Can you summarize your corporation’s story in a few sentences? Does it possess a well-known identity with customers, key stakeholders, and the general public?
In a 2005 study conducted by ABC Namebank International, 5,000 major corporations around the world were surveyed and results were compiled to measure the impact of their image on customers, profitability and overall market positioning. There was also a strong emphasis on cyber-branding platforms and e-commerce presence.
Most corporations passed the acid test – 54% in all – received a B+ ranking. But the big winners were very few – 3.9 percent – and the losers stood at 42.1%.
The big winners had the right story with the right image; the others had the right story but a very poor image and struggled to make it work. The losers were almost without a story, with a bunch of ideas thrown together and some randomly picked image. They were spinning, but going nowhere.
Corporate image demands a very clear strategy, a mission, a game plan and a story. All that needs to be communicated should only take a few simple sentences, or a paragraph or two. It should state what the corporation is all about, what it does, where it’s going and why.
Corporations that develop these clear messages and clearly communicate their stories to both internal organizations and external forces are the real players. The rest are either still discovering who they are, are just making stories as they go along, or are periodically falling flat on their faces.
It is true that most corporations are usually wrapped-up in some big generic business concepts. It is also a very common problem these days that most find themselves in the middle of quicksand, while the markets are moving too fast in too many directions. Still, the issue of clarity and direction must be addressed. The correct messages must be built and the real story needs to be told.
The right image to fit the right story is critical. Image building also requires a deeper understanding and professional guidance.
The most common problem is that the image has no relationship whatsoever with corporate objectives. Still, senior teams regularly send out very confusing messages to internal layers of staff and ask them to band around the existing image and sing along without having any solid base or substance. This very often makes it a chicken-or-the-egg dilemma.
No matter what the corporation does, it must project a sharper personality, something that requires professional and objective assessments – not just randomly picked, trendy ideas.
When it comes to corporate image, corporations must also try to portray images of honesty and respectability. Therefore they have no room for false claims or overly silly, wildly humorous image campaigns. Money and business are serious issues. Customers and shareholders alike want to do business with sober organizations, and not the beer-commercial-happy bunch.
Lastly, whatever the corporate image and brand name identity the corporation adopts, it must be secured under proper a proper trademark so that it can be built as something unique and not something shared by thousands of others. Cyber-branding is now the backbone of any business. Only good name identities will survive on the search engines.
A quick review of all your corporate communications material should tell you what the key stories that are being projected by your corporation today. A quick search of your own corporate name identity in Google will tell you in seconds where your corporate brand stands in its distinction, visibility and how easy or difficult is it to find on e-commerce.
Once you have all the data, arrange a conference call or meeting with senior management on this issue. Develop a game plan to fix the problems you have in communicating your company’s story and image.
Remember… the customers are waiting.
The opinions expressed herein or statements made in the above column are solely those of the author, and 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.