“A good reputation for yourself and your company is an invaluable asset not reflected in the balance sheets,” says Li Ka Shing -one of the most influential businessmen in Asia. Having a good reputation is crucial to getting customers to pursue, trust, and engage with your business.

As an Image consultant for individuals as well as businesses, I come across some common questions.

What is the difference between branding and image?

People are confused between corporate identity and corporate reputation or corporate image. Corporate Identity is broadly divided into two parts: visual and non-visual aspects.

Visual aspects of corporate identity are reflected in branding and advertising such as the company logo or emblem, consistent colour combinations in packaging and audio-visual aids, ad films, a common look of offices/factories and etc.

Corporate Reputation is broadly seen as a non-visual aspect and it is a reflection of corporate personality. Internally, it inspires confidence that attracts new talent; motivates and retains employees. For the outer world, corporate reputation creates loyal customers and happy stakeholders.

What role does leadership play in corporate reputation?

Leadership stands for charismatic examples of the company’s work culture and vision and therefore a vital aspect of corporate image- for example, Ratan Tata.

The personality of Leadership: The image of Leaders is defined by the trust they create through their character and communication. Character is who we are and what we value; communication is how we share our thoughts and values, engage and learn from others and reach out to help others and trust is a direct result of character and communication. Leadership is itself an art and science of influencing team members and leading them to success level. Successful leaders maintain their own image inside and outside the organization.

How can leaders influence? 

The team will love to follow what you do and not what you say. Team members will be influenced if you clearly express that you understand their current situation before putting forth your point. It is easy to convince team members with facts, data, and experiences.

Your team will go the extra mile for you if you share goodwill and personal regard. You need to build strong relationships within and across teams. Not just as a tactic but this practice helped leaders during the pandemic.

Clear and direct communication about actions and consequences influences the team to comply smoothly. Supportive behaviour like listening to concerns, helping the team to make decisions, and giving feedback.

What about employee behaviour & communication style?

Employees are brand ambassadors of the organization. Their presence has a direct connection with corporate reputation in public. They may be in the role of receptionist or an office manager who greet the guests, they may be recruiters interacting with job seekers waiting in line for interviews and of course, they can be in the role of sales and customer service- how they behave, dress up and communicate, comes under scanner.

The following checklist will help you map the status: 

  • Are your employees always well dressed & well behaved?
  • Do the employees follow the right etiquette required for their respective job profiles?
  • Is the client communication strategy evaluated and upgraded periodically?
  • Does behaviour and communication of employees reflect your organizational values?
  • Organizations must ensure that their employees are well-groomed, and well-trained to present themselves and represent the company in a professional manner.

What are other factors? 

The other factors are work culture, purpose & integrity of the business. Work culture is a collection of attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours that make up the regular atmosphere in a work environment.

Symptoms of Ideal Work Culture include: 

    • Employees have a sense of commitment to the organization
    • Employees are motivated and proactive
    • The performance of the team doesn’t get affected easily
    • Attrition is under control
    • There is one common big picture or vision in front of all teams

Generally, workplace culture does not change very much or so rapidly. Instead, it adjusts slowly, over a long period of time. But the pandemic has changed the work culture equations fast all around the world. People usually find meaning in their daily rituals of getting ready to leave home, commuting, grabbing their cup of coffee, exchanging greetings across cubicles, and brainstorming ideas sitting around long tables.

We all used to believe that face-to-face interactions create better rapport and trust but we soon adapted new methods of business and social meetings. Organizations are now more concerned about the mental & physical well-being of their employees than before.

The purpose & integrity of the company

From the year 1900 to 1920, businesses were production oriented; post that period till 1950- they were sales oriented then till 1980 they were marketing-oriented where businesses found the need for branding after that, the businesses have entered into a new era of human and social concern (Ref: Leslie Dawson’s chart). The companies are more concerned about customer satisfaction and customers’ specific needs. Social media has proved to be an asset to reputation management in analyzing and improving the customer experience.

Not just customers but the general public notices the efforts taken by bigger organizations on social responsibility and community building. It creates a great impact on corporate reputation.

Please post your questions and opinions in the comment section. 

Wish you a splendid reputation with influence, sophistication, and confidence in business!