6 Steps to Create & Protect a Corporate Image: (2021 Guide)

This is a complete guide discussing the topic of corporate image and how to create, enhance, and protect a strong corporate image.

After reading this guide, you will be able to:

Let’s dive in.

corporate image

What is Corporate Image?

What is a corporate image in marketing? A corporate image, also known as corporate identity, is the perception of your company or organization in the minds of your target audience.

Notice how it’s the “perception” of your company and not the reality?

Difference Between Perception and Reality

Reality to a user is what is in their mind.

Have you ever heard your voice on a tape recorder and thought you sounded weird? Odds are you perceived your voice to sound differently than how it truly sounds in reality.

Or what about seeing yourself on camera and thinking you look different. Odds are you perceived yourself as looking differently because you often see a mirror image of yourself.

Understanding the difference between perception and reality is crucial for anyone interested in creating a strong corporate image.

Understanding the difference between perception and reality is crucial for anyone interested in creating a strong corporate image.

Perception can be created, protected, and enhanced, but reality can’t.

Once you understand this, you will understand that you can have an influence on your corporate image.

When discussing corporate image, it’s also important to discuss the topic of “brand.”

perception vs reality

What is a Brand?

A brand consists of two parts, a company’s corporate image and their positioning strategy.

I dive more in-depth on a brand in my Marketing Framework Guide.

We’re discussing the first part of a brand in this guide, so what is the second half — positioning.

What is Positioning?

Positioning is the process of creating an image of your product or service that fills an unfilled need for your target audience.

Think of it using the analogy of a lock and key.

You want to position your product or service as the key and your target audience’s unfilled need is the lock.

I dive more in-depth into positioning in my Positioning Strategy Guide.

Now that we’ve covered how corporate image is one component in an organization’s overall “brand” along with positioning, let’s go back to discussing corporate image.

Why is Corporate Image Important?

Having a strong corporate image can give you an edge over your competition.

If your company or organization has a strong corporate image, then the marketplace will want to buy from you, people will want to work with/for you, and other businesses will want to do business with you.

Psychology Behind Having a Strong Corporate Image

Before we dive into how to create, protect, and enhance your corporate image, it’s worth understanding the fundamentals of how our brains work to understand how having a strong corporate image ties into fundamental psychology.

I am not a psychologist and these are only basic psychology themes.

The Human Brain Enjoys Simplicity

The human brain enjoys simplicity. The brain likes to be on autopilot and take shortcuts for many things to reserve space for more important things such as emergencies or dangers.

The brain protects us in this sense.

By having a strong corporate image, your company or organization will be a simple choice — a no-brainer because the corporate identity/image has already been built.

simplicity
Photo by Paula Schmidt from Pexels

The Human Brain Works off Belief Systems and Can Tune-In or Out

The human brain develops a belief system to make sense of the world.

Belief systems can be influenced by race, gender, religion, political views, culture, and life experiences.

Belief systems also filter out information that clashes or is incompatible with current beliefs.

This breeds familiarity, with the brain seeking out information that is familiar and comforting.

The brain can also tune-in or out. Here is an example.

Have you ever been in a crowded room tuning-out all of the sound around you and all of a sudden heard your name being called and you perk up and focus in on that voice? That was your brain tuning-in to the fact that you heard your name.

By having a strong corporate image, your company or organization can influence an individual’s belief system or be compatible with it while also aligning with people’s “tune-in filters.”

The Human Brain is Designed to Forget

Going back to the idea of simplicity, the human brain is designed to forget things and remember what’s important.

How is memory formed? Through repetition.

By having a strong corporate image, it makes it easier for people to remember you, your company, or your organization.

brain
Photo by meo from Pexels

How to Create a Corporate Image?

If you’re asking yourself, “How do I create a corporate image?” It can be broken down into 4 steps. Here are the elements of a corporate image.

1. Create a Mission Statement

The first step is to create a company mission statement.

If you don’t know what you do/what you stand for, how would you expect others to know.

Elements of a strong mission statement include making it clear what you do, identifying the target audience, and focusing on what makes you stand out from the rest.

At Imaginated.com, our mission statement is to, “Inspiring digital-age artists and creators in business, artistry, and mind through educational content in the form of blogs, guides, downloadable content, case studies, and videos.”

2. Create Corporate Identity Tools

The second step of creating a strong corporate image/identity is to create corporate identity tools.

These tools include:

  • Name
  • Logo
  • Slogan
  • Colors
  • Font styles
  • Jingles
  • Spokespeople
  • etc.

All of these tools have to work in harmony with your mission statement as well.

For example, if you are a company dedicated to selling the best vegan meats on the market, you wouldn’t find a spokesperson who is a butcher or you wouldn’t name it Animal Hunter Incorporated.

Your corporate identity tools have to match and work in harmony from your name all the way down to the typography, logo, and font styles you use.

corporate identity
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

3. Identify Your Publics and Target Audience and Nurture

The third step is to identify your publics and target audience and then nurture them.

If you don’t know who your target audience is, then you can’t create a marketing strategy/framework that is targeted or focused.

Check out my how to find your target audience guide where I dive into how you can find a target audience where I use the example of photographers.

Once you know who your target audience is, you will also want to “enlist” and “train” them.

What I mean by this is that everyone in your publics and target audience is a potential customer or referral source.

If you teach them your mission (by having a strong mission statement along with complementary identity tools), they will spread the positive word of your company when they go to parties, hang out with friends, chat on online communities, post in forums, etc.

It’s better to focus on 100 people that love your company opposed to 1,000 who just sort of like your company, because those 100 people that love you will back you and tell all their friends due to network effects.

4. Use Promotion Strategies

The fourth step is to use promotion strategies with your publics and target audience.

If you make them feel connected to your company/organization, they will feel a part of the brand rather than against it, which will help your overall brand.

Promotion strategies can include blogging, press releases, creating social media posts, and sending out emails to your email list.

If you want to get more advanced with your promotion strategies, then researching fields and tactics such as SEO, PPC, or other digital marketing strategies such as these will be beneficial.

Check out my SEO Strategy Guide where I dive into how to use SEO as a Photographer (applies to other artists as well).

Once you create these promotions, it will also create positive publicity for your company, which ties us into our next topic — how to enhance a corporate image.

photography promotion

How to Enhance a Corporate Image?

Enhancing a corporate image involves publicizing the company’s successes to an audience.

By publicizing these successes, it will act as social proof that your company is doing well and is a good company to either work at or do business with.

You can promote these successes through promotional vehicles such as ads, newsletters, on your website, blogs, press releases, any social media channel, etc.

Just be sure not to go too overboard with it because you would not want to annoy your target audience.

How to Protect a Corporate Image?

Once you create a strong corporate image, you will also need to know how to protect it.
Who are you protecting it from exactly? The competition.

There are 2 protection strategies that may or may not be needed. Only when you come across these 2 scenarios is when you will need to implement them.

protect

1. Rumor Protection Strategy

As your company grows and becomes more successful, the higher the chance of competitors wanting to knock you down by spreading false rumors.

This can come in the form of someone invalidating your credibility, calling you a fake, etc.

If the company or you as an individual is faced with a rumor then you will want to:

i. Not address the rumor
ii. Promote the opposite while still not addressing the rumor
iii. Provide proof to support the opposite.

Here is an example.

Let’s say you own a company/organization that has a podcast on the topic of Gardening and you are now big enough that you are starting to get some attention from bigger competitors.

Let’s also say that a Gardening podcast bigger than yours is saying that you have no expertise or credibility within the gardening space and starts spreading that rumor on their own podcast.

Here is how you would address it:

i. You do not publicize the rumor. You would not want to deny it because denying is publicizing as well.
ii. Promote that you spent years studying gardening or your parents taught you everything about gardening and show off some gardening pictures (without addressing rumor).
iii. Provide proof in the form of a picture of your current garden or another form of proof.

Rumors suck, but they could happen, so it’s best to know what to do in the case that it does happen to your company or organization.

If handled well, your company will come out on top while also making the competitor who created the rumor look bad.

A win for your company, and a loss for the competition.

2. Trust Protection Strategy

Nobody and no company is perfect, sometimes mistakes are made. But how you or the company handles those mistakes makes all the difference in terms of building or losing trust.

When you or the company do make a mistake and the word gets out, here is how you should address it:

i. Admit and apologize, this establishes trust
ii. Limit the scope of the mistake
iii. Propose a solution that is believable to resolve the mistake so it won’t reoccur

Here is an example of this trust protection strategy in real life when people found out somebody was putting poison in Tylenol capsules:

i. Tylenol admitted that this is indeed happening
ii. Tylenol limited the scope by pulling their 31 million bottles off the shelf for the time being
iii. A solution was proposed by Johnson & Johnson (Tylenol’s parent company) to develop new product protection methods such as the new tamper-proof packaging:

After the incident, sadly the tragedies that resulted in the Tylenol poisoning can’t be undone, however, trust was built with Tylenol because they took these steps.

Turning a negative transactional situation into a positive one is an opportunity that every company or individual must take in order to keep trust with their target audience.

If a broken relationship is fixed, then the relationship will be even stronger after that.

In terms of a company, this means a stronger corporate image, more brand awareness, and more profit.

Final Remarks

This was an in-depth guide looking at how to create a strong corporate image/identity that every photographer, artist, and creator should know when it comes to growing traffic and brand awareness to their business.

Now I want to hear from you!

If you found any of these tips to be helpful –

Be sure to let me know by leaving a comment down below!

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