This is a concept spoken by many but understood by few. Essentially, corporate image could be translated as: “You are what your clients see”. In other words, corporate image is all about the perception that clients have about an organization. Corporate image is about the so-called “Physical Evidence” that the marketing gurus so cleverly praise.
In the past week, Skopus Business Consultants had appointments with three very prominent brands in a specific sector. These appointments reinforced the idea that there is more to corporate image that shiny entrance foyers or advertisement campaigns showing smart people in expensive suits. The truth about corporate image is found behind those shiny entrance foyers with faux-marble, impressive glass panels, expensive wood furniture with equally expensive upholstery.
In one case, the meeting room for the appointment led through a work area. Grey, dishevelled furniture, broken cabinets, half-dead plants and staff with thousand yard stares reminded one of Siberian gulags. The energy of the staff on the floor where the meeting room was represented the proverbial flat line. One of our associates paused and asked someone, who appeared to be a supervisor, how it feels to work in a company who is said to be one of the best in its class. Admittedly, we were not surprised by the answer we got:
“Does it look like the best in class?” the supervisor answered.
For the other two appointments, we also had to go through a work area to get to the respective meeting rooms. But, what a difference! Throughout, an atmosphere of professionalism and high levels of energy greeted us. Bright colours, quality furniture at work stations, stylish signage that gives each work cell a unique identity stood in stark contrast to the Orwellian universe of the aforementioned appointment.
The surroundings send a very clear message of “Here, things are done with energy and to the best of our ability”.
We went away from our appointments with clear affirmations of what we have been advocating about corporate image to our own clients:
To understand how effective your corporate image is, ask someone to look behind the beautiful decor. If the “back office” creates the same impression than the “front office” your corporate image could be seen as a success. But, if the back office tells a different story than the front office, understand why a potential client decided to give that big order to your competitor.
This is a post from Skopus Business Consultants. Visit us at www.skopus.co.za
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