The corporate image of a firm is the way in which the firm is perceived by consumers and other stakeholders. It can be generalised as being 'what the company stands for'.
Corporate image consists of two components; functional and emotional. The functional component relates to tangible characteristics, while the emotional component is associated with psychological dimensions that are manifested by feelings and attitudes towards a company.
Corporate image is a key part of a firm's marketing as the firm wants to make sure that their image is consistent with their products and brand. A priority for marketing departments will be to enhance the firm's corporate image and activities aimed at enhancing this image.
Marketing experts use public relations and other forms of promotion to suggest a mental picture to the public. These activities may include:
- Public relations - the firm will ensure that its public relations are positioned in such a way as to reinforce or enhance their intended 'corporate image'.
- Promotion - the firm may use their promotion as an opportunity to enhance the corporate image in the minds of consumers. Corporate advertising may be used to advertise the whole philosophy of the business.
- Website - the firm's website will be designed in such a way as to help with promotion and other marketing activities, but also to ensure that the corporate image is maintained or enhanced. Companies may for example, stress their environmental credentials or make their social responsibility report prominently available.
- Rebranding - the company name and logo will all need to match the corporate image and if this is not felt to be the case, then the firm may embark on a rebranding exercise.