The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the importance of corporate reputation to the management of contemporary organisations.
The approach takes the form of survey research and case studies. The paper is informed by corporate image and reputation research undertaken for major international corporations, governments and NGOs in the UK and in countries throughout the world dating back to the late 1960s.
The paper finds that corporate image is an important factor in the success or failure of virtually all major organisations; corporate reputation is the synthesis of many factors: the brand(s) image, the products (and/or services) class image(s), the brand user(s) image, the image of the country of perceived ownership of a corporation, and the corporate culture/personality; corporate reputations can be measured, and changes in corporate reputations can be tracked; and corporate responsibility is replacing corporate social responsibility as an increasingly important factor in how people regard the corporate reputation of organisations.
Policy makers should actively research and manage their corporate reputation. Familiarity breeds favourability, not contempt. All too often senior managers and their advisers (brand and corporate consultants, design consultants, advertising and public relations advisers, etc.), who have responsibility for the organisation's corporate reputation, muddle the distinctions between corporate reputation, corporate image, corporate identity, corporate personality, corporate culture, and other ways by which the elements of the corporate reputation are defined, and therefore used and measured.
The paper shares some of the lessons learned from 40 years' experience of MORI. The paper also marshals insights from the published output, lectures, and image‐modelling work.
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