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Similarities and differences between a corporate identity, a corporate image, and a corporate reputation?

Imagine corporate identity as a whole presented in a circle consisting of:

  • corporate design,
  • corporate communications, and
  • corporate behaviour.

If you are developing a corporate identity, you should be aware that you are not able to influence directly the corporate image of your company or your organisation. While the corporate image is a relatively short term element, corporate reputation is a reflection of historical and accumulated impacts about the company.

This post was part of my presentation competing at the WBPC10.

What is the connection between corporate identity and corporate image? Similarities and differences. And what is the corporate reputation?

So, if you are developing a corporate identity, you should be aware that you are not able to influence directly the corporate image of your company. Actually, the corporate image cannot be managed directly. Because different stakeholders of the company have different images of the same company.

To me, this was a surprise because in my language (Slovenian) everybody speaks about Image. So, contribution to the coherent design terminology was one of my motivations for my master’s thesis.

We should now understand the connection between corporate identity and corporate image. What about the corporate reputation? While the corporate image can be altered relatively quickly and this is exactly the reason why companies pay close attention to obtaining and retaining a strong corporate identity. On the other side, the only way that management can influence the images of their company is through corporate identity (and naturally through promotions and communications programs). So the corporate image is a relatively short-term element and corporate reputation is to be something more durable than corporate image.

Corporate reputation is a reflection of historical and accumulated impacts on the company. Both, corporate image and corporate reputation are closely allied elements. Companies are putting great efforts to have an appropriate corporate identity mix in accordance with their corporate reputation and their overall performance (financial, sales, environment, human resource management, etc).

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