Image assessment and enhancement are essential strategic management tools. Managers must be able to assess their company’s current image or reputation in the marketplace and improve it. Although it would be ideal to achieve top ratings on every attribute, such as product quality, after-sales service, and reliability, it is not realistic. Given limited resources, managers must decide which of the attributes are more important to the company’s target market and consider how difficult it would be to enhance the image on those attributes. In this paper, we propose an approach for prioritizing marketing image goals by taking into account market preferences and resource requirements. The approach is potentially applicable to small, medium, and large companies, including not-for-profit organizations. In the first half of the paper, we explain the method; in the second half, we describe how a company applied the method.
The impressions, beliefs, and feelings that people have about a company constitute the firm’s image.1 These impressions may be true or false, real or imagined. If people hold incorrect negative perceptions about the company or its products, then management needs to communicate with them in order to change the incorrect perceptions. On the other hand, if the negative perceptions are accurate, then the company needs to address the actual problems.
A company has different types of images: corporate images, product images, and brand images. We focus here on marketing image, the way customers view the company’s overall marketing offer and marketing mix.2 The marketing image is broader than brand and product line images but narrower than corporate image, which also considers the company as an employer and as a citizen in terms of community involvement, concern for the environment, patronage of the arts, and the like. In the case of a large diversified corporation, marketing images will typically be different for different business units. Consequently, when we use the word “company” in this paper, we mean a corporation’s business unit.
Image is an integral part of any company. The image of a company often determines its success with various constituencies.3 Marketing image plays an important role in the attractiveness of the firm and its products and services to customers and thereby has an impact on the bottom line.