EFFICIENT CORPORATE IMAGE MANAGEMENT AS A STRATEGY FOR ENHANCING PROFITABLITY
Business organizations in Nigeria have failed to realize the role a good corporate image policy has in business dealings. This is probably because they do not understand the concept of corporate image and the necessary tools for promoting them. Corporate image, in fact goes beyond attractive products or rending quality service, advertising paying good salary and so on. It pervades every aspect of a business concern from the least worker’s personality to the dealing within the organization and with the larger society. In the face of the dynamics of our society, especially in the business world, brought about by technology, companies are faced with stiff competition that maintaining a competitive edge requires aggressive strategies. One of such strategies as efficient corporate image management and promotion. The focus of this research work was to determine the strategies that could be employed to build and promote corporate image efficiently and enhance profit margins of an organization. A case study of Sunday Ezeaku Integrated Service Ukpo was therefore undertaken. The findings revealed that:
a. Sunday Ezeaku Integrated Service Nigeria Limited has a laid down corporate image policy though not effectively managed.
b. Strategies employed to promote corporate image are limited.
c. Response to Sunday Ezeaku Integrated Service products is fairly high, hence it can be said to be profitable.
d. Employee welfare and work environment need improvement.
e. Sunday Ezeaku Integrated Service needs to increase the scope of its social responsibility.
f. Sunday Ezeaku Integrated Service needs a well-managed corporate image, which should be reviewed periodically for improvement.
g. Customers’ response to Sunday Ezeaku Integrated Service product is high.
h. Communication among workers in Sunday Ezeaku Integrated Service Nigeria Limited is not adequate.
i. Sunday Ezeaku Integrated Service Nigeria Limited lays emphasis on public relations.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Title page i
Approval page ii
Table of contents vii
1.1 Background of the study 1
1.2 Statement of the study 6
1.3 Purpose of the study 9
1.4 Research questions 11
1.5 Research hypothesis 11
1.6 Significance of the study 12
1.7 Scope of the study 14
1.8 Limitations of the study 16
1.9 Definition of terms 17
LITERATURE REVIEW 21
2.1 Meaning and history of corporate image management 21
2.2 Different views and opinions about corporate image management and organisational profitability 30
2.3 Different approaches to corporate image management 34
2.4 Corporate image management at Sunday Ezeaku Integrated ServiceNigeria limited 35
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY 39
3.1 Research design 39
3.2 Area of the study 40
3.3 Population of the study 40
3.4 Sample and sampling procedures techniques 41
3.5 Instrument for data collection 42
3.6 Validation of the instrument 43
3.7 Reliability of the instrument 43
3.8 Method of data collection 44
3.9 Method of data analysis 44
DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS 47
4.1 Presentation and analysis of data 47
4.2 Testing of hypothesis 70
4.3 Summary of result 85
DISCUSSION, RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSION 88
5.1 Discussion of result findings 88
5.2 Conclusion 90
5.3 Implications of the research findings: 92
5.4 Recommendations 93
5.5 Suggestions for further research 94
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
“A company’s product as such is no longer the chief media projecting its image”. What counts more today is the public postures of management. Its concern for consumer welfare and its visible response to imperative social and economic needs. In short, management must concern itself as much with protection as it does with profit” (Harold. H. Margins).
Every aspect of business and industry is undergoing rapid change in terms of philosophy and technology and there is more rapidly changing function of corporate management to public attitudes and reactions. In the same vein, the corporate image of any organization has to be steered to change to correspond in response to the demands of its ever –changing business publics and environment. Making good product, marketing them aggressively, paying fair wages to the employees, and even paying taxes etc. is not just enough to maintain a competitive edge. The are now economic and social responsibility that faces every business.
Perhaps, it would be necessary to ask; Is there any need to engage in corporate image promotion? Does promotion have effect on the returns of an organization? Are there right and wrong ways to project a corporate image? What is the place of employee motivation, communication, customer relations, social responsibility etc. in the whole role of image promotion programme?
Margins H. Harold (1979. 7) stated, “Mass merchandising, new method of advertising, increased competition, and government regulations have brought corporate reputations into public view and cause executives to seek more favourable reactions.” However, many hardheaded business men do have an uneasy feeling that promoting the corporate image is little more than a perceived gesture of public goodwill.
The critical importance of corporate image becomes apparent when consumers protest provokes from large organizations series or explanations and apologies for the faults they are accused of. Companies must therefore give its public the same order of priority it gives to finance, marketing and research in the table of rapid, social and technological change. Otherwise, it cannot expect to command public respect and support in the market place.
To live and grow, to command respect and regard, the corporate image must be more than a product of public relations. Therefore corporate image promotion should not left in the hands of the public relations men, but should be the responsibility of top management and indeed every member of staff. This implies that the image programme should be part of the over all-planning for the company’s future. No matter how impressive a firm’s achievements are, they must be properly presented in the public for them to be acknowledged. Thus corporate planning is an integral part of policy decisions. For some companies, image programmes is part of board planning for greater sales and profits. This is one the fundamental objectives of management and all its activities will be programmed to that end.
Aaker, A.A. Myers, J.G (1975. 138) Stated that, “It is not an exaggeration to say that a good image is fundamental to the existence of any business enterprise. The concept of image is often considered to be an important determinant of long-term sales and profits. Therefore it is reasonable to consider the use of image as an objective, not only for an advertising programme but for marketing programme and an organization as a whole”.
When a new product is introduced in the market a respected corporate name often benefits from the unknown product. People are more likely to buy a new product if they know and like its manufacturer. Furthermore, the quality image of a company’s product may have considerable influence on the kind of new product the company can market successfully.
Scholes, K and Klem, M. (1987. 85) see the image of a company as resources. They identified four types of resources available to companies which are: physical resources, human resources, system resources and intangible resources. Explaining the intangibles, Scholes and Klem observed that “Many organizations have significant strength in intangible assets such as; image or brand –name. The value of intangible resource should not be under rated. Infact in many service companies, these intangibles can be the key asset of the company. Potential purchases are often willing to pay substantial sums of money for this “goodwill” underlining their real value.
Finally, in order to gain the support of its publics, the corporate image must show that management is progressing, mobile, open to innovation, fair to all and free of dogma and convention. Creating and promoting a corporate personality efficiently is mainly communicating company’s objectives, beliefs, reputation and achievements to its publics in order to gain their goodwill.