What Kind of Image Does Your Company Project?
All companies I have ever worked with attempt to project strong favorable
images throughout the general public. However, beyond the consumer
there are many other areas where images can and do have an effect on your
business. One company I have worked with found out that they had a
terrible image among the retail trade and that image had an effect on their
business. Once discovered, it did not take long to establish a program
to change their practices of dealing with their customers.
A couple of weeks ago, I experienced first hand the emotions that can be
felt between different corporate operating procedures. I walked away
from this encounter comparing it with an event a few years ago. In
both cases I was to give a talk to the employees about my experiences in
consumer and market research. More ironic is the fact that the person
that was instrumental in my visiting both companies was the same person.
The impressions and emotions that I felt on the two visits were dramatically
different. As most readers of my Views
know, I profess
that the environment under which you conduct your research can have a profound
effect on your data. In the same light, the environment around your
visit can have a major effect on how you view a company. Consider the
When visiting company #1, I was instructed not
to enter through
the front lobby. There is a door around back where I was told to enter.
(I believe the door was labeled "Venders." Keep in mind, I had
been asked to visit the company and give a presentation. Upon entering
a very small reception area, I was greeted by a receptionist and given a
visitor's pass and asked to wait in a very small waiting room with more people
than there were chairs (as I remember). The room was about 10 feet
by 10 feet with a few straight-backed chairs. The atmosphere left a
lot to be desired.
Now contrast that experience with my recent experience with another company.
Security was very strong. My cab could only turn around at the
guard house. But the walk to the lobby was only bout 50 yards. The
lobby was bright and airy. The receptionists -- all three -- were very
polite and cheerful. I was given a visitor's pass. The person
sponsoring my visit was called and I was directed the VIP room. (Yes,
the VIP room.) All visitors and vendors are directed to the same room.
As I walked to the VIP Room, I had to go through an electronic security station
but again it was operated by a cheerful employee. Upon entering the
large VIP Room, approximately 20 feet by 20 feet, I was greeted by another
receptionist. In the room I found a bar stocked with coffee, juice
and sodas. There were also large, very comfortable chairs neatly arranged
and overhead was a television station showing CNN.
The above are two extremes but they are real. Does one environment
sell more product than the other? I doubt it, but there are definitely
different emotions involved and after all, emotions are a very strong driving
force in any relationship.
I often wonder if we really think through out cost savings ventures or do
we just look at the near term and forget about the future? There was
a time when I thought the two most important employees in any company were
the receptionist and the telephone operator. Well, wisdom has eliminated
the operator in favor of "punch 1, punch 2, etc." The next thing to
go was the 800-line operator who spoke clear English. Now I'm getting
into the area covered in the Views
of June 4, 2003 titled,
Today vs. Yesterday and on to Tomorrow
Emotions are a strong driving force, how does your company invest in emotional