Image and communication are both dynamic and plural subjects of study. They share the same approach with other disciplines such as cognitive science, philosophy, linguistics, epistemology, fine art, semiotics, communication, design, management, etc.
When looking up in dictionaries, encyclopedias and books, its polysemy increases. In the Surrealist Manifesto, André Breton referred to an image as the "concatenation of different and distant realities" that are located below and beyond the physiological, cognitive, structural limits, the translation of spoken word, the imaginary , the real, the symbolic, the meaning, phenomenology, etc.
In terms of professional communication, the Image is considered as the impression of the synthesis of all the actions being taken by a person, product, brand or organization perceived by each of the members of its different publics.
Various levels of Image coexist:
Personal Image: it is built up around people; the most notorious examples are political campaigns or political communication.
Product Image: are beliefs and a bundle of associations within the mind of consumers, in general. For example wine, bread, etc.
Brand Image: it is an image that the public has of a particular brand which gives it a personality of its own, regardless of whether they are consumers of it or not. As for example Mercedes Benz.
Organization’s Image: is the image that the organization gives as an entity to the public, often called Corporate or Institutional image.
When referring to the Image of an Organization, the idea of identity immediately appears. It comprises the set of qualities that the organization claims as its own and that make it different to its competitors in the market.
Launching the Image:
Every act of communication builds the image of an organization, and does so by conveying emotional values to its different audiences, by means of signs, signals and historical evidence that help create its organizational culture and implicit rules.
That bundle of signs builds its identity, establishes a benchmark and forms a communication system, a special code that differs from those of other organizations.
Therefore, it is very important in the construction of communication acts to take into account the values held by the institution and respect them, because they are recognized by customers. Denying them would mean breaking with the past or putting a barrier, creating communications strategies that would not be recognized or have the expected effects on specific or general publics – even if they are creative and valid
The growing use of Design applied to Logos, Colors, Names, Packaging, Advertisements, generated the need to order them to ensure their effective management.
It was at that point that “Corporate Image Systems" emerged, putting together a set of elements (stationery, buildings, offices, clothing for staff, stands, merchandising, etc.), which identify the organization.
A hierarchy is given to the different communication channels and supports, a chromatic pattern for each level, channel and support is defined, communication protocols between the staff of the organization and its publics (from the greeting at the call center, to the terms of sale, etc.) are established, all levels in building, furniture, staff uniforms, etc. are designed to present and elaborate the desired image of the organization.
This set of rules is then clearly described in detail and formalized to ensure its effective implementation and further evaluation, denoting inalterability throughout their lifetime.
Communication Management Manuals, whose function is to facilitate image management, are used as a reference material for professionals in internal and external communication and as a key training instance for all the members of the organization.
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