Crisis Management & Media Training @ Oriel

Creating An Identity

(This is the 2nd part of the article on corporate communications written by Khalid Jamal and published in the Hindu BusinessLine)

Identity :

It is not an overcoat but an elementary and important item of the organization's image that requires skillful tailoring to reflect its personality. It should be made to reflect the extent and outlook of the organization rather than remain a mere exercise in symbolism. Hence, there is a need to give more thought, and of course teeth to this programme than is being accorded today and use this potent vehicle to its fullest extent.


The relevance of events to the business and its personality is as important as their presentation. Events must reinforce the image of the organization. Even an events as small as a personal presentation taken seriously, proves more effective than a hyped event for a niche audience such as a gathering of FIIs or opinion leaders. However selection of events should be objective driven and organized and assessed against the same backdrop.

Philanthropy :

The philanthropic cause with which a company identifies and adopts as part of CSR (corporate social responsibility) must reflect its conscience and concern. The company should be careful in adopting a cause and must try to break the monotony of the art-music - dance syndrome for meaningful contribution at the ground level. There are many good causes/issues which provide excellent CSR opportunities. Although investment in a cause can touch the lives of people only in a small way, society's appreciation of such efforts take the image beyond another money- minting machine. Remember Voltas' Lifeline Express?

Public affairs :

Notwithstanding the misuse of this powerful tool that now has as negative a connotation as 'lobbying', it can be used effectively to considerable advantage. When used judiciously, it projects one's case through fair means-specially in matters related to the State and its policies which may have an effect on the organization or the industry.

Literature :

One often encounters brochures, leaflets, films etc , that have been produced haphazardly. There is an absence of strategic thinking required for developing ideas and concepts and integrating them with an overall image building progamme.

Each one of these has to be considered a distinct tool and should be used to achieve a certain purpose. Ideally, the materials should be prepared and produced under the direct supervision of the professionals who are involved with and understand the demand of the task, and specialise in corporate communications rather than just by any studio or agency.

Press coverage :

Companies must be wary of the omnipresent 'Consultants' who 'assure' press coverage for the clients or promise to 'shield' them in the event of public investigations. In fact, by going overboard in seeking undeserved media coverage, they harm the long term interest of the clients and damage their standing with the media. The need to approach the press must be properly assessed and only when there really exists some thing for public information. should a company approach the press. There should also be an internal mechanism to respond to the time-bound queries from the press. Undue converge is best avoided because it does more harm than good by giving the organization a publicity hungry image. It is in this context that a large number of PR consultancies and professionals are increasingly coming under fire form the media for their unethical practices and objectionable attitudes.


The reputation that a company commands is created through its interaction with the public; and the perception that develops as a results of such interactions leading to the formation of the public image of an organization. The actions that establish the reputation can be predetermined and planned so the organization achieves the desired image. Corporate communications can employ various communications tools to create and sustain an image that promotes understanding, justifies the company's existence and lends credibility to the organization. The measures for building corporate equity transcends immediate business interests and seek to develop a long term relationship with the target group.


The impact of corporate equity can be felt most in the following four areas :

Marketplace :

The competitive advantage that familiarity with the corporate entity lends to products in the marketplace, works wonders for the products -brand success. The two entities (brand and company) work together.

Dominance :

The reputation creates an image that goes a long way in tilting the balance when it comes to the game of mergers, acquisitions and JVs. In fact, this is emerging as a major determinant in the whole game. It elicits desired public support and also acts as a catalyst in recovering from any setbacks.

Confidence building : The long term effect of the image can be felt in a time of crisis, when, what determines success is the public confidence that a company enjoys. This protects the company from hostility and provides a sensible platform for action if a company needs to regain public confidence.

A supportive and productive workforce : The overall effort that an organization puts in, to create and sustain its reputation demonstrates its power to retain and attract people, improve productivity and build a cordial industrial relation.

The task of building corporate equity is indeed a long term one, and requires commitment. This need has often been neglected but the changes in the marketplace and business environment require companies to respond and to do this they should have a truly professional approach to corporate communication.

Other Articles

Building Corporate Equity: The Importance Of Being Earnest
(This is the first part of the article on corporate communications written by Khalid Jamal and published in the Hindu BusinessLine)

Cultivating An Image
(This is the 2nd part of the article on corporate communications written by Khalid Jamal and published in the Hindu BusinessLine)

The Siege Around
(In this two part article published in The Financial Express, Khalid Jamal comments on the current status of corporate
  communications discipline and its future)

The Plight of Public Relations
( In this article published in The Financial Express, Khalid Jamal comments on the state of PR industry and its future)