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The Image Makers.

November 3, 2009


    It is early morning , about 6 o clock Indian standard time when my Alarm clock rings. I jump from my bed quickly and start getting ready for my office. There is an important  meeting  today conducted by my Managing Director and he wants every body at the Board by sharp 9 A.M.  I quickly had a bath and  dressed in my formal suit with  tie and matching well polished shoes. I sprayed a perfume and now was looking very fresh. I had properly combed my hair . I looked into the mirror and was satisfied with the dress up. I was sure my Managing director and the board, my Boss and my colleagues would be impressed with my Appearance. After all , First Impression is the last impression. I reached the office well in advance ,by 8 o clock. I had my presentation of the new project well prepared , with all the slides well placed .Also my report was well prepared by me which was to be submitted to the Board of Directors. After all my future in the company depended on this presentation.I paced to and fro trying to reduce my nervousness . One by one all the members of the board came. I wished them good morning to each of them .We all sat down in the meeting. As the clock struck 10 A.M. , I was asked to give my presentation in front of the Board . I submitted my report to each of the members and then started giving my Presentation ,which of course I had rehearsed many times in front of the mirror before. After all I just had 30 minutes which will make or break my career in the company. I did well and this message was passed to me on the phone by my boss in the evening. He congratulated me for the wonderful presentation and the excellent report that I submitted to the M.D. He was impressed by the report and later he also personally congratulated me on the phone .You did a wonderful job  Anurag ! He complimented. So my career in the company was safe and sound.That sounds professional also. Getting rewarded for the hard work.

Many of you would have experienced and wished for the above situation many a times in their career in the corporate world .It is a dream come true like situation. All of us would like to portray such a picture or Image in front of our Boss or those people on whom our fate and career depends. Those who fail  are left far behind miserable in today’s rat race .The underline principle behind sex, greed and manipulation is to Portray a correct Image to those who matter .The rise of a person in corporate world is highly dependent on this kind of approach .Of course he has to do a lot of hard work for that. The content must also show. You can fool some people for some time ,but not all the people all the time.Those who get away with the murder are generally hollow from inside.

This kind of Image building is not only applicable in the corporate world. The film personalities , Fashion Designers, Models have to do it in front of the media and the audience.The creation of Action heroes, the Romantic heroes , the beautiful and sexy heroines , the Comedians, the Villains , the Character roles are few of the images that they have to portray to the audience.The Politicians uses it to their maximum advantage to become Public leaders.The sportsman and sports team are doing it. The government uses it in front of foreign dignitaries in case of human rights, nuclear and foreign policy, in front of its people as a secular, peaceful and democratic nation . In case of social and voluntary organizations like Green peace, child care and education, human rights, etc , such Image building is a must. The opposition parties in the democratic set up has to work hard to portray an Image of protector and upholder of public interests and democracy in the eyes of the electorate for next elections. Even the terrorists and fundamentalists organizations have to strive hard to portray a right kind of Image in the eyes of public as the upholder of their freedom , lest they lose the popular support and goodwill of the masses on whom their survival depends.Constant attacks on public property, the bomb blasts and sending video broadcasts threatening the government are important tools used by these organizations to grab attention of the world .  A  wife in a small town or village has to portray an image of a caring wife to her husband, a dutiful daughter in law to her in-laws,and a loving mother to her children , all in one to gain respect and her right place in the eyes of her family and in the society. A big city working wife will portray a different image to some extent.

Billions and Trillions of Dollars are spent every year by the above organizations to portray a right kind of image in front of the concerned people — Their target public or the audience, which vary from person to person.This was reflected by the Chinese government in the Olympics as to portray China as an economic superpower and a sporting and friendly nation.The Indian government also has to do this in the coming commonwealth games in New Delhi to portray itself as second to none especially after the Chinese success. The construction of roads , buildings, Stadiums, Hotels, Malls , Cinema halls, Residential complexes, Metro rail, cleaning the city , and improvement of public transport etc has to be undertaken  to make it the show piece to the world. It has no logic when it comes to Expenditure.

The Companies has been doing it , showing their Financial statements , Balance sheets , their Equity  shares, Products and services , transparency in management, Employees satisfaction, Interpersonal- Relationships, Customer Satisfaction , the R&D. employed in Production , holding meetings and Seminars with Share holders and media , especially during product launch and receiving and giving awards.This will show it as a truly professional and well managed company lead by competent people from the world’s premium management and finance institutes. Sponsoring Mega Events like in Sports, Fashion shows, Movie Awards etc., Sponsoring Sportspersons, Outstanding students in education and other fields, Donating in Charity to help the poor, giving funds for research and development, environmental protection, Public development tasks , Building schools and colleges etc will help it to improve its Image in the eyes of Public, the government and its Customers and Shareholders as a Company that Cares and a Eco- friendly company.

The surveys to measure the Best managed companies, Best companies to work for, Most professional company, Most Admired companies , Most Eco-Friendly company, Best C.E.O.’s , Customer’s Satisfaction, Quality – control, most Credit -worthy company are taken into account know where the companies stand in the market . Most companies pride themselves to be in the Fortune’s or Forbes’s first 500 companies  and after receiving a award in any of the above fields as it gives a boost to their Image in the eyes of their customers  and in the market. Winning of the Prestigious award in Oscar, Cannes ,Grammies etc. by an actor , Singer, Director , winning of an Olympic gold medal by an sportspersons increases their ratings and popularity among their audiences. It further  means that such magazines and the awards have got a very high Image in the market in terms of the credibility and popularity.

Companies like Sony, Toshiba, Kenwood , L.G., Samsung, Lenovo, Philips, Panasonic , American Express , Citibank, Mercedes Benz, Rolls Royce, BMW,  Mc – Donald’s, KFC,  AT&T, Airtel, Reliance, British Airways, B.B.C. , M.T.V., Warner brothers, Lufthansa airlines , Holiday Inn, Sheraton hotels, Washington post, New York times ,  Reebok, Nike, Adidas, Nokia, Microsoft, Apple , Yahoo, Google, Face-book , E-bay, Amazon , SFI Marketing group etc . have a very strong Brand Image in the International market. An actor or actresses with a strong brand image in the market and film industry is considered as a STAR, a SUPERSTAR and a MEGASTAR , depending on the strength of their Brand Image — Popularity and their Earning potential among the audiences. A model becomes Super – Model on the basis of his or her performance and Popularity. A sport person become a Sports -Star overnight on his victory in prestigious International events like Olympic, Commonwealth ,World –Cup etc. Their are certain parameters and ratings on the basis of which they are gauged. Of course their performance is the prime factor.Even animated  and comic characters like Batman, Robin, Spiderman,  Superman, Donald-Duck , Mickey Mouse , He-man , Phantom, Mandrake, etc also enjoy such high image among their audience. Fictious  characters like James bond, Sherlock-Holmes , Rambo , Terminator, have very high rating.

The Government also holds Press conferences ,and employ these P.R. and  advertising companies when the time required.It has its own spokesman who holds the conference like in White house. Similarly all political parties have their spokesman . The countries around the world are also listed in terms of Human Rights, Environmental protection, Government Efficiency, level of Corruption, Per capita income and G.N.P., Employment, Inflation , Public safety, Public Honesty , Public Morality, Public literacy, Social structure, Custom, History, Stability, Military power, and many other Parameters to determine which are the best countries to live in. 

The United States of America has the Image of the most powerful and most feared nation in the world, a Superpower . It plays the role of the world policeman and the guardian of democracy and capitalism. Russia, another Superpower is its competitor and for many years as communist USSR, it was regarded as a bulwark against the American domination and Imperialism. The European countries as a whole always played a balancing role between these two Superpowers and play a crucial part in any decision making. Japan is seen a a highly industrialized and technologically developed nation. China is seen as a growing military and economic communist power which will soon rival U.S. for the the world’s number one nation.It is always respected and feared by its neighboring countries. India is seen as yet another Asian giant rivaling China and has a very important role to play in the world’s  politics in the near future . It has its Image as a democratic and peaceful nation . Brazil is another nation in South America. Israel in the middle east is regarded a a very aggressive nation , surrounded and feared by its enemies ,the Arab nations.

The Image of a nation is very important at the time of granting of economic and other kinds of AID. It also helps it become a member of any prestigious organizations like the Permanent membership of United Nations, Security council, W.H.O., Human rights commissions ,G-8, G-20, etc. which increases its leverage and negotiating power amongst other countries.

All organizations both government and Private employ their Public relation officers who duty is to send the correct message to the public like the Police, Hospitals, Electricity board, Bus and Train services , Banks, Airlines,Telephone – Services, Military etc especially at the time of crisis. Any distortion in the message from their side can create a public uproar and may aggravate the crisis. Honesty and transparency in giving the information is  must here. Also the more proofs they can give  like photos , videos etc , the better the result. For  most of these organizations hire Advertising, Event Management and Public Relation companies to do this work. The growth of media ,the rise of Internet and satellite communication has also contributed to this growth. In few seconds the Image of the Countries , the companies , the public organization,the public figures  fall from grace in the eyes of the public all over the world if they fail to take measures to communicate correctly to people . Rumors spread like wild fire and it has to be curbed.

The company’s Image in the market is its Brand Equity. It has to be protected . It will be attacked from all sides – Its competitors,its customers,its management  and employees , its customers, the media continuously if it fail in its task. About 50 years ago , the company was not so conscious of its Image. Nor the media was well covered.The customers were also not aware or conscious of their rights. There was no Consumer Protection rights department. The competitors were few.The company’s interests were protected by their government from outside. With the rise in the numbers as well as improvement in quality of all the above , the company was forced to take measures to protect its Image. Many of the leading companies faced actions and litigations , were taken over by the government just because they failed to protect themselves against the allegations from all sides by not communicating in a correct manner. Foreign trade increased many folds. Foreign companies and the Multinationals attacked the domestic market with more capital , latest technology and world class management. Scams , tainted shares, Frauds, Bankruptcy , Inefficiency, Low quality and defective products , Poor service are few of the attacks against which the companies and the corporate has started to take measures to protect themselves from and safeguard its image. Similarly for any nation the same holds true. Their image in the eyes of the world and its public is its Brand Equity.

In the case of the Corporate world :

The EXTERNAL IMAGE MAKERS are the Press and Media, the Public Relation and Event management companies, the Advertising companies , and the Competitors.

The INTERNAL IMAGE MAKERS are the the the Employers, the Management , the Employees , the Staff, Public Relation department, the Customers and Target Audience, the Share Holders.

In the case of a Country :

THE EXTERNAL IMAGE MAKERS are the Foreign Press and Media, the Competing and friendly countries , the Foreign office department,the Embassy.

The INTERNAL IMAGE MAKERS are the Domestic Press and Media , the People or the Masses, the Political Parties ,the Government and its wings.

In the case of an Individual :

Let us take it to micro level. What kind of Self-Image would you like to show to the world. Your world primarily depends upon who you are.If you are a common man , it will be your family, your neighbors, your employers , your colleagues and your relatives. Whether you want to portray Individualistic , social, aggressive, dominating , submissive, rebel, friendly, Perfectionist , active , passive,  amiable ,romantic Image, Introvert , extrovert to your near and dear ones is will be determined from your early childhood.Your Personality ,body physique and physical health will be the determining  factor. How your parents brought you up in early childhood.Their social status .They are your FIRST IMAGE MAKERS. In which school and college you studied .How was your performance in studies and extracurricular activities like sports ,dramas etc.Your teachers are your SECOND IMAGE MAKERS .  Your Previous and Present occupation , the Company or the Organization  you work for and your Position in it. How it is looked upon by them.Your company’s Image in the market and among your friends and family.Your   friends and critics are your THIRD IMAGE MAKERS.  How is your family life after your marriage .Your relation with your wife .How you bring up your children.How they feel about you.You wife and your children are your FOURTH IMAGE MAKERS.

Your Residential place,  your religion and faith , your caste, your color , your race, your beliefs, your mentality, your social status, your tastes and preferences , your interests , your leverage, your lifestyle, your present age , your behavior towards others, which community you belong to, your language, your accent , your financial status, your level of spending, your competitors and their social standings etc .Your Goals and Ambitions in your life , your ability to communicate clearly and correctly to others , your level of knowledge, education and ability to understand others, what others expect from you, which region you belong to, your expectations from others, your character , your ability to lead and influence others , your attitude,your Self- esteem will help you portray your image to them in a better way. You must be clear about your Image and how you should portray it to others. Above all you are your own IMAGE MAKER .

We must remember that there are two images – one what we are and second what we want others to think about us. The job of the IMAGE MAKERS is to narrow down the gap between the two to the zero level.


                                                       Thank You and all the best ,


                                                              Sfi marketing group






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