Free «Image Development of the Microsoft Company» UK Essay Paper
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In today's world, there are many understandings and appliances of such terms as image and reputation. The concept of reputation was the subject of numerous surveys, and there are a lot of consulting services for reputation management. This indicates that the topic of the image and business reputation has become very popular in the business world. However, awareness of the management and owners of the companies that the image and reputation are formed over decades and require special support measures does not automatically transfer these firms to specific and informed action in this area.
It should be recognized that the formation of a positive business reputation is closely linked to the creation of sustainable corporate image. At the same time, such close concepts and terms as goodwill, image, brand, personality, fame and authority are used interchangeably, due to the reason that they are almost identical.
The study of business reputation, awareness of its formation and development mechanisms can help answer the question, if problems with the organization concern insufficient awareness of consumers and other businesses about it influence its image. If the company does not give enough information about itself, it may be a deliberate strategy. However, many firms offering currently limited information, sooner or later have to pay for it. As a consequence, the purpose of this paper is to analyze the image of Microsoft Company and find out the essential principles it has been built on.
The Essence of Image Formation
In market conditions, a company's positive image formation and development is one of the main ways of forming its reputation and, therefore, of acquisition of additional competitive advantages that enable the corporation owners to not only have recourse to the possibility of additional sources of investment, but also to enhance the firm’s market value and profit as the main indicator of business activity.
Since corporate culture is known to be a complex system, social education is related to the activities of a social institution, first of all, by means of the activity which is related directly to the business. Corporate image is an important foundation, where the beliefs and interests determine the company's ideology, standards and requirements for the behavior of the subjects are covered by legal, administrative, ethical principles of the firm (Prince, 2012). Creation and development of the image is an integral part of existence each organization.
Regardless of the scale of the company (whether it is a multinational conglomerate or a small business), a clear image of the firm simplifies its interaction and communication with customers, clients and many components of the organization. Without a clear image, it will be difficult to explain what the organization is, what it offers and what it strives for. Speaking about the corporate image, it is always necessary to have in mind, first of all, a positive image of the firm (Prince, 2012). The aim of the organization is to create a positive image, enhancing competitiveness, attracting the attention of society, accelerating the process of acceptance and increasing the amount of supporters that allows intensifying financial, information, human and material resources. It creates an image of the company's reputation and greatly improves the position among competitors.
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However, there are significant differences in the content of these terms. For example, the corporate image is believed to be created by a set of images and messages that it transmits to the outside world by the available means. Brand is frequently explained as a stable set of expectations and emotions in relation to the company's product or to itself. A reputation (or goodwill) presupposes the sustainable value judgment on the firm, which develops as time passes in accordance with the criteria which are relevant for each of business. Thus, the distinction between these three concepts is the degree of all their influence on the “final product.”
If the image largely creates the company itself (taking into account the realities of the business environment), and the establishment of the brand is done to help consumers, the reputation is a subject to control a commercial organization because it is formed under the influence of the public of all open activities of the firm and its competitors, including those which not related to the products produced.
There are various components of the image of the structure. For example, the visual image includes a purposeful impact on the visual sensations, fixing information on design, brand symbols and other graphical information media (which are generally referred to as advertising). Another point is the social image, which presupposes the introduction of the representation of the social order and the role of organizations in the economic, social and cultural life of society into the consciousness of the target group (Prince, 2012). Moreover, the business image comprises of formation of ideas on the subject of business activity (business reputation, sales volume and relative market share, innovation technologies, diversity of products, flexible pricing policy, and others). It shows that the organization has a relative stability.
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Each element of the image of the structure produces the impact on the presentation of people for an extended time period and is expected to be completed by the organization. Mass consciousness fills its own, thus creating a barrier in the existing installation that is difficult to overcome during the subsequent implementation of information. The particular importance of the image is generally represented by large and well-known structures existing in the media spotlight on the public mind.
Correction of the image of such structures is done through the impact on public opinion to ensure a favorable public view of the organization (Prince, 2012). The essence of the corporate image is the result of the complex communication messages’ perception by the public. These messages are generally generated by the organization. Corporate image can be based on beliefs as well as on the facts.
Achieving a favorable corporate image and customer loyalty is the main objective of corporate identity management. Formation of an image, a kind of “face” of the organization is not only carried out by the professionals in this field (marketers, advertisers, and others). Moreover, the organization's image is formed not only in regards of the stock and activities of the company. The quality of produced goods and rendered works/services, staff’s attitude to their employer, clients and their own activities are not less important for the image than the advertising and presentation. This approach towards the image is found in the Microsoft Company where the managers and leaders try to follow this way.
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The Microsoft's employees are aware of the favorable image of the company they work for. The image should be adequate, original, flexible, and have the exact address. It has to be appropriate; this means to match the actual existing image or company’s specifics. It has to be original, which means to be different from the images of other firms (goods), especially of the same type (Prince, 2012). It has to be flexible which prevents the company from becoming obsolete or out of fashion.
The Nature of the Microsoft’s Image Formation and Development
The Microsoft's image represents its structure. It is a collective, generalized image of the organization, revealing the most characteristic traits of the leader. These features comprise of the professional competences such as mobility (speed and quality), accuracy in the performance of official obligations, accurate fulfillment of commitments, promises, awareness (readiness to answer people’s questions), and highly professional standard. The Microsoft's Company pays much attention to the culture which is an important aspect of its image and consists of the sociability (friendliness, openness, availability, communication, smiling), correct speech, socio-psychological specifications of partners (associates) (Prince, 2012). In order to create and improve its image, Microsoft has engaged into collection and analysis of the socio-demographic and physical data: age, gender, the level of education, presence/absence of infirmity of the employees. A special attention is paid to the visual image of the employees, which is the business style of their clothing.
Thus, the basic structure of the Microsoft's image has been formed on the basis of direct contact, in which every employee is treated as individual and the organization in general is judged on the state of the entire structure.
The role of the Microsoft's representatives and proxy organizations has a direct impact on the creation of a positive image of a holistic leader, and, thus, the entire entity. As a consequence, the tasks of the image of the Microsoft's Company include
- increasing the prestige of the firm, as the development of corporate identity shows that the attention of the business is paid not only to production issues;
- increasing the effectiveness of advertising and various events to promote the product;
- facilitating the introduction of new products on the market (services) ;
- increasing the company's competitiveness, since the conditions of equal competition impact on the image of the firm.
However, from the point of view of economy, it is necessary to remember that costs impact on the image and determine the sales level. McKenzie (2000, p. 4) believes that “if the dominant producer restricts sales to raise its prices and profits, other firms in the market cannot easily expand production in the near term without incurring significant additional costs”. To prove this statement, the author compares Microsoft with other corporations' economic achievements by claiming that “the ability of other firms to expand output to make up for the restricted sales of the dominant producer is ultimately checked by the rising marginal cost” (McKenzie, 2000, p. 4).
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Important for understanding the essence of the corporate image in Microsoft is the question of its structure. Hence, the image is considered as a problem of creation of its optimal structure. A certain number of authors reflect on the corporate image of the model rather than the structure of the phenomenon and its content, that is, an ordered set of elements and processes that make up the object of perception (Shughart II, 2000). The structure of the image in Microsoft's serves as the unity of stable relations between its elements, follows the structure of the social psyche rather than the ordinary consciousness, in which the field and the image is formed. Ordinary consciousness is a set of ideas, knowledge, attitudes and stereotypes based on the direct experience of everyday people, and dominates the social community, which they belong to.
The Microsoft Company follows the key principles of the image created. These principles comprise of the integrity, honesty and enthusiasm in relations with customers and partners, enthusiasm for new technologies, openness and respect in relationships with other people, and the desire to make their lives better (Carlton, 2001). The company is always ready to solve complex problems and possesses the ability to bring the things started to end. Along with this, the firm has the talent of self-criticism, the ability to ask questions, self-improvement and achieving the highest level of skill and creates the responsible commitments given to customers, shareholders, partners and colleagues to achieve the desired results and ensure high quality.
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Thus, it should be noted that the Microsoft Company's positive image increases the competitiveness of the commercial organization in the market. It attracts the customers and partners. From the point of view of economy, this image is believed to accelerate sales and increase their volume (McKenzie, 2000). The Microsoft Company’s image facilitates access to the resources of the organization (financial, information, human, material) and maintenance operations. It can also be the basis of increase of profitability of the enterprise, improving its market position. With regard to specificity of image, it consists in its existence; regardless of the efforts of the company, it, therefore, needs a constant assessment and correction. It is the basis of the reputation of the firm and serves as a tool for solving problems. Its main feature is that image in the Microsoft Company is the object of control.
A positive image is created not only because of the various marketing strategies, but also because it is the immediate activity of the firm. Corporate image in the Microsoft Company is created by the specialists of marketing communications in such areas as public relations, sales-promotion, advertising, personal selling, and others (Liebowitz & Margolis, 2001). The image creation and management of corporate image, its development – it is a complex job that requires systematic and fundamental knowledge in the field of marketing, advertising, PR and management. The work of such specialists depends on the level at which the Microsoft Company will operate in the future, its stability and durability.
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In case of the Microsoft Company, a particular importance is paid to work with public opinion, using both its own structure of public relations and other communications, as well as attracting for this purpose external agencies. Hence, the department of Public Relations of the firm consists of about two hundred employees who are engaged in work and are directly related to the image of the organization. The Microsoft Company has a position of Director of Public Relations and Public Affairs Service. The corporation is a long-term client of an agency of the public relations involving 289 persons (Gilbert & Katz, 2001). Due to this fact, the Microsoft Company earns more than 20 million dollars annually (Argenti, 2013). In general, the firm’s work is aimed at providing a favorable public attitude towards the company. From the point of view of economy, the presence of the proper image brings many economic benefits.
The economic benefits of the business in question are obvious due to the fact that the image of the organization has been formed under the influence of external necessity arising from the fight for its preservation and development. Some economic investigators believe that the Microsoft Company's image was formed spontaneously, which is most frequently observed, in our time, in the organizations created by the state or supported by it. The image of the corporation is aimed at both the external and the internal (staff, management, shareholders, board members) target audiences. Therefore, there is an inner need to create a positive image of the organization as in its employees and social groups who use the products produced by the firm.
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The image of the Microsoft Company has been formed through the interaction of trends which existed in its staff in the form that arises from interacting with it external actors. Therefore, it is required to study and meet the changing needs of all social groups, individuals, which direct the establishment of a certain image of the organization (Argenti, 2013). This produces a positive impact on the economic state of the company.
The Microsoft Company's image formation has been carried out continuously, as, in a competitive environment, it is required to develop understanding of the new values of interaction with it – both for those who already use its services, and for potential customers promptly. Enhancing the impact of the emotional component of the image of the organization not only creates a positive image of the direction, content, its performance, but also improves the acceptance of external indicators such as location, interior, view of the personnel and management. This is especially necessary in cases when the image of the company is being spoiled. McKenzie (2000, p. 3) has a conviction that Microsoft “seems unaware that the mere existence of a large number of Windows-based applications proves that Microsoft has stirred competition among software developers — leading to better products and falling prices and raising the value of both hardware and software to consumers” (McKenzie, 2000, p. 3).
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The Microsoft Company's formation of image is a subject to both long-term and current challenges in its economic, cultural, and social activities. Therefore, an important condition for the creation of a positive image is liaising with the public, the media, constant identification and analysis of the nature of perception of the image of the organization by different groups during the sociological research.
In addition to this, the image of the Microsoft Company can be designed as a special, and formed spontaneously, but as a rule, its formation occurs in a mixed – it means, the process is based on artificially created and natural factors (Argenti, 2013). The corporation, in most cases, uses the services of image makers (PR-agencies, the image of the experts of their own units for public relations), trying to control its image with the help of special PR-technologies.
The paper regarded the economic value of the image-building process of the Microsoft Company. The social image of Microsoft has a major role in creating the overall image of the organization as it interacts with the environment and is created by working with all components of the overall image. Concerning the opinion of the public, if it is positive, it improves the role of the organization's image in other components, and if it is negative, it spoils all the characteristics of the organization. Administrative exposure of the image of technology in social behavior as well as social management process cannot be carried out without prior planning and setting goals. This is necessary in order to be clear about what should be done both currently and in the future, in what order, in what terms, with what resources. The process of goal-setting always contains an element of forecasting conditions; changes are expected as a result of the development of the social system.
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It is also necessary to mention that planning of the image in Microsoft is a continuous development process of new ways and means to improve the organization by identifying opportunities, conditions and factors. Therefore, plans should be changed from time to time in accordance with the specific situation. Any administrative decision implies a certain foresight, because this decision is an action projected in the future. Forecast as a form of social foresight, it describes the possible degree of achievement of certain goals depending on the mode of action. Planning, as a social control function, determines the ways and methods to achieve the set goals.
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