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IMAGE MANAGEMENT AND CORPORATE GOODWILL OF NESTLE NIGERIA PLC IN SOUTH SOUTH NIGERIA
1.1 Background of the Study
The challenges of the world economic recession and the new technologies have made competition more among corporate bodies in parts of the globe. Drucker cited by Emeka (2010) notes that business enterprises exist to make profit, corporate bodies must endeavour to improve efficiency, quality of products and services as well as ensure customer loyalty, increase sales and expanded profitability. Yusuf as cited in Eboh (2012) notes that image is the subconscious impression a person has of an organization, institution or person, such perception by the public will dictate their positive disposition towards the products and services of such corporate bodies.
Image management is the ongoing process of evaluating and controlling the impact of appearance and the resulting response on the organization and others. The concept of image management applies to any organization/business who needs to improve confidence, capability and credibility. It is creating an authentic, appropriate, attractive and affordable image.
Today,Image management and goodwill are acknowledge as having the potential to impact positively or negatively on the internal and external public’s loyalty to the organization. Views of the publics about an organization tell the level of acceptability of that organization to its numerous publics.
Many business outfits, even individuals all over the world, have seen the need to either reposition their image or sell their image to the society for better perception and profit maximization. It is the endeavour of any organization to draw the attention of both internal as well as external publics towards it ideas, products and service. No one can afford to be unmindful of the opinions of people concerning the company.A company must develop a two-way communication system through which it will not only inform people of its policies and programmes, but also study the reactions of the people towards them. This requires certain skills and expert knowledge so that communication can be effective in reaching out to the target audience and carefully handled through competent professional techniques and media.
Belch and Belch (2001), opine that many corporations enhance their public image through involvement in the affairs of local communalities. No one wants to be perceived as a bad citizen. So, they engage in campaigns that make them acceptable. Such social responsibility programmes come in the form of scholarship for students, building of new classrooms, health centres and boreholes. These are to make them acceptable and position their image as “good”.
Creating the climate which aids achievement of its corporate objectives is the desirable overall result of public relations activities when it comes to the creation and maintenance of goodwill in an organization. In line with this, Okoro (1999) states that the image making business is not a chance affair, before you can make someone to feel and look good, you have to feel and look good yourself. Your cannot give what you don’t have.
The challenge facing most companies today is to create a favourable impression about itself in the minds of its publics. It is the desire of most organizations to achieve a high level of positive publicity for their programmes and activities but unfortunately, some ill-informed organizations erroneously believe that their corporate image can be built on publicity alone. Nweke (2011) argues that no matter how good, beautiful, appealing, or inviting a corporate identify may be and even with rapid application of the force of communication, without genuine supportive good deeds, such an identity can hardly lead to the realization of the desired positive impressions. It suffices that constant communication without attendant good performance is sheer vanity, an empty rhetoric, doomed to make no appreciable impact. It is akin to faith without good works, which invariable is dead. (Osho 2008).
Corporate image or reputation describes the manner in which a company, its activities and its products or services are perceived by outsiders, many businesses actively work to create and communicate a positive image to their customers, shareholders, the financial community and the general public. A company that mismanages or ignores its image is likely to encounter a variety of problems.
A good corporate image, therefore, depends on a conscientious public relations programme put in place by the public relations manager. The public relations manager thus is neither a superman nor a magician, so he cannot handle all issues that relate to the corporate image of his organization. He needs to work with other employees in the organization to successful accomplish the corporate image goals. When every employee becomes conscious of the need for concerted efforts in corporate image management and inculcate positive public attitude, the perception of the organization’s various publics would have of it is that of a serious of organization with focus.
Organizations have come to realize that their behaviours and attitudes determine the stakeholders’ actions and opinions. They have discovered the necessity to commit themselves to fairness, equity and to act in accordance with those commitments. However, it is not enough because good policies and good performance are worth little if people do not understand the policies and do not know about the performance of organization. Communication in an organization can hasten or increase the result of responsible performance.Nestle Nigeria Plc is a Nigeria-based Food Manufacturing and Marketing Company. The Company operates through two segments: food and beverages. The food segment includes the production and sale of magi, Cerelac, Nutrend, Nan, Lacogen and Golden morn. The beverage segment includes the production and sale of Milo, Chocomilo, Nido, Nescafe and Nestle pure life.
A significant challenge faced by Nestle is economic concern of rising cost of agricultural commodities thus incurring high production costs (IUF, 2007). The organisation’s goals are to boost production and efficiency while projecting a reputation for safety and knowledge sharing thereby improving the quality and volume of their production.
The entire baby food industry was chastised for unethically promoting their products in third world countries through gimmicks and false advertising.This according to Muller (1974) led to high infant mortality worldwide. The above instances should underscore some serious challenge in cooperate goodwill management by Nestle. And this gives credence to the aim of this study which sought to investigate image management and corporate good will of nestle Nigeria Plc. Nestle was accused by UNICEF of undermining breast feeding and contributing to death and suffering (Nestle Crtics, 2008)