372 | 30, pp. 369-388 | doxa.comunicación

January-June of 2020

Analysis of the university reputational crisis through the social networks Twitter and Facebook...

ISSN: 1696-019X / e-ISSN: 2386-3978

there is corporate communication, defined as a series of forms of expression used by the organization. In short, corporate identity refers to an organization’s nature and the way it acts, both of which share the internal environment of a corporation, which we can use as a differentiating value. Currás Pérez (2010: 29) carries out a conceptual revision involving the notion of image, which “denotes greater agreement in associating this term with that of perception. As such, an image would be formed as an overall result of the sum of beliefs, experiences, feelings or information held about an organization or brand (...) Surrounding this general notion of image are related concepts, such as corporate image, brand image, corporate associations or positioning, which should be correctly distinguished in order to better manage them. Based on these definitions, it bears mentioning the differences that exist between corporate image and reputation. Villafañe (2004) establishes a series of distinctions between reputation and image. To begin with, he states that reputation has a structural character, while image has a circumstantial aspect. In other words, image depends on a combination of factors and circumstances of a particular situation, while reputation is built through a set of factors that can be planned or structured. The author just mentioned considers that reputation is built not only on a foundation of communication, but on corporate conduct as well.

Next, the author indicates that the image projects the “personality” of a corporation, while reputation is a reflection of corporate identity, a value defined in this study. He also points out that while image generates expectations about an organization, reputation generates value with regard to it. Therefore, image is the result of partial excellence of an entity, excellence that the public expects to continue perceiving, while reputation is the recognition of behaviour that is continuous over time and is already established in the public’s mind. Based on this idea, coherence and good behaviour by the organisation will allow it to achieve an image of the company in the mind of its public.

After defining these concepts, we see how a corporation first obtains an identity, which projects a series of values that together with the influence of external agents creates a certain image that is received by the public. However, where we truly verify which judgement an organization deserves from its public is in reputation. This judgment is made on the image, which in turn is part of identity. In this way, each of the three concepts are consequences of the previous one. If the corporation makes a mistake, its reputation will always be at risk.

Bearing all of this in mind, it is crucial for an entity to be able to fulfil what it communicates to its public afterward. If this is not fulfilled, trust is lost, and reputation is affected. This need implies having a communications manager at the company, and providing him or her with the knowledge, management tools and duties necessary to be able to participate in the company’s management decisions, while at the same time communicating the repercussions that these decisions may have on the stakeholders. (Carreras, Alloza and Carreras, 2013: 24).

In this context, the most important issue for any organization should be to have continuous control over its management, actions and communication. This transmits a coherent and consistent discourse to its public, which generates credibility, and above all, trust. Consequently, reputation management focuses on providing the organisation with research tools so it is able to learn of assessments made about the entity by the different stakeholders.