In Public Relations (PR) image refers to the perception or impression people associate with any object. This could be a corporate organization, individual, institution, product, service or even an idea.
The way individuals interpret an image - is influenced by a variety of factors - including reputation.
Reputation in PR, refers to how an individual, corporate organization or institution is rated - on a continuum of performance vis-a-vis expectations of relevant interest groups.
Types of image:
Wish image: This is how an individual or organisation wants to be perceived by the public.
Current image: This reflects facts on ground and can be determined - through an image study - best carried out by external consultants
Corporate image: This reflects the perception associated with the entire organization and not individual products. Corporate image, can be influenced by factors.
These include: country origin, name of organisation and age, product portfolio, price, safety records asset base, staff strength, CSR, rank in industry, accreditation/certification etc.
Positive image: This is favorable image PR resources should be used to secure.
Negative image: This is unfavorable image that can cause problems for the organisation.
Product image: Is the perception that applies to a particular product. These include: efficacy of product, weight, size, colour etc.
Mirror image: Reflects the organisation's belief about how its perceived
Multiple image: This reflects how an organization is perceived in different lights by different publics.