A business–whether it is a startup or an established behemoth–has its own identity. Like human beings, it has its good qualities. It also has its not-so-good qualities and its own quirks. This refers to corporate identity, and this is what makes any company unique. Corporate identity refers to the company’s philosophy, and how the company and its stakeholders communicate its philosophy to the public through its mission and vision statements. It can also be something visual, such as the logo, the colour/colour combination it uses on its website and marketing collaterals, the typefaces, the words used in promotion, and the designs used in the advertisement. The slogan, the company uniforms, and the office decor–all of these are elements of corporate identity. In short, corporate identity is made up of anything physical, visual, and tangible.
Corporate identity is not influenced by the performance of a company. In short, it is virtually anything tangible the company uses to present itself to the consumers and to the world.
Why Establishing a Memorable and Effective Corporate Identity is Important for a Company
Having a coherent and easily recognisable corporate identity means that you are investing in your company’s future. It also means that you are prioritising credibility and longevity so you are working hard to make your customers trust you. A solid corporate identity makes you easily recognisable to your customers and competitors alike. It also ensures that your message is consistent. If you have an effective corporate identity, you can make your brand stand out from your competitors, as well as fosters consumer loyalty.
The Elements of a Corporate Identity
Some of the elements of corporate identity include:
- The core which is your company’s story, as well as its mission and vision statement.
- The logo which is your company’s visual representation.
- The brand’s typography.
- The color or color combination which represents your brand.
- Several imageries which best convey the brand’s philosophy.
Building a Strong Corporate Identity for Your Business
Whether you’re in charge of a startup or your business has been operating for many years now, you will certainly find these tips helpful when crafting a solid, consistent, and coherent corporate identity.
* Consider your company’s history. All business owners have something that motivated them to establish their businesses in the first place. The prospect of earning money is one of the top motivations for many business owners. Others, on the other hand, want to earn money while satisfying their competitive side at the same time. Others are driven by altruistic reasons to create their businesses, such as helping their community or saving the environment.
Business owners can draw from these motivations, as well as their purpose and vision, when creating a solid corporate identity. These elements should influence the brand’s visuals such as the logo, the company name, the uniform, etc.
* Consider where you are now. Your company history and your motivation, vision, and purpose as a business owner is your brand’s foundation, but you should also devote some time in assessing where your company is now. What is your reputation among your current customers? Is it good, bad, or just so-so? You can gauge your company’s reputation by gathering feedback online or by talking to your customers and target audience face-to-face.
What are your company’s strengths and weaknesses, and how can you use them to create a solid corporate identity? What are the opportunities that you can use or exploit to their full potential? Are there any threats to your business that you could somehow use to your advantage?
Apart from your customers, you can also ask for feedback and suggestions from your employees. You can use the input from your customers and employees in crafting your company’s unique corporate identity.
* Know your target audience and your competitors. To build a memorable and effective corporate identity, get to know your target audience. Which gender and age group do your target audience belong to? What are their interests? Which industry or sector do they work in? What sets your products and services apart? Are these something that your competitors do not offer? Conduct a target audience and competitor analysis so you can use the data to craft an effective corporate identity.
* Develop your unique corporate identity using the information you have gathered. Now that you have conducted a thorough assessment of your company, where you have come from, and what you aspire to be, it’s time to create a corporate identity that is uniquely yours. The first step is creating your very own vision statement. This vision statement should be concise, inspirational, and aspirational. It should clearly state your products and/or services, and how you want to distinguish yourself from your competitors. The next step is to craft your company’s mission statement, which clearly outlines the purpose of your business. You can then craft your brand’s distinct essence and personality.
* Create a brand book or a corporate style guide. Your corporate identity will always evolve, but there are some elements of your identity that need to be consistent so your target audience will not be confused. To ensure consistency over time and to make it easier for your marketing team to update your brand, it would help if you will create a brand book or a corporate style guide.
But what is a brand book or a style guide? A style guide or brand book is simply a document where all the elements of your corporate identity is recorded. The type of font used in your company name, the colour combination used in your logo and website, and the format of your marketing collaterals are all recorded in your style guide.
So, how does one create a style guide? Ask your team to gather imagery, colors, advertisement, or anything that inspires them. Choose which of these elements represent your brand, and have your designer put them all together in one single document. Update the style guide when necessary or whenever modifications are made.