Corporate identity is often seen as a collection of visual elements, which are used in various applications to promote the image of an organisation. Originally, it was synonymous with organisational nomenclature, logos, the housestyle and visual elements, but in time visual identity and corporate strategy have become inextricably linked.
Some marketing specialists regard corporate identity as the core of an organisation’s existence, made up of its history, beliefs, philosophy, technology, people, its ethical and cultural values and strategies. Corporate identity also helps determine the positioning of an organisation in terms of its markets and competitors.
Why is a Corporate Identity Important?
Strong corporate branding is essential because it subconsciously shapes consumers’ feelings about an organization and its services or products. From the moment consumers interact with the identity, their feelings about an organization’s service or product are subconsciously reinforced. Often, these feelings last a consumer’s life-time.
Let’s consider an example. Which fast food restaurant is in over 120 countries and seems to be everywhere? You got it – McDonald’s! One of the reasons McDonald’s is so successful is its highly recognizable brand identity. If you go to a McDonald’s outlet in any part of the world, they will all look relatively similar, the menus look similar, the food will be of the same quality and taste the same – and one might even run into their mascot, Ronald McDonald. This brand consistency is one of the reasons why McDonald’s is one of the all-time biggest brands.
In short, the identity is physical manifestation of a brand. To generalize, this includes a logo and several supporting devices, such as the company letterhead, business cards, website etc all governed by a set of guidelines. The guidelines dictate how the identity is applied and approved for printed pieces, color palettes, typefaces, page-layouts, menu cards, uniforms, store furnishing, product packaging and such items, across media applications that maintain visual continuity and recognition.
In today’s competitive marketplace, it’s imperative to establish corporate identity standards. They ensure that everyone within a company, from individual employees, offices, stores, is representing the company the same way each and every time they interact with customers and various stakeholders.
Summarily, the aims of a corporate identity are to:
- create a single and clear visual identity for an organization, its divisions, its services and products / brands;
- project an organization as professional, reliable and contemporary organization;
- leverage the brand equity and standardize a organization’s visual presentation consistently across media applications