Does your business's corporate identity inspire your audience? Does it foster customer confidence?
If you don’t feel confident answering those questions, your firm may be overdue for a corporate identity redesign.
Corporate identity is more than just aesthetics. Any brand can use custom letterheads, color palettes, and logo designs for visual branding.
However, it takes strategic planning to build a strong brand identity. This article will show you how to engage your customers with an effective visual language that communicates your brand values.
What Is Corporate Identity?
Corporate identity can be described as the self-image of a company. Think about how your company represents itself to its target audience.
A well-executed corporate identity will influence how stakeholders see your company.
With so many businesses competing for a loyal following, it's critical to have a unique visual identity. Without one, it can be almost impossible to stand out.
The Difference Between Corporate Identity and Brand Identity
On the surface, corporate identity and brand identity appear to mean the same thing. This is a common misconception.
The two concepts are intertwined but describe very distinct elements.
Brand identity is visual. It refers to the external perception of a company and its products.
In other words, your brand identity creates product recognition within your target market. Brand identity design elements include your logo design, color scheme, typefaces, brand style guide, and SEO.
Corporate identity is more about actions than visuals. How do your organization's activities shape the external and internal perceptions of your company?
Think of corporate identity as a holistic approach to brand design. It covers the following:
- Brand identity
- People working on the brand
- Tone of voice
- Customer response
- Your success in implementing your brand promise
Corporate identity is a broad concept, but it’s the brand component that gets the most attention. The best way to reassess your corporate identity is to start from within.
Effective Corporate Identity Examples
Look to market leaders for examples of effective corporate identity. Studying a successful brand can give you insight into how your own brand might revamp its image.
The companies below have built successful reputations for providing top-notch products and services.
Apple is a tech giant and one of the most popular brands in consumer electronics. They're known for high-end products, distinctive and minimalist designs, bright stores, and helpful workers.
As a company, Apple prioritizes simple, efficient innovation. Their flagship devices, like the iPhone, make this clear.
Apple's new flagships only come with essential updates. Likewise, their design is largely consistent with the previous flagship.
Market rivals, like Samsung, have criticized Apple's lack of design updates and extra features. But Apple considers efficiency more important than bells and whistles.
Apple focuses its research and development on the features customers use most. The company is also bold enough to remove any features that consumers do not use as expected. For example, Apple replaced the Macbook Pro Touchbar with physical keys following user feedback.
Coca-Cola is one of the few beverage companies whose corporate image has true global appeal.
Because Coca-Cola wants to sell customers an experience, rather than just a product, their marketing materials celebrate human emotion. In particular, the timeless and universal values of joy, community, and sharing.
Coca-Cola takes the same feel-good approach with their employees and investors. Their corporate identity design prioritizes sustainability, making a difference in the world, and investing in the future of their employees and customers.
Coca-Cola’s advertising reflects those values, too. Especially during the holidays, when the company releases marketing materials with new designs centered around nostalgia and family.
Zara has dominated the world despite operating in the highly competitive fashion industry.
The fashion powerhouse is known for creating mid-price replicas of the latest high-end fashion products, to make them available to a wider market.
The company's fundamental principles are beauty, clarity, sustainability, and functionality. They cater to a wide range of customer demographics, and view their customers as their most important brand asset.
For that reason, Zara has a strong corporate identity of providing outstanding customer service.
To customers, Amazon's corporate identity is customer satisfaction. Their brand guidelines emphasize satisfying customers with quality products and ease of service.
Amazon's logo design resembles a satisfied customer's smile. This visual branding cements the Amazon philosophy of customer obsession.
The company prioritizes customer reviews, free delivery, and recommendation modules to increase sales.
Amazon also depends on a strong supply chain, first-rate customer service, and affiliate marketing to build their international brand recognition.
Importance of Corporate Identity to Your Business Growth
Ease of Identification and Recognition
The most noticeable components of a company's corporate identity are its design elements. This includes everything from logo designs to fonts and typography.
Strong visual branding ensures maximum visibility before your target audience. It also makes your company stand out from competitors.
A memorable brand image makes a business easy to identify. In a competitive marketplace, this is a unique and sales-generating quality.
Use high-quality graphic design to create a strong corporate identity. This will shape your customer's perception of your brand.
Prevent Misrepresentations of Your Corporate Identity
A powerful corporate image will increase consumer loyalty. It also prevents misrepresentation by rival brands.
Think about how you can empower your brand strategy. A consistent, unambiguous, and recognizable corporate identity reflects your company’s goals.
Increased Control and Strong Ownership
Create a strong corporate identity that can adapt to changing market scenarios.
You may need to use a new message each time you update your brand guidelines. But this adaptability will give you better ownership and control over your corporate image.
Enhanced Competitive Advantage
A great corporate image improves visibility, recognition, and customer perception. This will enhance your firm’s competitive advantage with your target audience. It can also increase trust with your investors.
Strong corporate identity is all about maintaining consistency. Consistency ensures that stakeholders and employees relate with consumers in the same way.
When your corporate image is cohesive, it gives your consumers, employees, and investors a consistent message. It also expands your capacity for growth.
4 Key Elements of Corporate Identity
The four key elements of corporate identity are:
- Corporate behavior
- Corporate design
- Corporate culture
- Corporate communication
If you want a clear and persuasive brand strategy, developing all four elements is necessary.
1. Corporate Behaviour
Think of corporate behaviour as the standards you expect your employees to uphold.
Those standards will govern how your staff reflects the brand's principles. It also governs the uniformity of your corporate communications.
Corporate behaviour goes beyond instructing staff to smile at every customer. It’s about the company’s fundamental values, philosophy, and brand promise.
Your employees should understand why they're expected to interact with clients in a specific way. This will nourish the bond between your organization and its customers.
Example of Corporate Behaviour
Google is an excellent example of good corporate behaviour. The company values equality, fairness, practicality, and a small business family relationship.
The company has fostered a friendly workplace culture. They encourage staff to exchange information to spur further innovation and advancement.
Google also promotes knowledge and curiosity beyond company walls.
For example, Google's Bughunter program encourages learning Google’s proprietary codes. It also rewards exceptional developers who can find a flaw in Google's programs.
2. Corporate Design
Corporate design refers to the visual elements that make up your brand identity. It includes standard visual assets such as brand color, company logo, imagery, typography, uniforms, signage, and more.
Logo: A logo is a symbolic representation of your brand. It artistically captures your mission, vision, culture, and values. This is used on business cards and office accessories to keep everything on-brand.
Typography: Stylized fonts express your brand's personality, vision, and mission. Choose a font that best communicates your brand identity.
Imagery: Cohesive imagery should be at the center of your brand strategy. A well-defined and recognizable style will make your products easy to identify.
Brand colors: We may take them for granted, but colors significantly affect our emotions. Your color palette should inspire the same emotions you want your brand to reflect.
Uniforms: Unique clothing can make your team and company stand out. Most industries have a standard fashion rule. You can modify your industry's fashion rules to create distinctive clothing or a dress code for your business personnel.
Packaging: Product packaging is as critical as your logo design and color palette. It conveys your brand's aesthetics and overall messaging. More importantly, your product packaging should be capable of carrying your product.
Strategic corporate design and communication assets make your brand's image easily recognizable. You can attempt to create a recognizable brand image if you already know how to do this.
Examples of Effective Corporate Design
Coca-Cola's red ribbon, Nike's swoosh symbol, and the golden arches of McDonald's exemplify some of the best corporate identity designs. Because these companies use cohesive messaging, consumers associate their logo designs with their corporate identities. That’s why these symbols can stand alone and still be recognized.
3. Corporate Culture
Corporate culture describes the values that guide how a firm's staff and management behave. It also includes the style of the workplace setting and employee facilities.
Offices with gyms or sleeping cubicles are examples of corporate culture. You can tell that the former has a fitness culture, while the latter encourages healthy work-rest balance.
Sometimes, a company's corporate culture emerges naturally over time from the collective characteristics of the organization's staff.
However, companies need to create rules and procedures to promote corporate culture among their personnel.
These rules and procedures may include the following:
- Hiring processes
- Employee reviews
- Codes of conduct
- Dress codes
- Office layouts
- Office amenities
- Employee benefits
- Business hours
- Work-from-home policies
Examples of company culture
Google's parent company, Alphabet, is highly renowned for its welcoming workplace culture. The company provides many benefits to its employees. These include tuition reimbursement, telecommuting, flex-time, on-site doctors, and complimentary meals for employees.
A well-executed corporate culture creates an engaged workforce, reducing turnover and improving employee performance.
4. Corporate Communication
Corporate communication governs how a company shares its vision, mission, and values with its internal and external stakeholders. These rules determine the tone of voice and visuals used to communicate.
Firms use internal corporate communication to align employees with the company's business objectives and ensure open communication. An effective internal corporate communication policy creates clear goals for teams.
External corporate communication, such as between a business and its customers, helps maintain a consistent brand message.
An excellent corporate communication policy ensures your brand's tone of voice is present throughout every medium. That includes text, video, audio, or image. It simplifies the process of creating a flier, article, video demo, user guide, or any marketing materials for external distribution.
Corporate communication includes:
Internal Communication: The exchange of information between a company and its staff.
Paid Communication: This category comprises information shared through paid media, such as adverts, publications, and features.
Media Relations: This relates to earned-media communication, such as public relations and news.
Investor Relations: This aspect focuses on the messages shared by the company to its investors.
Examples of Effective Corporate Communication
Google, Zappos, Netflix, and In-N-Out Burger are excellent case studies for good internal and external communication.
Google uses the I/O event to communicate with external collaborators on innovation. Internally, Google uses open-door and transparent communication principles to keep staff in the loop.
In-Out-Burger also uses the open-door style for internal communications. And these companies credit the effectiveness of their teams to excellent communication.
How to Define and Design Your Corporate Identity
If you’re concerned that you don't have a cohesive corporate identity, you can create one and start reaping the benefits immediately.
Take these action steps to develop a more compelling corporate identity concept:
- Define who you are
- Clarify your mission
- Assess your progress
- Check your competitors
- Create your corporate design
- Develop a consistent messaging
To complete this checklist, you’ll need many different sets of skills to translate the ideas it generates into a powerful visual representation for your brand.
This is where Anyday comes in. Contact us today to develop a powerful brand strategy, identity, and messaging.