- What Is Corporate Identity?
- The Value of Corporate Identity Standards for Franchises
- The Difference Between Branding and Corporate Identify
- Why Corporate Identity Is Important
- Examples of Famous Brands and Their Strong Corporate Identities
- The Dangers and Impact of Brand Devaluation on Your Corporate Identity
- Shape Your Identity or It Will Shape You
- Establish a Positive Corporate Identity with Marcom
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What is Corporate Identity & Why It Is Important for a Strong Brand
As humans, we naturally link certain distinguishable qualities about a person or thing and refer to them as their identity. Whether we know it or not, we do the same thing with corporations.
Business conglomerates can control the narrative of their identity by creating a name, demonstrating personalities, personalizing customer experiences, and humanizing themselves to help their target audience identify and relate to it. This identity that they establish is what’s known as corporate identity.
What does it mean to have a corporate identity? What are the elements of corporate identity, and what role does a company’s identity play in its success? Here, we dive deeper into the topic of corporate identity and discuss why it’s important.
What Is Corporate Identity?
Corporate identity is the actions of an organization and how it presents itself to the public. It’s how a company behaves, communicates, and is perceived by consumers. A strong identity and company culture are important because they’re what allow a corporation to get recognized by its target audience, as well as differentiate itself from competitors in the marketplace. All internal stakeholders of a corporation contribute to its identity, including the employees, investors, and partners of the company.
Three key elements dictate corporate identity, including:
How and what a corporation communicates plays a role in its brand image. Every day, information is passed on to internal and external audiences to broadcast a favorable point of view and a consistent message across all company channels. Communicated information features an appropriate tone of voice and can include:
- Policies and procedures
- Advertisements and sponsorships
- Memos to investors of the company
- Public relations
The most commonly attributed element of corporate brand identity is corporate design. It showcases the visual identity of a company and includes its various visual aspects. These visual elements include the following and more:
- Company name
- Logo design
- Brand color palette
- Brand visuals
- Business cards
Corporate identity design helps the corporation’s visual assets stand out from others like it.
Perhaps the most impactful of elements is corporate behavior, or how the corporation conducts itself. Corporate behavior includes the company’s philosophy, mission statement, and the company’s values, as well as the company’s ethical code of conduct and corporate social responsibility. In essence, corporate behavior embodies how a company acts followed by various scenarios that can be triggered by political, social, environmental, technological, and legal factors.
The Value of Corporate Identity Standards for Franchises
Consistently applied corporate identity standards make communications clearer, reduce confusion, and ensure dependable brand recognition. They also build customer loyalty and protect a brand’s bottom line.
Franchisors can avoid corporate identity misuse by setting marketing guidelines for their franchisees. Some ways to do this include:
- Educating franchisees on corporate policy regarding email communications and social media use.
- Making sure everyone markets the brand consistently and correctly: the same logo, the same fonts and colors, and the same spelling everywhere and every time.
- Giving franchisees the tools they need to build the brand locally.
Technology and the continual changes to the way people use the internet have caused major disruption in how brands communicate with their audiences, and how consumers experience and share content about a brand’s products or services.
The Difference Between Branding and Corporate Identify
The terms branding and corporate identity are often used interchangeably, but in reality, they’re very different from one another. Branding refers to a specific product’s characteristics, ethics, and focus. Corporate identity speaks to the company’s characteristics, values, and focus, which developed the product.
|Branding Identity||Corporate Identity|
|Product Characteristics||Company Characteristics|
|Product Ethics||Company Values|
|Product Focus||Company Focus|
So, the big difference is in the focus on a specific product vs. the whole company. Since a lot of large enterprises have a range of products and services, this can be a very important distinction when managing campaigns.
What Is Brand Identity?
Brand identity is how an organization wants to be perceived by its target audience. It is the message that your customers receive from the company brand. Maintaining this message is important for brand consistency so that your target market will always recognize your brand and keep their brand loyalty. Maintaining brand identity can be frustrating when old logos are floating around in the company’s shared drive. One way to get a grip on maintaining up-to-date logos and marketing collateral is to use a brand management solution with customization in order to keep all your marketing materials compliant and consistent.
Why Is A Brand Identity Important?
Establishing a strong brand identity allows you to set differentiation, personality, consistency, awareness, and loyalty among your business and customers. Your brand is the company’s identity. This image will be portrayed to all employees and customers-therefore making it one of your company’s most valuable assets.
What Is Brand Image?
Brand image or corporate image is the current external perception held by consumers. It is the overall associations and beliefs your customers or potential customers have about your brand and, as an extension, your product or service. Corporate image encompasses the overall impression that consumers have in their mind about your brand from a variety of different sources.
Why Corporate Identity Is Important
Whether it’s a Fortune 500 company or a small startup, identity matters. Having a strong, positive identity is important for a corporation because it directly correlates to the success of the business by shaping people’s thoughts and options. A strong corporate identity perceives the company to be more trustworthy, a significant factor when it comes to market presence.
Research shows that among consumers who track their purchases, the majority of respondents (68%) spent more on a trusted corporation compared to one they trust less. Companies that establish favorable corporate identities and earn customer trust are generally rewarded with more sales, loyalty, and positive recommendations
Other reasons that highlight the importance of corporate identity include:
- Builds customer loyalty: A positive corporate identity that is consistent with the company’s core values, principles, and objectives enables the customer to connect with the brand, which allows for the development of brand loyalty.
- Enhances reputation: Having a consistent corporate identity, along with excellent service, is a recipe for trust among customers. This earns companies a strong reputation among their target audience.
- Creates Awareness: An easily identifiable corporate image helps create awareness for both internal and external audiences as it clearly indicates the company’s promise and brand values.
- Helps with differentiation: Corporations can set themselves apart and stand out from competitors with a well-planned marketing strategy that focuses on corporate identity.
Examples of Famous Brands and Their Strong Corporate Identities
Several large corporations set the standard for corporate identity and brand guidelines. Two of the most well-known brand personalities include:
There might not be a more recognizable logo in the world than Apple. The key element to Apple’s corporate identity is its exclusivity. It remains consistent with its corporate identity by keeping all its products within its eco-system while sending the same corporate messages with all its offerings and product packaging.
Apart from its exclusivity, Apple maintains its corporate culture by remaining engaged in several important social issues as well as working for the community. Since 2008, the company has provided educational programs to more than 3.6 million suppliers.
Although Starbucks’ premium-tasting coffee is admired all over the world, it’s not the only thing the company is known for. Starbucks has done a tremendous job of creating a consistent atmosphere within its locations by conveying a consistent corporate message. No matter which location they visit anywhere in the world, customers will find consistent brand design, making it more reputable.
Additionally, Starbucks also engages in many important issues and takes its social responsibility very seriously. Among their efforts, Starbucks has been providing employment opportunities for refugees for years. Their strong and favorable corporate identity has helped it become not just one of the most relevant chains of coffeehouses in the world, but one of the most relevant corporations of any sector.
Other companies that illustrate how the importance of corporate identity include Coca-Cola, which focuses on spontaneity and customer delight; Target, a company that consistently delivers an exceptional retail experience; and Southwest Airlines, whose distinct corporate personality is reflected in its fun approach to getting travelers from points A to B. What do all these organizations have in common? They are brands millions of people know and trust.
The Dangers and Impact of Brand Devaluation on Your Corporate Identity
The more valuable your brand is perceived to be, the more customers are willing to invest in and recommend it. Many brands devalue themselves without even realizing it. A poor customer experience, disjointed marketing strategy, and lack of corporate-wide communications and methodology can all lead to a brand devaluation that threatens your corporate identity.
For example, a top concern for many brands is how social media has opened the door for potential brand infringement and devaluation. Online scammers and impersonators – together with disgruntled consumers – can seemingly overnight damage the reputation of a brand. To mitigate this risk, you need a well-thought-out corporate identity protection strategy in place.
There are several ways to protect your online corporate identity:
- Use the online tools social media platforms offer to make your social media accounts “official.”
- Make sure your corporate website includes information about and links to your social media accounts.
- Consistently monitor for misuse or misappropriation of your corporate identity.
While social media has innumerable positive benefits, it’s also capable of putting your corporate identity in real danger of a ruined reputation. What people say online about you and your business has become the most important reflection of your brand’s integrity, reliability, and value. Managing its digital identity should be a top priority.
Shape Your Identity or It Will Shape You
Every organization is a living, breathing entity, continually growing, changing, and responding to outside influences. It’s easy to see, therefore, how your organization’s corporate culture is inextricably linked to its branding and strategy. Unfortunately, many companies ignore managing and protecting their organizational identity until a crisis forces them to confront some harsh reality.
Many brands are forced into this situation due to external forces, or even internal controversies. Organizations that lean heavily on brand purpose must be sure to practice their purpose or find themselves exposed as hypocrites. This information can be devastating both internally and externally for brands.
Establish a Positive Corporate Identity with Marcom
A strong corporate visual identity adds tremendous value to your brand equity and can, in fact, be its strongest asset. Properly developed, a brand personality creates a bond between you and your customers, helps establish staying power, and ultimately sets the stage for all future customer interactions.
The importance of corporate identity can’t be understated. Brand managers, marketing managers, and CMOs unsatisfied with their corporation’s current marketing campaigns should turn to Marcom. Our marketing materials and brand management portal are noted for their simplicity, providing an efficient way to share brand assets and create a positive corporate identity. Contact us today to learn more about how our offerings or view our case studies to see the advantages of our platform, MarcomCentral.