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4 Reasons Why a Strong Brand Should Begin with Corporate Identity
The terms corporate identity, brand identity, and brand image are often interchanged, but are, in fact, distinct from one another.
- Corporate identity is about internal activities that shape perception.
- Brand identity is how an organization wants to be perceived by its audience.
- Brand image is external perceptions held by consumers.
All three are woven together, but each must be considered separately when building your brand. It all begins with corporate identity.
What is Corporate Identity?
Corporate identity is the action a company undergoes in order to achieve a good perception from its target audience. It is obtained through corporate design, corporate communication, and corporate behavior. It can be difficult to define corporate identity. Much more than your corporate culture, it must answer the question, “who are we?”
Corporate design includes the brand assets that make your company unique and stand out from the competition. A brand’s company identity design is visually reflected in its logo, name, style guide, slogan, color palette, typography, uniforms, buildings, business cards, and more. Maintaining the corporate identity can be managed by creating a brand guideline manual for employees to follow.
Corporate communication is how your business disseminates information to employees, investors, external stakeholders, and customers. This includes public relations, internal communication, reputation management, and other external communication efforts.
Corporate behavior is the essence of a company. Through corporate behavior, a company should show its core values, brand promise, and philosophy. Many prominent brands achieve this through corporate social responsibility endeavors. Corporate behavior is how you present your brand to the community at large, including customers, clients, employees, and investors. Corporate behavior is different from Brand Purpose.
What Is Included In A Corporate Identity
As mentioned above, a company’s corporate identity includes all the visual elements representing an organization’s overall “face.” These include:
- Company Logo
- Tagline or Slogan
- Color Scheme
- Tone of Voice
- And More
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.
Importance of Corporate Identity
Strong corporate identities are vital to and instrumental in shaping people’s sentiments about your brand and its products or services. In today’s competitive marketplace, it’s vital for organizations of all sizes, missions, and purposes to establish a corporate identity manual, brand style guide, principles, and tone of voice. Here are four reasons why.
- Cohesiveness. Establishing a consistent corporate brand identity ensures that everyone in the organization represents it the same way every time they interact with clients, stakeholders, and potential customers.
- Expertise. A company identity helps project your brand as a trustworthy expert in your industry.
- Reliability. A carefully crafted and cultivated corporate identity helps standardize your brand’s visual presentation across all channels, such as email, social media, etc.
- Authority. A strong corporate identity sets you apart from the competition and makes your brand readily recognizable through design, communication, and action.
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 who 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.
Establishing Positive Brand and Corporate Image
Conversely, brands that establish and maintain a respected corporate identity are rewarded with a corresponding positive effect on the company image and corporate reputation. A good example is Apple which, after 30 years and just a few minor missteps, is still seen as an innovative and pathbreaking brand.
Other companies that illustrate how the importance of brand 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.
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.
This blog post was originally published on April 9, 2019