Face to Face: A Guide to Building a Strong Corporate Identity 1

Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

Whether you’re new to the game or have already made a name for yourself in your target market, the corporate identity of your business is one of the trickier concepts to understand and build. However, it remains one of the most significant aspects of your branding as it communicates so much information to your customers – to express it in more figurative terms, the corporate identity is the heart and soul of your business that reflects both inwardly and outwardly. A properly crafted corporate identity will be able to leave such an impression on your target audience that will allow them to remember and recognise your brand more easily should they encounter it again at any point.

But what exactly is corporate identity? According to Business Dictionary, the corporate identity of a company refers to the visual elements of the company that communicates its brand ideals and philosophies to those within and outside of that company. This acts as a unique identifier that allows the company to be recognised apart from others.

With this in mind, we now have a pretty good idea of what a strong corporate identity would be like. It would be one that expresses a distinct message unified by a coherent design language that spans across all aspects of the company that can be seen by potential customers, such as its product design, promotional materials, marketing schemes, storefronts, and even down to the uniforms of its employees. One of the best brands to illustrate this would be Apple. Now, unless you have never heard of Apple before, you will immediately be reminded of sleek designs, catchy taglines, and an overall feel that simply screams “premium”, barring mention the similarly premium price tags they attach to each of their products.

But with all of the chatter going about over the years about how Apple and their overpriced iDevices, how has Apple managed to get away with it the entire time? One can attribute this to their unwavering corporate identity. By positioning themselves as a brand that broke away from the typical marketing angle of attack being taken by the tech giants of the 70’s and 80’s – as a brand that was designed “for creatives” and one that inspired you to “think different” – Apple was able to garner a significant following of consumers that bought in to that idea. This following would only grow with Apple’s eventual development of the iTunes Store and App store, creating what we know today as the “Apple ecosystem,” Apple’s alignment of their gadgets and software in such a manner that would make the user more inclined to continue consuming products and services created by Apple. The result? Millions of customers that remain loyal to the brand even to this day.

So how does one go about creating a strong corporate identity? Now, the process in and of itself isn’t too difficult, especially when you have yet to open your business to the world. However, it will require a lot of planning and analysis on your part to create a brand that sends the message that you want it to send. Of course, there are quite a few ways one can tackle this problem, but for this guide we will be focusing on a two-prong approach:

Inside

As we’ve mentioned earlier, the corporate identity expresses more than just the aesthetic sensibilities of the company. In fact, the purpose of the corporate identity is to create a lasting impression of the company that will be able to bring a certain message about the company across to your customers – the message in question being your company philosophy. In other words, you want your company identity to tell your customers what your company is, what it wants to be, and what ideals it upholds and believes in.

To start, you can try to ask yourself questions along these lines. Figure out in your mind the goals you want for your business. Try to think of the image you want to project into your customers’ minds when they see your logo or the name of your brand.

Outside

In addition, the key ideas of your company philosophy must also shine through in all of the elements that your customer will be able to see. Again, the key to take note of here is unity and cohesion. To put it differently, the ideas that are being expressed by, say, your marketing materials, must be aligned with your company philosophy.

For example, if you market your brand as being green and environmentally-friendly, giving away promotional products made of polluting plastics wouldn’t exactly be the best idea. In such a case, you would do your brand a lot of favours by promoting your brand in similarly eco-friendly ways – either by participating in or contributing to events that have like-minded causes, or releasing your products (promotional or otherwise) with as little use of plastics as possible. (If you are interested in using eco-friendly products for your promotional giveaways, you can read more about them here.)

You mustn’t forget, however, that visual appeal still remains one of the best ways to draw attention to your brand and become more easily recognisable by your customers. Logo design, typefaces, brochures, website layout and design – all of them will make massive contributions to your corporate identity. Knowledge of artistic design principles such as colour psychology will also have a not-insignificant impact on getting your company’s message across.

With these tips in mind, there is one more thing that must be said before you go out and show your business’ corporate identity to the world. Corporate identity, once it is out there and seen by the people, will be very difficult (if not outright impossible) to make any changes to that corporate identity without getting negative attention. After all, a change of corporate identity will essentially mean changing the way the company runs. That’s why it is absolutely important that you plan each element of your company’s corporate identity very carefully in order to not end up having to change one element and receiving unwarranted backlash from vocal detractors. With that said, though, there is no denying that the success of your corporate identity will be defined by how many people access and use your site, so there is also the element of luck that can be factored into the equation. To that, the only thing you can do to reach Internet fame and success is, well, to be famous and successful.