Today’s post is from Daniel Lummis, A Marketing Consultant at Bladon WA.
The corporate identity is a powerful concept. It encompasses all of the internal beliefs and external details that set your company apart from everyone else on the market. It is the primary basis behind all of the company’s major decisions. It is the guiding principle that drives the employees – and, in turn, the company – forward. The corporate identity is the figurative heart and soul of a company and is what its interns, operators, managers, and board members should all uphold and maintain as a whole.
It doesn’t matter if you are a small cog in the clockwork of a Fortune 500 company or the sole proprietor of a small buy and sell business that you operate out of the comfort of your own garage; the fact of the matter is, having a good corporate identity is essential to any business because it helps your business stand out. To put this another way, you can think of the corporate world (or, at least, the marketing aspect of it) as being a lot like show business, since your success is dictated by how much you stand out. In other words, if you can get more people to recognize and remember your brand, the more likely they will come back to you as patrons, which means higher profits for your company. In this article, we will discuss how you can develop a strong corporate identity for your business and, in doing so, help your business turn into a figurative shade of red amongst a sea of blue.
Step 1: Define the company.
Before you do anything else, you have to first take some time to get to know your business. What does your company do? What products or services are you trying to sell? Who are you selling your products or services to? How well is your company performing in comparison to other businesses in the same industry? How well is your company performing in its current location? Where do you think your company will be in 3, 5, or 10 years? What sort of things does your company want to achieve by then? Does your company have any plans to expand into new territory? These are only a few of the questions you need to find answers to so you can properly define the company. Having a good knowledge of the company’s past, present, and future will give you more insights about the company and will help you define the company’s corporate identity.
Step 2: Establish your value proposition.
A strong corporate identity is one that is firmly rooted in what the company believes in. In this step, identify your company’s beliefs, core values, and philosophies, and use that information to establish a strong value proposition. The value proposition, of course, is a concise statement that shows your target customers what your company has to offer that no other company has, or can otherwise do better. This value proposition will be the driving force behind all of your company’s marketing campaigns, and should, therefore, connect right back to the ‘soul’ of the company.
Step 3: Develop your company’s brand identity.
The terms “corporate identity” and “brand identity” are often confused with one another – this may be so because the two concepts are closely intertwined with each other. However, you should know that the distinction between the corporate identity and the brand identity is that the brand identity only focuses on the visual elements of your company and therefore forms a part of the corporate identity.
People are much more receptive and responsive to pictures and colors compared to words and text. And while having a strong value proposition is important, your customers will likely have a hard time remembering it, or outright not remember it at all. This is where your brand identity comes into play. As already mentioned, the brand identity is composed of your company’s visual elements. This includes everything that your customers will see when they see your company – the company logo, color palette, employee uniforms, office and storefront design, website layout and graphic design, product design, aesthetic language, and more. A good brand identity will be able to translate the guiding principles of your company into a visual medium that can be easily understood and easily recognized by your customers and will serve as a sort of road sign pointing your target audience towards your brand and your products.
Step 4: Spread your corporate identity.
Now that you have established your corporate identity, it’s now time to spread it out into the real world. This can be done through your typical marketing and advertising campaigns. There are a lot of variables that go into marketing campaigns, so doing a lot of research here will pay off massively in the long run. As you develop your marketing strategy, take the time to learn about your target audience so you will have a better idea of where and how to reach them. You should also remember that, in most cases, your brand will not immediately catch on with your target customers. A strong brand identity can be strengthened only through time. Stay persistent with your marketing strategies, and you will reach them eventually.
Step 5: Refine and improve your corporate identity.
Of course, a persistent corporate identity doesn’t necessarily mean it should remain unchanged. There is no perfect corporate identity, and it is incredibly difficult – if not outright impossible – for a company to get it right. People change, and with them, trends come and go, and mentalities and attitudes towards certain things change. Even the most popular companies in the world have changed their corporate identities at one point in the brands’ histories. As a business owner, then, you must apply this sentiment into your planning and change some aspects of your corporate identity in response to changing needs and changing times to remain competitive in the industry.
The most important thing to remember when you’re developing your corporate identity is that, in the end, the strongest ones are those that stand out the most. Making a strong value proposition, sticking to your company’s promises, and staying true to what your company is and what it believes in are the keys to creating a brand that people will know, recognize, and remember for a long time.