Corporate identity is the physical appearance and impression of a company. It encompasses the internal structures, staff relationships, products, services, values and goals and objectives. Corporate identity is the way consumers see you, while brand identity reflects how consumers feel about you. Corporate identity should therefore build a positive impact in consumers’ minds, so that essentially, they will view the business in a favourable light; an entity that resonates visually, morally, and ethically.
Everything that the consumer sees – from logo, colours, designs, wording – creates an image of the business in the mind of the consumer. The way the business interacts with customers, staff and the general public gives consumers an idea of the values that drive the company. And most important of all, is the way that business views social responsibility, how prepared it is to give back and improve the lives of others less fortunate.
While corporate identity is tied into brand identity, it’s not quite the same thing. Brand identity is taken up by product performance, the enhancement of customers’ lives, and a more personal connection between the brand and interaction with customers. Corporate identity instills a sense of culture and personality of the business
Why is corporate identity important?
- Building strong corporate identity indicates that a company is serious about its business, is determined to make an impact and has staying power. Building that identity is part of the strategy and reflects success in the market.
- A stable identity is vital to the company being recognised and remembered. Being instantly recognisable is a clear indicator of success and it also gives the consumer a sense of trust; they know the reputation of not only the products and services, but also know the company for its proven track record and reputation.
- Creating a sense of awareness, trust and continuity is the way a company can increase its competitive edge in the market.
- Maintaining that strong presence is vital to not only building brand identity, but enhancing customer experience across all touchpoints such as social networks, advertising, direct marketing and all communications.
- Even the way a company uses fonts to enhance brand image, or wording to develop a voice in their messages, plays to the entrenchment of that corporation’s identity.
- Throughout all marketing material, from print to online, to billboards to TV, corporate identity shines through, alerting prospective customers to the same message: ‘when you deal with us, you’re in safe hands’.
- Corporate identity can become more recognisable than brands, helping brands to take off and be sampled by a public that feels comfortable with the way the company has imprinted their values and philosophy throughout their business structures and practice.
The toughies who have made it to long-term
For examples of sound corporate identity, one need look no further than the big brand names of Old Mutual, Woolworths and Discovery.
Old Mutual: tradition, solidity, trustworthiness, endurance, expertise. You know the company has a long history and as a customer you will enjoy the security and stability of a company that has held its own without fuss against competition and newcomers for over a hundred years. Old Mutual is steady.
Woolworths: high-quality, conservative, trust, honesty, exemplary customer service, environmental care. You know as a customer you can expect top-level products that have passed stringent tests to meet the highest customer expectation, and that customers are valued in every way – from the attention that has gone into packaging design to ethical sourcing of only the best. Woolworths is serious.
Discovery: efficiency, industry know-how, personal, caring, effective. You know that in general you can expect good service from a company that has grown its customers exponentially over the last couple of decades, interacting in a way that ensures continued support in a solution-driven environment. Discovery is innovative.
Corporate identity and employer branding
A vital part of corporate identity lies in the way an organisation deals with staff – training, promotions, rewards, respect and encouragement. A company expects staff to share values and goals. There’s a connection between branding, employer branding and corporate identity that is soundly interwoven – a mutual influence that should always be top of mind when taking a business forward.
- A corporate culture which reflects and grows identity, becomes the spirit of a company, a composite of values, beliefs, norms that underpin operations. The culture covers everything from innovation, team spirit, processes, competitiveness, hierarchy, etc. And most importantly, internal communications.
- A sense of enterprise, authenticity and honesty in all engagement, should be prime in any company. When employees feel this, they invariably respond with higher standards and greater effort. Ultimately, people determine the culture of a business.
- Corporate identity and corporate culture affect all levels of management, including decision-making and relationships between colleagues, clients, suppliers, etc. If employees identify with the corporation’s tone and outlook, it is very noticeable.
- Employees will drive motivation through an accepted corporate identity, gradually developing heightened self-awareness and actualisation.
- In short, employees bring corporate identity to life though their own personality interplay within the culture, as they reflect, hone and practice the values and norms of the company.
AMcomms: The CAN-DO Company
While there are many corporates who understand the value of their workers and the importance of team spirit and shared goals, there are also those who are intensely profit-driven and less interested in personnel. In our role between job offer and applicant, we get to see both sides of the story. We know that a company can be hard-nosed about business and drive hard expectations, but mindful of a culture of respect and reward. Getting to know the nitty-gritty of a company’s internal structure, relationships and corporate image might be more important than stepping into a job simply because you admire the brand.
Find out more about our services at: www.thecandocompany.co.za