Corporate identity is the collection of visual (including textual) elements that make your business unique. Your brand identity is what your staff, customers, and prospective customers see.
Although the term ‘corporate identity’ is often used interchangeably with ‘brand image’ and ‘branding’, they are not the same.
The primary aim of a corporate identity is to create a unique corporate profile that has high recognition value. A memorable logo, an appealing corporate philosophy and professional interaction with your customers, partners and employees ensure this.
Benefits of a Good Corporate Identity
A good, strong corporate identity will give your customer a sense of trust. Corporate identity also allows outsiders to get a glimpse of the culture or personality of the business. By creating a consistent identity, a company ensures recognition with their target market.
Your logo is the most visible element of the Corporate Identity, which is why you need a strong logo that will differentiate your company from its competition while providing maximum visibility. Think of your logo as your promise to your customers to provide the best possible service and quality.
The Importance of Branding a Business
Creating a powerful brand does not happen overnight. Branding is becoming more crucial for organizations to survive in these uncertain economies in which businesses operate today; your organization must stand out from the crowd in this global village of over seven billion people all vying for attention.
Think of your brand as the company as a personality; think of your corporate identity as the visual perception of your organization.
What are the Elements of a Corporate Identity?
When you think CI, you think of logos, letterheads, and business cards—and that is certainly a part of it. Corporate design includes logos and taglines, colors and fonts, stationery, flyers, web design, social media and more. It even includes office décor, employee uniforms and graphics covering your company vehicles.
Most experts identify four major components of corporate identity:
Your logo should act to instantly identify your company. Think of some of the world’s biggest corporations and you will realize that they all have instantly recognizable and highly memorable logos. Some of these are Apple’s bitten apple, Twitter’s little blue bird, Google’s colorful wordmark and Coca Cola’s enduring cursive script. All of these logos immediately bring to mind an iconic product or concept and instill brand confidence. And all of these examples are not only powerful, but also fairly simple. One only has to glance for a nanosecond to recall that organization’s brand’s entire ethos.
Strong corporate logos can take an organization from being a business to the level of cultural icon. This is – of course – the dream of any marketer.
2. Font or Typeface
Before a person even reads the meaning of words, they already have feelings and biases based on the font used. Think about serif fonts and you will generally think something is old fashioned; comic sans was a hit in the eighties but is a laughing stock in the design world today, and so on.
Fonts have been used by designers to give designs a specific mood or feel for the past few decades. In recent years, though, font psychology has been used to shape people’s emotional response to brands. Provoking a psychological or emotional reaction is the aim when designers want to make a brand feel more trustworthy, friendly, or aspirational.
According to font psychology, serif fonts give the connotation of stability and formality while script fonts give the viewer the feeling that something is creative, fun, or amusing. Sans Serif fonts seem to be growing in popularity; perhaps this has to do with their subliminal message which says ‘progressive, informal and open’.
Whichever style your design team opts for, it is important that it suits your business ethos and character. Remember to carry this font choice through to all the elements of your text including print advertising, posters, emails, advertising and all marketing communications. Even the typeface on your social media posts should remind people of your corporate identity and corporate culture.
Images represent the organization as much as the font and logo do. Whether you are using illustrations in your social media marketing campaigns or photography in your advertising – whether internal or external communications – the imagery must suit the corporate identity.
An important aspect of this is your color palette. An experienced designer or marketer will advise you to choose a few colors and stick to them throughout. Graphics, illustrations, fonts and even text should be in harmony.
It is also important to use photography and illustrations that your corporation owns. Although it can be expensive, it is preferable to commission your own photography rather than purchase images which could be used by other organizations in their social media or above-the-line campaigns.
4. Style Guidelines
Once you and your marketing team have decided on the look and feel that suits your business best, it is important that you create a set of detailed style guidelines that gives information about every element of the corporate identity.
This will ensure that the corporate identity is consistently applied across all departments and in all media. This can also be known as the corporate identity design manual and is your best way to communicate the strict guidelines with all employees and leave no room for misunderstanding.
When you are ready to take your business to the next level of corporate marketing, public relations, web design and all aspects of external communications, you will need a partner to help you create a memorable corporate identity.
KEY27 is a visual online marketing company based in Oakville, Ontario, serving Oakville, Milton, Burlington, Hamilton, Mississauga, and Toronto. We can help you to create a strong corporate identity that will set your business up for sustainable success while keeping your business in the forefront of your target audience’s mind.
For more information on strengthening your corporate identity, contact the experienced digital marketing team at KEY27 today.