Corporate identity is a way to communicate with the world, a way to stand out from the competition and a way to attract your customers. The more clear, recognizable and memorable corporate identity a company has, the more chances it has to become successful. In this article, you will learn what corporate identity is and how to create it.
What is corporate identity
Corporate identity – the unity of style elements that identify the belonging of everything on which these elements are placed (goods, means of communication, communication messages) to a particular company and distinguish it from competitors.
Corporate identity is the basis of the company’s communication policy, since it provides visual and semantic unity of goods and services, all information coming from the company. On the one hand, corporate identity ensures the unity of all products of the company, and on the other hand, corporate identity opposes the company and its products to competitors and their products.
Corporate identity is one of the tools for brand formation and, at the same time, an element of branding. The concept of corporate identity is closely related to the concept of image. Corporate identity is a means of forming the company’s image, distinguishing the company, confirming the reliability of the company.
The corporate style system includes the following main elements:
- Corporate block – a traditional, frequently used combination of several elements of corporate identity;
- Corporate slogan (slogan) – permanently used corporate original motto;
- Corporate colors;
- Corporate set of fonts;
- Permanent communicator (face, image of the company).
Corporate communication tools using corporate identity elements are used in the internal document flow of the company and in the communication of the company with the external environment. Image communication tools include:
- Corporate seal;
- Personal business cards;
- Various types of envelopes;
- Corporate folder for papers;
- Promotional Products;
- Souvenir products.
All elements of corporate identity and examples of image communication tools are summarized in an identity guide. Identity guide – a brochure describing the elements of corporate identity and the rules for using the logo and corporate identity in various situations).
How to create a corporate identity
We have identified five main steps.
Define company strategy
First, decide what and for whom you are creating and what you are striving.
Think about where your company is now and what goals you have for the future. Perhaps you want to become a global company rather than a local business, choose a specific niche, or, conversely, expand production. Consider these points when creating a corporate identity. If you decide on long-term plans right away, it will be easier for you to prepare for changes in advance.
To understand which corporate identity suits you best, it is important to remember who your audience is. After all, you define all these rules precisely in order to be recognizable to customers, and not to please the boss.
Who are your current and ideal customers? What gender, age, where do they live, what kind of life do they lead, who do they work and how do they spend their free time? A detailed portrait of the client will help you decide on the elements of corporate identity. Young mothers are one thing, students are quite another.
Each audience needs its own approach, each has its own preferences, capabilities and needs, and in order to determine them, it is important to clearly define the audience. If you work for different groups of people, create several client portraits and choose the communication style that suits everyone.
Strategy is a company’s plan to achieve goals. Define it before you start creating a corporate identity. Then he will help you achieve your goal and correctly convey your message to the audience.
Strategy – Doesn’t have to be a detailed 10 page plan. You can identify the main points and include them in your presentation.
Gather information about the company
Corporate identity can be created from scratch. But it will turn out to be much more organic if we take as a basis those elements that the company successfully uses, and then improve, supplement and update. It will turn out more soulful and individual, because you can create an image taking into account your preferences and characteristics.
To put together an existing corporate identity, start with the following points.
The history of the company is the basis of corporate identity. Its style also depends on the age, direction and characteristics of the brand. If the company is young and there is no history, you have probably already come up with a beautiful legend. We know that no one buys products and services, they buy service, history and atmosphere.
At this stage, also write down adjectives that characterize your company, for example: stable, reliable, experienced or friendly, informal. They will be useful to you when creating corporate identity elements, regardless of whether you will do it yourself or turn to professionals.
Mission and values
A clear mission and company values will also help create the right image or check how the existing one matches the spirit of your company. For example, to convey a new, sustainable image to customers, McDonald’s changed the main color of the design from red to green. This does not mean that everyone immediately began to perceive the restaurant chain as environmentally friendly. But thanks to this change in corporate identity, the company drew attention to its new mission.
Survey of employees and customers
To make sure that all components of the corporate identity of the company work not only on paper, but also in real life, you need to conduct a survey of customers and employees. This way you will understand how they perceive your corporate style. Do they understand what the brand has put into it.
Simple surveys are suitable for this, for example, you can make a questionnaire in Google and an Instagram survey. The second option is simpler, so it’s likely to get more responses from customers this way. But do not miss the opportunity to use the questionnaires – just offer a discount or a gift to everyone who fills it out. If a letter with a link to the questionnaire can be closed more often, then a request to fill out a questionnaire in a salon or store while waiting for a nice bonus is almost a win-win option.
Taking into account the opinion of customers does not mean letting them choose the color of your logo, although sometimes this can be done. First of all, it is important for you to understand how customers perceive the brand and whether they understand correctly what you want to convey to them and what you put into the corporate identity.
Study Your Competitors
And be different from them! And try not to give in to stamps. If you are creating a corporate identity for an educational institution, then you have probably heard that blue is the most suitable color for designing such a business, because it is associated with trust, loyalty, security, and so on. Think how many universities, schools and courses already use different shades of blue as their corporate color. But this is not the only possible option! Maybe you should dream up and stand out?
For more opinions, brainstorm. Be sure to invite colleagues from different departments, not just management.
Gather all branding elements
The main document about the corporate identity of the company is the brand book, that is, a set of rules that defines the visual language of the company. It spells out how and what design elements to use. It usually consists of sections on the logo, typography, colors, editorial policy, communication style, and other distinguishing features.
This document is needed so that your corporate style is correctly translated by every person who is engaged in communication and visual design – from employees to partners and even bloggers with whom you arrange collaborations. So you can be sure that all layouts, texts and handouts will be made according to your rules and you won’t have to answer questions from new employees or outsource designers every time and make a lot of edits.
Test and update corporate identity
Corporate identity is part of your company, which means it is also a living organism that changes over time. This does not mean that you can forget about the rules that you just prescribed, but it is quite acceptable to supplement and change them. For example, the Instagram feed, which is also part of the corporate identity, does not have to remain unchanged for years. On the contrary, in order to remain a modern company and keep up with the times, it is good to update it, perhaps even seasonally.
Or maybe you’ll find that some of the rules you’ve created artificially just don’t work. For example, the font you use for the logo is completely inappropriate for text headings. And this is quite normal. Choose a working option!
So, we talked about what corporate identity is and how to create it. We hope our tips help you. Good luck!