Corporate identity is a company’s visual statement, presented through designs, words, color, etc. that expresses how they see themselves and how they wish to be viewed by the public. It involves branding, marketing and advertising methods, product design, and public relations. It’s part of the reasons you immediately recognize a brand even without its name or logo shown explicitly.
Building a strong corporate identity in the midst of a competitive and rapidly changing industry is by no means an easy feat. Many businesses start strong and suddenly fall because their marketing efforts are no longer paying off. That’s because when trends change, brands must keep up and remain noteworthy.
That said, here are the steps to take in building your corporate identity that can survive changing times and trends:
1. Start With the Basics
Begin by knowing the two main elements of corporate identity: culture and design. Culture refers to your company’s vision and mission, values, and culture and behavior. It is your company’s proclaimed identity, rather than the one given to you by the public.
Design, or visual identity, refers to the ways your company expresses its identity, such as through the use of logos, websites, social media, merchandise, packaging, distinct and stylish corporate uniforms, vehicles, and so on.
By designing a unique and eye-catching logo and packaging, creating a user-friendly and appealing website, and having a strong online presence, you start marking your identity in the market.
2. Share Your Story
When you’re a novice in the industry, creating an impact is key to be recognized, so share the story of how you came to be. Write an inspiring narrative, highlighting your company’s values, character, style, and everything else relevant to your products or service.
3. Set Service and Communication Standards
The leadership style, public relations, and customer service are all integral parts of your corporate identity, so you should set standards on how those will be exercised. They all affect how you’d be perceived by your market, the general public, and the media.
4. Develop Creative Elements
This takes us back to the basics, which is creating the logo and other visual images of the brand. But when you’re trying to build a stronger identity, you need more than just eye-catching logos and packaging. Your brand would need a voice, a.k.a. visual vocabulary.
A tip to build the right voice for your brand is by knowing the profile of your target audience. Note their professions, social preferences, gender, age, and the other brands they buy from. This helps you determine what they need, so your brand can come up with a voice that can resonate with them.
5. Conduct a Brand Audit
When you study your corporate identity’s effectiveness, conducting a brand audit will be necessary. This is the process of finding out your company’s largest drivers of growth, and how your brand is actually perceived by the market. It will also involve an in-depth competitor analysis. From the brand audit results, your company will develop new strategies, in turn, to improve and solidify your identity.
For example, if you’re a food brand and your audit suggests that your market values health the most, then your corporate identity should focus on promoting a healthy lifestyle.
6. Fuse Creativity and Strategy
Due to the ever-changing trends, your company must continuously develop new strategies to increase brand awareness and strengthen its identity. This is where social media and other social networking platforms come to play. Your content marketing is highly critical at this point because it has to send relevant messages to your market.
Determine what makes your company and brand unique and cut above your competitors. Align your branding to your company’s goals, but be open to changes as well. Just because you have a set corporate identity means you shouldn’t consider change, so if the market calls for it, retrace your steps and rebrand.