Why a Company Corporate Identity can set You Apart from Your Competitors
Everyone has an identity which is unique from anyone else. The same applies to companies - they create a unique identity in order to stand out from the crowd and have a better chance of being chosen by customers. Companies create such an identity through a number of ways, the most effective being branding and logos. The fundamental idea and core concept behind having a ‘corporate identity’ is that everything a company does, everything it owns and everything it produces should reflect the values and aims of the business as a whole.
It is the consistency of this core idea that makes up the company, driving it, showing what it stands for, what it believes in and why they exist. It is not purely some colours, some typefaces, a logo and a slogan. The word branding began simply as a way to tell one person's cattle from another by means of a hot iron stamp. Nowadays the creation of a unique identity still stands, but is communicated so widely it needs to be consistent across a number of interfaces.
A logo is not your brand, nor is it your identity. Logo design, identity design and branding all have different roles that together, form a perceived image for a business or product. Definitions of logos and branding are readily available. Successful companies and brands are those that achieve a clear corporate image, using brand, identity and logo as separate but integrated components. Here is one explanation of these components:
What is brand? – The perceived emotional corporate image as a whole. This overall image differentiates one company from another, and is what people feel when they consider a non-tangible being such as a company.
What is identity? – The visual aspects that form part of the overall brand. It is for identification.
What is a logo? – A logo identifies a business in its simplest form via the use of a mark or icon.
A brand is the identity of the company and its relationship with its customers. It is a promise and a commitment to meet the customers’ expectations in delivering value and quality. It is a mark of trust that is familiar to those that do business with them, to always provide a good customer experience. A brand has a personality, which becomes the company’s identity. It success depends on how customers view it, by what experience they have had with it, and whether they return for more. The durability of a brand will depend on the market (customers) and circumstances (trends, competitors, economy), but a good brand will continue to develop along with its products or services, as long as it continues to be necessary to its customers.
A logo identifies a company or product via the use of a mark, flag, symbol or signature. A logo does not sell the company directly nor rarely does it describe a business. Logos derive their meaning from the quality of what it symbolises - logos are there to identify, not to explain. What a logo means is more important than what it looks like.
So think about your business identity, its brand, its logo – how unique is it that sets it apart from your competitors? Does your reputation ensure that your brand provides the trust and value your customers expect? Their reaction to your brand exists in their minds, so you need to work to maintain that position in the business world. As long as customers continue to talk about or search for your products or services, you know your brand is working.