Corporate Identity (CI)
If you missed our previous blog on “Look and feel and how it relates to corporate identity” and want to know more about the mystery of Corporate Identity, then this is the one to read. Here we delve deeper into the personality and look of a business. We’ll break down the complex and often misunderstood concept of corporate identity; what it is, why you need it and what exactly it entails.
View part two: How to create a CI for your brand for step-by-step instructions.
What is a Corporate Identity?
Corporate identity, often referred to as CI, is the external and internal commercial character of a business. An organisation’s CI is both a strategy and a set of guidelines that ensure a consistent and distinctive market presence, the aim of which is to be highly recognisable and memorable.
Your CI sets you apart from other brands and businesses.
While CI is commonly known as a company’s set visual elements and slogans, another important component of the CI is the company’s values, personality and internal operations which should all be informed by the company’s mission statement.
Your corporate identity in its essence is the culmination of your company’s self image; it is the guidelines for how the company should operate both internally and externally.
Why do you need it, why’s it so important?
For this, we’re going to break it down into why it’s important externally and internally.
Why a Corporate Identity is important externally
Consistency in how a brand presents itself is of the utmost importance. When a brand’s visual elements remain consistent in their appearance and implementation they work together to become recognizable which is essential in ensuring your brand is remembered.
Additionally, the way in which your brand engages with consumers and employees should remain consistent too. The behaviour, tone of voice and the type of messaging used should always align with the guidelines set out by your CI.
Why a Corporate Identity is important Internally
All employees should know and be familiar with an organisation’s values and goals and should behave in accordance with these. Not only does this make it easier to communicate with fellow employees and direct the work that they’re doing, it also sets a precedent for how to communicate with customers.
Your internal guidelines make it easy for employees to recognize their role in the company which results in good cooperation between departments and a generally positive work environment.
What should be in it
These are the elements of the CI that most people know and often mistakenly think are the totality of a corporate identity. This is the most obvious part of your CI – the visuals. This includes the company logo, colours, specific design elements and images. As well as directions on how and when to use these elements.
Some CI’s include the design of uniforms, packaging, flyers, business cards and everything that the logo or design may appear on. Different company’s differ here but the more you have in your CI, the easier future projects will be as you have a trustworthy reference and starting point for the designer.
Corporate behaviour is important as it involves the conduct of a company towards all of its stakeholders. This includes the manner in which a company communicates and engages with customers, shareholders, media and the general public. Internally, corporate behaviour can involve the fair treatment of employees and the leadership style used by management.
This should be outlined in your CI by means of values and goals.
Consistent use of language and tone of voice are important to the CI. A company’s slogan is the most basic form of this. It encapsulates the company’s attitude and outlook and communicates in a specific tone. This established tone and manner of communicating should be carried through all communications, both internally and externally.
If your chosen brand voice has always been quirky and fun you cannot suddenly choose to communicate in a very serious and business-like manner. Your customers will be confused by the change in tone and your brand will feel unfamiliar.
So, now you know all about what Corporate Identity is, but you may be thinking “How do I make one? Where do I even start?”. View part two: How to create a CI for your brand for step-by-step instructions.
If you haven’t already, give our previous blog post, Look and feel and how it relates to corporate identity a read to learn even more about CI.