The terms corporate identity and brand identity often get used interchangeably, but they do have distinct differences:
- Corporate identity relates to internal activities that shape its public perception.
- Brand identity is how a company wants its target audience to perceive them.
And, we can’t forget to mention brand image, which is the external perception that consumers have toward the organization.
All three of these work together to establish a company’s entire identity, but when building your brand, it’s essential to understand the differences.
What is Corporate Identity?
Corporate identity can be tricky to define; it’s much more than looking at your corporate culture, and it must answer the question of who the company is. Corporate identity is the actions that a company takes to achieve a better perception from their ideal target audience. Corporate design, behavior, and communication are how corporate identity is obtained.
Corporate design includes the assets of your brand that make the company unique and set it apart from the competition. Your brand’s corporate identity design is reflected visually in its name, logo, slogan, color scheme, style guide, uniforms, business cards, buildings, typography, etc. Many brands create a brand guideline for their employees to follow to maintain this corporate design identity.
Corporate behavior allows a company to show its brand promise, core values, and philosophy, and this is the essence of the company. Many brands use corporate social responsibility endeavors to achieve this. Corporate behavior is the way that your brand gets presented to the entire community, including customers, employees, clients, and investors.
Corporate communication is the way your company disseminates information to investors, employees, customers, and stakeholders. Including public relations, reputation management, and internal communications, this part of corporate identity is critical to how the community views your business.
Why Corporate Identity is Essential
A strong corporate identity is essential in shaping customer’s sentiments about your brand, products, and services. Because of the competitive nature of the marketplace, all organizations should establish a corporate identity manual, style guide, principles, and tone of voice to differentiate themselves from similar companies. Here’s why:
- Cohesiveness: establishing and maintaining a consistent corporate identity allows everyone in the organization to represent it the same way each time they interact with clients, potential customers, and stakeholders.
- Expertise: having a strong corporate identity projects your brand and business as trustworthy, reliable, and an expert in the industry.
- Reliability: A meticulously crafted, cultivated corporate identity standardizes the visual representation of your brand across channels like email and social media.
- Authority: Set yourself apart from the competition with a strong corporate identity, and your brand will be easily recognizable through its design, actions, and communication.
What is Brand Identity?
You can define brand identity as how a company wants its target audience to perceive it, and it’s the message that gets conveyed to your customers from your branding. Maintaining a positive message is essential for brand consistency, meaning that your target audience will continue to recognize and remain loyal to your brand.
One of the biggest challenges of maintaining brand identity is that there can be out-of-date logos or marketing materials floating around the company’s shared documents. It can be helpful to keep marketing collateral and up-to-date logo designs in one place that every relevant employee can access.
The brand image, or corporate image, is how its customers currently perceive it and the overall beliefs and associations that your current and potential consumers have about your brand, products, and services.
This image encompasses the entire impression that your brand has on its consumers from different sources, whether they are positive or negative ones.
Related: What Makes a Brand Powerful
Why Brand Identity is Vital
Developing a professional, cohesive brand identity is a vital part of effective branding strategies. Creating your brand identity takes attention to detail and hours of research to develop a style that will successfully meet the organization’s goals and display the appropriate message to consumers.
Similar to corporate identity, companies usually offer guidelines to their employees on how to represent the brand to maintain this image. Here’s why brand identity is essential to every company:
- Personality: your brand identity visually represents the personality and values of your brand. Identity design sets your brand’s tone, and you can use it to evoke certain feelings in your target audience. This brand identity should communicate your company’s message and promote its business goals.
- Differentiation: Your brand identity differentiates your company from its competitors and positions your brand appropriately. Stand out to your potential customers by developing a professional and creative brand identity design.
- Awareness: By creating a brand identity package, you are ensuring that all of your marketing materials are at the forefront of your brand, which increases brand awareness. The more places that your brand gets featured, the more memorable it will be to consumers.
- Loyalty: Effective brand identities help build customer loyalty and their trust in your brand by allowing them to make a meaningful connection between your products or services and your brand.
Shaping Your Corporate Identity
Every organization continually grows, changes, and responds to its outside influences, and your corporate culture is inextricably linked to the branding and marketing strategies it employs. Managing and protecting your corporate identity before a crisis happens is the best way to maintain a positive image. Here are two examples that show the importance of maintaining your corporate and brand identities:
- Uber: In 2016, Uber received lots of public criticism when the company decided to launch a new corporate identity. Why? Because they failed to acknowledge their disjointed global perception and corporate culture.
- HP: While this happened in 2001, it is still talked about and used as corporate identity examples today. Carly Fiorina, the CEO of HP at the time, misjudged what the consumer reaction would be when the firm merged with Compaq; the company did not reflect the established values, identity, and personality of the HP brand.
A strong corporate identity is a strong asset to your company and adds exponential value to your brand equity. If properly developed, this identity creates a bond between your business and its consumers, establishes staying power, and sets the stage for your future customer interactions.
Are you ready to strengthen your corporate identity? Reach out to us today and see what difference Tryon1338 can make for your organization!
Related: Branding 101: Logos