The term corporate identity (CI for short) describes the identity of a company. It stands for a uniform corporate image both internally and externally. The aim of a corporate identity strategy is to create an independent and unmistakable corporate personality with a high recognition value.
The concept of corporate identity was coined by U.S. advertising consultants in the 1970s. The idea behind it is that a clear identity makes a company unmistakable and can help it achieve its corporate goals.
Corporate identity shapes the impact of a company both internally and externally. The development of a distinct personality for the company should be strategically planned in accordance with the company’s mission statement.
The aim is to ensure a consistent presentation of the company to the public as well as to the employees. To this end, all corporate activities must be coordinated and harmonized. This also includes the visual appearance of the company, its behavior and corporate communications. However, consistent adherence to the CI is a major challenge for companies. Successful examples of a successfully implemented corporate identity include Coca-Cola and BMW.
Goals of corporate identity:
To build trust and differentiate themselves from the competition, many companies develop their own corporate identity. For the implementation, they often rely on the support of agencies.
A clear identity is intended to create a high level of recognition and brand impact for the company. In addition, the CI is intended to strengthen loyalty to the company. A consistent brand identity should also lead to employees and consumers showing greater loyalty to a company.
A clear corporate identity can, for example, help to create a positive image transfer from existing offerings when a particular company introduces new products. Thus, a company with a well-implemented corporate identity can significantly reduce its advertising efforts and costs.
The CI is crucial for the corporate image. Internally, it should ensure that employees behave according to the values that reflect the company’s mission statement. In addition, the corporate identity should contribute to a positive corporate culture.
Instruments of corporate identity:
Corporate identity essentially has four instruments that need to be interlinked. All these sub-areas influence the overall impression of the company. These are Corporate Design (visual appearance), Corporate Behavior (behavior) and Corporate Communication (communication). In order to convincingly convey the identity of a company, it is important that the individual areas do not contradict each other.
1. Corporate Design
Corporate identity is often equated with corporate design. However, it is only a subarea of corporate identity, namely the visual appearance of a company.
Corporate design is thus the most obvious part of corporate identity. Corporate design includes, for example, the company’s logo, its appearance at trade shows, the design of the website, and the design of products and packaging.
2. Corporate Behavior
The importance of corporate behavior for corporate identity should also not be underestimated. This includes the behavior of a company towards all stakeholders. In addition to external behavior, such as behavior toward customers, the media and the public, behavior within the organization also shapes corporate behavior. This includes, for example, the way employees are treated and management behavior. In turn, a company’s employees shape its corporate behavior by behaving in accordance with certain values.
3. Corporate Communication
Consistent communication and language are also important components of corporate identity. In addition to communication measures such as press releases and advertising slogans, the area of corporate communication includes all internal communication activities, such as communications to employees, the employee magazine, etc.
A corporate identity is intended to give a company a clear profile and to illustrate its services and working methods. It encompasses all corporate activities – from the use of certain fonts to customer service and management behavior. Corporate identity can be divided into the areas of corporate design, corporate communication and corporate behavior.
A consistently implemented CI is not limited to the presentation of the company to the public, but also includes the internal appearance to the workforce.
The goal of a corporate identity is to make a company independent and distinctive and to set it apart from the competition. A corporate identity concept must be well planned and strategically implemented.
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