Identity Development

‘Corporate ‘ refers to the strategic concept for positioning a company.

It entails defining identity characteristics and integrating them in a coordinated manner, into the overall .  It’s objective is to permanently anchor a unique, easily recognizable in the minds of consumers, employees and other business entities.

In order to ensure that the process is goal-oriented and stringently implemented, companies should ideally appoint an Identity Development professional who works in close cooperation with company decision makers and has the required authority as well as the full support of company management.

This specialist will guide you through these ‘uncharted waters’ with sometimes uncomfortable honesty and probing questions.  This approach is often necessary to clarify the facts and realities which often become blurred in day to day company operations.

A corporate identity process ideally consists of six steps that build upon each other, from development to implementation.

The typical phases of the process are:

1 Identity Process Plan

2 Identity Development

3 Strategy

4 Development

5 Re-purposing and Documentation

6 Review of the measures, monitoring

However, structure, company history, philosophy and many other crucial factors differ from company to company.  Therefore, from the outset, a determination must be made, regarding the outcome of this procedure and what measures are needed to attain this goal.   This means that the process can vary in terms of its , duration and the sequence of events, so charting the distinct course of this procedure is of vital importance.

Identity Development

• Mission Statement
• Keyword Naming
• Byline

The Mission

The first consideration is to define the company; who you are, what you hope to achieve, how you achieve it and how you relate to the ‘community’ you serve – a Mission Statement.
Scripting a Mission Statement may appear to be the opportunity of a lifetime to etch a command of the language in stone, but let’s stick to the point, keeping it simple – this will pay dividends later.

In most cases, senior management exists not only to lead “the troops”, but also to serve the shareholders.  In which case, some remark to suggest ‘shareholder value’, may be in order.

Once a definitive statement has been created, it should be shortened, assuming that each word counts.  This will create focus and send a compelling message, dealing with each facet of the pronouncement in a logical and clear manner.

Keyword Naming

There is a ‘High ’ in creating the key words that a company is known by.  The company name in itself, should ideally embody its principles and virtues and almost automatically position it in its market.

However, many companies do not have the luxury of choosing from the outset, and therefore, inherit an often outmoded common denominator, which must be managed more closely, in order to maintain the forward path of a restructured and upgraded identity.

Byline

Once a Mission Statement and Company Name have been established, the next area of focus is a byline.  This is the short expressive remark that underscores and emphasizes your company name, creates a gateway for clarity of understanding of your company’s function and philosophy and speaks equally to consumer, as it does to employees.

All of us wish that our poetic muse might come up with a New York Life – ‘The Company you Keep’, or ‘It’s the real thing’ type byline.  Keeping it simple, being ambitious and keeping on track with the mission statement, with no mixed messages, always achieves results – a single-minded proposition, which reflects your ‘company offer’ to all who encounter you.

These three key components are vital to the overall development of your company identity and as such, are handled with extreme care and diligence.  They are fundamental to the development of your company logo and logotype, the unique identifying symbol of your enterprise.

Communication Strategy

This is the ‘How’ of getting your corporate message across. In other words, all of the means of communication that a company employs, to transmit its unique message to its target audience, with the intention of establishing a durable relationship with them and with a view to favorably influencing their response to the company’s objectives.

Key components to this strategy are:

Identity Positioning

How the company character is defined and diffused in target markets, in relation to its competition.  The placement of this ‘character’ is utilized to modify public perceptions, with regard to company benefits to the market.

Corporate Visibility 

To raise and establish the company through effective internal and pertinent external corporate communications.

Corporate Advertising Strategy

To maximize company visibility, to impact on the target audience – e.g. through promotional events, exhibitions and trade shows, web sites, appropriately targeted advertising campaigns etc. revealing the company’s ‘bigger picture’.

Once a destination is identified, as well as the vehicles to get there, it is time to consider what the company will look like.  Your ID specialist has been collecting key points to create this characterization, during the previous elements of the process.  

Graphic Design Development

Logotype & Logo

‘Logotype’, in its formal definition, is letters or words formed into a distinctive and unified form, the word ‘Logo’ being ‘a name, symbol, or trademark designed for easy and definite recognition, ‘especially one borne on a single printing plate or piece of type.’

As the ever-expanding world of commerce feverishly demands image, style and uniqueness, the definition has evolved to encompass its use in every possible form of media.

It is not a ‘Corporate Identity’, but a key component in the total identity process.

In these days of the ultimately disposable society, you can, quite unbelievably, purchase infinite generic versions of this eternal corporate symbol on the web.

We can think of no greater disregard for the unique characteristics of a new enterprise, than to ‘pic’ a logo from a selection of swishes and squares, pumped out by an unknown source, who will never know your company, or struggle and cares less.

It is an experienced identity designer’s role to assimilate and process the company name, mission, purpose and intentions, to develop the unique identifier, which will become your company’s signature.

Re-purposing and Documentation

Once an ‘image’ is established, it is imperative that this combination of emblem and type can be practicality utilized, repurposed (how the symbol relates to different uses) and reproduced precisely and economically, while maintaining its integrity.  These specifications should be formally defined within a Guidelines Manual, which will become the ‘bible’ for your company’s character implementation.

It is to be noted that the above goals can only be achieved if the new corporate identity becomes the guiding principle for all company activities.

Review and Monitoring

Please remember that you and your employees have to live and work with these identity components.

Do you feel comfortable with them? 

If you have to ask the question “will this take us where we want to go?”, you may not be convinced.  In which case, going deeper and relating your company’s philosophy and focus group opinion to the accumulated characteristics will identify strengths and weaknesses and create opportunities to adjust with success.