Many companies and organizations pursue the manufacture and sale of their products, services and brands, with scant regard for their own corporate identity.
If a brand can be deﬁned as a unique identiﬁer, then a corporate identity is the unique essence of a company; how it ‘walks the walk and talks the talk’ and most of all, the cognizance of how others perceive you, as well as who you are.
At vast personal cost, we develop our own image; cars, homes, clothes, the right schools, qualiﬁcations, taste in restaurants, wine and politics, but when it comes to our most important cash generators, such as business and employment, we often have identity problems.
At this point, you may be asking yourself where design plays a role in all of this.
Over the years, we have been asked more times than we care to mention, to “produce a logo for us”. That’s not where a corporate identity begins.
It is the art of carefully balancing the external views and opinions of a company’s endeavors, with the development of loyalty, integrity and clarity of purpose within. All of this is underscored by strong leadership and a true sense of value and partnership; an understanding of your audience and simply, knowing who you want to be.
It is then the designer’s role to create an identity, based on these values and to develop a framework for this fresh corporate identity, to ﬂourish. Mission Statements, buylines, logo and logotype, public relations, corporate policy all become players in the seemingly simple statement “produce a logo for us”. It is obvious, therefore that the development of a solid, sustainable identity cannot, by its very nature, happen overnight. It also requires a willingness to begin a process which will last the lifetime of the company and go through as many changes, evolutions and re-inventions, as the persons given the onerous responsibility of managing it.
“What value?” you may ask. “Do I really need it?
Your corporate identity is a more enduring asset, than your plant equipment and buildings, if correctly managed. It charts the course of how you are perceived by everyone and clearly deﬁnes the path for the future. It can also maintain your public proﬁle, not only on good days, but on pretty dark ones. Martha Stewart Omnimedia can attest fully to this.
Most of all, investing in your corporate identity may be the single most deﬁning step towards an organized and vibrant business.