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Creating a corporate identity is a vitally important step to cementing market presence. There are hundreds of guides to creating a strong corporate brand, and many design firms that will do the creative work for a fee, but the most important component in creating a corporate identity is the business itself. Determining core values, matching existing perceptions and performance to identity goals, considering long-term effectiveness, and planning for full integration can all help create a strong, distinct industry identity.
A corporate identity cannot be faked; it must be a reflection of the essential values and goals of the existing organization. If a company is known for sophistication and detailed services, passing itself off as a funky, freewheeling business may not ring true with consumers. Corporate identity is, at heart, a product of internal and external practices that define the company. If the core values of an organization are strong customer service and a progressive workplace environment, the identity will need to be based on these values.
One important way to start creating a corporate identity is to determine how the company is perceived by consumers and employees. This can often be achieved through surveys and questionnaires, and can be an excellent way to get an objective perspective on the existing brand. Once this data is gathered, creative teams can set about understanding whether existing perceptions can be worked into a new identity campaign, or whether practices need to be altered to match identity goals. The goal of an alteration program should be to create an identity that is more true to core values while also being a more effective marketing and performance tool.
A brand-new logo and promotional material in the season's hottest colors may be a success today, but dated by tomorrow. Ideally, a company with a strong corporate identity will be around for decades to come, so consideration of long-term identity strategy is important. Trying to find a defining logo, phrase, or image that is both distinct from other brands and timeless may be a lengthy process, but can be worth the effort. If a round-eared rodent brings up an instant association with a children's film and merchandising company, it is easy to see the tremendous effectiveness of strong, timeless logo and promotional design.
Creating a corporate identity must be a comprehensive process, with no arm or department of the organization ignored. If an identity only covers part of the company, it may be confusing to consumers and demoralizing to employees. When planning an overhaul of an identity, or building an initial corporate image, it is important to let each department and facet of the business know how it is crucial to the overall image, and why the identity represents every member of the company. By integrating the identity into all operations, smart corporate planners can create a unified group that helps spread the core message of the company with every action it takes.
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