Every business or organization, regardless of its size or mission should create a corporate identity to define who it is and what it can do for customers, partners, vendors, and consumers.
When you create a corporate identity for your business, you differentiate it from every other business in your niche and industry and make it easier for people to recognize your brand from your communications.
A corporate identity makes it much easier to define your company’s mission, purpose, and values. A corporate identity, then, creates a consistent and memorable impression about your company. It makes its values more visible.
Here, then, are five simple steps to help you create your corporate identity:
First, review your company.
What is its mission and purpose? How did this vision arise from its history and how has its history shaped its values? Before defining the company to the general public, you need to define it to yourself first.
The way to do this is rather straightforward. Look over your corporate documents like your mission and value statements and your business and strategic plans.
If this proves insufficient, then ask others what they think about your company by conducting surveys, asking questions, setting up interviews, and having a series of general discussions. Understand what stakeholders think of your company. What are their views and opinions?
If you don’t like the perception people have about your company, there is still some room for change. Perhaps, your company has evolved organically and offers a variety of unrelated products and services. This is your opportunity to decide on the particular target market you want to focus on.
Second, review your competition.
You can visit their websites, go to review sites where people post testimonials, or visit their social network pages. Sift and sort. Decide what you like and don’t like about their corporate images. Finally, figure out how to differentiate yourself.
Third, create a vision of your company 5 to 10 years into the future.
When people think of your company in the future, will they be able to come up with a one or two word description of what it is that you do? Will employees, partners, industry leaders, and the general public all come up with similar words to describe your company? In the future, when people think of your company what image comes to mind? For instance, when you hear the name “Apple,” you first think of Macs, then iPhones and iPads. You think of computers and attractive handheld devices to access the Internet. These images come to mind because Apple has spent millions telling you about their most popular products and what they can do for you. This is a solid corporate identity.
Fourth, decide on logos, slogans, and symbols that communicate that corporate identity.
What colors, shapes, and words will you put on your business cards, your website, your brochures, your social media pages, your brochures, your flyers, your stationary, your envelopes and even your packaging? Decide on fonts, colors, graphics, and so on. Also think about how professional you want things to look, and is there enough budget to fund it? You can either opt to create free website, or you can hire a company to create a custom one for you.
Once you created your corporate identity, you will also need to print your business cards, enveloppes. My personal preference is using Vistaprint for all my printing work (read here why) as their print quality is high, and their prices are unmatched.
Fifth, review the entire process and make any necessary corrections.
Here are some questions to review:
• Is your corporate identity oriented to customer expectations?
• Does it create a professional look and feel?
• Does it have any elements that might be considered offensive?
• Do you have a clear idea of what marketing collateral materials you will use for your images, logos, and colors?
These five steps will help you think about your corporate identity. Once you have clarity, you will be able to create the best words and symbols to represent your corporate identity on all company documentation, literature, and packaging.