A corporate identity is much more than just the logo of your firm. It is the bigger picture of all the visual and sensual aspects. Name, look and feel, stationery, business cards, website design, social media presence and e-mail marketing. All of this (and much more) plays a critical part in your corporate identity.
An inconsistent application of your identity can result in a less than ideal brand perception. A CI (corporate identity) Manual will show how the various elements of the identity should be implemented, and ensure every time the firm makes an impression on the public, the look and feel is consistent with the established corporate identity, which supports and strengthens the brand.
The value of a strong corporate identity
The way the professional world is structured nowadays, clients have countless options available to them. Because of this, a firm needs a strong strategy to establish a presence amongst clients. A strong and established corporate identity can go a long way:
Building a reputation: When meeting new people, first impressions last. This is also how firms (services and products) are treated. In order to rise above the competitors, your firm needs to have a good corporate identity, to make an impression in the client’s mind by having an exceptional, pleasing look and identity.
Client loyalty: The consistent application of a corporate identity supports and maintains the character, culture and values of your firm. Clients who relate to the identity (and consistency) feel connected and are more likely to develop loyalty to the firm.
Business growth: Personal experiences with a firm influence clients and their decision making. A firm with a solid and positive impact creates a positive mental image of the firm in a client’s mind. This in return leads to referrals and repeat business.
Characteristics of a strong corporate identity
Consistency: When clients come back to your firm for repeat business, they generally expect to receive the same level of quality as they did the first time. No client wants to deal with a firm they cannot rely on for consistency. With so many areas of practice being saturated with competitors, inconsistency is often enough of a reason for clients to take their business to a different firm.
Uniqueness: Creating a corporate identity requires something distinctive. You do not have to reinvent the wheel, but simply identify one distinctive aspect that separates your firm from the competition. Once a firm establishes this aspect, it can concentrate on it and build a strong foundation for the brand.
Competitiveness: Gaining an edge in today’s business world is not an easy task. All staff members should thrive on competition and continually strive to develop, learn and improve. No major firm can simply sit back and hope that their clients will do the work for them. Instead, they tend to be the ones who work diligently towards building their brand, as well as to meet and exceed client expectations.
Know your target market: The strongest brands in the world have a detailed understanding of the demographics of their target market. Unless you run a multi-product and service business, most firms have a specific target audience that they are chasing. Understanding the target market is critical because it provides direction for the tone and reach of marketing campaigns.
Passion: While it is unquestionably possible to build a brand in the short-term without passion, it is near impossible to sustain it over a longer period of time. Passion leads to eagerness and enjoyment, which is infectious. Clients often become just as enthusiastic about a service or product, leading to word of mouth advertising and referrals. Passion also helps your firm persist through unavoidable obstacles.
Exposure: Successful brands have the ability to reach clients through various channels of communication. Internet and social media have narrowed the gap between small firms and large firms (who have bigger marketing budgets). There are more marketing channels than ever before which offers any firm a chance at establishing their brand.
An efficient corporate identity conveys a firm’s objectives and ideas, and creates a sense of what the firm is all about. The advantage of creating a consistent and functional corporate identity is that it ensures your firm will be acknowledged, remembered and appreciated. Remember that corporate identity is not important in marketing management, but it significantly affects the behaviour of clients.
For more information contact Francois Pretorius at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein.