What is a company’s corporate identity
Did you know that a person receives between 3,000 and 5,000 advertising messages a day? That’s why it’s vital that you work on your company’s corporate identity, so that you don’t become just another member of the crowd.
The first thing you need to know is that I’m going to tell you the whole truth about the concept of corporate identity, because unfortunately the Internet is full of misinformation about it, and they talk about corporate image as if both terms were synonyms, when in fact they are two different things!
Let’s see then what identity really is, how it differs from corporate image, how we can design it and what are the benefits of building a solid and coherent identity for your company.
What is corporate identity?
Corporate identity is nothing more than the personality of the company. We can define it as a set of essential features, values and beliefs, with which a company identifies itself, and through which, it differs from the rest, over time.
In other words, identity is the perception that a company has about itself, and it is something unique. It is like the soul or the DNA. It includes its history, its beliefs, its philosophy, the type of technology it uses, the personality of its creators, its workers, its values and its strategies.
In short, it is the raison d’être of the company, that is, who it is, what it does and how it does it, and it constitutes the axis around which the existence of the company itself revolves.
How does it manifest itself?
We can say that the corporate identity is manifested in four ways:
- Through its products and services: which is equivalent to what it does or sells.
- Through the environments: the places where it develops its activity or its sales.
- Through its communications: the way it explains what it does.
- Through its behaviour: how it behaves with its employees and with the outside world.
Identity in the company works the same as in people, it is something you have, whether you want it or not, just because you exist. There are companies with a coherent, well-controlled identity, with an exclusive personality, and therefore, with great possibilities of success, while others have a weak or ambiguous identity, which will be a brake for their development.
In the end, all companies are born with similar objectives. But it is when the strategies and the means they are going to use to achieve them are defined that the differences are established, and companies begin to give meaning to their existence.
Difference between corporate identity and corporate image
We can define corporate image as the set of meanings that the public associates with a company, that is, it is what they think of that company.
As I had already said, it is not the same as identity, which is something the company builds consciously, according to what it thinks about itself, and taking into account how it wants to be seen.
In short, identity is how a company sees itself and image is how the public actually sees it. But although they are different things, they are interdependent, because there is no image without identity, and both concepts influence each other.
Corporate identity is an internal factor, which the company can control in order to generate the image it wants in its publics, on the other hand, that image that is generated, is something external and difficult to control.
Don’t confuse image with identity
Beyond the proximity or distance of the corporate image with respect to the corporate identity, the image is integrated by values that for the public are the real ones, the ones that count, that is to say, for the public the image that a company has, is its true identity.
After all, the public receives messages constantly, whether intentionally or not, and everything the company does or says will have an effect on its identity, either to consolidate it or to weaken it.
Unlike corporate identity, image is relatively easy to change. The perception of a company can be created very quickly, and a positive image can suddenly become a totally negative one.
That is why image management is a permanent task and coherence is vital to create a solid image and generate confidence, that is, what the company says must always be aligned with what it does.
Only in this way will we have a greater chance of what we want people to think of us being distorted as little as possible when they come into contact with the public.
Finally, we have a third concept that is often confused with the previous ones, the corporate visual identity, which is the graphic representation of the identity and is composed of various elements such as the name, logo, colors, typography.