When you start out as an entrepreneur or startup, it sounds a bit formal to have a corporate identity. But do not let that word put you off. It is incredibly important to think about how your company is viewed by the outside world, and to consciously develop an identity that has a focus.
But what exactly is a corporate identity? Is it the same as corporate design? And how do you build a strong corporate identity that serves as the foundation for the sustainable success of your business? Read on to learn more.
What is a corporate identity?
Whenever you hear “Corporate Identity,” you’re probably thinking of logos, letterheads, and business cards-and that’s definitely part of it, too. Design besteht aus all den Dingen, die du typischerweise mit der visuellen Identität eines Unternehmens assoziierst, einschließlich Logos und Slogans, Farben und Schriftarten, Büromaterialien, Flyer, Webdesign, Social Media und all das Zeug. Your corporate design consists of all the things you typically associate with a company’s visual identity, including logos and slogans, colors and fonts, office supplies, flyers, web design, social media, and all that stuff. Also include your office furniture, employee uniforms and all the graphics that can be seen on the cars and trucks (if you have any!) Of your company.
However, a corporate identity is more than just design. It describes who you are as a company. Therefore, it includes on the one hand the elements of corporate design, but also your culture, your values and how you communicate internally and externally.
Corporate identity also differs from brand identity. Think of a big, multinational like Procter & Gamble: the company has a corporate identity – a logo, certain values and a corporate culture – and then they have hundreds of brands under that umbrella – Gillette, Pampers, Pantene – each with their own brand identity Has.
Even a smaller one-brand company can still distinguish between the customer-centric brand and the all-encompassing corporate identity.
Why is a corporate identity important?
Whether you are aware of it or not, you already have a corporate identity, just as you have a brand image, regardless of whether you are actively managing it or not. It’s just a question of leaving it to chance – with a logo here, a cover image for social media there and anything else that causes a big mess over time – or if you want to create something that has the goals of yours Company supports.
It’s also important to look at both sides of a corporate identity: your design, yes, but also your culture and personality. If you want a warning example, just look at Uber. 2016 – remember how they replaced their old black and white “U” with two new symbols that represented a “bit” and an “atom” (Um … sure !?). zusammen mit einer zerrissenen Unternehmenskultur und einer unfreundlichen Arbeitsumgebung, was später zu führte. Not only was the new design criticized, but it also neglected more fundamental along with a tattered corporate culture and an unfriendly work environment, which later led to . Creating a holistic corporate identity means embracing all aspects of your business – and fixing what is not working.
You may think that all this is too big and unnecessary for your little startup. It may seem silly to talk about “culture” if your business consists of just you and a co-founder, but it’s far more effective (and easier) to get it right the first time instead of having to correct everything later.
Proactively building a corporate identity will:
- make sure that you are consistent and consistent throughout your communication;
- enable you to differentiate yourself from your competitors; and
- help you to interact effectively with customers, employees and investors.
Are you convinced now? Let’s look at what makes a good corporate identity.
What are the elements of a corporate identity?
Culture and personality
Your corporate identity is more than just design: it’s who you are. It is everything you stand for, inside and out. This includes …
Your vision and your purpose
Everything starts with the reason why you go to work every day and why this should interest someone. : „Die Leute kaufen nicht, was du tust, sie kaufen, warum du es tust.“ : “People do not buy what you do, they buy, why you do it.”
Companies like Patagonia, TOMS or Lush, who have a strong and authentic mission, are not only able to excite customers, but also employees, to do what they do.
Your values, culture and behavior
The values and culture of a company are essential in shaping a corporate identity.
gekürt. Google is legendary for its boisterous work environment and was in . But it’s about more than the much hyped ice cream trucks and foosball tables and includes things like flexibility, room for creativity, shared values and trust. The culture of a company is embodied by its leadership (that’s you!), Its policies and practices, and every attitude it takes.
All of the visions and purpose, your core values, your culture and your behavior must be exemplified by you and your team. They must be anchored in everything you do and come to life in your corporate design. This is where your design comes into play. Juhu!
Nothing is more associated with a company than a logo. Think of Nikes “swoosh”, the golden bows of McDonald’s or the red writing of Coca-Cola. If done well, it will become an unforgettable symbol of your business, arousing positive emotions and representing everything you stand for. Simple, right? . Have a look at .
The website sits at the heart of the ecosystem of a modern enterprise. It’s the hub for all your content and product information, the place you have full control over, and where most of your clients end up landing during their shopping.
After your website, the next most important online platforms are probably your social media. Whether you’re focusing on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube, or on the latest, hip network, you want to make sure you make a coherent corporate image on every channel.
Packaging and merchandise
With all the excitement about online stuff, we must not forget the offline world: your packaging, if you have physical products, merchandise and promotional materials like cups, flyers, pens and other cool stuff. These must all match your corporate identity and also tell a coherent story.
External corporate communications
Who still writes letters? Well, if you still do that, you should think about your corporate design! This includes your letterhead and envelopes, “thank you notes” (those little pieces of paper that you thank for or give a personal touch to a gift) as well as your business cards.
More likely, you spend a lot of time creating slides while trying to convince investors or partners that you are the next AirBnb or Instagram. For this you need a nice template for PowerPoint or Keynote, which will make your company professional and consistent every time.
Office furniture, uniforms, vehicles and everything else
Many of us run an online business, but eventually your business may grow and have a real office, or you may have a team that advertises an event on the street, or you need to deliver. Your corporate identity extends to your office or business, just as your employees and other people representing your business also present themselves.
How do you develop the right corporate identity for your business?
Okay, now you know what a corporate identity is. How do you go about creating one for your business?
1. Remember where you come from
You started this business for one reason and it’s important not to lose sight of it as your business grows. Think about the following things:
- What was the motivation to start your business?
- What was your vision and purpose?
- How did you imagine the development of your company?
Although the company can and should evolve naturally, it will provide you with a strong foundation to keep your initial motivation and plans clearly in sight. It will make sure that you build the company that you dreamed of.
2. Find out where you stand
Before you look where you want to go, you should look where you are today. Take a little time to answer questions like:
- What do your existing customers think about you?
- What do your employees think?
- What impression do your current company materials leave?
You’ll probably find some positive feedback and keywords you want to keep, as well as areas you can improve. You can take both the positive and the negative things to build your future corporate identity.
3. Look outside the company
The development of a corporate identity is a fine line between sticking to the rules and bringing some variety into things to make you stand out. Now, do a few more research on who your competitors are and find out:
- What can you learn about the corporate identity of your competitors?
- What do you like and what do not you like?
- What do you think makes one company successful and the other not?
Write down the insights that you get – again the positives and the negatives – so that you are aware of the difference when you create your own corporate identity.
4. Create a vision for the future
Building a corporate identity takes time, so it makes no sense to develop one for your current state. It will be outdated before it even gets any effect! Instead, you want to see where you want to go with your business, say in five years:
- Where do you want to be with your company in five years?
- What will your internal structure and team look like?
- What new products and services will you bring out?
This look into the future will help you to make the corporate identity that you are developing now relevant in a few years from now. In addition, it will even help you to get there.
5. Develop your corporate identity
Ta-da! We finally made it! You know where you come from, where you are today and where you want to go. You know what your competitors are up to, and now you’re ready to create your very own corporate identity! Do not forget that this concerns both the design and the culture and personality.
So you start:
- Learn more about – This will lead you through the important elements of your purpose, your core values, your brand personality and your positioning.
- Learn more about – this will cover the details of your branding, including typography, color palette, and shape, as well as bringing it to life in your logo, website, business cards, and more.
- E rfahre more about – here keeping an overview of all elements of your brand identity in one convenient document.
Did you notice that we suddenly talk about brand and not about “corporate”? Well, if you’re a small company with just one brand, your business will in fact only be based on that one brand. There may still be differences in how you present your brand to your customers and how you present your business to investors – but the process is the same!