It’s your first impression, so make it count…
Traditionally people think of a corporate identity or CI as the design of the company’s logo, business card and letterhead, but today it is so much more than that. It is the initial impact your brand makes, be it online or offline, and how it’s presented to customers, investors and employees.
Even an established company can improve their corporate identity through consistency on all platforms and by following a few best practices:
Design every brand element
We’ve mentioned that your CI includes your logo design, colours and fonts, but what about your office space, your website and social media imagery, uniforms or corporate gifts and even your delivery vehicles?
Each element that is shown to the public needs to look like it’s part of the same establishment, with a look and feel that is consistent.
2. Stand out in the crowd
You’ve heard it before, but I’ll say it again; your brand needs to stand out in a sea of similar brands and in a world that is bombarded with marketing at every turn. This doesn’t mean that your logo design has to be bolder or more eye-catching than that of other businesses – that is a bonus – but it should differentiate itself through excellent service, valuable content, innovative products, or whatever your business does best.
Identify your unique selling point and find a way to get noticed for it.
3. Engage with your audience
Find your company voice and the tone with which you want to address your customers, employees, partners or even competitors. Whatever you say, write or record should have the same tone of voice and way of communicating to whoever reads or hears your messaging.
It’s important for your brand to have a personality, be it professional and serious, or fun and quirky. This also helps to dictate the experiences that a customer has with your brand, whether it’s in response to a good or bad situation.
4. Let your values guide your culture
This may seem similar to your tone and personality, but your company values are the underlying factors that determine how you, and more importantly, how your employees behave and deal with customers. Make sure that these values are top of mind and lived every day by having them visible in your work space. For example, at Yellow Door we have posters showing each of our values up on the wall in our office.
A holistic corporate identity will include the culture of your team and how you interact with each other on a daily basis. If these values are consistently rolled out to all aspects of customer interaction, then a company will gain credibility in the marketplace, and ultimately, a loyal customer base.
5. Deliver on your promised experience
Sometimes it’s important to conduct a brand audit to find out how the world perceives your brand and what your reputation is like in the marketplace. If you don’t like what you see, then it’s time to take it back to basics and relook your corporate identity from top to bottom. It’s also important to fulfil the requirements and aspirations of your target audience in order to keep relevant in their eyes.
So, if your corporate identity hasn’t changed in over 20 years, but your audience has, then it’s possibly a good idea to relook how your brand is received, and update it if necessary.
You may think that your small business doesn’t need a big corporate identity, but it’s important to get this right at the beginning so that the foundations are there for when your business grows. A true corporate identity is built over time, with constant attention paid to every element of the brand and how it is perceived.
It’s also critical that the entire team is on the same page in terms of culture and communication, to ensure that there is a consistent brand message and tone. Companies who have this figured out are the ones that are well known and successful in today’s day and age.
This article first appeared in the August/September issue of Your Business Magazine. Read the rest of the digital issue online here, or download to enjoy later!
Problem solver and people manager, Dominique Sandwith is the co-founder of Yellow Door Collective, a Cape Town based full-service digital marketing agency offering strategy, content creation, website design and graphic design. Visit: www.yellowdoorcollective.com.