The difference between brand and corporate identity
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The corporate (identity) conundrum
Creating or evolving a brand or corporate identity is a common project for many design companies – and working with existing one’s will frame many of the marcomms solutions that we deliver.
Even though they will never make up the shortfall from a defective product or dysfunctional service experience – these days we are all aware of the importance their contribution can make to the success of a business or service.
But, in our experience the notions of what makes up a brand or identity are often confused or simply misunderstood.
Here we would simply like to offer up two definitions that we use with our clients for what is a brand and what is an identity.
The Corporate Brand
Your corporate brand sets out your beliefs, motivations, aspirations and character traits. It will influence what clients or prospects think when they meet you and it will shape what they say about you when you leave the room. It is your personality.
It tells us in fact, what you are and why you are here – your mission (in life) statement
It tells us by way of aspiration where you are going – your vision (of where the company will be in … years time) statement
It tells us what type of personality you have – your (organisations) values
And finally it tells us how you want to be known – your (big idea) positioning statement.
The Corporate Identity
Your corporate identity is the physical manifestation of your business, in sound and vision. It is put simply, the way you look and sound to the world. It is the clothes and voice of your organisation.
At its broadest encompassing everything from your logo, signage, marketing, advertising, web presence, packaging to stationery, exhibitions, PR, van livery, sponsorship logos, partnership logo’s, golf umbrellas and corporate merchandising.
It is made up from a variety of elements like, colours, typefaces, image libraries, tone of voice guidelines, on- and off-line grid and layout templates and print specifications and finishes.
And this is this important because…?
Clearly the two concepts are inexorably linked. To be effective a brand and its identity – must take from, and lead the other in their relative environments and must be simpatico for the full equity of the brand to be felt. Disengagement can lead to a lack of clarity in the corporate message or product/service offer and ultimately have a negative impact on reputation and bottom line performance.
So understanding and agreeing what a brand is and how it differs from an identity, before a mouse is twitched in anger, is an imperative for the accuracy of your quote, the success of the project, and ultimately the relationship you have with your agency.