Corporate Identity & Brand Development
A Corporate Identity can be defined as the look, feel and tone of every item representing your company in the marketplace, guided by a system of rules and symbols which consistently identify your company or organisation. It represents and reinforces your brand, its values and the reputation your company holds in the minds of consumers.
Corporate Identity Design helps communicate to consumers what makes you unique, your company strengths and also helps influence buying decisions by creating a sense of trust, consistency and reliability.
There are many ways consumers interact with your business each day. Advertising, direct mail, websites, email and business literature are just a few. Each of these points of interaction is known as Brand Interaction Points and they are all opportunities for you to communicate with and influence consumers.
Corporate Identity Design uses a system of tools to help your company create a consistent and clear message across all of your Brand Interaction Points. Repeated exposure to your logo and corporate identity through your Brand Interaction Points ensures consumers gain a strong sense of your corporate identity, your brand and the messages you wish to communicate.
Corporate Identity Builds Value
A Corporate Identity Design program adds value to a company and brand and can do many things:
Reinforce and communicate a company’s position
Create a sense of trust in a company or product
Create brand consistency and promote awareness
Help a new business identify itself
- Revitalise an existing business
Create excitement about a new or existing product or service
Unify a company’s many divisions
Help prepare a company to go public
Increase shareholder value
Make it easier to sell products and services
Influence buying decisions
- Build a greater market share
Many companies fail to see the value of creating a Corporate Identity, feeling it’s not so important or wanting to put the funding towards advertising or marketing. But without the solid foundation of an established Corporate Identity behind them, much advertising and marketing is weakened and compromised.
The Logo – The Focus of a Corporate Identity
The first element to be considered and designed in a Corporate Identity is a logo. A company should have a strong and relevant logo which provides a summation and a sign-off for all its communications.
The logo serves as a focal point for the entire brand and should always appear on as many Brand Interaction Points as possible.
There are many different types of logos in the market. Some are more literal, while others are symbolic or abstract. Some are more image based, while others are a unique typographic stylisation of a word or the name of a company.
There is no specific formula for creating the best logo for your Corporate Identity. That is best decided between your company and our design team, by looking together at what you feel summarises your company visually and creates a powerful signature for your brand.
The Corporate Identity Design Process
The Punch Agency's Corporate Design Process begins with a firm footing in research and strategy and allows for the unique element of creativity.
The amount of time The Corporate Design Process outlined below will take depends on factors such as the size of a business, complexity of the project, the nature of the problem, the amount of research required and the number of items the corporate identity will be applied to.
This crucial process should be managed by both the client and the agency, to ensure the client is guided by expert design input to a satisfactory brand outcome. In smaller businesses, the owner or CEO is usually the key decision maker, while in larger businesses this may be handled by the Marketing Director.
Phase 1 - Research & Analysis
Corporate Identity Design should always begin with research, to ensure the design team is fully informed and equipped to determine the best way to differentiate your specific corporate identity. All creative decisions are based on the research, which may include:
Internal Audits -
The design firm should receive your mission statement, strategic planning documents, business plans, marketing plans, annual reports, any market research available, employee surveys, business history, press and any existing marketing materials such as brochures and advertisements. One-on-one interviews with senior management and key employees can also add insight.
Customer Insights -
As mentioned earlier, your brand resides in the minds of consumers, therefore research should be done to discover what your customers currently think of your business and brand. Interviews are are performed on random customers or clients, through online surveys or small focus groups, to discover their perceptions and reveal new perspectives.
Non-Customer Insights -
Also known as quantitative research, this is performed on members of the general population. A random group of individuals is asked a specific range of questions, through online surveys or small focus groups, to determine general perceptions on various factors important to your business. This is of particular value if entering a new market, to gauge and predict success of new products and services.
Competitive Audits -
This research is used to determine and identify competitors and evaluate how they approach and rate with the market. Why did one competitor succeed and another fail? Why was one product successful while another identical product was rejected? This research can help determine your key competitive advantages and the best way to approach the market.
Phase 2 - Strategy
This phase in the Corporate Identity Process gathers and organises the information from Phase 1 in order to clarify, position and determine the brand essence. It is here that your central idea, underlying concept, key messages and corporate ‘voice’ will be determined.
A Corporate Identity Design brief will then be presented which outlines industry trends, results of research and interviews, how the brand identity will be organised, the resulting brand strategy and the goals of the Corporate Identity Design project.
Two or three strategic directions for the Corporate Identity Design should be presented and a chosen direction agreed on to determine how the final design will be created and presented.
Phase 3 - Design
The actual design phase begins with the creation of the logo, with the creative process exploring many directions but guided by strategy decided upon in Phase 2.
The design team will explore and develop many logo ideas, with the best two or three being chosen for final presentation to your company.
The final choice for your logo should then be made by a few key decision makers, as too many people can have differing opinions, comments and requests which may confuse the vision decided upon in the strategy phase. Revision and alteration of presented logos is a healthy part of the design process, but should only be decided upon by those most qualified to make such decisions.
Two other key aspects of the Corporate Identity Design process will be covered at this stage:
The design team will show you a selection of colour palettes which they feel reflect the personality of your company in its corporate identity. The end result is for your company to own a colour palette which helps consumers identify your company.
Type Style -
Your corporate identity will also incorporate certain type style or fonts. Different fonts communicate with very differing tones of voice, therefore the appropriate fonts must be found which reflect your company and brand. Consistent use of your distinctive type style or styles is integral to your corporate identity.
The end result of this third phase is a presentation of your Corporate Identity Design on trial applications such as brochures, advertisements or stationery to allow you to view the visual results. More than one application should be shown to present the broad range of possibilities with a view to finding the most appropriate solution for your company.
Phase 4 - Application
The new Corporate Identity Design should be applied to all appropriate corporate materials to ensure consistency of communication of your brand identity.
The most fundamental application is on the stationery system of business cards, letterheads and envelopes, with extended forms including transmittal sheets, invoices and other business forms.
Application of the Corporate Identity Design should also include all company literature, advertisements and marketing material and should also, naturally, extend to items such as signage systems, vehicles and uniforms.
Application can also extend further than the visual elements of your company to include telephone answering methods, voicemail messages and automated telephone support systems.
Phase 5 - Implementation
The actual implementation of all the designed elements can be done in planned steps which allow you to meet internal and external business needs in a way that also meets your budgetary requirements.
A private launch of your new Corporate Identity may mean internal unfolding of the design through new business cards and stationery for employees and display of new signage.
While a public launch may include unveiling elements that clients and customers see including a redesigned website, package design, advertisements, brochures and other marketing materials.
A crucial element of the Corporate Identity Design process is the creation of a Graphic Standards Manual, a document which strictly sets out appropriate use of all your design elements to ensure consistent appearance of your brand in the marketplace.
A Powerful Business Tool
A powerful tool used by a wide spectrum of businesses and organisations, Corporate Identity Design must be utilised properly to achieve the maximum benefit from your design investment.
The purpose of your brand identity is to create a relevant connection between your business, products and service and your consumers. This is only achieved through consistently communicating your Corporate Identity by adhering to the design guidelines established by your company and the design group.
By doing so, your effective brand identity will be immediately recognisable, memorable and firmly fixed in the consciousness of consumers. It also allows for the very important ability to legally protect the corporate niche you have ‘staked out’ for your company.