In Corporate Communications, a corporate identity is the "a" of a corporation which is designed to accord with and facilitate the attainment of business objectives. It is usually visibly manifested by way of branding and the use of trademarks. Corporate identity comes into being when there is a common ownership of an organizational philosophy that is manifest in a distinct corporate culture — the corporate personality. At its most profound, the public feel that they have ownership of the philosophy. Corporate identity helps organizations to answer questions like “who are we?” and “where are we going?” Corporate identity also allows consumers to denote their sense of belonging with particular human aggregates or groups. In general, this amounts to a corporate title, logo (logotype and/or logogram), and supporting devices commonly assembled within a set of guidelines. These guidelines govern how the identity is applied and confirm approved colour palettes, typefaces, page layouts and other such
Concepts of Corporate Identity
Corporate identity is often viewed as being composed of three parts:
- Corporate design (logos, uniforms, corporate colours etc.)
- Corporate communication (advertising, public relations, information, etc.)
Corporate behavior (internal values, norms, etc.)
Corporate visual identity plays a significant role in the way an organization presents itself to both internal and external stakeholders. In general terms, a corporate visual identity expresses the values and ambitions of an organization, its business, and its characteristics. Four functions of corporate visual identity can be distinguished. Three of these are aimed at external stakeholders.
- First, a corporate visual identity provides an organisation with visibility and "recognizability".For virtually all profit and non-profit organisations, it is of vital importance that people know that the organization exists and remember its name and core business at the right time.
- Second, a corporate visual identity symbolizes an organization for external stakeholders, and, hence, contributes to its image and reputation (Schultz, Hatch and Larsen, 2000). Van den Bosch, De Jong and Elving (2005) explored possible relationships between corporate visual identity and reputation, and concluded that corporate visual identity plays a supportive role in corporate reputations.
- Third, a corporate visual identity expresses the structure of an organization to its external stakeholders, visualising its coherence as well as the relationships between divisions or units. Olins (1989) is well known for his "corporate identity structure", which consists of three concepts: monolithic brands for companies which have a single brand, a branded identity in which different brands are developed for parts of the organization or for different product lines, and an endorsed identity with different brands which are (visually) connected to each other. Although these concepts introduced by Olins are often presented as the corporate identity structure, they merely provide an indication of the visual presentation of (parts of) the organization. It is therefore better to describe it as a "corporate visual identity structure".
- A fourth, internal function of corporate visual identity relates to employees' identification with the organization as a whole and/or the specific departments they work for (depending on the corporate visual strategy in this respect). Identification appears to be crucial for employees, and corporate visual identity probably plays a symbolic role in creating such identification.