Corporate design is only a part of corporate identity. The identity of a company includes much more than just its visual appearance. It describes the company’s self-conception and is thus composed of a multitude of elements, e.g. orientation, philosophy, and communication. These have to be clarified and organized. Only a structured and ruthless analysis is helpful in identifying and shaping the company’s personality, differences from its competition – and finally also its visual appearance. Bluntly said, think before you act! Designs that were developed without a corporate-identity process usually become a burden in the mid and long term because they lack sustainability and are not really representing the company’s core. Therefore, a corporate-identity program is predominantly a management tool that can be used to identify and control the structure, contents, and personality of a company. In other words, it is a market- and social-strategic element for managing a brand.
Managing a brand means much more than just developing a good product. Each corporation, voluntarily or involuntarily, represents a certain image in the market; the corporation is unique in its way, has a distinct personality. The elements of this personality and its specific characteristics are, however, unclear to many corporations – they cannot therefore be effectively communicated in the market. As a result, most companies don’t even try this communication and focus their efforts on the fabrication of their products or the development of their services. Yet to be successful in the long term, each organization must be aware of its purposes and goals and must communicate them to its employees and others in order to create a feeling of affiliation and trust.
This goal can be reached if the corporate identity is the measure for every of the company’s activities. Hence, corporate identity is not the logo or the brochures, but the deliberate synchrony of the company’s activities. Everything the company does or says is based on its identity, builds it up, strengthens or weakens it.
For this reason, all parts of the company must credibly mirror the company’s values and goals. This is especially true for the quality and design of the products or services, the architecture of buildings and sales places, the layout of communication media, and the way employees and customers are treated. Each of these elements is a part of the whole and affects the other parts, for the company communicates with everything it does or doesn’t. Each element and each communication medium influences our picture of the company. A higher constancy leads to a clearer picture.
The development of an identity and its consequent implementation therefore has not only visual consequences for the company but predominantly affects structure and content. The visualization is a result of this development, but never its origin. Due to its importance, corporate identity must be managed by the head of the company. It is the only authority in the company that has enough power and knowledge to start and implement such a project.