CO - Markinnovation

Why Is Corporate Identity Important For Any Business?

Why Is Corporate Identity  Important For Any Business?

Corporate identity is quite similar to what we talk about our own identity, and the specifics that differentiate us from others. It is our personality and character that maintains our individuality, which we express through our behavior, speech, attire, mannerism, style or even the vehicle that we drive.

Similarly, a business makes itself distinct through its global image, presented through i.e. business cards, letterheads, brochures, corporate persona, advertisements, corporate social responsibility programs, product packaging, the font type, the colour, livery, office ambiance, washroom, its plant's overall facilities management and cleanliness, its reception, staff uniform or even its company vehicles. It is a physical expression of the company's brand, an extension of the culture that is already expressed through communication style and behavior exhibited to maintain the image of the business.

Corporate Identity expresses your business's brand personality and distinguishes you apart from your competitors. Simple steps to take in ensuring maximum benefits:

Corporate Persona

When we meet a person, select a product or a company, it is the first impression that lasts forever. We tend to gather cues from what we see and feel, interpreting our observations to form our opinion about the person, product or company. To stand out from their competitors, every company needs to have a good corporate persona, usually the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) whom people will look up to, and who stands for his products, services and of course his people. Great examples are Richard Branson of Virgin Group and our own Tony Fernandez of Air Asia. This two-successful brand persona have a niche in the client's mind by having a unique, pleasing appearance and identity.

Collateral

Collateral is equally important as they set the unique presence of your product, service and image of your organization. The moment your business card is presented to your customer, they will immediately form an opinion or further help to reassure their opinion on your product or service. Likewise your envelopes, letter heads, livery on all the products will also provide greater affection, trust or hatred depending on the track record of your product or service. No one believes in a product that has a tainted image or reputation. Shell, Nestle, Air Asia, Padini, John Master, Maybank, Public Bank are some products and services which need not much convincing anymore.

Advertisements

Those companies or products that are established have to also be mindful of the advertisements that they make. They have to be sure of the medium, timing and contents of the advertisements. For example, Coca Cola was bold enough to advise their customers to not consume Coca Cola, and to be wise with the amount consumed by them as they mentioned that the consumption of their product contributed to the cause of diabetes among many consumers. This takes extreme amount of courage and risk for any starters to embark upon. Your messaging is critical to position your product without any inkling towards any political parties, religion or social norms of any societies.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Programs

The CSR is another wonderful tool to further project your identity and image for what you stand for in the society and corporate sector. CSR speaks of who the company is, what it believes in and how it is doing business by establishing trust and goodwill among the stakeholders. Microsoft, Walt Disney, Google and BMW have done extremely well through their initiatives and secured their pole positions. Be it philanthropy, environment, poverty eradication, safety or gender, CSR drives through your message and image in a flawless manner.

Facilities or Plant Management

The traffic flow within your plant, the landscape, paintwork and safety features, the overall appearance of your plant and the facilities, lives a lasting impression. It is important to ensure the buildings have a fresh coat of paint. The curb sides are always touched up to indicate that you are a maintenance-conscious organization. The landscape around your plant or office must be prim and proper - raked-up dried leaves, pothole free roads, traffic-flow and road safety signs clear, visible and in tact.

Canteen

Cleanliness and hygiene from the freezer to the sink, from the chopping board to the stove, from the cutlery and crockery shelf to the tables and chairs is of utmost importance. Ensure that the food operator observes all the cleanliness standards and adheres to regular checks by both the management and health officials. Pay equal attention to the disposal of leftover food and waste management system.

Toilet

This is a critical component for our overall identity and image. We must place great focus on the cleanliness and care of our lavatories, avoiding any stenches and making sure they are well ventilated. Hand soap, tissue, functioning bidets and WCs, door latches that are intact ? these amenities must be in place and its maintenance supervised by a local staff and not totally left to foreign workers to oversee

Reception

This is the first juncture of communicating and representing our reputation. It should be spacious, clean and airy, comfortable and welcoming, easily accessible with good human traffic flow. The receptionist must not only be presentable but also sensible, sharp and courteous at all times. No reception must be filled with office mails either incoming or outgoing. Depending on your industry, it is good to have an information kiosk or even corporate magazines or a coffee vending machine for the leisure and comfort of the visitors.

Company vehicles

These moving branding machines are key assets for any corporation. Continuous maintenance of these vehicles is a must, be it its outlook, i.e. bright and glossy paint job, clear windshield and windows, no dents and scratches; or its interior - clean and fresh-smelling seats, clear screens, spotless dashboards. Every vehicle must maintain the identity it is meant to project, and the attention it needs to attract, irrespective of its size, type, or color.

Employee Uniform/Attire

Every employee is a brand ambassador, meaning adequate and stern emphasis must be given to the attire or uniform worn to work every day. The uniform goes with the employees wherever they go especially for meetings. It must be clean and non-creased; logos in tact; colors not too faded; stitched-up tears unseen. The employees' behavior plays a big contribution to the company's reputation, too. Each employee must be reminded that they are carrying a product or our service brand.

In today's fast-paced and competitive world where the consumer has innumerable options available to them, a corporation or company needs a strategy to establish a solid presence in the marketplace. There are strong reasons to believe that the right corporate identity helps to achieve this business objective.

Personal experiences with a corporate identity tend to influence consumers and their purchasing decisions. A corporate identity with a strong and positive impact creates a favorable mental image of the business in a consumer's mind. A strategically planned identity provides a good return in terms of referrals and repeated business.

Corporate identity goes beyond design. It digs deeper into the minds and attitudes of our customer. Let's shape these thoughts and the decision-making in a subtle yet a strategic manner ensuring that we stay in business with a pole position with our product or service.

Communications or branding is incomplete without a comprehensive corporate identity program. It is extremely critical that every branding program must be supported by corporate identity programs. A living brand must be daily nourished through a concerted corporate identity programs and activities.

  • Ravindran Raman Kutty
    Ravindran Raman Kutty
    General Manager, Strategic Communications at MRCB George Kent Sdn Bhd

    Ravindran Raman Kutty, an avid writer, community worker, an award winning communications practitioner. Mr. Ravindran is also a columnist for The Malay Mail, The Star and Bernama.

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