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Corporate Identity and Corporate Identity Audit: Concept And Steps

Corporate Identity; Corporate Identity Audit; concept and steps; corporate communication; corporate structure, dimensions of corporate identity, corporate design; corporate culture and behaviour etc.

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Corporate Identity and Corporate Identity Audit: Concept And Steps

  1. 1. CORPORATE IDENTITY & ITS AUDIT: CONCEPT AND STEPS MONA GUPTA SENIOR ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, INSTITUTE OF PROFESSIONAL STUDIES, DELHI
  2. 2. DEFINITION  “Identity means the sum of all the ways a company chooses to identify itself to all its publics” (Margulies, 1977).  “Corporate identity is the tangible manifestation of the personality of a company. It is the identity which reflects and projects the real personality of the company” 1978).  “Corporate identity is the strategy which helps to increase the economic performance and the efficiency of a company. It coordinates achievements, values and information, and leads to integration in the sense of cooperation” (Hannebohm/Blöcker, 1983).  “Corporate identity reflects the distinctive capability and the recognizable individual characteristics of the company. Identity in this sense also includes the distinction recognition of parts of the whole company, and the attribution of those parts to the whole” (Tanneberger, 1987).
  3. 3. CORPORATE IDENTITY  Corporate identity could be interpreted as a strategic manifestation of corporate-level vision and mission, underpinned by the strategies which a corporation employs in its operations or production (Melewar and Wooldridge, 2001).  Balmer’s research (1998) outlined some features of corporate identity: First, corporate identity is a multidisciplinary field. Second, it is a term used to identify the essence of what the firm is and thus incorporates many unique characteristics of the firm such as history, philosophy, culture, communication and the industry the firm operates in. Third, it is inseparable from the corporate personality of the organisation.
  4. 4. CONCEPT OF CORPORATE IDENTITY The evolution of the corporate identity concept meant that the term became associated with a wide range of functions including  business strategy,  philosophy of key executives,  corporate culture, behaviour and  corporate design which are both interdependent and unique to each organisation (Van Riel, 1997).
  5. 5.  Corporate communication: the value proposition you offer your customer; distinct visual identity and a strong company culture that evolves together with its employees. Their outward communication is based on a straight-to- the-point approach, with informative ads and educational materials about their brand and general knowledge..  Corporate behaviour: the actions inside the company that define its values and strategy. They value openness, a hands-on approach towards work, and small-company family rapport. They nurture a warm work environment and encourage knowledge sharing between employees to inspire further innovation and progress.  Corporate design: the design of products and services that help the company deliver against their value proposition. Visible in every individual asset a company has in its portfolio, from its logotype to the design, to extremely user-friendly product design, all the way to the interior design of their offices.
  6. 6. Corporate design: Consider whether the item is present (do you even have it?), consistent with your brand (does it match colours, font, and quality?) and worth keeping (like paper letterhead for some companies).  Letterhead. Take a look at both printed and electronic versions. Are they consistent? Check your paper weight, texture and type. Is everyone using the company font(s)? Create an electronic master letterhead template in Word with set fonts and styles.  Business cards. Do you use the same design throughout the company? Are you using the same print styles and card weight?  Fax cover sheets. Fax yourself a copy of your cover sheet to ensure it is legible and consistent with your other brand images.  Email templates. Ensure the fonts, sizes and colours match your other branding.  Email signatures. Company-wide consistency with email signatures creates branding unity. Don’t let employees create their own.
  7. 7.  Website. Fonts and colours look different online. Does the logo on your website match your print logo?  Envelopes, invoices and statements. Double check all envelope sizes and styles and the pieces inside. The inside and outside should match.  Mailing labels. If you use labels for shipping, they should match everything inside.  Memos and internal communiqué. Be consistent with internal documents. It sends the message to your team that brand consistency is a priority.  Promotional items, banners, etc. Take inventory of everything with a logo or brand image printed on it. If it’s not accurate, fix it or forget about it.
  8. 8.  Corporate Culture: Downey (1986) believes that corporate culture is the consequence of corporate identity and argues that culture is the “what” of a company and identity is the “why. It refers to the beliefs and behaviours that determine how a company's employees and management interact and outside business transactions.  Corporate Structure: Corporate structure refers to the organization of different departments or business units within a company. Depending on a company's goals and the industry in which it operates, corporate structure can differ significantly between companies
  9. 9.  Industry Identity: It pertains to characteristics such as competitiveness, size and rates of change, which influence the corporate identity of a company (Balmer, 1997). Companies operating in an industry with a clear and strong identity may adopt similar strategies in areas of corporate identity management, and in consequence they commonly develop similar identities. Virtually all of the respondents claimed that the corporate identity of their organisations is strongly influenced by the industry that they compete in.  Corporate strategy: It is the blueprint of the firm’s fundamental objectives and strategies for competing in their given market. It thus determines what the produces, the level of profit made and stakeholder perceptions about the company. Differentiation strategy. Differentiation strategy is an aspect of overall corporate strategy pertaining to the specific strengths of a company and how it chooses to compete by using these. Differentiation takes advantage of a firm’s strengths that are important constituents of its basic identity. Positioning strategy. Positioning strategy is associated with the identity that a company strives for. Companies position themselves in order to be distinguished from competitors and they do this through an analysis of their inherent strengths and weaknesses.
  10. 10. Revised categorisation of corporate identity dimensions and their sub-items
  11. 11.  Brand identity is how you want your customers to perceive you: from your brand promise to your logo and the colour palette you use in marketing. It’s a strategy create to position your brand on the target market (including technical stuff like keyword research).  Corporate identity relates to the activities inside your organization that shape both internal and external perceptions of your brand. Simply put, corporate identity all the aspects of brand identity plus:  The people you work with;  The impact you make outside of the company;  The tone of voice in your messaging;  The feeling you invoke in customers;  How successful you are in implementing your brand promise.
  12. 12. IDENTITY AUDIT  A company’s corporate identity can be summed up as the way in which all stakeholders, both internal and external, perceive the brand.  The times change, and what may have been considered an identity strong point can very easily become a corporate no-no.  For this reason, there should be conducting regular corporate audits, revealing how the company is perceived in the eyes of the people who contribute to its success.  For a new player in the market, Corporate design is the most visible part of corporate identity. And corporate design is by definition an instrument for transformation and, at the same time, a guarantee of continuing corporate recognition.
  13. 13. STEPS TO CONDUCT IDENTITY AUDIT step 1: select the audit team, step 2: assess the key elements in the corporate identity, step 3: determine who should be interviewed, step 4: conduct audit interviews, step 5: audit corporate identity factors, step 6: summarize salient points, step 7: determine the options for change, step 8: present the audit results, and step 9: use the audit data to improve the corporate identity.
  14. 14. CORPORATE IDENTITY AUDIT STEPS  Even before taking the corporate identity audit, the senior management should be clear about the context in which that identity operates. This will be of help to make the subsequent identity audit.  Therefore in the second step the audit team should consider the areas in which corporate identity manifests itself (Ollins and Selame, 2002). We already defined the corporate identity as being made from corporate communication, corporate behaviour and corporate design. Some define corporate design more in detail as corporate product and services and corporate environments (Ollins and Selame, 2002, p. 4).  The main point of the step two is to found out what kind of identity the corporation has. Is that a monolithic or branded house, or are we dealing branded identity or house brands, or are we in between be that with endorsed identity or sub brands.
  15. 15.  In the third step it is important to asses the consensus view of the organization internally and externally. And the second goal is to find out if there are any significant discrepancies between internal and external perceptions. And finally this step is excellent opportunity to uncover real or political issues that may either enhance or inhibit the acceptance or implementation of corporate identity program (Ollins and Selame, 2002).  In the step four, five and six the audit team is to do the prepared in the first three steps. In the fourth step, conducting the audit interviews the main objective will be: + how much people know about the corporation and business; + what other opinions or judgements people attach to their knowledge of the organization; + how clear and consistent these opinions or judgements are; and + how far those opinions and judgements vary from the identity which senior mismanagement wish to project.
  16. 16.  In the fifth step the audit team need to asses all corporate identity elements. Be that product, services and/or environments. The check list of corporate design should be made. And some questions should be answered, like: + is there a graphics standard program (or corporate identity manual) in place for the current corporate identity program?; + consistency of design; are there ways to reduce costs of elements that constitute the corporate identity, such as eliminating duplicate communications, consolidating sizes, increasing volume orders, new ways to use technology…; + would be implementing the corporate identity at once rise the costs as in the steps. According to different field, questions on corporate communication and corporate behaviour will have to be made  Very often, in the sixth step, certain critical and consistent points will emerge. That is the opportunity for the auditors to uncover those important issues and build a consensus within the organization.
  17. 17.  And in the last three steps the audit team has to explore the differences between how the company is perceived and how it would like to be perceived. It should effectively present the audit results.  In the last step the auditors should provide ideas for using corporate identity as a powerful management tool if the identity is to be managed actively and effectively.
  18. 18. REFERENCES  https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.599.7696&rep=rep1&type=pdf  https://marko.savic.cc/2010/03/26/a-short-introduction-to-the-steps-of-the-corporate-identity-audit/

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Corporate Identity; Corporate Identity Audit; concept and steps; corporate communication; corporate structure, dimensions of corporate identity, corporate design; corporate culture and behaviour etc.

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