'Recognizing the need is the primary condition for design.'

Charles Eames

'To design is to communicate clearly by whatever means you can control or master.'
Milton Glaser

Branding and Corporate Identity

By Wally Olins

Executive summary:
• Corporate identity makes the organisation’s strategy, structure and vision visible.

• Every organisation has a unique identity.  A corporate identity programme
enables that identity to be managed and projected to all of its audiences.


• In order to develop an effective identity programme, the builders of an
organisation must have a clear idea about what drives it – its vision


• They must set up and sustain a structure which enables the organisation both to
project its identity to the outside world and live it internally.


Why do organisations need to develop a corporate identity?

Companies face challenges to their identity from all sides. These are the principal
reasons why identity is becoming an increasingly important topic in company


• Companies are increasingly merging, especially across national boundaries.
Leaders have to consider how to create a new corporation out of two old and
frequently competing organisations with different and sometimes incompatible
cultures, eg Daimler Chrysler.

• Products and services are becoming increasingly similar, which means that
consumers make purchases on emotional rather than rational grounds.  For
example, most customers would be hard-pressed to identify any real difference
between the fuels marketed by Shell, BP, Texaco or Repsol.

• Organisations are forced through changing technologies, deregulation or
globalisation to change the nature of their business and therefore sometimes their
identity has to demonstrate this eg. BT.

What is identity?
Every organisation carries out thousands of transactions every day: it buys, it sells, it
hires and fires, it makes, it paints, it cleans, it promotes, it informs through
advertising, the web and other media– and so on.  In all these transactions, the
organisation will in some way be presenting itself – or part of itself – to the various
groups of people with whom it deals. The totality of the way the organisation presents
itself can be called its identity.  What different audiences perceive is often called its

10 steps to creating a corporate identity

  1. Review your company's history, mission and methods. Before you establish a corporate identity for the public, you need an internal consensus on who you are.
    • Examine your business plan, mission statement, values statement, strategic plan and any other corporate documents that might define why you exist and how you are different.
  2. Figure out what others think about your company.
    • Conduct surveys, ask questions, set up interviews and have general discussions to gain an understanding of how stakeholders view your organization or company.
    • Decide if you want to change that perception. If you feel like you are sending the wrong message, your corporate identity can help change it.
  3. Research businesses and organizations that are similar to you.
    • Check out their websites, read testimonials from their customers and visit their social networking pages. Decide what you like and do not like, and figure out how easy or difficult it is to grasp their corporate identities.
  4. Create a vision for the future. Your corporate identity should embrace your goals for the next 5 to 10 years as well as your present.
    • Include employees, leaders and partners in your vision. Ask some of the people you first hired what they envision for your company's growth and talk to people in the company who reflect what staff and stakeholders think.
  5. Begin a creative process.
    • Brainstorm ideas on logos, tag lines, colors and objects that you might want to include to reflect your corporate identity.
    • Put together a team of designers and writers, or hire a consultant if you do not have that kind of creative talent on staff.
  6. Create identity materials. Depending on your business, these might include a logo, business cards, a website, brochures, flyers, stationary and packaging materials.
    • Keep your identity consistent through all of your materials. Use the same colors, font, graphics and sizing.
  7. Make sure your corporate identity is customer-oriented. For example, if your clients are on Wall Street, keep a conservative identity. If your clients are parents of preschool children, use primary colors and fun graphics to define who you are.
  8. Be professional. You want to be taken seriously, so your corporate identity should be clean, engaging, interesting and easily understood.
    • Avoid anything that might be offensive and double-check for errors.
  9. Develop a written strategy for your corporate identity.
    • Document when and how certain materials, images, logos and reproductions should be used when promoting or presenting your company. Consistency will help you avoid misrepresenting your company without intending to.
  10. Revisit your corporate identity on a regular basis to make sure it is still relevant and effective.
    • Schedule a meeting or retreat to review your corporate identity every year, or every time you gather leaders for strategic planning.



Explain the term brand identity

5 points


Name two things you would do or consider when developing a brand

2 points


Explain your choices

3 points


Sketch an idea for a logo for a new brand of computer tablets called ‘T Screen’

7 points

Print | Sitemap
© Julian Kupper