The difference between image vs identity
At first glance, your corporate image and corporate identity might seem the same.
But let’s clear up some confusion.
Corporate image and identity are related concepts and one will affect the other, but there are some important differences.
- Your corporate image is shaped externally by your customers
- Your corporate identity is shaped internally
What is your corporate image?
Your corporate image is all about perception; how your company is thought of and spoken about by the marketplace.
It’s the overall message and brand as seen through the eyes of customers and other stakeholders.
- It’s how they interact with your company
- What they hear about your company from colleagues, friends or reviews
- How they recognise the qualities of your company
Customer reviews reflect your corporate image
Customers often rely on reviews from other customers when deciding whether or not to do business with your company.
Positive reviews contribute to a positive corporate image, while negative reviews damage a company’s corporate image.
Here are some awesome examples of positive reviews:
What are the key elements of a corporate image?
The elements of your corporate image can include a logo, slogan, mission statement, website, customer service, overall reputation, and any videos representing you.
- Your brand is the overall impression your customer has of your company
- Your logo is a visual representation of your company and its values
- The titles you use: Consistent use of titles across various channels and touchpoints contributes to a cohesive corporate identity
- Your slogan is a memorable phrase or statement that sums up what you do
- Your mission statement outlines your goals and values
- Your website is a vital element of your corporate image because it serves as the primary point of contact between you and your customers
- Your videos are a deeper dive into who you are and how you help your customers
- Your quality is a significant factor in your corporate image. Customers are likelier to have a positive impression of a company that provides high-quality products or services
- Your customer service is also essential to your corporate image because it reflects how you value your customers
- Your corporate social responsibility adds shine to your corporate image
- Your employees’ behaviour and customer interactions will strongly impact your company’s corporate image.
- Your industry’s reputation also plays a role. A highly-regarded industry will give you a better corporate image than a company in an industry with a less favourable reputation
- Your company’s reputation is integral to your corporate image because it reflects how customers perceive you
Why is corporate image important?
Your corporate image is vital to your company’s overall branding and marketing strategy, influencing customer expectations.
- It conveys your values, character and quality to potential customers and partners
- A solid corporate image will establish trust and credibility, while a weak one can damage a company’s reputation
- It helps create customer loyalty, attract new customers, and increase sales
- It’s more attractive to job candidates, helping you attract and retain top talent
- Overall, your corporate image significantly impacts your company’s success
What is your corporate identity?
Strong brands understand that how they communicate their message to their audience is just as important as the message itself.
They do this through a designed corporate brand identity, which is how a brand presents itself to the world.
Your corporate identity is how you present yourself to your market
- In your visual elements, branding, advertising, and marketing
- In consistent customer service
- In your public relations
- In the culture, mission, vision and values you build within your teams
What are the most important elements of corporate identity?
Start with three major elements to build a cohesive and recognisable brand identity.
The first element is corporate communication
Corporate communication must be consistent across all platforms to ensure your company’s message is clear and understandable.
Corporate communication can include your company website, video, advertising, press releases, tone of voice and social media presence.
The second element is corporate design
Your logo, colours, fonts, and other visual elements create a recognisable look and feel.
The third element is corporate behaviour
This is how everyone across your company interacts with each other, with customers and with other stakeholders.
When all three elements work together in harmony, you create a recognisable corporate identity that will help you stand out in the marketplace.
Why is corporate identity important?
- Your corporate identity helps to create a consistent, recognisable brand that customers can quickly identify and relate to.
- It’s the visual and behavioural representation of your company, communicating your company’s core values, purpose and personality.
- It also helps to differentiate your company from your competitors, to strengthen customer loyalty.
- A unified corporate identity will ultimately build trust and credibility and attract the right customers.
Examples of corporate identity
A consistent corporate identity used across all customer touchpoints helps to create a unified presence for your business, both online and in the physical world.
Company branding can also have an impact on how people feel. Here are some examples of companies with very different corporate identities.
The Body Shop brand identity focuses on its commitment to sustainability and the ethical sourcing of ingredients.
Marketing materials: The Body Shop’s marketing materials often feature images of natural ingredients and plants and people using the company’s products. These images convey the brand’s association with nature, sustainability, and ethical sourcing.
Customer experience: The Body Shop emphasises a personalised and enjoyable customer experience. The company’s stores are welcoming and informative, with helpful and knowledgeable staff,
Ethics: The Body Shop is known for its commitment to ethical sourcing and corporate responsibility, reflected in initiatives to support sustainable and fair trade practices, such as using recycled materials and supporting small-scale farmers.
Community involvement: The Body Shop is focused on community involvement and social activism, supporting causes such as animal welfare and environmental conservation.
Lego’s fun brand personality reflects the happiness its toy products deliver.
Marketing materials: Their marketing materials feature colourful images of imaginative structures and models built with the company’s bricks. These images convey the brand’s association with creativity, imagination, and play.
Customer experience: Lego emphasises a fun and engaging customer experience, with stores designed to be interactive and immersive, with displays and hands-on activities for customers to enjoy.
Innovation: Lego is known for its commitment to innovation and creativity. The company frequently introduces new brick sets and themes and sponsors research and development in various fields.
Sustainability: The company has several initiatives to reduce its environmental impact, such as using recycled materials and reducing energy consumption in its manufacturing processes.
Marketing materials: Its marketing materials often feature images of its high-end vehicles in luxurious settings, such as cityscapes, mountain roads, and sandy beaches. These images convey the brand’s association with luxury, performance, and a sense of adventure.
Customer experience: Mercedes-Benz strongly emphasises a premium customer experience in its showrooms and service centres, with the staff trained to provide attentive service.
Innovation: Mercedes-Benz frequently introduces new technologies and features in its vehicles, usually ahead of its competitors.
Sustainability: Mercedes-Benz also focuses on sustainability and corporate responsibility, with initiatives to reduce environmental impact, using renewable energy and developing more fuel-efficient vehicles.
Clearing up the mess: the difference between corporate image vs corporate identity
The difference between corporate image and identity can take time to grasp.
On the surface, these concepts seem similar, but some key distinctions can help to differentiate them.
Corporate image refers to the perception of a company in the mind of the public or target market.
Corporate identity is our self-image and refers to everything we do to communicate who we are, what makes us different and how we like to work with our clients.
You create a consistent and effective corporate image and identity when your external and internal messages align.
How do you do this?
Define your brand: The first step to create an aligned corporate image and identity is to define your brand.
This includes identifying your target audience, brand values and message, and unique selling points.
Develop a visual identity: A visual identity includes elements such as your logo, colour palette, typography, and imagery.
Communicate your brand: Once you have defined and developed a visual identity, communicate your brand to your audience. This can be done through marketing campaigns, videos, social media, customer service, and other channels.
Foster a corporate culture: A corporate culture refers to the values, beliefs, and behaviours that define your company and shape your interactions with employees, customers, and other stakeholders.
A solid corporate culture supports your corporate image and identity.
Monitor and adapt: Finally, regularly monitor and adjust your corporate image and identity to remain relevant and effective.
This may involve reviewing your brand messaging, updating your visual identity, or changing your corporate culture.
Why understanding the difference matters
Lining up how you present yourself to meet and exceed your customer experiences will help your company stand out and create a competitive advantage.
For example, if you advertise as a leader in your industry – but customers are disappointed with your product or service – your corporate image will suffer.
We’re seeing this disconnect play out across the media with recent data breaches in our largest organisations, like Optus.
Trust was an essential part of their corporate identity – but they’re no longer seen by the public as trusted and secure, so their corporate image has taken a severe battering.
On the other hand, if your company proves reliable and trustworthy, your corporate image will be more positive.
How to use video to support your corporate identity and image
A video is a potent tool for communicating your corporate identity and polishing your image. In our process for the production of corporate videos, all design elements are aligned with our clients’ visual identity,
Corporate brand videos showcase your brand values, explain your unique selling points, and create an emotional connection with your audience.
They can be a powerful tool for building brand awareness and driving sales, and can be used in a variety of marketing channels, including on your website, social media platforms, and at industry events.
Case study videos are immediately relatable to prospective customers.
How a product or service has been successfully used in a real-world scenario builds trust and credibility as it provides a concrete example of how the product or service has helped to solve a problem or meet a need.
Customer testimonial videos build trust and credibility.
By featuring real customers talking about their experiences with your products or services, you can create a sense of authenticity and credibility for your brand.
Product demo or explainer videos show your audience how your products or services work and the benefits they offer.
By demonstrating the features and functionality of your products, you can give your audience a better understanding and the confidence to buy.
Company culture videos often use employee interviews to reinforce your company’s values and culture.
By showing your employees at work and highlighting your company’s mission, you can create a positive and authentic image for your brand.
Social media videos create a more personal and interactive experience for your followers and showcase your brand’s personality and values.
Social media platforms are designed to be interactive and encourage two-way communication; videos are a great way to take advantage of this.
Create a cohesive brand experience
In essence, corporate image is about perception and what people think of your company.
Corporate identity is all the branding and behaviourable actions you take to influence the way people think and feel about your company.
Both are important for building a strong and positive brand.