I’m using this post as an opportunity to consider the importance of corporate identity and communicating it in a consistent style across all of an organisation’s outgoing media.
Where does communication come in?
Given this weighty purpose and essential requirement for corporate identity, it seems logical that there needs to be consistency between the various forms of communication that reflect corporate identity. This means formal letters, e-mails, memoranda, documents, marketing literature, etc should all present a united front in terms of style of writing and livery. As we’re reminded by the words of the former CEO of Disney, Michael Eisner:
Keeping a company’s image consistent will make the brand effective and memorable. Every small gesture, such as what’s said by staff to customers, the style of letters, the format of e-mails, the presentation style of documents, etc will further strengthen or degrade the brand in (probably) imperceptible steps that will have a cumulative effect over time.
A style template, setting out fonts, colours, line spacing, image boxes, etc is an invaluable tool for maintaining consistency of visual material, provided it’s used uniformly across the organisation. However, ‘style’ also means the style of writing for outgoing communication, which should be consistent across formats. If the business prefers an informal style, and if that suits the products, services and customers, then that style should be adopted uniformly to avoid sounding, feeling and looking different between forms of communication.
If the communication within a business isn’t effective, the result can be the erosion of a positive corporate identity because there will be breaks in the communication that will leave the identity in the hands of each individual. This will lead to a confused corporate identity because each team member will represent the business to his or her customers in a different way. Without effective communication, people lack direction and defined goals, leaving them to make up their own minds about how to define the business and characterise its services and the associated benefits to customers.
How does the communication of corporate identity affect trade?
The communication that captures and represents an organisation’s identity will shape the market’s perception of how the organisation’s management team operates and of what it wants to achieve.
Consistency of corporate identity through communication helps in fostering relationships between businesses. In the procurement process, the buying organisation considers the corporate identity of the vendor providing products and services, to make sure there’s a fit in terms of mission, values, culture and broad goals. The tendering business needs to make sure that its corporate identity reflects what’s important to the purchasing customer, and that needs to be communicated consistently across all the outgoing touch-points of the vendor business. The same applies the other way around: the vendor may choose not to trade with a purchaser whose corporate identity represents a mismatch of interests and values.
What are your experiences of the importance of corporate identity and consistency of communication?