Supplied and written by Burton Kramer, 1998
Business people give some thought and effort to appearing in an appropriate and professional way to their clients. They do this because they have learned, often through trial and error, that to not pay attention to this aspect of ‘business’ is to create unnecessary difficulties.
Most of us have, at various points in our lives, have looked with admiration if not envy at others who appeared ‘well dressed’. In a world that attributes most (if not all) good things to good looking people, the chances are that we will each make some effort to project a good appearance – our home, its’ furnishings, accessories and maybe the ‘art’ we hang on our walls.
The wonderful French illustrator, André Francois expressed this concept perfectly when he drew ‘the bedroom of a rich person’ juxtaposed with ‘the bedroom of a poor person’. The first had an elaborate bed with a leopard skin rug on the floor, the poor person an institutional iron cot with a mouse skin ‘rug’ in an otherwise bare room.
The important statement made by Corporate Visual Identity/Branding in the Market Place is not very different from that of our own individual identity, but slightly more complex to maintain… it is useful to note that the ongoing costs related to production of corporate material will always be present, whether the identity/branding is professionally designed and organized for greatest visual effectiveness and production economy or not.
The development of a succinct, appropriate corporate name and logo will not, alone, project the image of a highly professional, successful organization. It is the corporation that must, conciously and with professional advice, make the decision as to how effective their visible, public image/ branding is to be, and take determined action to both achieve and maintain it.
The financial community, stockholders, customers, employees and suppliers will react, in great measure, to how the identity/brand is ‘seen’ by them. In spite of this, it is remarkable how many key corporate people do not make the connection between the personal visual identity they have spent years creating and polishing for themselves and fulfilling the same requirements for their organization. As a result, their corporation may not be ‘standing out in the crowd’.
A thoughtfully and professionally conceived Corporate Identity/Branding Program (large or modest in scope) is the answer to this need. The program will integrate corporate name and logo with (‘hard copy’ and electronic) standards and templates for use of color, letter form, and overall style on a range of needs from basic stationery and business cards to corporate signing, graphics, annual report, packaging, vehicles, flags and banners, business forms and, perhaps the most influential identity statement, the corporate cheque.
The basic concept of Corporate Identification has been with us since the early 1950’s and has strong historical roots. Evidence of the effectiveness of this important corporate tool is well documented.