Corporate identity,corporate image, corporate culture


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All organizations have an identity. Corporate identity is the process defined as the institution for all the activities of an organization in public relation administration. Okay argument on the corporate identity states that, “it is not only visual designs, but a combination of designs, communications, behavior, philosophy, and culture. All these components are used by the organization to compose a “corporate identity.” As a result of the corporate identity activities a corporate image is established” (2005: 39).

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Corporate identity,corporate image, corporate culture

  1. 1. Mehtap MalumboCorporate IdentityABSTRACTIndividuals need to express themselves with an identity so are corporate or organizations. Thefirst traits of identity symbols trace back to the use of coat of arms for kings, nobles, cities andon army uniforms. The aim of these signs and symbols were to hold the people together,create a common soul and communicate their goals as one. Nowadays, organizations have asimilar approach towards a corporate identity. Okay’s explanation, “they use their logos,corporate colors, behavioral style, and communications methods to differentiate themselves,to stick in the minds of their target audiences and to create strong corporate image. They alsointegrate the internal stakeholder using the corporate identity” further emphasizes the use ofcorporate identities (2005: 17). All organizations have an identity. Corporate identity is the process defined as theinstitution for all the activities of an organization in public relation administration. Accordingto Olins, corporate identity answers three key questions: Who is the organization? What doesit do? And how does it do? (As cited in Olins, 1990) Okay argument on the corporate identitystates that, “it is not only visual designs, but a combination of designs, communications,behavior, philosophy, and culture. All these components are used by the organization tocompose a “corporate identity.” As a result of the corporate identity activities a corporateimage is established” (2005: 39). In this study, it will be analyzed that the effect of corporate identity on positivecorporate image. Additionally, the contribution of other important corporate identity conceptsshall be discussed. 1
  2. 2. CORPORATE IDENTITY IN TERMS OF PUBLIC RELATIONSCotler and Armstrong’s definition of the concept of corporate identity explains: Companies use public relations to communicate with their publics by setting objectives, choosing PR messages and vehicles, implementing the PR plan, and evaluating PR results. To accomplish these goals, public relations professionals use several tools such as news, WOM, internet and special events. They prepare written, audiovisual, and corporate identity materials and contribute money and time to public service activities (2008: 441).THE CONCEPT OF CORPORATE IDENTITYOkay emphasizes that corporate identity refers to what the organizations or corporatecommunicates through various channels. On the other hand, corporate image refers to how thepublic views these organizations or corporate. A Corporation cannot build the corporateimage because it cannot control the context in which their communication is understood,interpreted and received (2005: 96). “Originally, corporate identity was synonymous withorganizational nomenclature, logos, company house style and visual identification. Manycorporate identity practitioners had (and have) their roots in graphic design andunderstandably a good deal of importance were assigned to graphic design” (Riel and Balmer1997: 1). According to Blythe, Corporate Identity is the outward manifestation of the organization, a visual means of identification. It includes not only the corporate logo, but also the house style used on the company’s letterheads and corporate publications, interior and exterior design of buildings, staff uniforms and vehicle livery and packaging and products (2006: 148).THE IMPORTANCE OF CORPORATE IDENTITYOne such theorist, Akdemir, explains that corporate identity is defined as characteristics of acorporation and designing skills that differentiate from others, reflecting of skills andintroducing concrete personality. Corporate identity is used to distinguish corporations fromtheir competitors and present marketing opportunities. Therefore, many corporations need aneffective corporate identity management. The importance of corporate identity is increasing 2
  3. 3. day by day with the degree of remembrance of the corporation and its image having effect onconsumer preferences (2003: 93). According to Melevar and Jenkins, Firms have become increasingly aware of the importance of developing and managing their corporate identity. The identity of a corporation has been recognized as a strategic resource and source of competitive advantage. Effective management of corporate identity can serve to address the needs of the firm’s important stakeholders by generally inspiring confidence in the company to all target groups (2002: 1).A well-planned corporate identity covers both internal and external corporate advantages.Internal corporate advantages According to Tuna, top management can discover the motivating power behind theorganizational behavior of their corporation and its employees. Additionally, human resourcesmanagers can better understand the employee personality required for their corporateenvironment. This approach helps in hiring employees that will be beneficial to theorganization and avoid costly mistakes that would have otherwise been incurred. As a result,employees get a better understanding of the corporate goal vision and characteristics hencewillingly support the corporation (2007: 16).External Corporate Advantages Similarly, Tuna mentions that after the completion of the corporate identity process, theresults are evaluated to determine the shortcomings or mistakes in the percept of thecorporation. The press, unions, suppliers, distributors, resellers and other important partiesthrough better understanding of the corporation’s vision and mission, they will be supportiveto the corporate and be persuasive to the public (2007: 17).CORPORATE IMAGE According to Okay, corporate image is the individuals’ thoughts about an object, acorporation or another person. These thoughts not always coincide with the facts. Everyone 3
  4. 4. may have an individual image. To create a positive corporate or individual image, variousimage improvement activities are necessary (2005: 242).THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CORPORATE IDENTITY AND CORPORATEIMAGE:Okay notes that corporate identity plays a major role to form a good corporate image.Although corporate image expresses desired situation, it also defines concrete activities.Corporate identity includes corporate design such as logo, colors, symbol, corporatecommunication, corporate behavior and philosophy. These elements affect each other. Use ofthese elements in an organization composes the “corporate identity” (2005: 242-272).HISTORY OF CORPORATE IDENTITYAccording to Tuna, identity has emerged with the naming of institution, its logo, style andvisual identity between 1950 and 1960. Identity was defined as elements of corporatebehavior and corporate communication between 1970 and 1980. In 1990, the concept ofcorporate identity gained great importance with establishment of Internal Corporate IdentityGroup (2007: 9-17). Balmer and Van Riel argue that corporate identity is the corporate philosophy, design,corporation’s member behaviors and communication (1997: 2).CORPORATE PHILOSOPHYOkay claims that corporate philosophy is based on a corporate foundation idea about itself. Itconsists of top management’s targets and the foundation of business structure for a corporatedevelopment. Corporate philosophy has three main functions. First, the orientation functions.Orientation function appears from corporate foundations which combines important rules.Thereby, it sets the direction for the corporate behavior. Second is the corporate philosophy.Written corporate philosophy plays a major role towards creating a corporate identity. Itsupports in making life easier employees. It creates strong relationships with target audiences. 4
  5. 5. Lastly, the motivation functions. Motivation integrates employees with the corporation.Motivation requires that employees be assigned suitable tasks and be shown respected (2005:111). An article on the concept of philosophy statement states, philosophy statement is that it may contribute to organizational performance by inspiring employee motivation or feeling of commitment to the organization. It the lofty ideals expressed in the philosophy statement resonates with the private values of employees, and then employees may be more willing to view the meeting of organizational ends as consistent with their own desires (Ledford, 1994: 8) .THE CONCEPT OF CORPORATE DESIGNTuna argues that corporate design refers to the appearance of an organization and its productswith respect to the target audience of the corporate identity. Corporate design comprises ofcorporate visual elements such as; its name, slogan, typography, logo or symbol, color,product design, environment design, promotion products, publications and office design. AllCorporate design activities should align with the principles of management effectiveness andefficiency (2007: 73).Corporate Identity ManuelIt is a kind of booklet that includes the rules about the corporate design. Using of corporatecolors, typographies, letterheads, shapes of documents etc. are the important elements of thecorporate identity manual. Nowadays, with the developing technology, corporate identitymanuals are published on the internal network of the organizations (2005: 157). According toMckay, a style guide is a rule-driven document that sets the parameters for consistency and acceptability for all written materials produced by an individual or group. A house style guide is one that is produced for an organizations internal use and is specifically tailored for its specific writing contexts (Mckay, 1997: 1).Corporate ColorGeçikli says that color is the important and expressive element of every visual identity. Thecorporations choose proper colors according to the intended effects on the target audience. 5
  6. 6. Some questions should be considered; “what kind of meaning is communicated on integrationand feeling”, “does the color represent the attractiveness of the products”, “is it appropriate tothe corporate philosophy” and “Does it have an effective contrast against the competitors”.Colors have different meanings according to different cultures. For example, while greencolor connotes illness in Brazil, it connotes health in Denmark. Researchers have shown thatcolors have effect on human psychology. Red means powerful, impulsive, active andenergetic. On the contrary, blue connotes relaxing, cool, soft and reality. Green connotesrelaxing, calm, comfortable and reliability. For this reason, many banks use green color(2008: 217).Logo and SymbolAccording to Öztürk’s article, corporate logo consists of letters, words or numbers thatrepresent the corporation. Symbols can be represented as colorful or uncolored, two or threedimensional graphic. Some corporations use both to capture their target audience’s mind.Therefore, symbols should have an appearance that aligns with the corporate identity. Logosmust have a structure that is interesting, different, reflecting the professionalism and also inline with the vision and mission. Logo must be authentic (2006: 4).Typography and Font TypeOkay expresses that typography is the form of size and layout in the printed publications. Inthe corporate identity management, the choice of the most appropriate character plays acentral role. Some characters are designed to increase emotional tones and presenting power.Some characters define a traditional corporation, some express modernity. For exampleTimes New Roman connotes smart, elegant, and traditional (2005: 144). 6
  7. 7. CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONAkyürek notes that corporate communication is applied on long term basis to create acorporate and maintain it or changing it. The key messages are transferred to the targetedgroups through corporate communication. It helps to make employees well informed ofcorporate policies. Gossip procession lowers when employees access the actual information.Corporate activities, projects, goals, financial tables are communicated to the right rolethrough use of corporate communication. Corporate Employees are informed of the corporatehappenings through corporate publications. Motivation rises with the communication of thecorrect information (2005: 6).Corporate Internal CommunicationAccording to Theaker, “The flow of ideas, information and knowledge around theorganization is crucial to success. The role of communication as the process by which thisflow is achieved is central to the management of the organization” (As cited in Quirke, 1995).Quirke sees need for change reflected in the shift from a limited number of internalcommunications techniques, such as notice boards, memos and company newsletters, to moreinteractive media such as meetings, forums, video conferences and email (2008: 234).How to communicate?Newsletters, brochures and handbooks, banners and posters, bulletin boards, system, Internetand intranet, written on-premises announcement circulars, announcements, documents, andreports. Corporate communication must be aligned to the corporate philosophy so that thecorporate identity is easily understood and the image is reinforced on the targeted group.Alison Theaker elaborates that; 7
  8. 8. a business can only achieve its best when everyone’s energies are pointed in the same direction and are not at cross purposes. Employees need to have a clear picture of the overall direction and ambitions of the company [and] a clear sense of wherever or she fits in and how [they] contribute to the company’s goals (2001: 168).EXTERNAL COMMUNICATIONMeetingsAccording to İşçi, introduction of the products, explanation of annual activities and businesstrips are such applications of meetings. In meetings, we share our written and verbalinformation with stakeholders. We also provide them information about the organization. Forexample, press meetings have an important role that influences public opinion and givinginformation. The reasons of these success meetings depend on public interest and informationof environment (2002: 45).Press RelationsColapinto states that media relations are essential in maintaining a strong image and toinfluence media, employees and investors especially in large businesses. They are also a toolto influence customers’ opinions and choices. Corporations have significant incentives totarget its information and manage the positive outlook hence bring the likely benefits.Therefore great attention has to be paid to the relationship with journalists (2009: 1).Exhibitions and FairsOkay states that exhibitions and fairs are some of the significant communication toolsoccurring in face to face relationship with target audiences. They are ideal tools to transferidentity, culture and design of a corporation. Attendees to the exhibitions or fairs, haveopportunities to see and recognize the participating organizations (2005: 192).CORPORATE BEHAVIOROkay says that employee is part of corporate identity creation. There is an interaction betweenemployee’s policy and the corporate identity process. This is supported by internal and 8
  9. 9. external Information Behavior. External public relations activities delivered by thecorporations’ public relations department. On the other hand internal information behaviorrefers to internal public relation activities delivered by either corporation’s public relations orinternal communications department. Similarly, Social behavior refers to corporate socialresponsibility behavior that includes ethic behavior and ecological behavior towards theecosystem (2005: 197).CORPORATE CULTURETheaker says that “corporate culture refers to the way we do things around here” (Theaker,2001: 99). All of the interactions and relationships are a form of corporate personality.Corporate personality consists of corporate history, values, mission, vision and culture. Itpenetrates employees’ mind, structure, process, product and services. Employees’ behaviorand their conversations are shown by culture. They are not written or verbal rules but everyemployee knows and obeys them. Johnson and Scholes argue that stories, symbols, powerstructures, organizational structures, rituals and routines, and control constitute the culturalweb (As cited in Johnson and Scholes, 2008: 141). According to Schein, it is culture is both a dynamic phenomenon that surrounds us at all times, being constantly enacted and created by our interactions with others and shaped by leadership behavior, and a set of structures, routines, rules, and norms that guide and constrain behavior (2004: 1). Göksel, Kocabaş and Elden imply that organizations can give effective and persuasivemessages through employees who believe in organization’s prestige and reliability. Thus, ifthese organizations have loyal employees, they will be successful in the public relationsactivities (1997:124). Tuna states that organizations have to take action for harmonizing corporate cultureprocess. There must be adaptation for job requiring training. The orientation consists ofhistory and structure of the organization, organizational chart, product and services, policies, 9
  10. 10. salary, working hours, training, insurance, employee services, colleagues, work environment,tasks etc. This way, new employee is informed about organization and he or she feels part ofthe organization. This situation creates high motivation (2007:44).CONCLUSIONTo sum up, corporations need to plan their corporate identity in order to move one step aheadand to create stronger brand between other competitors in conditions of competition. Everycompany has its own corporate identity, but more important is to manage whole work at once.When it comes to corporate identity, first thing comes to mind is their logo, color and thetypography. In order for all these designs to be consistent and sustainable, companies need awell prepared corporate identity manual. Corporate identity is not consisting of only corporatedesign and symbols. Furthermore it is also consist of the connection between internal andexternal corporate stakeholders, culture and corporate philosophy. These elements createcharacteristics of corporate identity. The aim of managing corporate identity is to find the best image, and to deliver themessage related with the image to the public. Corporate identity is formed with these elementsmentioned above. Image is integral of beliefs like, brand personality, emotions andconnotations that consists in the minds of stakeholders about brand. Companies do not create their corporate identity on their stakeholders, but they createtheir well prepared positive corporate identity image. Moreover, companies need to involvetheir workers in every step to process. However the success will come with the workers whoembrace the identity, culture, philosophy and story of the corporation and their contribution. 10
  11. 11. Companies need to move along with their external stakeholders, to create their planaccording to the stakeholders’ needs and to do a research about what similarities shownbetween their identity and the image on their stakeholders’ minds. The companies which getthe same result in both of these can be called that they are succeeded about their identity. As a result, symbols of corporation are agents of creating corporate identity and tomaintain integrity. The companies that are strong on creating corporate identity can berecognized easily with their good, service, public relations and advertisement, and they easilycatch the trustworthy corporate image. 11
  12. 12. REFERENCES 1. Akdemir, Ali. (2003) Kurumsallaşma Yönelimli Entelektüel Sermayenin Etkinleştirilmesinde Liderin Stratejik Rolü. Isparta: Süleyman Demirel Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü. 2. Akyürek, Doç. Dr. Rüveyde. (2005) Kurumsal İletişim Yönetimi. Eskişehir: Anadolu Üniversitesi Web-Ofset Tesisleri. 3. Balmer, John M.T. and Van Riel, Cees B.M. (1997) Corporate identity: the concept, its measurement and management. Glasgow, UK: MCB University Press. 4. Blythe, Jim. (2006) Essentials of Marketing Communications. Gosport, UK: Ashford Colour Press Ltd. 5. Colapinto, Cinzia. (2009) Trends in media relations: An exploratory study in Italy. Italy: Prism. 6. Cotler. and Armstrong. (2008) The Principles of Marketing. The United States of America: Pearson Education, Inc. 7. Geçikli, Fatma. (2008) Halkla İlişkiler ve İletişim. İstanbul: Beta Basım Yayım Dağıtım A.Ş. 8. Göksel, Prof. Dr. A. Bülent. and Kocabaş, Dr. Füsun. and Elden,Dr. Müge. (1997) Pazarlama İletişimi Açısından Halkla İlişkiler ve Reklam. İstanbul: Yayınevi Yayıncılık Ltd. 9. İşçi, Metin. (2002) Halkla İlişkiler. İstanbul: Der Yayınları 10. Ledford, Gerald. (1994) Realizing A Corporate Philosophy. Los Angeles, CA: Ceo Publication. 11. Mckay, Peter D. (1997) Establishing a corporate style guide: a bibliographic essay. Technical Communication. 12. Melewar. and Jenkins, Elizabeth. (2002) Defining the Corporate Identity Construct. UK: Henry Stewart Publications. 13. Okay, Ayla. (2005) Kurum Kimliği. İstanbul: Kapital Medya A.Ş. 14. Öztürk, Gülay. (2006) Logonun Kurum Kimliği Üzerindeki Etkisi. İstanbul: İstanbul Ticaret Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Dergisi. 15. Schein, Edgar H. (2004) Organizational Culture and Leadership. United States of America: Jossey-Bass. 16. Theaker, Alison. (2008) Halkla İlişkilerin El Kitabı. İstanbul: Kapital Medya Hizmetleri A.Ş. 17. Theaker, Alison. (2001) The Public Relations Handbook. USA: Routledge 18. Tuna, Yrd. Doç. Dr. Muharrem. and Akbaş Tuna, Ayşen. (2007) Kurumsal Kimlik Yönetimi. Ankara: Detay Yayıncılık. 12