All about Corporate Identity strategies in individual enterprises and for self-employed people
Solo entrepreneurs would like to offer our customers added value with what we like to do and are good at, firstly, and – yes, of course! – earn their bread and butter.
For many, marketing is a rather necessary evil. It is often associated with a negative connotation of “having to sell yourself” and because it is not easy for many of us to show ourselves “out there” anyway, we like to avoid the whole issue.
This is a great pity, because a well-planned corporate identity strategy, which is part of marketing, is so incredibly important, especially for sole proprietorships and self-employed people.
According to the BMWI (Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology), the “missing company face” is one of the biggest mistakes when starting up a business: “Companies often see themselves merely as providers of products and services. They overlook the fact that they are never seen by the customer alone, but as a complex whole”.
Authentic marketing is a very fulfilling form of communication for both sides.
In this article I would like to discuss what is meant by corporate identity, how you can develop it for yourself and why it, together with corporate design, is so important for your business success.
Corporate Identity – What does it all involve?
If you spend a little time on marketing, you will soon notice that this area is teeming with technical terms. CI, branding, corporate design … all fancy terms that add an interesting spice to a conversation about the tiresome topic of “having to sell yourself”.
In order to shed some light on the thicket of these terms, I will explain the most important ones here very briefly and concisely. I will also try to draw a connection to us as individual entrepreneurs and work out what really matters to us.
You are a Brand!
A trademark can be understood as the sum of all ideas that a brand name or trademark evokes in customers or is intended to evoke in customers in order to distinguish the goods or services of one company from those of other companies.
OK, so your brand positions your product or service. It also makes you distinguishable. It differentiates you from your competitors, shows your very own characteristics and creates identification with your target group.
But your brand only becomes really strong through you, because it is you who act in its name every day!
You have to know your brand really well to present it in the best possible way.
What does Corporate Identity (CI) mean?
This frequently used term, which is often wrongly reduced to the logo of a company, is about the unmistakable, authentic identity. But it is also about the self-image and personality of the company. About the values communicated and lived both internally and, of course, externally. It is about bringing one’s own image and the perception of others into harmony. In any case, a coherent corporate identity strategy is the essential point of a corporate alignment.
Corporate identity stands for the overall impression you leave behind.
What is Part of Corporate Identity?
- Communication (Corporate Communication)
- Behavior (Corporate Behavior)
- Visual appearance (corporate design)
Corporate Design – What should you pay Attention to?
This part of the corporate identity strategy is something we particularly like here at Delicious Design! A good corporate design fits you and your company like a perfectly fitting dress, tailor-made especially for you, according to your type. With such an outfit you never feel disguised, but strengthened and you like to show yourself. If you feel comfortable in your dress or can identify with your corporate design, you will succeed in making a convincing appearance.
Corporate Design reflects the personality and character of your company.
Good corporate design is
Create Corporate Identity
Agencies and also smaller service providers support you in developing your CI. Of course it is also possible to start developing it yourself. For example, you are welcome to download my free workbook as PDF. It guides you through the process in four tried and tested steps.
Whatever you do, whether with help from outside or just for yourself, the important thing is that you do it! Dealing with your corporate identity is really essential and the coherent answer to the question “WHO does what for WHOM?” is the foundation of your complete brand strategy. With the help of a well-developed corporate identity you present yourself and your brand unmistakably to the outside world.
Advantages of a Corporate Identity
In principle, the most important thing is that your (potential) customers are absolutely clear about the importance you and your company have for them personally. You achieve this by showing yourself “out there” with the harmoniously developed parameters of your CI. And this is even true for sole entrepreneurs like Instagram influencers, online coaches or freelancers of any kind. The magazine MumsEnterprise.Events agrees about this with giving useful tips for how to market yourself besides many more helpful ideas around sole entrepreneurship.
In this way you can make sure that people notice you at first and then of course recognise you. Your whole communication concept tells the customer what you can do for them. You are real and tangible. The main advantage of an authentically developed CI is that people have the feeling that they already know you. This creates a relationship and is the prerequisite for a long-term commitment.
What is the Difference between Corporate Identity and Branding?
The two terms are often used synonymously. However, corporate branding is a further development of the concept of corporate identity: nowadays it is simply no longer sufficient to define the identity of a company and then communicate it with the appropriate design elements. That is why branding goes a few steps further. It deals with how people think about the company. Most important question:
What do people feel when they come into contact with it and buy there?
Corporate Identity in the Individual Company
For us self-employed people, the company and product brand is usually identical. The border between corporate identity and corporate branding is “fuzzy”. For me, the difference lies primarily in the fact that we, as solo preneurs in one person, hold and represent so many functions in the company.
We are the company, so to speak. And we can only credibly communicate what is in line with our own values. That which we identify ourselves with and which we ultimately live by ourselves. Personal branding is the key concept for us soloists.
What is Personal Branding?
For me, this is where the key to good marketing lies in the individual company.
The entrepreneur is strongly in the foreground. It is about communicating her personality, her competence and her performance equally successfully to the outside world. And at this point we come full circle back to the beginning of this presentation, we are back to the “Brand I”:
As a sole trader you are a brand.
- You have a clear message
- You know about your strengths and can use them well in your business
- You know your values and apply them to your actions
- You have a vision for your company and therefore always have the “big picture” as a signpost in front of you
- You can explain in clear and concise terms what your business is all about
- You are (re)recognisable to your target group through
your external appearance (logo, website, flyer etc.)
- Your language
- Your appearance
Corporate Identity Elements
As explained above, many areas belong to a CI: your logo, your communication, your colours, your vision and your goals. But also the attitude and culture of your small company. You can work all this out on your different communication channels, e.g. your website. A blog, for example, is a wonderful tool to present corporate content.
Here you could take potential clients with you, give them a glimpse behind the scenes of your work and connect them even more closely with your business. Via platforms such as blog, podcast and/or social media channels you can make your vision, your values and your attitude as an entrepreneur tangible and tangible.
Branding is increasingly about how your customers feel about your company, but also about the extent to which they trust you and your products or services.