November 13th, 2018 BY Douglas Lober

How to Make Your Promotional Products Reflect an Authentic Corporate Identity

A critical element in branding is letting your prospects know exactly who you are. While you can convey that with words and deeds, you can do so much faster with visual elements. That’s why many brands focus so heavily on their corporate identity. It is a highly effective tool for drawing customers in and for building a lifelong brand that attracts and retains customers … but what is it? And how you ensure that yours is authentic?

What Is Corporate Identity?

According to BusinessDictionary, corporate identity is the “Combination of color schemes, designs, words, etc., that a firm employs to make a visual statement about itself and to communicate its business philosophy. It is an enduring symbol of how a firm views itself, how it wishes to be viewed by others, and how others recognize and remember it.”

Marketing Partners points out that corporate identity is bigger than the logo, which is a distinctive company mark, but smaller than the brand image, which is the sum total of all messaging and customer experiences. When the customers needs and values mesh seamlessly with the corporate identity, you have an effective brand image:

“Ultimately a brand is formed by the audience—the customers, based on not just the strategy, positioning, marketing and logo created by an agency, but the behavior, ethics, and values of the company as well. When a customer feels in sync with a company, it is an emotional bond, a connection based on shared vision and values.”

Corporate identity, in other words, forms the bedrock of any brand. And because it intertwines so closely with the customer, you have to make sure it honestly reflects who you are.

How Can You Ensure Your Corporate Identity Remains Authentic?

Whether it comes to promotional products or another aspect of your corporate identity, the most important factor of building it is that you remain authentic. Customers can sniff out falsity a million miles away, and if they sense any misrepresentation, they will turn away in favor of your competitors. Because they will interact so closely with your corporate identity, moreover, they will find it jarring if you project one message but actually deliver another. Even unintentional misrepresentation is still damaging to your brand.

So how can you keep your corporate identity authentic? Here are the top tips for ensuring that.

Use the Right Colors

It might seem like colors don’t matter, but they do. Now, color theory is a realm that you can argue endlessly, but before you design your corporate identity, at least check out a basic guide to color in marketing.

Yellow indicates optimism, for instance, so it’s great for new beginnings (weddings and babies), while red is excitement, so works well for thrilling adventures or high-energy ad campaigns. Blue indicates trust and dependability, which is why it’s so often used in the professions, while green triggers our connection with the Earth, health and serenity. Gray is devoid of color, bringing balance and calm to your identity.

Whatever you choose, select colors that represent you, and keep it to one or two. A rainbow of hues rarely represents well, so be selective.

Don’t Misrepresent Your Highest Values

Your corporate identity must reflect your highest values. Avoid the temptation to muddle it with other philosophies and emphases you perceive to have strong marketing power; if you don’t truly stand for something, do not include it in your messaging.

For instance, don’t make a commitment to environmentalism if that’s not your main focus. It’s great to donate to charity or fight for clean water, but unless this is your main focus, don’t stamp a giant green leaf on the front of your business card. It’s misleading, and your prospects won’t appreciate you for it.

If you want to convey this value, do so in other ways. Buy promotional products that are good for thousands of uses, made well and support United States manufacturing. Run a charity drive once a year. Set up a holiday toy bin for underprivileged children. Whatever you do, support your highest values first and then incorporate others from there.

Limit Your Brand Elements

Let’s face it: Branding is fun. Whether you’re working with an external creative or developing a brand in-house, there are so many colors, shapes and messages from which to choose that you may feel tempted to choose lots, just to give your customers lots to hang onto.

That’s a bad approach, though. While it might seem beneficial to appeal to the widest possible array of audience members, this approach makes it less likely your audience will form a relationship with your logo and other aspects of your corporate identity. When it’s harder to recognize who you are, it’s harder for your right people to develop the loyalty you need to keep them coming back again and again.

Where Do Promotional Products Come In?

Once you have a clear corporate identity, it’s time to put it to use in marketing. Promotional products are one of the best ways to do that, combining the power of your logo with the other aspects of your visual brand. That includes:

  • Color schemes
  • Designs, logo and otherwise
  • Words
  • Messaging
  • Other unique brand elements, such as year established

… and other distinct elements of your branding strategy. You can stamp these on bags, for instance, with a logo over your company name. A small USB drive or charging station with your logo on it, leaving a wordless impression on your customer every time they use it. A well-fitted tee shirt that outfits your employees in a uniform that doesn’t look like a uniform, creating a seamless identity across the sales floor or the counter.

Want to learn more about corporate identity or promo products? We invite you to get in touch with our friendly team members at 877.334.5323. We can guide you through the process of designing promotional products that fit your brand and paint you in the best possible light, all while preserving your corporate identity. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch and learn more today.