A corporate identity or corporate image is the manner which a corporation, firm or business presents themselves to the public (such as customers and investors as well as employees). By definition is the mere combination of features such as colour schemes, designs, words etc that a company puts into action to make a visual statement about itself. It is the image that the company views itself and how it wishes to be viewed by the customers, the market place, the competitors etc.
It is also the values and morals of the company and its employees to the general public. Corporate identity can be differentiated by corporate image as the identity of the company to the external environment (i.e. the country, the market, the other companies).
It can be conveyed by things such as buildings, décor, logo, name, slogan, stationery, a dress code etc. It is important to mention that corporate identity does not get affected by the company’s financial performance as it is something that is ‘out there’.
Interesting to point out that, even when a company seize to exist the logo or a slogan that was used when the company was active can still be recognisable and reminisced. Thus it can be said that corporate identity is more or less permanent and strong or weak (not positive, negative or neutral).
Corporate identity is needed to a company to stress out the uniqueness of the product. Strong corporate identity means that the product advertised is unique, memorable, easily targeted by customers and differentiated by similar products existing at the market. If corporate identity is weak or neutral it possibly means that the product is not as memorable and unique as the company see it.
Corporate identity is needed to get the company moving and therefore to grow profit and reputation. Without it a company is invisible to the public eye and to the competitors questioning its mere existence.
When a company invests in corporate identity it shows that the company is a stable unit striving for success giving the sense of security and trust to the customers. It also gives the sense of culture and personality of the company stressing out that the company is there to stay and become instantly recognised to the audience.
Harvard Business Review: https://hbr.org/2014/12/the-3-elements-of-a-strong-corporate-identity