Corporate identity is the umbrella term for how a company sees itself, covering the corporate philosophy, logo and branding. Companies then deploy a number of communication tools to convey this identity to the public and influence public perception of the company. How the target audiences perceive the company is what we call the company’s corporate image.
Businesses usually strive to align their corporate image with their corporate identity by building, maintaining and correcting their public image. In other words, they engage in uniform corporate behaviour, corporate design and corporate communications.
There are some cases, however, when a company’s corporate image and brand image may be misaligned. Some companies, for example, offer several brands with names that are different from the company name. Others are acquired by large corporations, who suddenly own household name brands consumers associate with the original company.
Naturally, a company’s corporate image influences buying behaviour, so it is a hugely important yet subjective factor. When customers have a choice of products, they will not only consider the product’s price and features, but also to a large extent the brand image. This is not always a rational decision, but is based to a large extent on what the company conveys to the target audience as part of its corporate image.
A company’s image is also a crucial factor in recruiting employees. If a business wants to gain qualified employees, it needs to present itself as an attractive employer. A positive corporate image can also boost employee morale, as it is perceived as desirable to work for a business that enjoys a good reputation with the general public. Highly qualified and motivated staff have, in turn, a positive effect on the company’s products and services – which again boosts the corporate image.
Further reading: D. Bouchet, What is ”Corporate Image” and “Corporate Identity” – and why do people talk so much about it?