4 Steps to a Solid Corporate Identity

Mandy Thomas

Monday, October 24, 2022

4 mins 23 sec

Your corporate identity, the abbreviated term CI, helps people get a sense of your business culture and personality. It lets customers recognise your brand and its benefits among many competitive options. Executed professionally, a robust CI can even increase your competitive edge in the marketplace.

  • Determine your positioning
  • Define your mission
  • Establish a unique differential factor
  • Know your essence  

Your corporate identity, the abbreviated term CI, helps people get a sense of your business culture and personality. It lets customers recognise your brand and its benefits among many competitive options. Executed professionally, a robust CI can even increase your competitive edge in the marketplace.

First and foremost, we need to define corporate identity by using an example of a brand. Tipublox is a petroleum products wholesaler based in Johannesburg. Tipublox specialises in supplying and infrastructure in fuel. After its establishment in 2009, ten years in 2019, Tipublox decided to rebrand its company which would require a new CI. The term logo design, which we are all familiar with, fits under corporate identity and encompasses elements such as fonts, illustrations, colours and images. ⁽¹⁾

Corporate Identity client Tipublox Energy Group old logo
Figure 1: Old Tipublox CI

Corporate Identity client Tipublox Energy Group stacked logo rebrand
Figure 2: Current Tipubox CI

Corporate Identity client Tipublox Energy Group double spread advert
Figure 3: Tipublox double spread advert, which contains logo, slogan, brand colours, icons and font which encompasses the corporate identity

Corporate Identity client Tipublox Energy Group brand manual
Figure 4: Tipublox Brand Manual

So, what is the difference between corporate identity and a brand? Although these terms are often used interchangeably, they do mean different things.

A CI has to do with the visual aspects of your brand, as discussed above (font, colour palette, supporting graphics, tone of voice), while the brand itself has more to do with the emotional connections between a business and its customer. ⁽²⁾ Here are four ways you can create a solid corporate identity to help you stand out from the competition:

1. Determine your positioning

Before going anywhere near the actual design of your corporate identity, it's a good idea to start with your audience. Who are they? What do they want? What demographic are they? Doing a SWOT analysis is a great way to begin your CI market positioning research. Let's unpack the meaning behind the abbreviation SWOT:

  • Strengths:  Why are you better or more unique than your competition?
  • Weaknesses:  How can you improve your offering?
  • Opportunities:  What synergies or trends can you capitalise on?
  • Threats:  Which challenges threaten your profitability?

2. Define your mission

Drafting a mission statement is an excellent way of defining your company values.

Being profitable is high on the priority list for every company. But the brands we admire emphasise their commitment to something bigger. For example, Weylandts is not just about selling furniture. They have a mission statement: "To create a better everyday life for people through inspired design." Its vision is central to its brand identity.

This enables them to attract and secure a loyal following.

Here are some questions to get you started in drafting your mission statement:

  • Why do you exist?
  • What do you care about the most?
  • How do you treat others?

Answering these questions will set you off to a good start, helping you understand your CI development correctly.

3. Establish a unique differential factor

What makes you different? It's an attempt to condense your difference into a single thought loaded with relevance, so other people can extract the same value you intend to provide. Technically, each of us is different by design. But then, so is everybody else. So how do we bridge this existential challenge and transform it into a concrete benefit visually embedded in our corporate identity?

We start with the truth and refine it through careful questioning. The scariest question is: What would your customers be missing if your brand didn't exist? If your company offers products and services that no one else is, you've got this question covered. Chances are, your business is not unique and has to compete for market share with similar businesses, but this is not a bad sign for your company. Competitors allow you to run your business more effectively by lower prices and improvements.

Do you do things faster than others? More efficiently? Are your prices lower? Is your service less complicated? Maybe it is more attractive than the competition? Or a combination? Of course, you may be unable to differentiate yourself based on your offer alone. So think about the way your service or product is delivered. Are you more reliable than others? More knowledgeable? Perhaps your response time beats most. Or you listen better than others. Maybe you are just more likeable?

These questions form the backbone of your corporate identity, giving you a surefire way of knowing who you are and are not, just like the below client, Kruna, an engineering company specialising in creating innovative high-tech machinery for any field. They have a product that cures spinal cord ruptures and prevents paralysation. The product is targeted at the medical industry, such as doctors, and surgeons.

The meaning of the Kruna CI

  • Robust lettering references engineering industry and machinery
  • The icon is inspired by physics and the concept of potential energy, which translates to the idea that inventions are always in the air
  • The icon forms a colon ':', which means there's an open space after Kruna for anything to be created.

The slogan, Create Anything

​​Kruna believes that innovation is always on the table. It's always a possibility. Therefore, the potential to create new and incredible inventions is always available. Kruna believes that any idea can become a reality.

Corporate Identity client Kruna logo spacing design
Figure 5: Kruna CI development

Corporate Identity client Kruna CI Create Anything Engineers
Figure 6: Kruna slogan and icon

Corporate Identity client Kruna brand manual
Figure 7: Kruna Brand Manual

4. Know your essence

A solid corporate identity will appeal to both emotion and logic. Like someone you know who just bought a brand new BMW X7. They may argue that they made their decision based on the safety and technological features of the vehicle. But the prestige and social status of driving a BMW hit home. This is the brand's essence, and they know all too well that this is what makes their customers tick.

Capitalise on the clear clues and cash in on the facts. An emotional connection to your brand will mean your corporate identity's success.

Corporate Identity client Deeghuys name and logo design
Figure 8: Deeghuys CI

Deeghuys approached a design agency to develop their new CI.

The name is a Dutch and Afrikaans composition that means 'house of dough'. The business provides frozen baked goods, which can easily be defrosted overnight and baked to perfection in a few minutes the following day. Deeghuys gives you access to a wide variety of artisan bakeries at the drop of a hat. No need to struggle. No need to go for baking courses. You can treat your family and spoil your friends without effort.

The Deeghuys corporate identity project consisted of a brand audit, brand name development, and logo design. When looking back over the years, it is simply inspiring to see how the brand has come to fruition in this video:


When having your corporate identity developed, consider the emotional makeup of your prospective buyers. What do they love, what do they want, how do you see the world, who do they want to be? Then condense your findings into a single thought to inspire the direction of your CI with the design agency of your choice.

Ready to stand out?

Contact Creative Caterpillar for a professional CI proposal.


1. Templafy

2. 99designs