EVERY organisation or business needs to make itself known to the public if it has to make profit.
This, however, is not an easy task as it needs a lot of techniques and strategies, especially in this age where business is competitive.
Things that make organisations make themselves visible to the public are referred to as corporate identities. But what is corporate identity?
In very simplest terms, corporate identity refers to the manner in which organisations, firms or businesses present themselves to the public, such as customers and investors as well as their own employees.
Imagine running an organisation with no brand on it to make customers identify and differentiate it from others?
What will make them come to your organisation? How will they make reference to it? How do you build trust and confidence that they are dealing with the same organisation they dealt with previously?
How do the customers make a choice of the items they like most from your organisation? There are a million questions that one can ask concerning what corporate identity is, and how it benefits organisations and our businesses at large. Answering some of these questions might just help you understand what corporate identity is.
Corporate identity does not just help organisations, businesses or firms register their presence to the public, but also helps to create product or brand loyalty.
This is the reason why products are placed in attractive and branded packaging to make the items known and also remind the customers of the brand so that they can refer to it every time they wish to make a purchase.
Enough of that branding and marketing, we shall leave it to the experts to discuss it more.
My interest as an ICT business expert is: how can we build corporate identity using ICTs? To begin with, we have seen a lot of organisations creating websites, Facebook pages and corporate electronic mail (email) boxes, Twitter and using other online and social media platforms for their businesses.
These help you build a strong corporate identity, and if used effectively, they help in gaining a very huge competitive superiority over those with none.
Why is it important for a firm to own a corporate website? A corporate website or site is an informational platform operated by a business or private enterprise. It contains information about a particular firm, the location, contact details, the firmâ€™s products and services, frequently asked questions and many others.
Websites are designed just like marketing personnel in the sense that they help sell a firmâ€™s products and services. The only difference is that it cannot provide that real-time support to clients.
When developing websites, we donâ€™t just develop them anyhow but few follow certain website standards, rules and guidelines established by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which has been developed to promote consistency in the design code which makes up website pages. In other words, without getting too technical, they are simply guidelines for the mark-up language which determine how a particular website page or website as a whole should be designed. So, when developing these websites, we ensure that we make them more interactive and easy to navigate so that people easily use them without contacting technical staff for help.
Other ICT tools used for building corporate identity are corporate electronic (email) addresses. I easily lose confidence or trust in companies or businesses which use domains such as yahoo, gmail, ymail, hotmail and many others. I do not understand why I should trust such businesses simply because I fail to differentiate between them and online fraudsters. Businesses need to invest in some domain and create email addresses using their organisationâ€™s name. This will definitely instil trust and confidence in dealing with customers. It is also very common nowadays for most organisations to use social media to market their products and services. These pages are designed with corporate images such as logos and colours. The aim is to make the customers identify your organisation or products just by looking at them.
Finally, ensure that as you create all these things I have outlined, update them regularly, and publish them on various media and, if possible, do some cross links with other organisations, e.g. let them put their links on your platform and you add yours on theirs.
This works well in creating traffic to your web pages. You should also consider labelling your website, email, Facebook or Twitter addresses on your corporate gifts such as diaries, mug cups, t-shirts, key holders, etc. to compel people to visit them. Other than just printing your company name and logos on your fleet of vehicles, please include your online links, labels or stickers on them too. It may be a cost to your business but it may win one extra client to your business. Please try it now.
The author is Zambia Daily Mail Limited deputy ICT manager. firstname.lastname@example.org