Friday, June 29, 2012

Corporate Identity Should Add Value Not Cost - Leave the Silo Mentality Behind

Copyright (c) 2012 altura brand identity

For leading and growing companies around the world, expansion comes generally through a combination of organic growth and multiple acquisitions? Whilst an expansion strategy can be extremely successful, lack of attention to the global structure and unchecked growth in isolationism and silo mentality can lead to regionalisation, with smaller and less well established operations unable to leverage the success of their bigger and better established brothers.

When organisations, especially Groups have a vision to become national leaders, European market leaders and eventually Global market leaders it is imperative to that the corporate identity keeps pace with the vision and strategy.

The company must not remain regionalised, and whilst it may be enjoying success in its traditional markets, the strategically important emerging markets they enter must leverage the success of their established counterparts.

Major change may be needed In an increasingly global industry, with competition growing, major change may be necessary to keep the organisation on track with it's vision and strategy. A review of Corporate identity should be the first stage in a programme designed to unify and strengthen the global organisation.

Groups with no global structure or Corporate identity guidelines to adhere to for new acquisitions end up as a mish-mash of individual identities developed throughout the group - some over decades. You also get the Silo mentality and in some cases power barons who sold their companies to the Group still calling the shots and avoiding any discussion on the subject of Group identity.

Some Chief Executives are worried about implementing a Group Corporate Identity in case it upsets some of the power barons!! Yet they may have many operations in many countries - some organisations I know have had between 50 to over 100 subsidiary companies all with disparate subsidiary company identities.They do not have a unifying theme - customers, even in the same country, may have no idea of the global infrastructure and expertise supporting their local supplier(s).

Global identity should set the stage With the launch of a Group global identity all of that will change. It's not simply the company's external image that benefits can be felt. As part of the Corporate Identity process presentations and discussions should take place, with each individual company buying in to the global concept. This will set the stage for a new era of conversation and co-operation that will eventually lead to the concept of a single global brand or a strategy of unifying the Group identity. This can be achieved by cleverly combining a new Group identity with that of the local company, retaining local links and company names within a much more powerful global imagery. This can be easily adopted and supported by local personnel around the world, who would welcome the professional imagery and feeling of belonging to a global 'family'.

It can also help to build presence for the newer operations in emerging countries, enabling them to maximise their advertising and promotional budgets through joint initiatives, and to leverage group strength in other markets.

Perhaps more importantly, a new Corporate identity can be introduced into key areas, such as: stationery, vehicle and clothing livery, signage, website, presentations, literature and packaging, enabling products from different countries to sit comfortably alongside each other on supplier shelves, and giving greater supply chain flexibility and price stability.

At the end of the day, a new Corporate identity is not just a whim; it must be part of a carefully researched and executed strategy that adds value and helps to facilitate the move to reflect the vision and strategy and structure. It must enable a company to differentiate itself and retain its market leading position in the face of strong competition.

Chris is an independent corporate and brand identity designer, based in London. Most of the work undertaken by altura is driven by change such as growth through acquisition, de-merger, repositioning, new culture, new products and services. Chris helps companies build their brands through appropriate strategy and creative expression. Clients are in the aerospace, industrial, manufacturing, financial and service sectors.

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