Apr 17, 2003

Corporate Identity

Getting the brand recognition companies need to succeed

Owens Corning, the company that invented the glass fiber,
also invented one of the world's most widely recognized corporate logo /
tagline combinations. Its unmistakable red-and-white signature logo--the
visual cornerstone of its corporate identity--reflects its continual
growth through innovation. Its succinct yet highly descriptive
"Innovations for Living" tagline completes the big picture,
mirroring the company's most important attributes and core values in
three words that tell the company's compelling story. In addition, few
people will ever forget when back in 1980, Owens Corning introduced its new
corporate mascot, the popular Pink Panther cartoon character with the goal of
promoting its PINK Fiberglas insulation. In 1987, Owens Corning became the first
company ever to trademark the name of a color, a move that captured and held
the world's attention.

Every company--both large and small--needs to
create a strong corporate identity that synthesizes the right visual elements
and words to make a lasting impression and build brand recognition over time.
Most importantly, the corporate logo and tagline must be thoughtfully crafted
to convey the company's positioning, desired image and central values,
while utilizing a very limited amount of space and words.

Creating a strong corporate identity is a critical first
step for every new company on the road to realizing greater brand equity.
Similarly, rethinking an existing corporate logo design or tagline can be an
equally critical step for an established company that wants to update or
revitalize its corporate identity. For example, to improve the standing of a
tired, generic or even misunderstood brand image, the solution could be
anything from a simple change of color or typeface to a total overhaul of a logo's
design--or a new tagline that emphasizes a company's aspirations and
promise versus its past accomplishments.

An effective tagline should tell a concise yet compelling
story about a company. DuPont, for instance, developed the intriguing tagline
"The miracles of science," which reflects its ongoing commitment to
leveraging scientific discovery to develop materials such as Tyvec, house wrap
and Teflon. In addition, the DuPont signature oval logo, which contains the
DuPont name, is a symbol that instantly is recognized by millions of people.
The logo's red color effectively reinforces the company's image of
boldness in product innovation. Were the DuPont logo to appear in avocado green
or sky blue versus red, however, its visual impact might be diminished and its
meaning interpreted a little differently.

That is why, when creating and managing corporate identity,
no company should find itself without a set of well-defined logo and tagline
usage guidelines, also called a brand standards manual. Commonly available to
employees, subsidiaries and even business partners, a brand standards manual
helps ensure communication of a strong, consistent corporate identity that is
quickly and easily recognized and that leaves a lasting impression.

While some companies prefer to work in-house on their
corporate logos and taglines, many others opt to collaborate with experienced
advertising/public relations agencies that can bring corporate identity experts
including logo designers, artists, copywriters and marketing communications
strategists, into the fold. A reputable agency will have the time, resources and knowledge base needed to
help any company develop a unique corporate identity that genuinely reflects
who they are, is memorable to the masses, has staying power and builds the brand
recognition it needs to succeed long-term.

About the author

Walt Denny is the president of Walt Denny, Inc., an advertising/public relations agency that focuses primarily on home products clients such as Amerock Corp., KitchenAid brand, L.E. Johnson Products and Whirlpool Corp. "The Home Products Agency" was established in 1989. For more information on Walt Denny, Inc., visit www.waltdenny.com.