Building an impactful corporate identity is essential for businesses that hope to distinguish themselves. It’s no coincidence that the mere mention of brands such as Spotify, Netflix, or Facebook might make you instantly picture their logo in your mind’s eye. You’re also probably thinking of the exact shade that is synonymous with each right now.
That could be because color can improve brand recognition by up 80%. It’s just one way to build a memorable corporate identity with customers, so that when they’re suddenly in need of your service, it’s your brand that they tend to recognize and choose over others.
But, a successful visual identity can be years in the making. We at Wrike recently gave our own corporate identity an overhaul when we unveiled Wrike Reimagined, an ambitious brand refresh that included new fonts, color palette, illustrations, images, and logos. We also debuted a brand new 109-page style guide (just like in our work management software, we don’t like to miss details).
Unsurprisingly, this was by no means a quick process. In fact, according to Ekaterina Pudanova, Graphic Design Team Lead at Wrike: “We worked on a new identity for a half a year. Then one Friday we realized that it needed a fresh look and we needed to re-think it again.”
With the entire design team separated due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Ekaterina was worried: “Is it possible to create a new brand concept, when you can’t share one whiteboard? Actually, with Wrike, it is. In a week we presented seven new concepts, made by five designers, working from their bedrooms and sharing one task together.”
So, why did Wrike’s design team spend so much time trying to fine-tune their corporate identity and visuals? First, let’s understand the basics.
What is corporate identity and why is it so important?
According to Harvard Business Review, a corporate identity is “what drives your entire organization to perform, what makes hiring top talent easier, and what gives you the framework by which to operate the company.”
And in business terms, corporate identity is pretty valuable. HBR references a study of 720 executives in which companies that were seen as having a stronger identity outperformed others by 25% in total shareholder return.
More specifically, corporate visual identity, according to design giant Adobe, “comprises your logo, imagery, typography, colors, and creative design.” But what does that actually mean? Ben Matthews, Director of Design at Adobe Spark explains: “Your brand’s visual identity is its style. If brands are people, then visual identity is the walk, the talk, the clothes, and the hair.”
So, how do we build a corporate identity that people will remember instantly, just as you did at the start of this post?
3 rules for building a successful corporate identity
Rule 1: Let your brand’s vision echo throughout your design
For Wrike, our brand centers on collaboration, and the idea of helping teams around the world to do the best work of their life — so our visual identity needed to reflect this.
Ekaterina explains how this filtered through to the new corporate image: “We needed to create a system with a human touch. We used geometric shapes with vibrant colors for simplicity and hand-drawn patterns and textures for depth and warmth. Even from the hero images, people can feel warmth and happiness.”
Rule 2: Think about refreshing your logo
Experts reckon that the average person needs to see your logo five to seven times before they will recognize it. So, if you are trying to raise awareness about your brand refresh, you need to make sure your new logo is going to grab their attention more than your old one.
At Wrike, our logo centers on a checkmark (seen below), driving home the feeling of accomplishment when you complete a task. However, for David Mekerishvili, Graphic Design Team Lead, it posed a conundrum for the new corporate identity:
“From the beginning of the brand refresh, I was aiming to change the checkmark. But then I thought it was a huge part of Wrike’s DNA. So the new logo is an evolution of Wrike’s checkmark. We bring a new look and feel by using a familiar shape in a different form.”
Rule 3: Make sure you're prepared for the unexpected (like a pandemic)
For Wrike’s design team, working remotely while reimagining Wrike’s corporate identity wasn't an additional concern to what can be a mammoth task for any team.
Ekaterina explains: “For our team, switching to remote work was easy. All our processes were defined, all our tools were packed into small laptops. We had all the support we needed from others and each other.”
By using Wrike to create the new corporate identity, the team was able to avoid the common pitfalls that usually cause endless project delivery delays, such as miscommunication and lack of visibility.
Ekaterina explains: “We documented almost every decision we made regarding the brand's look, design techniques, processes, and our vision. We made it accessible to every Wriker in a special project. We then created tutorials to help Wrikers apply the new style to their documents and presentations.”
How can Wrike help you build your corporate identity?
This year has been a huge shift for businesses around the world, but it’s also an opportunity to rebirth your corporate identity into something even more useful for your customers. But, as is evident above, it’s important that you have the right tools before you even begin to brainstorm.
Wrike has ready-built solutions designed especially for creative teams, along with powerful integrations with Adobe Creative Cloud, so that you can visually proof new assets in minutes. For remote workers, Wrike also creates a single source of truth where all decisions are clear and on-record, and files and task details are always at your fingertips.
Start a free trial now to see how Wrike can help you create a new corporate identity that becomes beloved by both existing and potential customers.