Guest Post by Lesley Tian from StrategiCom, a leading B2B brand strategy consulting company with offices across the globe.
As companies constantly seek ways to stay relevant with market trends, its adoptive capacity, that is, its ability to adopt new business models and technologies and tap upon certain market trends, gains increasing importance. A company’s Corporate Identity (CI) is a powerful concept, that when managed properly can be a fundamental contributor to its current and future adoptive capacity.
CI is of particular benefit to gauge how far a company can stretch its operations to take on the demands of changing customer needs, while still being perceived as relevant and competitive. Recall Porras and Collins’ Built to Last:
Organisations cannot endure without developing a solid core from which they can confront a changing and hostile environment.
When evaluating the relevance of corporate identities, it’s good practice to work from the bottom up and ask questions like:
It’s then time to go about auditing and if needed, rejigging your Corporate Identity. Here are three steps to get you thinking:
A comprehensive CI audit will indicate if change is necessary. Two situations when a CI change won’t be necessary are when the CI is strong and relevant, or when the CI is not desired by the company but perceived as strong by stakeholders. In the latter case, relevance rather than change is what’s required.
Where a change is essential, it can take two forms:
Whichever way you decide upon, the process won’t be painless. It will encounter resistance and will demand change management, that needs more than mere political skills to preempt and overcome (recall Carly Fiorina’s fraught overseership of the HP-Compaq merger). The management must be willing to accept changes, including to the management itself, so that they can help internal and external stakeholders cope with the identity crisis.
Finally, remember that if you ever decide to undertake a CI change, consider it carefully and follow up the decision by the will to take bold initiatives to assess the congruency between the CI and the firm’s business strategy before these two critical components drift too far apart.
Adapted from an original article by Lesley Tian that first appeared in the march 2010 issue of Brandbank, StrategiCom’s journal of brand strategy. Original article follows:
The Corporate Identity: When Do You Change It?
Lesley Tian’s keen interest in organisation and community cultural patterns is reflected in her firm understanding of geographical and cultural differences of various countries, and her research interest lies in the branding of companies in the context of different cultures and languages. Her skills were utilised in a research study on green energy with Professor Gerhard Apfelthaler during her stay in Austria. Lesley interned with StrategiCom in 2007 and 2008 and joined the firm full-time in 2009 where she worked on clients such as Swee Hong Construction Engineering, Marshal Technology and Hu Lee Impex.
StrategiCom is a global B2B brand strategy consulting firm headquartered in Singapore with 11 offices and 110 consultants & researchers around the world. The industries it serves include Information Technology, Oil & Gas, Petrochemicals, Commodities Trading, Business Services, Pharmaceutical, Medical & Healthcare, Transport & Logistics, Construction & Real Estate, Precision Engineering and Electronics Manufacturing. StrategiCom’s consultants, researchers and proprietary methodologies provide the catalyst for companies to transform from traditional businesses into differentiated brands.