A corporate identity is the overall image of a corporation, firm or business in the minds of diverse publics, such as customers, investors and employees. It is a primary task of the corporate communications department to maintain and build this identity to accord with and facilitate the attainment of business objectives. It is usually visibly manifested by way of branding and the use of trademarks.
Corporate identity comes into being when there is a common ownership of an organizational philosophy that is manifest in a distinct corporate culture. At its most profound, the public feel that they have ownership of the philosophy. Corporate identity helps organizations to answer questions like "who are we?" and "where are we going?". Corporate identity also allows consumers to denote their sense of belonging with particular human aggregates or groups.
In general, this amounts to a corporate title, logo (logotype and/or logogram) and supporting devices commonly assembled within a set of guidelines. These guidelines govern how the identity is applied and confirm approved colour palettes, typefaces, page layouts and other such.
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