Image credits: Maya Eye photography
This morning I would like to share with you some of my thoughts on Corporate Identity.
We can define the Corporate Identity as the brand’s mission, vision and culture defined and collected visually in a special brand book, or CI manual. To have a brand identity is not only about the corporate logo. The CI is more complicated including also the brand colors, fonts, slogan, business cards, advertising, photography style, how the different CI elements relate to one another and with other elements, etc. The CI manual of one big international company for example consists of more than 200-300 pages. The brand identity is the first step of your brand to the visual communication with its target customers.
For long years I was responsible for the CI implementation of luxury automotive brands in Bulgaria and the Middle East, as well as for small start up brands in Bulgaria. I was responsible for the communication of the brand Mercedes-Benz in 13 markets in the Middle East. All advertising materials – banners, advertising, billboard designs, web site, micro site, poster, TV commercials had to be approved by me before they were live. I know by heart the Mercedes-Benz brand book and there was no need to go and check it out on the different occasions. This work gave me very valuable experience and also confidence to advise many other brands, mostly start ups, how to build their Corporate Identity. Here are some of the challenges I faced in Bulgaria:
- For many start up companies the brand identity is only about the logo. They are not aware what is a brand book and how important it is to have one established and consistent brand identity from the beginning and not to change it too often. When we start up our business activities establishing and maintaining one consistent corporate identity is vital in order to build a strong brand.
- Many start up companies in Bulgaria do not give a budget for a professional graphic designer to build their CI. You need to select and trust a professional graphic designer for your business start up, to plan budget for this and to send him/her one detailed brief including what your brand stands for, mission, vision, target customers and markets, etc.
- While working with small start up brands I noticed the tendency for very frequent changes of the company logo and CI. By frequent I mean more than once per year. This is one big mistake from communication point of view. Once you approve your logo, CI and corporate colors you need to be sure in your choice and do not change it at least for few years. All frequent changes are ruing the consistency of your brand. For example the brand Mercedes-Benz is changing the corporate logo once in few years but only with small modifications – never a brand new logo.
Now let’s try to analyze the brand Bulgaria and its Corporate Identity and brand building with some questions below:
- What is the vision and mission of our country as a destination for tourism and does its current logo reflect them? What are we trying to communicate for our country with its logo? Does the aim fit the visual communication?
- What does the Bulgaria’s CI include in addition to the logo? Does it have a brand book/ Corporate Identity document, advertising formats, recommended photography style, etc.? And maybe it is a good idea for the Ministry of Tourism to publish the Corporate Identity book on the web site of the Ministry of Tourism, and not only the logo and its logo variations.
- Why the logo of Bulgaria as a tourist destination should be changed so often?
Here is the list of my top 4 brands that promote the brand Bulgaria in the most positive and effective way, with their own efforts, talents and ideas:
- Evgeni Dinev. One of our best Bulgarian photographers to show the beauty of the Bulgarian nature. It is not by chance that he is among the top 10 best nature photographers in the world. His beautiful photography reaches millions around the world. I admire him a lot.
- Maya Eye photography. This young Bulgarian photographer is climbing the Bulgarian mountains to capture and show the beauty of the Bulgarian nature. Her photography reaches millions too. I had the pleasure to meet Maya last weekend in Plovdiv. Keep it up, Maya.
- The brand Like. Bulgaria by Nikolay Tonkov. This brand is established with no commercial purpose and with own investments. The project reached thousands of people around the world with its well designed and consistent communication with hits of humor. I love it.
- The movie Bulgaria in 4 seasons, that will inspire and wake you up. The video for the money raising campaign is very emotional – I watched it 10 times. At the moment the movie is in a production stage. I can not wait to watch it.