- 35 years experience in strategic branding, logo design and identity management with major international branding consultancies and as owner/principal of Leader Creative.
- Clients have include FedEx, Hawaiian Airlines, Walt Disney Company, the NCAA, Motorola, Cigna, Ryder Systems, GlobeCast, and Hanley Wood.
- Recipient of the 2014 5th Annual Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Award and a Fellow of the Disruptor Foundation.
- Leader's work is included in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution, and his FedEx logo was cited in the May 2003 Rolling Stone magazine twenty-fifth anniversary issue as one of the eight best American identities of the preceding twenty-five years.
- Design director for the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, 1983-84.
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Brand Strategy and Corporate Identity Design
Many iconic brands are so closely identified with their logos that it may seem that the logo is the corporate identity. Think Nike, Target, Toyota, FedEx, Apple, Coca-Cola and others.
Tangible images pop into your mind as soon as you hear the names – the shapes, the colors, the placement of the artistic elements, whether words or symbols.
And yet true corporate identity goes far beyond the logo, no matter how world-renowned that logo may be. Corporate identity is an integrated system of images and words that are designed to distinguish the company within an industry or in the marketplace. Corporate identity is much more than just identifying a product or service as belonging to the company.
A strong and well-crafted corporate identity distinguishes a company from the competition and delivers a strong and consistent message to the target audience – the ultimate consumers of the product or service. Corporate identity expresses to the public what a company does along with what it aspires to be. It is a promise as well as a commitment.
A well-designed and implemented corporate identity program results in tangible components that are communicated to the marketplace and that are proven to improve the bottom line by:
- Clarifying what the company is, what it does, why it does it and to whom are the messages directed.
- Amplifying strategic marketing objectives.
- Simplifying operations.
- Reducing costly improvisation and redundancy.
- Eliminating unnecessary or costly procedures.
- Shortening development cycle times by providing tools to implement solutions efficiently.
- Improving cost efficiencies through standardization and economies of scale.
The most identifiable characteristic of the brand may well be a powerful and memorable logo that stands out from the competition. And yet the logo must not be simply decorative and cosmetic. Because brand strategy decisions are so crucial to the success of a brand, assumptions about the brand must be explored and challenged, enlarging the range of viable options in order to reach the best solution.
Besides the obligation to leverage the brand strategy in the marketplace, the logo must also convey a powerful emotional appeal that emanates from the core of the company's unique brand personality. This added dimension raises the logo beyond the level of a more ordinary design.
The iconic FedEx logo provides an excellent example of the impact of a powerful logo that communicates on more than one level. While the subtle arrow buried within the logo (between the E and the x) may not be immediately apparent, once a person sees it or has it pointed out, it jumps out at them, subtly communicating action and the forward thinking of the company. Plus, it adds an element of fun for the viewer: a secret message from the company for those "in the know." The FedEx logo is a classic case of communicating the corporate identity through compelling visual means.
Supporting the logo with a uniform and well-defined corporate identity system provides the company with a cost-effective means for ensuring that each communication is linked to every other communication; and that all of the expressions of the company's brand, across all of the operating units, products and services, deliver a common message.
Implementing a well-designed corporate identity has helped very large companies to realize significant savings in identity management that, in some cases, have offset the cost of converting the company's existing assets to the new corporate identity system. A well-conceived and well-executed corporate identity program builds in pre-set quality elements while continuously reinforcing strategic marketing objectives.The stages of corporate identity development include the following:
- Strategy and planning: Every responsible option is explored in order to reach the optimum positioning.
- Creative development: A wide range of creative concepts is explored that bring to life the selected strategy and positioning. In some cases, solutions are tested on target audiences for appeal and validation.
- Implementation: The corporate identity is introduced effectively and in a cost-efficient manner to both internal and external audiences.