Corporate identity takes the lead over advertising

Major businesses are increasingly aware of the importance of corporate identity and rate it as better value than advertising. But the findings of a new report also show that they still place greater emphasis on direct marketing.

The report, by strategic design consultancy The Hamiltons, also finds that many companies listed on the Alternative Investment Market are less mature in their expectations and understanding of design than more established businesses.

A survey of 115 companies by Pingali Associates, an independent research company, showed that 64.5 per cent of overall respondents consider corporate identity very important to business success. But within AIM-listed companies that figure drops to 56 per cent, says Michael Hamilton, managing partner of The Hamiltons.

When asked what method of promoting their business gave the best value for money, more than 17 per cent of companies chose corporate identity, compared to nearly 31 per cent choosing direct marketing, with 15.6 per cent selecting advertising. Only 11.5 per cent of AIM companies listed corporate identity as the best value for money, compared to 32 per cent with direct marketing and 15.4 per cent choosing annual reports.

Hamilton says that if the survey were to be repeated in two years, he would expect the AIM companies to come into line with the overall results. He said that many AIM companies did not, for example, recognise the opportunity to communicate with staff through annual reports, often focusing on more scientific methods of communicating with customers, such as direct marketing. “[These companies] are earlier in their development cycle. They are very different in their outlook on marketing issues,” explains Hamilton.

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