The Meaning Of Corporate Identity

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There has been debates on the meaning of corporate identity, to name a few, seven schools of thought on corporate identity (Balmer, 1995), three perspectives on the meaning of corporate identity (van Riel & Balmer, 1997) and so on. Although there is difference, those meanings on corporate identity share some similarities, namely visual elements, behaviors and communications. In van Riel and Balmer’s (1997) graphic design paradigm, visuals are used to convey messages about the corporate mission, vision, philosophy and so on to various stakeholders. Visuals can be the corporate logo, its font types, its slogans, etc. which will be diffused in print ads, video ads, brochures, presentations, annual reports… As mentioned earlier, symbolism has a semantic interpretation—symbols/signifiers and their signified. Here, symbols are used interchangeably with logo or the brand name. The symbols serve as a representation of the brand and the design of symbols is infused with brand identity and symbolic meanings of the brand. Given that customers make their purchase decision without actually receiving any tangible service in service brands, symbols are often used as surrogate “evaluation variables” (Hansen, 1972).

During the rebranding of Airbnb in 2014, a new logo ‘Belo’ was designed. The shape of ‘Belo’ is taken from a series of shapes representing people, places, love and Airbnb. These core elements in Airbnb shape the visuals of logo, and in return this symbol carries Airbnb’s
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