Good and bad examples of corporate design or just its inconsistent application are everywhere. To illustrate the point, we will use the airlines as an example. Consistent application of branding in addition to first-class service might be like this:
To book a flight you visit an easy to use and inspiringly designed website. You receive well-written emails and boarding passes that bear the same design. You arrive at the airport, where the brand is applied architecturally already at the check-in counter – which is far more than just a carry-on baggage tag with a logo.
The employee greets you in that special way unique to the company, with a uniform and a neckerchief that visually cite the brand. It is to this employee that you hand over the high-quality frequent-flyer status card. The ticket is enclosed in a small portfolio made of heavy paper. Even if you prepare everything via their neat app, which displays the boarding pass on your smartwatch, you always know which company you are traveling with. The lounge also sets the highest standards of hospitality and interior design. All the furniture, lights, colors, materials, etc. communicate the airline brand.
Outside you see the huge aircraft, its livery being a visual highlight. On board, the attire of the flight attendants who serve you so courteously is a statement of style. You feel that you’re welcome and valued. The interior of the aircraft, the seat that folds out into a bed, the seat backs, the entertainment system, the warmed damp towel with airline logo advancing the meal, its packaging decorated with small gold letters, matching fork, glass, and tableware – everything is consistently applied corporate design. After arriving at the airport, getting into a cab is the first moment you actually leave the brand.
You may not want to start an airline, but the idea is the same. You pick people up somewhere, take them on a journey and every contact with your company has to harmoniously fit into an overall communication concept – every little graphic, logo or symbol. This results in hundreds or even thousands of small building blocks that have to be designed. This high effort is worth the while as it significantly contributes to the success of your brand. Because a loyal customer will probably subconsciously perceive errors in one of these small building blocks if it does not fit with the others. Such irritations can even eclipse the many positive previous experiences.