Perceived facts that can actually help people identify the entity. They can sometimes be created (architecture, for example) or changed (HQ location) or rendered either more or less visible, to help reshape the corporate brand.Corporate level facts
How investors, customers and others categorize a company is critical to its identity; often this lags behind the reality and further behind leaders' aspirations.
Category definition is a third necessary positioning element (with geographic scope and perceived or aspired relative size). It is sometimes possible to redefine a company's category in a way which makes it a leader.
Nationality & geography
These two factors usually work together, but answer separate questions...
Geographic scope is a second requirement in a positioning statement.
Perceived size, in the absolute and relative to competitors, can be a strong identifying factor, and is usually a necessary consideration in an effective positioning statement (required in brand planning).Size
The nature and identity of its owners can be an identity consideration, beginning with whether privately or publicly owned.
Personal brands in a company's management, especially that of its CEO, can sometimes overpower all other branding factors in how people actually identify the entity.
An identity consultant has been known to advise a prospective client CEO that rebranding would be pointless unless he replaced himself.
Headquarters location (apart from nationality), and sometimes HQ architecture, can become identifiers.
It is not unusual to relocate headquarters to change the corporate culture, and the brand.
It is sometimes possible for a company to identify itself more quickly and clearly by evoking its competitors.
A company's perceived history can sometimes be a powerful identifying factor, for better or worse. The question should always be asked. Perceived history can be emphasized, deemphasized, even changed.History
The architectural design of a headquarters building, a campus, or even a factory can become a significant identifying factor. Consider Petronas Tower, Transamerica's pyramid, Sears Tower.Architecture
In service businesses especially, a distinctive pattern in attidudes and behavior can either support or undermine the desired brand image. If it's a problem, it should be addressed through rebranding, or even before rebranding is attempted.Employee behaviour
Communicated facts used to help identify the institution in terms of its composition, sub-brands or products. Core competencies can be redefined, key unites reorganized, subsidiaries perhaps rebranded and brands divested to help reshape the parent brand.Subcorporate facts
At the subcorporate level, specifying a short list of its defining competencies can help change, or reinforce, a company's distinctive identity as well as its perceived scope.
This list may or may not match the "principal operating units" list.
Its communicated composition is an especially powerful corporate branding tool. The question to ask: "How are we best understood in terms of our defining parts?" The answer may or may not correspond with actual legal or organizational structure (but it's better when it does).Defining units
The relative awareness and perceived association of subsidiary companies to a corporate brand can obviously affect the parent brand identity, helpfully or not. Changing them is just another branding tool.
Pfizer, 1989 Coty
Brands & products
Obviously, disclosure of a company's principal brands and products can be a powerful identifier, and then should be planned as such.
(Some recent corporate rebrandings, indeed, have been designed specifically to express brand or product diversity.)