Our People | Identity

What is personal identity?
What is business identity?
What is community identity?
What is our New Zealand identity?
How can we “Get Creative” with our community identity?
Identity Links

What is personal identity?
“In psychology, identity is the qualities, beliefs, personality, looks and/or expressions that make a person (self-identity) or group (particular social category or social group). A psychological identity relates to self-image (one’s mental model of oneself), self-esteem, and individuality.”

“Your personal identity is the way that you see yourself and is closely related to your self image. It is very important to you because it will affect the way you feel about yourself and how you behave in challenging situations.”

“Refers to the global understanding a person has of themselves. Self Identity is composed of relatively permanent self-assessments, such as personality attributes, knowledge of one’s skills and abilities, one’s occupation and hobbies, and awareness of one’s physical attributes.”

“Identity and self esteem are closely related and developing self esteem and a strong sense of identity are very important to good mental health. Your sense of identity has to do with who you think you are and how you perceive yourself. Self esteem is how you value yourself. It has to do with your sense of self-worth.”

What is business identity?
“Those of you who own your own business may know that customer recognition of your business’s name and logo is important. Did you know, however, that the clearer your overall business identity is, the more likely your business is to survive and thrive? In order for your identity to be clear to your customers, it has to be unique, as well as consistently displayed in every aspect of your business. People are highly affected by visual elements. Remember the saying about a “picture is worth a thousand words?” That is why using a consistent visual image is so important for businesses. A sense of cohesion concerning your business, what you do, who you are, what your culture is, is very important in today’s congested marketplace.”

“Benefits of a Strong Brand Identity. Developing a strong brand identity for your business is an extremely important factor in its success. Effective branding can help build your reputation, make you stand out from your competition and project your values to attract your ideal client.”

“Combination of color schemes, designs, words, etc., that a firm employs to make a visual statement about itself and to communicate its business philosophy. It is an enduring symbol of how a firm views itself, how it wishes to be viewed by others, and how others recognize and remember it. Unlike corporate image (which is ‘in there’ changeable mental impression), corporate identity is ‘out there’ sensory-experience conveyed by things such as buildings, décor, logo, name, slogan, stationery, uniforms, and is largely unaffected by its financial performance and ups and downs in its fortunes. Corporate-identity is either strong or weak (not positive, negative, or neutral like a corporate image) and is more or less permanent unless changed deliberately.”

What is community identity?
“A community is a small or large social unit (a group of living things) that has something in common, such as norms, religion, values, or identity. Communities often share a sense of place that is situated in a given geographical area (e.g. a country, village, town, or neighborhood) or in virtual space through communication platforms. Durable relations that extend beyond immediate genealogical ties also define a sense of community. People tend to define those social ties as important to their identity, practice, and roles in social institutions (such as family, home, work, government, society, or humanity at-large).”

“Community shapes our identity, quenches our thirst for belonging, and bolsters our physical, mental, emotional, and economic health. But in the chaos of modern life, community ties have become unraveled, leaving many feeling afraid or alone in the crowd, grasping at shallow substitutes for true community.
Paul Born describes the four pillars of deep community: sharing our stories, taking the time to enjoy one another, taking care of one another, and working together for a better world.”

What is our New Zealand identity?
“New Zealand is a diverse nation, made up of many cultural groups, with many different customs and traditions. While people may describe themselves as “New Zealanders”, how they define their “New Zealand-ness” will vary from person to person. For example, some people might see a New Zealand identity in aspects of New Zealand history or in New Zealand achievements in sporting, artistic or other endeavours, while others might see it through a sense of national characteristics or traits, or through national symbols and icons. Māori culture may form one aspect of national identity, since it is both unique to New Zealand and a part of its identity in the outside world.
Cultural identity is an important contributor to people’s wellbeing. Identifying with a particular culture helps people feel they belong and gives them a sense of security. An established cultural identity has also been linked with positive outcomes in areas such as health and education. It provides access to social networks, which provide support and shared values and aspirations.”

“National identity is a shared understanding of the characteristics that distinguish one nation from other nations.”

How can we “Get Creative” with our community identity?
“The arts have been instrumental in facilitating social cohesion, bringing tourism to unlikely places, fostering a sense of belonging, and preserving collective memory.
Culture-based businesses and organizations:
1. The arts help to facilitate social cohesion.
– Diverse communities are brought together with the help of the arts, providing opportunities for residents to reflect on their shared and individual experiences (Coalter, 2001a; Lowe, 2000; Matarasso, 1997):
– The arts provide a forum for intercultural understanding and friendship (Matarasso, 1997).
– The arts help make visible those people who have traditionally been invisible in society (Coalter & Allison 2001).
– The arts give people the opportunity to interact socially thereby reducing isolation by helping people to make friends and strengthening community networks (Coalter, 2001a; Lowe, 2000; Matarasso, 1997).
– The arts provide opportunities for people to engage socially and strengthen social bonds.
– Community-based participatory arts projects can encourage intergenerational contact (Lowe, 2000; Matarasso, 1997; Perlstein, 1999).
2. Arts and culture can be used to brand a community and set it apart from others.
– A unique city vision can be created through the arts and culture, one that helps in marketing the community internationally and nationally, and appealing directly to local citizens. Examples of urban planning initiatives that create a brand for cities on the basis of the arts include Chemainus, BC’s, “Town of Murals” and Trois-Rivières, QC’s “Capital City of Poetry” (Azmier, 2002; Hannigan, 2003).
3. The arts can help foster a sense of ownership, belonging, and pride within a community.
– A sense of civic pride in residents can be achieved through the arts, leading to more engaged citizens and safer neighbourhoods (Azmier, 2002; Coalter, 2001a; Coalter, 2001b; Lowe, 2000; Matarasso, 1997; Pitts, 2004).
– Many struggling inner-city neighbourhoods have used the arts as a means of redefining the community’s collective identity. The arts have enabled communities to transform a negative image of their neighbourhood into a positive one (Lowe, 2001; Matarasso, 1997).
4. The arts help to preserve a collective memory and foster a continuing dialoque about the past.
– Images and buildings live beyond the lifespan of the individuals who created them thereby leaving a legacy for the next generation.
– Community art events create a common memory of the event and a positive commemoration of special occasions.
– The arts can be used in community rituals that encourage healing and celebration.”

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