WHAT IS CORPORATE BRANDING?
The term corporate branding describes the promotion of the brand name of corporate or commercial business, rather than products or services. The work that goes into creating corporate branding differs from product and service branding in that the scale is normally significantly wider, being applied mainly to larger-scale businesses. While corporate branding is recognisably distinct from product or service branding, these separate means of branding can occur in tandem within a single corporation – in some instances they will complement and strengthen one another, increasing the overall effect, but this isn’t always feasible or even desirable (some brands are best left to stand-alone). How corporate brands and their related brands combine is called corporate brand architecture.
UNDERSTANDING CORPORATE BRANDING
If your business has not yet created its strategy for corporate branding, the best time to start is now. Please set aside any notions that this seems too much like hard work – many clients tell us they feel like they are way too busy to begin again on logos, brochures, packaging, website, marketing collateral, social media, and so on… but when the business looks, sounds and feels unified and corporate with its own, unique, well-honed branding edge, they acknowledge it is well worth the effort.
Basically, the longer the delay, the more opportunities you miss to progress your business faster, and the more entrenched customers’ misconceptions become about your company’s brand. At Propel, we have an impressively big file of case studies showing how dysfunctional a business brand can become through years of misdirection or, well, no easy way to say it – neglect. As we said, best start the overhaul today.
WHY YOU SHOULD INVEST IN YOUR CORPORATE BRANDING?
With painful regularity, corporate branding is regarded as merely changing the company logo. This assumption is not only simplistic, but it is also wrong, to the point of being detrimental to the financial health of the business.
Yes, your logo, colours, tagline and so on are important, but we recommend you only review them after your strategy has been finalised. Good, productive corporate branding deserves your comprehensive focus, drawing on more professional expertise and action than a made-over marketing shop window stocked with irrelevant promises.
Put a solid corporate branding strategy in place and you make it easier to:
a) develop your long-term vision and
b) create and exploit distinctive positions in the market place.
When your corporate brand strategy is thought-out, it is easy for your whole company, from shop floor to boardroom, to understand the idea behind it, and to implement the actions required. The most accessible strategies for corporate branding can enable even entire global corporations to maximise the value of their assets, fixed and non-fixed alike.
Properly executed corporate branding strategies create a halo effect of Branding Excellence throughout the company’s people, which in turn encourages pride in the business and better performance and results. All going well, more people perceive the company as a place worth working; they are attracted to work for you, results kick on again… you see how it works. All rooted in preparing the strategy.
ARE CORPORATE BRANDING AND COMPANY BRANDING THE SAME THING?
Yes and no. While we are at this point, let’s add Business Branding and Enterprise Marketing into the mix. To a certain extent, they are all pretty similar with only the scale of the project differentiating one from another.
The terms Company Branding and Business Branding tend to refer to single-site and smaller businesses, whereas Corporate Branding refers more to multi-site, national and, most commonly, international businesses. Enterprise Branding focuses more on attracting and securing new customers, versus serving your existing clientele.
The processes used are essentially identical, and no matter what type of entity you are dealing with, you are still branding a business or organisation of some kind.
WHAT IS BRANDING IN BUSINESS AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
The branding business goes back a long way, and the model of business branding has always been the same, from the days of the Wild West, up to the multi-media market place of today. Cattle ranchers in the Old West had to brand-mark their herds to differentiate them from their competitors’ and neighbours’ stock; they did their branding with hot irons, searing letters or shapes onto the hides, literally to mark them out. The same still holds today, where companies, products, or services attach a name and a symbol or shape to their goods and communications.
Branding in business refers to every touchpoint your business has with the outside world, including prospects, existing customers, suppliers, employees and stakeholders.
Now think about how important that is for a second: consider how you would like to be perceived by each group. Next, think about how each group currently perceives you. Is it as you would like?
Being part of a business that makes a difference has an inspirational and motivational feeling to it. Contributing to the success of a company that is identifiable through a powerful, unique brand image carries a certain cachet. Management and staff alike are proud to say they work for a major-league company – after all, these companies are superstars in the marketing universe, and they all have managed to burn their name, mark and attitude onto millions of minds and memories. Such companies prosper through more than a logo and a slogan or tagline – their brand touches our emotions and instincts.
It is important to understand the business of branding. Only then can you harness branding’s strengths, and genuinely set about branding your business in ways that help you stand out from the crowd. As branding and marketing consultants Propel works with businesses of many sizes, in numerous sectors, to do just that – be outstanding.
WHY DO BUSINESSES USE BRANDING?
Businesses use branding to give them an edge. It allows them to stand out from their competitors and become desirable. The importance of branding a business lies in the ability to engage the target market, wherever and whenever it is encountered, and to out-think and overcome rival brands.
Four real reasons branding is important:
1. GIVES YOU A SALES EDGE 2. BUILDS GOODWILL 3. PROTECTS YOUR GOOD NAME IF THINGS GO AWRY 4. MAKES IT EASIER TO NETWORK WITH POTENTIAL CLIENTS AND INFLUENTIAL DECISION-MAKERS
Those are the stripped-down key benefits of branding if you can get it right. Getting branding absolutely on point is another matter, usually best dealt with by a professional branding consultancy such as Propel, where experience, expertise and creativity in not just branding but also design and marketing can accelerate the journey to business growth.
If you would like to learn more about branding, check out our branding hub here!
About the author: Vincent Bissette is the Creative & Managing Director of Propel Marketing & Design, as well as acting as a Brand Advisor at various client companies. For over 30 years Vincent has been helping local and national companies across the UK achieve greater commercial success while minimising the cost of doing it. Vincent has been at the heart of design and marketing in Glasgow for 30 years and. Throughout that time, there’s not much he hasn't done or many industries he hasn't worked in. Now based in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire with Propel Marketing and Design he looks to continue to transform the fortunes of businesses through modern, professional branding.
Get in touch with him on Linkedin here