WHAT IS CORPORATE BRANDING?
The term corporate branding describes the promotion of the brand name of a corporate or commercial business, not of its 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. However, this isn’t always feasible or even desirable (some brands are best left to stand alone). How corporate brands and their sub-brands are combined and organised is called 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, it's best to start the overhaul today.
WHY YOU SHOULD INVEST IN YOUR CORPORATE BRANDING?
With painful regularity, corporate branding is regarded as merely changing the company's logo. This assumption is not only simplistic but also wrong, to the point that it's 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,
b) create and exploit distinctive positions in the marketplace.
When your corporate brand strategy is well thought out, it is easy for your whole company, from shop floor to boardroom, to understand the idea behind it and 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, better performance and results. If all is going well, more people will perceive the company as a place worth working for and results will 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, only the scale of the project differentiates 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 regardless of 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?
Business branding goes back a long way, and its model has always been the same, from the days of the Wild West to the multi-media marketplace 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: companies attach a name, a symbol or shape to their products and services in their communications.
Business branding 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 and consider how you would like to be perceived by each group. Next, think about how each group currently perceives you. Do they align?
Being part of a business that makes a difference has an inspirational and motivational feeling to it. A company that is identifiable through a powerful, unique brand image carries a certain cachet. It strongly contributes to the success of the company. While at the same time, 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 the strengths of branding and start branding your business in ways that help you stand out from the crowd. As a freelance Brand Strategy and Design Consultant, I work with businesses of many sizes, in numerous sectors, to do just that – help you become outstanding and overshine your competitors.
WHY DO BUSINESSES USE BRANDING?
Businesses use branding to give themselves 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.
Why is branding important? Here are four real reasons.
gives you a sales edge,
protects your good name if things go awry,
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 specialist branding consultancy or a freelance Brand Strategy and Design Consultant, where experience, expertise and creativity in not just branding but also in design and marketing can accelerate the journey to business growth.
About the author: Vincent Bissette is a freelance Brand Strategy and Design Consultant with over 30 years experience of branding and rebranding businesses and organisations, systematically, thoroughly and objectively. He has worked in major Design Consultancies as well as having run his own agency for 25 years, working with SMEs all over the UK to help them modernise their brand, grow their business, attract new customers, penetrate new markets and increase their sales, market share and profit. Throughout that time, there’s not much he hasn't done or many industries he hasn't worked in. He’s a creative, strategic thinker and problem solver with a wealth of experience in diagnosing trouble spots in brands and discovering their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Now based in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, he works throughout the entire UK.
Get in touch with him on Linkedin here