What Is Corporate Branding and How to Do It Right
Like everything else in life, if you want to get customers -or retain regular ones- it is vital to have a brand that manages to convey a positive message to the target audience. It often happens that entrepreneurs create a brand to put an image to their services or products in front of the public.
However, the brand must transmit more than what you sell: the values you have, why did you start the business, what you do for the customers or what differentiates you from other companies. And this is where a very important marketing term comes into play: corporate branding.
What is corporate branding? Definition for dummies
According to Wikipedia, the meaning of this kind of branding is as follows:
The practice of promoting the brand name of a corporate entity, as opposed to specific products or services. The activities and thinking that go into corporate branding are different from product and service branding because the scope of a corporate brand is typically much broader. Although this is a distinct activity from product or service branding, these different forms of branding can, and often do, take place side-by-side within a given corporation. The ways in which corporate brands and other brands interact is known as the corporate brand architecture.
In other words, it's simply creating a brand that people recognize and associate with something.
Examples of easily recognizable brands
Let's do a little test. Try to think of a brand when you read the following concepts in less than 2 seconds:
- Home movies and series
- Fast food
- Football team
Now check to see if any of these brands were related to the previous ideas:
- Apple or Samsung
- McDonald’s or Burger King
- Real Madrid or Barcelona
- Nike or Adidas
I bet I wasn't too far off, right?
Advantages and disadvantages of a brand image
Of course, before you start designing your branding plan you should know the pros and cons of this marketing strategy.
Benefits of a corporate brand
Among the advantages of a corporate image are the following
- It remains more in the memory: who doesn't know what Red Bull is? His branding is so strong that it's impossible to hear its music and not think about the brand.
- Loyalty: the customer will feel much more identified with your business, so he or she will be more loyal to the brand.
- Closeness: in a branding strategy you have to unite the brand with certain values, which will make it look less artificial.
- Reference brand: even if they are not your customers, your company's name will always be there. For example, if you are going to ask someone for a tissue, you will surely say "can I borrow a kleenex?"...
Disadvantages of corporate image
Of course, a corporate brand also has disadvantages:
- Expensive: at first you will have spend some money without seeing a ROI, since it is a long process.
- Slow: the results of a branding plan start to show after a certain time. Because creating the "personality" of your brand is not something that is done overnight.
How to create your corporate identity plan from scratch
Now that you know what corporate branding is and what its advantages and disadvantages are, it's your turn to know how to elaborate a branding strategy step by step to conquer your audience.
1. Who are you?
It's impossible to build a corporate identity if you don't know who the hell you are. Thus, it is of utmost importance to define your most representative features and how you want to be perceived.
When defining your business model, the ideal thing is to create a value proposition, that is, features that make you different from the competition and for a consumer to choose you.
- Differentiation: the reason you have to be chosen.
- Buyer persona: what is your target audience.
- Relevance: how your service or product helps the consumer.
A great example of a business with a great value proposition is Starbucks, which makes customers feel like they are at home when they have a cup of coffee instead of in a coffee shop.
2. Who are you addressing?
Obviously, you need to know how to adapt your message to your buyer persona. If your business is aimed at older people, too much formal language could set them back.
If there is no consistency between your brand and the "life philosophy" (tastes, needs, concerns, etc.) of your potential customer, he will not feel identified.
3. What are your values?
The importance of transmitting values and emotions is underestimated, when it is really a way of empathizing with the target audience and providing added value.
Surely you have paid more for a brand that has transmitted "something" to you, haven't you? Some examples may be the following:
- Apple: Quality and speed
- Ferrari: power and elegance
- Converse: reliability and joviality
Design a brand consistent with your values
At this point of corporate branding, and with all the data I've given you so far, it's up to you to roll up your sleeves and start designing the following factors:
A good name is the brand's presentation card. It can be related to your services or products (like British Telecom) or not (like Harrods).
The type of colour used transmits certain sensations, so you have to choose well. For example, a reddish color indicates passion (like Netflix), while a cooler color conveys reliability (like Dell).
The logo is the company's visual representation, so it has to be consistent with the value proposition, target audience, etc.
Originality should not be confused with complicating things. And that's because a complex typography will be less legible.
The design of your website should convey your values without affecting the user experience (UX).
To ensure that all these points are synchronized, it is necessary to create a corporate identity manual.
Corporate branding strategy
Getting to the heart of the matter, some of the best strategies that can be incorporated into a branding plan are.
Content Curation consists of searching, collecting, filtering and selecting the most important information on the Internet (social networks, blogs, websites, etc.), in order to share it later with the target audience. This brings great value to the community.
Content Marketing is the art of understanding exactly what users need to know in order to deliver it in a relevant and compelling way. In other words, it's about creating and distributing relevant content to customers and potential clients in order to attract them to your business and connect with them.
It is not, therefore, promotional content but useful and relevant to users and to the company that has to be provided through appropriate formats:
- Social: posts, tweets, updates on social networks, etc.
- Online: newsletter, ebooks, etc.
- Paper: corporate magazine, brochures, etc.
- Multimedia: videos, podcasts,, etc.
Let the world know your brand with corporate branding
Although branding may sound Greek to you, as if it were not the case with you and was more typical of multinationals, you have to understand it as another pillar of your brand. And in these times in which businesses have more and more online presence it becomes more important.
If you have come this far, it means that corporate branding interests you more than anyone else, so you should ask yourself one question: why aren't you applying it to your business right now? Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. Or, in other words, don’t procrastinate!