Corporate Branding - Definition and Strategies
Corporate branding is a vital marketing concept that helps companies secure a strong position in the market. Dive into its essentials to make it work for you
Apple, with its staggering $242 billion in revenue, Google and its $207 billion a year, and other famous names that you have heard once or twice in your life are vivid representatives of firmly established and well-nurtured corporate brands.
These companies have reached for the Stars becoming commercial hits and synonyms of niches and categories in the market. How have they done that? A lot is hidden behind their success. However, they all have one thing in common: all of them have made the most out of corporate branding marketing.
Corporate branding is a powerful marketing instrument. It does wonders for businesses, whether it is a startup, local firm, or zingy SaaS company conquering the digital expanses for several years. The best part is it is not rocket science, nor is it a luxurious venture. It is affordable to everyone: anyone can repeat those success stories with the professional corporate branding company at hand. Though, there is a catch.
Nailing corporate branding is tricky. Everything starts with acquiring basic knowledge in this field to understand what corporate branding services you may need to avoid wasting your precious time, effort, resources, and money. Let us uncover the essentials to provide a solid foundation to move forward.
So, what is a corporate brand? Why is corporate branding important for companies? What are successful examples of corporate branding?
Corporate Branding Definition
An effective way to define corporate branding is to refresh in memory what is brand. The brand is a marketing and business concept whose goal is to encompass the company's value and mission and distinguish it in the market. With that in mind, let us move to corporate branding meaning.
What Is Corporate Branding?
A corporate branding is a practice to establish a business in the market and promote its values through various distribution channels. It showcases the company's personality and includes all the affairs and measures taken to succeed.
The objectives of corporate branding are:
- Make the company stand out from the crowd.
- Differentiate the company from the competitors.
- Assist in publicity, advertisement, sales, and other promotional activities.
- Reinforce position in the market.
- Maintain quality of product and customer service.
- Increase prestige of the company.
- Build up a reputation.
- Increase brand loyalty.
- Establish market leadership.
- Operate legally in countries.
- Protect the company legally.
Types of Corporate Branding
Definition of corporate branding does not involve types of corporate branding. However, they are essential for this concept and play a crucial role by helping businesses decide what corporate branding materials they need and what corporate brand strategy to adopt to achieve short-term and long-term goals.
The most popular types of the corporate branding that are worthy of exploring and trying in your endeavors to grow the market share are:
- Personal branding. It refers to branding a person or entrepreneur.
- Product branding. It refers to promoting a single product.
- Geographical branding. It refers to promoting a company based on a set of unique traits of the specific region.
- Cultural branding. It refers to promoting a company based on a set of unique traits of a specific culture.
- Service branding. It refers to actions that improve user experience and customer service to resonate with the market the best.
- Internet branding. It refers to positioning the company in the digital expanses.
- Offline branding. It refers to positioning the company in the real world.
- Co-branding. It refers to partnerships with other companies to maximize corresponding positions in the market.
Corporate Branding Advantages
Although corporate branding does not come in an all-size-fits-all shape, however, whatever type you intend to adopt, it will do these things for your business to thrive:
- It creates the first impression that counts.
- It produces a long-lasting impression.
- It represents the business avoiding confusion and disappointment.
- It shows the role company plays in the community.
- It sets the product and company apart from the other players in the saturated market.
- It amplifies the awareness of the company’s products, value, and mission.
- It maintains products and services in line with the company's values, vision, and mission.
- It helps to stay consistent regardless of fluctuations in the market.
- It brings value to customers.
- It increases the credibility and trustworthiness of the company, making it look professional.
- It helps to influence the decision-making process.
- It reinforces nurturing and retention campaigns.
- It increases the number of referrals.
- It helps to start word of mouth.
- It helps to attract ideal clients, which leads to higher conversion rates and less investment into promotion.
- It improves customer experience.
- It attracts the right employees letting companies extend a pool of professionals who help find new ways and solutions for improvement and enhancement.
- It increases staff retention and reduces recruitment costs.
- It escalates satisfaction and understanding of the organizational purpose, leading to high productivity.
- It enhances positive commentary in the media and community.
- It boosts conversions and revenue.
These benefits of corporate branding stress the importance of this marketing concept.
Importance of Corporate Branding
Given the corporate brand definition, the importance of corporate brand lies in defining the company personality and delivering customers the right vision and values. However, that is not all. The significance of the corporate branding concept is traced in such spheres as organizational development, human resources, business functions, marketing, sales, the value of the portfolio, relationships with others, and of course, community.
It is important because it does such essential things for the business as it:
- Prolongs the life of the product and company.
- Saves money and effort because products and services may sit underneath the corporate brand umbrella, using the same promotional toolkit and advertisement.
- Creates more sustainable relationships with customers and prospects.
- Gives a clear strategy for reaching goals and achieving success.
- Gives confidence in your business to charge what you are worth.
- Opens up opportunities to widen the sphere of influence and move into other markets to conquer new niches.
- Controls costs.
- Reinforces brand equity for products or services because it can transfer the benefits and reputation of the company to new products. This makes it easier to introduce new products, improve acceptance, and win over the place in the market.
- Reduces ambiguity when important decisions need to be made.
- Brings more favorable terms for promoting and advertising campaigns.
- Ensures a stronger position in the market and all sorts of negotiations.
- Helps to see through the economic crisis and decrease the consequences of unexpected events like a pandemic.
- Creates unique positions in the marketplace.
- Increases trust in stakeholders, including employees, distributors, and partners.
- Enhances the company and products and helps occupy its place in the community to protect it in times of doubt and crisis.
To sum up, investing in a strong corporate brand is a worthwhile decision for every company regardless of niche, scale, and target audience.
The next step in taming corporate branding is formulating, developing, and following the strategy. This brings us to another fundamental element of the corporate brand – corporate branding strategy.
Corporate Branding Strategies
From Apple to Coca-Cola to your local brand turned to be the top country's producer of dairy products, corporate branding is nothing without a good strategy.
As a crucial part of corporate brand management definition, it navigates business through all the obstacles by implementing solutions that meet the current needs and expectations of the target audience and ditch those that stopped working, skillfully adapting to the current situation in the market.
How to Create a Corporate Branding Strategy?
One of the things that makes creating strong corporate branding challenging is mainstream. For instance, according to recent studies, emotions influence over 90% of all shopping decisions, causing solutions that served well several years ago to fail.
However, this does not mean you have to reinvent the wheel. Although you have to do extra brainstorming and A/B testing, still the routine of finding the best corporate branding strategy for your company implies nailing the all-time favorite fundamental steps that are:
- Define the company's values, mission, and goals.
- Define a unique selling proposition.
- Define the brand's message and key points.
- Research target audience and describe an ideal client.
- Conduct a brand audit.
- Research competition.
- Define corporate brand guidelines.
- Develop a visual identity.
- Review and master marketing channels.
- Track brand performance and act quickly.
Let us consider them a little bit closer.
Define the company's values, mission, and goals
The first step in building the strategy is defining the company's qualities, features, and goals. It is also time to educate employees, especially the customer support team, about values and mission. Getting everyone on the same page helps channel efforts in the right direction and take the company to the next level.
Define a unique selling proposition
The next stage involves defining USP (a unique selling proposition). USP offers something that sets you apart from the competition. It also brings value to the customers, attracts prospects to your company, reinforces the corporate branding, echoes with the brand message, and illustrates the power of the product.
Define brand's message and key points
What features differentiate your business from the competition? The answer to this question should be your prime concern at this stage. The deal is it helps to define the strong brand image and strengthen such components of your digital presence as website, social media accounts, user experience, customer service communication, digital emails, and printing material.
Research target audience
Conducting thorough research of the target audience is one of the most crucial steps in developing a corporate branding strategy. It provides vital insights for creating products that meet customers' needs and expectations and running marketing campaigns that resonate with the prospects.
Conduct a brand audit
At this stage, your company needs to do self-evaluation to understand what it misses to achieve goals. A so-called SWOT analysis inspects a company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
On top of that, this stage is an excellent time to conduct surveys among your employees and customers to get an honest opinion on whether you meet the criteria and standards necessary to face competition and sell your products successfully.
Investigating competition is the next logical step to take. After analyzing your brand, it is time to examine your competitors. As a rule, you need to find answers to such vital questions as:
- What does make them different from you?
- What standard features do they have?
- Which distribution channels do they use?
- What design traits do they employ?
Define corporate brand guidelines
Brand guidelines underlie a visual identity. It is a framework that defines how you engage with clients and prospects. It includes such specific details as marketing assets, the size of the font, the number of colors to use in the logotype, and so on.
It is crucial because it helps the company to bring its values and personality to life and, at the same time, stay consistent with its message across numerous distribution channels.
Develop visual identity
This stage is all about creating a strong corporate branding design that effectively delivers the brand message and expresses the brand's personality, evoking the necessary gamut of emotions. As a rule, you will work out on such brand identity items as:
- Color scheme;
- Printing material;
- Visual elements, including graphics, illustrations, patterns, textures, icons, mascots, and stationery design.
Review and master marketing channels
There are many marketing channels to tap. However, the most influential are:
- Search Engine Optimization;
- Social Media Marketing;
- Email Marketing;
- Content Marketing;
- Online and Offline Advertising;
- Partnership marketing.
Note you do not necessarily need to master all of them. Depending on your budget, goals, and target audience, you may benefit from some of them.
Track brand performance and act quickly
Tracking such indicators as conversion rates, open rates, leads, and other crucial KPIs and trackable targets gives businesses real insight into how well the corporate brand strategy works. It also demonstrates the overall brand's performance and health, allowing judging the success more efficiently. On top of that, it is a reliable source of hints on what things drag you down and what works the best for your product and company.
At this stage, not only do businesses monitor marketing indicators, but they also adjust their plan of action to react to fluctuations in the market and meet new demands and expectations.
Last but not least
Depending on your niche, goal, mission, target audience, product lifecycle, and the current situation on the market, the corporate branding plan may include some other tactics as well. It is for your corporate branding agency to decide what is best for you.
Best Corporate Branding Examples
While some compare and contrast corporate brand vs product brand examples, we will focus on successful branding examples.
Our first case in point is going to be Apple. It is one of the best corporate branding examples in the World. Why? Well, it has made the most out of this marketing concept, revolutionizing some of its methods along the way.
Apple's branding strategy revolves around bringing value to the customers, meeting current standards, strengthening their reputation, and starting trends. And it pays off. The company is a widely recognized trendsetter, with some of its gadgets serving as synonyms of specific niches. Their reputation always assists product launch and all sorts of promotions.
As a result, the company asks what they are worth, even though those tag prices can be a little bit inflated.
Tesla is one of the most inspiring corporate branding products in the World. It took the market by storm several years ago and generated US$53.8 billion in 2021.
This automotive conglomerate is also synonymous with the whole category. It has successfully carved a niche for itself, even though it was not the first one to introduce the electric car to the public.
Their branding strategy is based on clever promotions of high-quality and exclusive features through all distribution channels and capitalizing on social media and advertisement campaigns. They position themselves as a unique company that sets the new trend for the whole World.
Among numerous company branding examples, this one takes up the top position. Thanks to a well-thought-out corporate branding strategy, it was managed to do such important things as:
- Coined the term "Just Do It," making it a slogan for millions of athletes out there.
- Gave the name for their logo, making it widely known among the crowd.
- Became a synonym of the sports category.
As a result, the corporation enjoyed $37.40 billion in revenue last year.
However, the success did not come easy to the company. From finding the right voice to educating the crowd about the correct pronunciation of the brand name to enduring partnerships with famous sportspeople and celebrities, the brand team constantly invests in branding.
Microsoft certainly stands out from the crowd among numerous successful examples of corporate brands. It has been with us for ages, and it still rocks. Like all listed above cases, some of its products can be called synonyms of specific categories.
The secret ingredient of their branding lies in the fact that the company has a range of consumer brands under its umbrella. Therefore, at some point, it belongs to two Worlds. It is both a consumer and corporate brand. However, thanks to the clever strategy of sharing the same values and staying consistent with the message, the company has a strong position and enjoys one of the most significant revenue in the market, $161 billion.
Amazon is the most influential corporate branding example in the digital World, and particular e-commerce niche. It is even a synonym of digital commerce. This multinational conglomerate also works in such sectors as cloud computing, digital streaming, and artificial intelligence.
Transitioned from digital retailer to sales platform in 2000, it enjoyed a staggering revenue of $469.822 billion last year. Clever rebranding and constant adjustments and enhancements of brand strategy helped this company fight the competition and become one of the most successful projects in the World.
The secret ingredient is that the team maintains consistency across consumer, customer, and employer sub-brands, regularly reinforces the brand image, and offers products and services that satisfy the ever-changing market's needs.
According to recent studies, there are 213.65 million companies worldwide today; and the lion's share of them are well-established corporate brands.
Whether it is a local firm, a digital startup, or a huge multinational conglomerate, corporate branding can take businesses to the next level by offering a range of benefits. For instance, it sets the company apart from the competition, promotes products, builds reputation, enhances credibility, creates a solid foundation to run various marketing campaigns, and increases revenue. That is not all; it also creates a much-needed emotional connection between the company and target audience that influences the decision–making process and prolongs the life of the company and product.
However, developing a strong corporate brand that secures all the above advantages is not that easy. It takes time, effort, resources, investment, and professional branding agency to develop a corporate brand strategy that formulates and delivers the company's vision and mission and offers a valid plan to achieve short-term and long-term goals.