How is corporate branding done?
A company’s self-image plays a crucial role in conveying a catchy yet positive corporate image to its target audience. Corporate branding helps you create an identity for your company by reflecting the essential elements of your corporate identity and clearly communicating corporate goals and visions to your target groups.
This article addresses the key issues surrounding corporate branding.
What is a corporate brand?
Nowadays, it is enormously important that companies clearly distinguish themselves from each other and present themselves coherently if they want to be successful. It is therefore worthwhile to establish a corporate brand. The corporate brand differs from the “conventional brand” in the respect that it is not only a product brand, but a brand for the whole company. This also shifts the focus of the target group: while a brand primarily aims to remain in the customer’s memory, the corporate brand defines its target group more broadly by addressing all stakeholder groups – be they employees, suppliers, etc. The company is seen as a whole. The company as a whole is defined as a brand. With a corporate brand, you pursue the goal of creating a consistent corporate image, both with your customers and with your employees and all other stakeholders. It involves profiling the entire company.
How do you explain corporate branding?
Corporate branding refers to the process by which a corporate brand is developed and profiled in order to be anchored consistently in the minds of stakeholders. It is therefore primarily a matter of marking the entirety of a company. The essential factors are to be brought into line: the strategic goals of the company management, the attitudes of the employees, the uniform appearance of the company to the outside world, etc. All this should merge into a unified image, a self-image of the company, which is also reflected in the perceived corporate image among stakeholders. For this purpose, the creation of a corporate identity will now be examined in more detail – the development of a corporate identity.
How do you create a corporate identity?
By creating a recognizable identity as well as a unique positioning, you can have a significant influence on your customers’ buying decisions as well as positively shape your employees’ identification with your business. The creation of an unmistakable corporate personality is often accompanied by an increase in the acceptance of your services or products. Customers have a positive attitude towards new products of your company, if they correspond to the familiar image of your business. Although corporate identity (= CI) and company identity are often used synonymously, the two terms cannot necessarily be equated. Corporate Identity is rather the comprehensive strategy behind it, with which you create a clear and unambiguous company identity. The basic idea behind CI is quite simple: companies are perceived as a social system just like people. According to this, one also looks at their behavior, culture and communication, to anticipate just a few of the core elements of CI. Accordingly, the term Corporate Identity describes all identity characteristics of a company. That means, your company creates a self-image with which it wants to establish itself as a brand. As mentioned before, CI consists of three essential elements: corporate behavior, corporate communication and corporate design. In addition to these three basic elements, one also often speaks of an identity mix. In this, the previously mentioned elements are expanded by a fourth – the corporate culture.
What does corporate branding involve?
In order to establish your own company as a brand, you should first make decisive considerations regarding your company’s self-image. A corporate identity encompasses the key elements mentioned earlier: corporate behavior, corporate communication, corporate design and corporate culture.
Starting with corporate behavior, this refers to the behavior of employees, or more broadly: the behavior of the company. With which behavior does your company try to achieve its goals?
In more detail, corporate behavior is again divided into three behavioral areas:
1. What management style is practiced in your company?
2. How does your company present itself in relation to the media? Which communication tools are used? What does public relations look like?
3. How do your employees behave internally? How do they act externally (e.g., towards customers or other stakeholders)?
The next element – corporate communication – refers to the entire communication in your business, i.e., both internal and external communication.
What values and norms of your business are communicated to the outside world? Even if there are different target groups, a unified message should still be conveyed, or even more importantly, because of this. Corporate communication concerns all communication channels on which advertising messages are transported, public relations as well as internal communication. This identity feature significantly influences the image and appearance of a corporate brand.
The third element deals with corporate design. Corporate design (= CD) is often equated with CI, but it means something completely different. Behind the term Corporate Design lies the visual appearance of your business.
– What typography is used to represent your business name?
– What does your logo look like?
– How is your company homepage designed?
– What do your business premises look like?
How do you use corporate branding?
Corporate identity creates the self-image of your company. A clear definition of your corporate identity includes the positioning and values that fit your corporate culture. This self-image forms the basis for creating a corporate brand. The corporate brand allows your company to be perceived as unique both internally by employees and externally by all stakeholders. Certain values are associated with your company, your brand, and this in turn creates added value for the products or services you offer. A strong corporate brand inevitably leads to a popular employer brand. Accordingly, the employer brand develops from this. The quality as an employer significantly shapes the image of your company. And the identification of the employees with the company creates trust in the company among the target group. This makes it clear that corporate branding is not only about how you as a company “appear to the outside world”, but also the “effect on the inside”, your role as an employer is of great importance. The benefit of corporate branding lies in the fact that you convey a uniform, positive and, above all, unique corporate image to your stakeholders. Corporate branding is only truly successful when both your customers and your employees have a positive overall impression of your company and both target groups have confidence in your business.
Why is a corporate brand so important?
As described above, corporate branding creates an added value for your company. Even if you want to expand, exchange or otherwise change the services or products offered by your business, they will be associated with the image of your business. Therefore, you should be very clear about the image you want to convey to all target groups in advance. The image is crucial, because once a corporate brand has manifested itself to customers and other stakeholders, changes in the external image are difficult to bring about. If contradictions occur – for example, when new products are introduced that do not match the corporate identity – this can lead to a loss of identity. So, make sure to leave some design scope in your corporate brand, so that your image towards the target group does not necessarily suffer in case of a change.
How do you do corporate branding right?
To ensure that you succeed in corporate branding, it is important to reflect on the distinction between the two terms “corporate identity” and “corporate image”. While corporate identity means the self-image with which you want to establish your business as a brand, corporate image means the external image. How do your stakeholders see your business? How do competitors perceive your company? In corporate identity, we strive to shape our self-image in the way we want to be perceived. You should always compare this self-image with your corporate image to ensure that your corporate brand is conveyed to the target group in the way it was intended.
How can corporate branding be improved?
Corporate branding can be specifically improved through corporate brand management (= CBM). CBM aims to strengthen and maintain the corporate brand in the long term. The aim of the measures in corporate brand management is not only to build up a strong brand in the sense of the company’s own identity, but also to maintain it successfully and, if necessary, to develop it further. Corporate branding is always successful when your corporate brand is remembered by your stakeholders. Customers should remember your product solely through your corporate brand. Your workforce should perceive your company as a desirable employer. The employer brand is subordinate to the corporate brand. Ideally, your company “also gets a face” by having your employees become brand ambassadors (see Internal Branding).