Have you ever wondered how brands like Apple, Starbucks, and Netflix manage to achieve worldwide recognition and success? The secret lies in their global strategy.
Corporate branding is an extremely important marketing concept that has a great impact on a company’s place as a brand on the market – it supports businesses to ensure their strong position. Anyone who would like to sell services or products effectively should recognize that brand building is a crucial component of success.
You can notice the importance of brand building on many levels of social life. From a nursing mother who trusts only Nestle products, through a teenager who feels best in Nike shoes, to a retiree who likes driving a Fiat car the most.
Branding combined with effective marketing, proper communication and corporate social responsibility is the foundation of a successful corporate branding strategy that helps to reach clients, investors and employees.
So, what is the difference between a corporate brand and corporate branding? What should corporate branding strategy look like? You will find the answers to these questions in our guide. We also provide some examples of brands and their corporate branding here.
Important terms: Corporate brands and corporate branding
Before you find out the definition of corporate branding, you need to understand what a corporate brand is. This term refers to a marketing and business concept, whose goal is to combine corporate values and the company’s mission, as well as make the business stand out from the competition. Now let’s focus on the corporate branding definition.
Corporate branding encompasses the consistency in all marketing and communication aspects, such as, products, services, product packaging, advertising campaigns, loyalty programs, but also the company name, logo, office equipment and working conditions for employees.
Simply speaking, the corporate brand represents the company’s brand, while corporate branding means the creation, the management and the further development of the corporate brand.
Corporate brand management is a special type of brand management. It defines the creation and development of a corporate brand, as well as activities ensuring that the brand interacts with the relevant target audience.
Is there a difference between a company’s image and a brand image?
You know what corporate branding is, but you should also be able to distinguish between the image of the brand and the company, as those are two different things.
- Another name for the company’s corporate image is the corporate identity. It is a way in which you present your brand to the world through trademarks, advertising, product design and public relations.
- The brand image, i.e., a strong corporate identity of the brand, refers to the perception of the business by consumers.
What are the types of corporate branding?
We distinguish multiple types of branding, so it is very important to choose corporate branding strategies that match the needs of our company and to pay special attention when implementing them. An appropriate corporate branding strategy allows for the effective execution of outlined goals and milestones, both short-term, possible to change almost immediately, and long-term, requiring a bit more planning. The types of corporate branding include, among others, product, cultural, personal, service, and internet branding.
What are the goals of corporate branding?
Developing the corporate brand is the main purpose of corporate branding. This requires effective and harmonious implementation of such elements as:
- a business strategy
- a business profile
- a brand style
- the attitude of employees towards the company.
If all these factors fit together and create a coherent image, a corporate brand can account for up to half (!) of the company’s value.
For this reason, the development of the company and distinguishing it from the competition are the main objectives of corporate branding. In addition, corporate branding helps in advertising, promoting and selling products or services. A good branding strategy also strengthens the company’s position on the market, helps to maintain the quality of products or services as well as customer service in the company, increases its prestige, and builds its reputation. Loyal customers can put you in the leader’s position of a particular industry. Branding therefore allows not only to attract, but also to retain a customer.
Since it is not enough to just define the company’s identity, create the matching design and set the appropriate corporate communication in order to create an effective brand policy, there is a need for branding, which provides a further development of visual identification. Another important step is to build the corporate identity, focusing on the brand’s positioning on the market as well as its values that should be adjusted to the corporate culture and business strategy.
The corporate identity is about setting the company as a unique entity both internally and externally. For this reason, corporate branding aims to present the corporate brand outside and inside the business, increasing its value and eliciting particular feelings in consumers.
What is more, through ecological, economic and social sustainability, the brand gains added value for its products. Otherwise, they would be easily replaceable.
What are the advantages of a corporate brand?
Regardless of the actions taken, corporate branding can give the company a chance to grow, as the benefits are enormous. However, above all, it is important to create a good first impression.
First impressions of the brand matter, but the long-term associations are even more important. Activities related to the corporate brand help to make a brand stand out from other competitors, strengthen awareness of the products, values, or mission of the company, as well as keep products harmonious with other branding elements. So what are the other corporate branding advantages?
Thanks to corporate branding, the brand can maintain a coherent, constant and credible image, regardless of temporary trends or difficulties that appear on the market. A well-thought-out and conducted branding also allows the company to present itself in a much more professional and unique way.
What else can entrepreneurs gain through an effective branding strategy? Most importantly, it is a great opportunity to gain new customers, appear on the market and stand out from the competition. A well-thought-out plan helps to encourage the clients to obtain certain products or services, increases website traffic, and arouses the interest of potential buyers, especially those willing to make positive purchasing decisions. A branding strategy is a great way to save on the promotional budget while attracting interest and increasing demand.
It is also worth adding that a corporate brand influences not only customers and buyers, but also employees or associates of a given brand. Thanks to the effective process, it is possible to create a team of local and trusted specialists without constant changes in the company’s structure and frequent recruitment. Corporate branding has a positive effect on the morale and thus the productivity of employees.
Of course, the branding strategy is also the perfect way to conquer social media and gain popularity online, using various platforms as well as collaborating with influencers. Reaching out to a wider audience effectively definitely helps to earn more profits. As you can see, a corporate brand has many advantages, but you need to remember that the key for success is to plan an appropriate branding strategy carefully.
Why is corporate branding important?
Why is corporate branding important? Above all, it helps to define the corporate brand personality and show customers the vision and values of the company properly. The importance of the corporate branding is particularly crucial in such areas as:
- organizational development,
- the company’s value,
- public relations,
Corporate branding has not only a great impact on adding (and increasing) the value of the product, but also the company itself. It allows companies to save money and effort because all products and services fall under the same corporate brand, and therefore use the same promotional tools or advertisements. It also helps to create a more balanced relationship not only between existing customers, but also potential ones. What is more, through corporate branding, companies can build a clear strategy with goals and plans to achieve success.
In addition, corporate branding allows companies to expand their sphere of influence and reach other markets effectively. It enables full control of cost and strengthens brand equity, transferring the benefits and reputation of the business to the products. As a result, it is easier to introduce new offers or gain success in more markets.
Decisions in marketing campaigns also firmly rely on corporate branding, as advertising materials need to be harmonious with the brand’s image. As it has been already highlighted, the branding strategy strenghtens the company’s position on the market and makes economic crises or consequences of unforeseeable events easier to overcome.
Thanks to an appropriate corporate branding strategy, it is possible to increase trust in employees, distributors and business partners. What is more, it anchors the company and its products, assuring a place in the community, in spite of economic fluctuations or other social difficulties.
Is it worth investing in a strong corporate brand? Definitely! No matter how big a company is, this is a great step for any business, which will certainly pay off and bring profits in the future, regardless of the type of industry or target audience.
Who should be responsible for a corporate branding process?
Even though corporate branding provides many advantages, it should not be seen as an essential element for every company. It is rather aimed at businesses that have a wide range of products or services. The brand logo visible on each product makes it recognizable and evokes specific emotions in consumers. When offering different types of products, you should invest primarily in brand marketing rather than separate marketing for an individual product.
The corporate branding strategy helps to make consumers associate all products with one brand, and treat each product as a part of a whole. An effective corporate brand allows you to minimize the large scale marketing needs for individual products or services and save you some money.
Corporate branding is therefore the right choice for those business owners who want to:
- improve and develop the relationship and network of suppliers (greater brand visibility gives more collaboration opportunities with contractors and business partners),
- increase the interest in the company among consumers,
- attract more media attention,
- transfer brand equity to all products
What does the development of a corporate brand look like?
Corporate brand management is a key success factor for the sustainable and effective management and development of the brand. On the other hand, corporate brand equity is difficult to measure, as the brand value is about a good and deep relationship with the target group. Therefore, it means that brand capital of the corporate brand must be determined differently.
Corporate brand management is understood as a holistic approach that combines different concepts from strategic brand management. Its goal is to further develop the corporate brand in a wider context.
How to create a corporate branding strategy?
A properly prepared corporate branding strategy is quite a challenge, but it is not impossible to do. One needs to remember that corporate branding does not require companies to completely change everything about their brand. However, additional brainstorming is necessary. You also need to use basic corporate branding techniques related to the brand value, its goals and mission. They help to define key points, brand message and the target group.
Step one: Focus on the company’s mission and values
It is important to identify the characteristics of the brand and the company, as well as the goals and values in the corporate branding strategy. Employees should be educated on this subject as well. This is an essential aspect of building a coherent brand image because both marketing campaigns and messages spread by the team need to be presented accordingly to the brand.
Step two: Define your target audience
We have discussed the importance of the business’s values and mission, so now it is time to bring to the attention the group who is the recipient of the company’s communication. It is crucial to know your clients in order to attract them and gain more opportunities to build consumer loyalty.
Step three: Conduct a brand audit
The goal of a brand audit is an in-depth and scrupulous analysis as part of the branding strategy to find possible weaknesses and shortcomings – aspects and issues that could still be improved to achieve even better results and profit. The SWOT analysis is a very effective tool for this purpose. It focuses on showing both the strengths and weaknesses of a given company, its opportunities, as well as possible threats and other negative factors. You can also conduct various types of research and surveys or ask for comments and opinions about the brand from both employees and customers. In this way, you can learn a lot about the quality of the products and services you offer and get a chance for possible development and improvement of shortcomings, as to stand out from the competition and gain even greater popularity.
Once you’ve carried out these activities, pay attention to your competitors. Check what distinguishes them, whether they are consistent in their branding, what marketing channels they use, and even what opinions customers leave about them. Read reviews, listen, and make sure to do the right analysis of marketing campaigns.
Step Four: Establish a USP
USP is a Unique Value Proposition that allows you to stand out from your competitors. This is essential to conduct branding of your business, as your marketing team needs to define and present it in order to reach potential customers. Are you wondering what makes your company different? Brainstorm and create a list of strengths and weaknesses, as well as search for unique characteristics that clearly represent the advantages your brand offers. With the client’s features and competition analysis, you have everything you need to create a USP.
Corporate branding is about creating a unique brand, different from the competition, so your goal should be to gain a competitive advantage. In order to do that, you need to find out what distinguishes the competitors from the business you research, what standard functions they have, what distribution channels and marketing campaigns they use, as well as how their brand identity looks like.
What makes the brand stand out from the competition? This is the right time to find the answer to this question. Defining the brand message and its key points helps build a strong corporate brand image, as well as media presence. This includes website, customer service, internal and external communications, e-mails, mailing campaigns, social media or printed materials. Without it, corporate branding does not exist.
Step five: Find your brand voice
This is an extremely important aspect of branding, as it allows you to build a strong image and make the company memorable.
How to start? Find three words that describe your brand best. Is it complicated for you? Well, make a list of more words, then cross them out until there are only three left. The next step is to share what your message is with everyone who should be involved in the process – your marketing and customer service team, as well as customers. Only then there is a chance that the brand will leave a clear mark on the market.
Step six: Create a visual identity
We are now getting into more advanced stages of corporate branding. Corporate brand building should start with creating an effective brand message as well as brand personality and identity. What is more, a brand voice should be formulated in such a way that it evokes appropriate emotions in recipients. What is corporate brand identity?
The brand identity and corporate brand identity are built by designing elements such as logos, typography, colors, printed marketing materials, graphics, illustrations, patterns, icons, mascots, gadgets, stationery designs, etc. You can read about the impact of visual identity on brand identity in the article “Corporate identity vs. Brand identity” on the Nopio blog.
Step seven: Monitor the results of your activities
The review of the statistics is a very important step for assessing whether all corporate branding activities bring the expected results. Track such results as:
- conversion and open rates,
- bounce rate as well as other key KPIs,
- the number of website users,
- the number of potential clients and all other traceable metrics.
This gives the company a true picture of the effects of corporate branding strategy and helps to define areas that need improving. It also shows the strength of brand performance, ensuring the correct assessment of success. What is more, the review of the results is a reliable source of information on what causes problems in your business and what works best. However, monitoring the indicators is not enough. You also should adapt the corporate branding plan to react quickly to market fluctuations or changes in customer requirements and expectations. Branding needs to be flexible.
It depends on the goals, mission, target group, industry, and the current market situation to choose other activities that can be implemented in the corporate brand plan. It is best to work with a branding agency such as Nopio, which knows exactly what is best for the company and perfectly carries out effective corporate branding.
What are the examples of corporate branding?
Corporate brands, companies and products can be compared in many ways. What examples of corporate branding strategies should you consider when creating your own strategies?
The Coca-Cola’s corporate branding strategy
Coca-Cola is a real tycoon in the carbonated drinks industry. The Coca-Cola bottle, which is already considered iconic, is shaped in such a way that consumers can recognize it even without any printing or engraving. In their branding story, a lot of focus is put on a happy lifestyle, regardless of age. The Coca-Cola Christmas Truck campaign targets family and friends, especially at the end of the year. After all, Coca-Cola is associated with Christmas ads as well as the famous truck with Santa Claus and the huge Coca-Cola inscription. This is how their brand strategy works – it is meant to evoke warm feelings and be family oriented.
The sweetened drinks are popular all over the world, although the brand has introduced Coca-Cola Zero products that do not contain sugar. This move is their attempt to improve the health benefits of their offer and to meet their clients’ needs. It also shows perfectly how corporate branding works.
What do you think about when you hear the name “Coca-Cola”? Most probably the first things that come to your mind are various types of meetings with family or friends, as well as brand colors – red and white. This corporate brand is also associated with the typography of the trademark and even the characteristic flavor of the drink.
Nike’s corporate branding
When it comes to the best examples of corporate branding, one cannot forget about Nike’s corporate brand strategy. It is an American multinational corporation that manufactures and sells footwear, clothing, appliances, accessories, and services. The name of the company comes from Nike, the Greek goddess of victory. And undoubtedly, the brand is a winner in many areas. Nike provides innovative products, experiences, and services that inspire not only athletes but all consumers around the world.
Properly thought-out corporate branding allowed the company to make many milestones. For example, thanks to the slogan “Just do it”, Nike is widely recognizable around the world and has become one of the leaders in the sports industry.
As a result, the corporate brand Nike earns almost forty billion dollars in revenues every single year. According to the available data, it spends three billion dollars a year on advertising alone.
However, the company had to work hard to achieve their success. They started with finding the right brand voice. Then they had to put a lot of effort to coin the pronunciation of their name, as it was taken from another language. Finally, they engaged in many fruitful collaborations with famous people from the sports industry and show business, as well as influencers.
It is worth mentioning here such sports stars as: Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Cristiano Ronaldo, Roger Federer, Tiger Woods, Serena Williams, and Lebron James. The Nike brand is one of the best examples of how a constant investment in branding really pays off and brings great benefits.
The L’oreal’s brand strategy
L’Oreal is one of the largest beauty companies in the world. The brand’s continued success is the result of an effective corporate branding strategy. The company is known for its hair, make-up and skincare products. According to the data presented by the company, it invests billions of dollars annually in various types of research and development.
The company’s clients come from the middle and upper classes, but what they have in common is their desire to take care of their beauty. L’oreal has over 30 brands in its portfolio. The company has nearly 100,000 employees and is available in over 150 countries. Online commerce is of great importance to the brand. In 2022, despite the pandemic and other economic events in the world, the company experienced a sales increase of 19%, exceeding the amount of $9 billion.
The McDonald’s brand strategy
At the time when McDonald’s started their company, there were already a lot of fast-food restaurants on the market. The owners had faced a real challenge. They had to find a way to stand out from the competition. What have they decided to focus on? Brand positioning.
They not only improve their business just to be better than the competition, but above all, to give excellent customer experience. McDonald’s has simply been working on fulfilling clients’ desires for many years!
According to the research conducted by the McDonald’s brothers, burgers and fries became the favorites among the customers, so they put them as the main dishes on the menu. What is more, the survey showed that they were able to serve clients twice as fast by reducing the menu positions twice.
There are many strengths of the McDonald’s brand. Apart from the tasteful food, the company maintains a good value for money and constantly improves customer service. Both fast delivery and cleanliness ensures that McDonald’s still keeps its position in the market, while it is difficult for other brands to get close to such success.
Today, McDonald’s has over 36,000 locations in over 100 countries. In 2021, sales at McDonald’s restaurants increased the most since the 1990s. In the same year, revenues amounted to nearly $24 billion. Partly, this is the result of higher prices due to rising inflation. They are projected to continue to grow in 2022.
The Apple’s brand strategy
Apple is one of the best examples of global and large-scale corporate branding. The brand, with a bitten apple on the back of its devices, is a benchmark for high-quality, intuitive top-shelf products and a clear, elegant design.
Branding is very important for Apple. The company constantly uses this effective marketing concept while improving and modifying it to its needs.
What makes Apple relying on the branding strategy in its enterprise policy to such an extent? It is a leading brand that reaches a wide audience, especially the young generation. It focuses on the high standard of the offered products and follows the current trends. As a result, it gains a constantly growing group of satisfied customers. Such activities are very profitable and effective, which contributes to the huge success of this particular brand.
This technological giant offers an extensive range of smart devices and gadgets, such as phones, laptops, computers, monitors, watches, and even its own operating system.
The Apple brand brings out a lot of emotions, hopes and dreams, both in lifestyle and innovative technologies. It ensures high quality, excellent company culture and advanced solutions that characterize all corporate brands.
The Dove’s branding strategy
As one of the leading brands in the beauty industry, Dove continues to create its marketing strategy around social and emotional benefits of its products. They focus on customer’s concerns and unique campaigns that address those issues, supporting women from all parts of the world.
Dove manufactures healthy merchandise. It offers a wide range of goods: from facial cleansing products, through body lotions, deodorants, to shampoos, conditioners, and other hair products.
The value of the beauty industry in 2019 was estimated at nearly six hundred billion dollars. Dove maintains its position despite the high competitiveness of this market. It belongs to a big concern Unilever, which owns more than forty brands. Nearly fifteen of them generate sales of one billion euro per year. At the beginning, Dove produced only soap. It was being advertised as extremely mild and even recommended by doctors. Today, the brand is valued at around four and a half billion dollars, and its products are sold in nearly one hundred and fifty countries, not only for women, but also for men and babies.
Their target group consists of young, independent women aged eighteen to thirty-four. For many years, Dove has been promoted as a better alternative to ordinary beauty products that contain a large amount of harmful substances. Thanks to innovative ideas about marketing strategies, the brand maintains one of the leading positions in the market. What sets Dove apart from the competition, among many, is the fact that the company chooses real people, instead of models or actresses that fit beauty standards.
The Tesla’s branding strategy
Another company that successfully uses elements of the branding strategy in its promotional activities is certainly Tesla owned by Elon Musk. It is one of the largest and most valued, while extremely innovative, technologically advanced and up-to-date brands in the automotive industry. Its history is surprisingly short, yet impressive. In just a few years, the company gained immense popularity, while generating unimaginable profits. It has definitely achieved undeniable success, even though in fact it was not a pioneer when it comes to electric vehicles.
Tesla’s corporate branding strategy is based on smart promotions, high-quality products, incorporation of exclusive features in all distribution channels, as well as social media accounts and advertising campaigns. The brand is positioning itself as a unique company, setting new trends for the whole world.
An appropriate corporate branding strategy can take any business to the next level with a number of profits, regardless of its area of operation or the size.
Benefits of corporate branding
Among many, corporate branding helps to distinguish the business from the competition, promote products, build a positive opinion, as well as increase the credibility of the company and brand. What is more, it sets solid foundations for various advertising and marketing campaigns, which contributes to acquiring new customers and increasing revenues.
In addition, appropriate corporate branding creates an emotional bond between the brand and the target audience. It is of the utmost importance as the branding strategy influences the decision-making process and extends the life of the company itself as well as its products.
Developing a strong corporate brand that ensures the above-mentioned benefits is not as easy as it seems. To succeed, you need a lot of time, effort, resources, budget, and investment. It is also necessary to cooperate with a professional branding agency that will help you create an appropriate corporate brand strategy, the company’s vision, as well as a good plan to achieve not only short-term but above all long-term goals. They should also make sure that those aspects of branding are properly implemented.
Nopio is a corporate branding agency that offers professional corporate branding services along with corporate identity design. The company provides many marketing services: from planning a strategy to implementing activities related to goals, values, missions, as well as elements of visual identification, or a marketing campaign.
When you decide to work with the Nopio agency, you can be sure that your brand will stand the test of time and you will become more successful! Nopio helps to carry out successful corporate branding for both the brands that are new, as well as those that have been already on the market for some time (rebranding). Thanks to many years of experience, you can count on the highest quality of services and professionalism from the agency’s team.