You may think branding is something that is best left to the Apples, the Teslas, and the Amazons of the world. But in a market that is stiflingly competitive as it is now, the fine line that stands between you and the thousands of similar companies out there may just be as simple as your corporate branding.
What is corporate branding?
The quick answer: it is your business’ identity.
Branding is a way of defining who you are as a professional, a product, or as an organization and how you want to be viewed by your team and, of course, your customers.
As such, it embodies the core of the business and its values, not just how it looks and sounds like.
Nowadays, customers have become so savvy that they can see through most attempts by companies to gloss, spin or charm their way to sales.
Everything they see, hear, read, or experience impacts the brand you’ve created, and that lives in their hearts and minds.
Simply put, corporate branding is essentially ensuring a great reputation: what people say and think about when you’re not there.
Brand as a name
Moving back to the surface, a brand is also the term - name, sign, symbol, and design, or a combination of them - that aims to identify the goods and services of a company and is distinct from those of competition.
Can a great brand help a company?
If we think about it, corporate branding is actually a double-edged sword.
Not only can it help a company, but the brand can also destroy one if it is not given proper care and attention.
A corporate branding strategy is critical because it doesn’t just create a lasting impression on consumers but it also tells them what to expect from your company.
It's your corporate brand identity - a way to set yourself or your business apart from the competition.
Remember, good branding equals a stellar reputation. And great reputation paves more clout for your business in the market.
So, if you ask us again...
“How will my business benefit from branding?”
As mentioned above, your company’s brand is never what you say it is; it’s actually what everyone else says it is.
How will this translate to earnings?
The consumers’ confidence toward a product is the major determinant of whether or not they’d buy it.
Identifiable brands provide greater credibility that innately builds a connection with the customers even if they haven’t tried the product before.
And you’ve guessed it right: it is the power of branding that makes your company recognizable.
How to create a successful brand?
The shortcut is: your corporate branding must include these three basic principles - making a difference, adding value, and connecting with people.
Adherent to an American entrepreneur Justin DeMers’ ideas, here are 7 key steps and corporate branding tips that serve as your corporate brand guide.
1. Know your audience
You have to develop a thorough understanding of your specific target market demographics. That way, you will be able to direct your marketing campaign and brand identity accordingly. This further allows you to interact with your intended audience naturally.
2. Be unique
You need to define what differentiates your company from your competition, then use that data to set up your product strategy.
How distinct, exceptional, desirable are your products? Find out what’s appealing and special in them and emphasize these qualities in promoting your branding strategy.
3. Be consistent
Think about the brands that you, as a customer, are most loyal to. Chances are, they’ve earned your trust because they are dependable.
Is your company worth trusting?
Always provide the same excellent standard of customer service and product satisfaction.
However famous your business is, people will only remember their disappointing experiences. A consumer will buy your product only when it is good.
4. Be passionate
Enthusiasm is contagious.
Being genuinely passionate about your business or product will allow you to connect with your potential customers and make other people adopt and share the enthusiasm and belief you have in your product.
5. Be competitive
When you believe you are as good as you can be, try to be better.
Don’t get complacent. If you do, you will inevitably fall behind. Thus, always offer more than what your consumer expects.
Don’t just satisfy them; you have to exceed their expectations.
6. Seek exposure
Bring your business into the spotlight.
You are more likely to be recognized, remembered, and trusted if you stay in sight.
Analyze your customers’ demographics. Millennials and Gen Z are more active on social media than boomers do. Which site do they lurk in most of the time?
Improve your company's online presence. Distribute flyers and advertise in local establishments and newspapers if the data suggests that you have to.
7. Be a leader
If you want others to be enthusiastic about your products or services, you have to be a leader - an inspiring one.
Most often, employees and consumers become disheartened when the person leading a company fails to breed any sign of enthusiasm or motivation for the business or its products.
Moreover, your personal life may also affect your company’s reputation, even if it shouldn’t.
There are too many businesses that went rock bottom because people found out something undesirable about anyone from the organization. Be it a malicious comment toward someone, racist tendencies, and more.
So be a leader. Strike a good balance between your business and private life. Think about how your actions can cause karma - good or bad- to your company.
Corporate branding: more than a logo
Corporate branding is more than just a logo you stamp on your website. It may even be everything that keeps your business afloat.
And building your brand takes more than just time. It requires many other resources. And what’s worse? Success is never guaranteed.
In fact, only very few companies really succeed 100 percent in building their brands on their first try.
So if your plan doesn't succeed, go back to the drawing board and ask what kind of improvements can you make. It is also crucial that you have fully understood the corporate branding strategy definition we’ve laid out for you.
That way, when you find that nothing is working and you have to re-brand, you won’t start from scratch but from experience.