Understanding Corporate Branding
What Defines Your Brand?
Corporate branding is one of those words that is widely used, yet the definition can often be misconstrued. The most common definition of corporate branding, however, is that branding encompasses the logo design of your business. But there is much more to it than just a pretty image and/or typography…
At its core, corporate branding is intangible – you can’t feel it, touch it, or see it. And that is why we tend to misuse the word. When we are dealing with anything difficult to define, it’s easier to begin with what it is not, rather than what it is:
- Your corporate branding is not your logo – your logo is a symbol for your brand and it’s the foundation of your brand;
- Your corporate branding is not your corporate identity – corporate identity are the visual aspects that form part of the overall brand (your mission/vision, stationery, signage, products and packaging etc.);
- Your corporate branding is not your product;
- Your corporate branding is not a service you offer;
- Your corporate branding is also not your marketing plan; and
- Your corporate branding is definitely not the look and feel of your brochure or a web site.
All the elements listed above are by-products and outputs of a corporate brand and overarching strategy, but they alone do not make up the brand, they only communicate your brand.
UNDERSTAND WHAT YOUR BRANDING MEANS TO YOU
Our favourite definition of what defines a corporate brand is by Marty Neumeier, author of The Brand Gap
“A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service or organisation. It is not what you say it is. It is what they say it is… It is your reputation” – Marty Neumeier.
Ultimately a corporate brand is the sum of many things: your employees and customer’s perception of your company; your ideology and your vision; your ability to execute on your promises and everything the public thinks about when they hear your company’s name. It’s more than the visual identifiers mentioned above, it’s about how an audience connects with your company on multiple levels and through different brand touch-points.
Consistent and strategic branding leads to building strong corporate brand equity; meaning the added value allows you to charge more for your brand than what identical, unbranded or ‘less’ branded products charge. The most obvious example of this is Apple. Because Apple has built powerful brand equity, they can charge more for their products – and customers will pay that higher price. Apple connects with people – when people buy or use their products or services, they feel part of the brand (much like a tribe). It is this emotional connection that creates their brand – not purely their products and logo. Everything Apple does is calculated and adds value to their brand communication and identity. They have implemented branding across absolutely everything they do; building their whole company around it.
Companies such as Apple, Nike, and Coca-Cola are proof that in order to succeed, branding is an essential and highly important feature of any business. Do keep in mind that your corporate brand, like you, is a living thing. It evolves over time. You will need to periodically check that your corporate brand delivers what it promises. If you find any elements failing, it may be time to update or refresh your corporate brand so that it is reaching and resonating with your target audience.
If you’re considering a brand refresh, take a look at our free branding eBook, Before The Brand
. It’s filled with helpful information including case studies, tips and a brief action plan to kick start your branding activities.
It’s always exciting at the Print-Out office working with clients on new branding projects, if you think a freshen up is just what your business needs to re-establish itself in the market, get in touch with the team at Print-Out today.