Originally published on April 9, 2018. Updated on April 21, 2020.
The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as a “name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.”
Basically, it’s what comes to people’s minds when they hear your company name or see your logo.
Your brand is a combination of three things: personality, image, and core competencies. It’s the impressions you make as well as the words people use to describe your company to others.
It’s easy to see why it’s so important. Your brand resides within the hearts and minds of customers, clients, and prospects. It is the sum total of their experiences and perceptions.
A strong brand creates customer satisfaction and helps establish the longevity of a company. It gives a company legitimacy and respectability. It creates solidarity and loyalty within and without. It will also deliver the message clearly, confirm your credibility, connect your target prospects emotionally, and motivate the buyer.
Read more: Why is corporate branding important?
How corporate brands work
What does that mean for you? Continuity. Continuity. Continuity. What is continuity? It is making sure that everything you do as a company has a coordinated look and feel about it. Graphically, this translates into a few things including the standard logo, corporate colors, a particular typeface, even a photo or illustration style.
Often, different departments within a company grab logos and typestyles and use them with haphazard abandon on everything from data sheets to PowerPoint presentations. They may ignore mandates from the home office and create their own marketing pieces, which bearing little-to-no resemblance to the carefully crafted look created by their own marketing department. The result is always the same – the company’s identity is diluted.
The worst-case scenario is that a lack of effective, unified marketing results in a drop in market share. That, in turn, requires a needless squandering of marketing resources to re-establish the company’s former brand awareness in the marketplace. Continuity helps achieve levels of image and branding efficiency unavailable to practitioners of hit-or-miss marketing with little or no image consistency between messages and media.
Want help with your corporate brand? Schedule a free consultation.
Psychology of branding
A brand encompasses the consumer’s experience and provides consumers with an avenue through which they can interact with the business. Fundamentally, people are emotional. Feelings like inspiration, positivity, trust, loyalty play a big part in our decision to interact with a business, buy a product or sign-up for a service.
As such, a positive brand can influence the buying habits of its target audience. Every sector has competition, regardless of whether your business is in functional health, construction, the not-for-profit sector or the beauty industry.
A brand will tell your prospectives what the beating heart of your company is about and why it’s different from its competitors. It’s both a first impression and a long-term relationship. Getting noticed is important, but so is telling people what your business aspires to become. Dreams are very persuasive.
Designing a corporate brand
As we mentioned earlier, branding consists of three main elements: company personality, image, and core competencies and characteristics. We’re now going to dive into that a little bit further.
When you’re designing your corporate brand, it’s important that the imagery and messaging associated with your brand reflects these so they reinforce the company’s story and establish a connection with customers. There are lots of different ways you can do this – for example, by inserting symbolism in your imagery.
Lots of brands do this in one way or another. For example, have you ever noticed the FedEx logo has an arrow pointing forward between the E and the X? It subtly reinforces the brand story.
How about the fact that the arrow in Amazon points from A to Z? Again, it sums up the business by subtly indicating the product line includes everything.
And what about Cisco? The lines in the background allude to the Golden Gate Bridge, which shows the brand’s San Francisco roots and therefore gives it a dose of personality.
Similar principles apply to brand stories.
With Airbnb, for example, you can “Belong Anywhere.” Nike will help you “Just Do It”. United Airlines will help you “Fly The Friendly Skies.” Even the U.S. Army is encouraging you to “Be All You Can Be.” Each of these slogans is a brand story. They summarize each organization’s personality, values and core competencies.
Developing slogans is not an easy task, so you may benefit from the help of a professional marketing agency. Striking the right tone is incredibly value from a brand awareness point of view. Keeping it coordinated and consistent will help the public understand what your business is about so they can find you when they need you.
Want to learn more about developing a brand? Read about our marketing services.
Protect your corporate brand
There’s no shortage of firms that use two, three, even four versions of their logo on a regular basis, with no particular rhyme or reason. The same goes for corporate colors – often a victim of one or more employee’s personal taste (“I HATE that color, I’m going to use green instead!)
This carelessness is made even easier by the proliferation of PowerPoint, Publishers and other tools used by more and more employees. The longer this continues, the more it will cost your company in time, money, awareness and – ultimately – market share. Think of it this way: how many variations have you seen of the Walmart logo? How about McDonald’s? Amazon? Facebook? AT&T? Ford?
Big companies know that value of a strong brand. Their logos are instantly recognizable, which generates a feeling of trust among customers. They are familiar with the stories of these brands, the legacies, so they keep coming back. It makes sense, then, to establish company-wide standards and maintain them.
Issue a simple style sheet that everyone can understand and follow and then enforce it. Make graphical elements of your company images available to the people that might need them and enforce their use. Help remind employees that it is about putting the end user before the personal tastes of individual team members.
A strong brand enables a company to prosper and grow at a healthy rate while ensuring longevity.
Ready to get started? Schedule a free consultation today.