Corporate brands: how to position your company as a brand

5 min read
June 6, 2023
Imagine you wake up and reach for your smartphone. On the display, you see the Apple or Samsung logo. You go to the bathroom and brush your teeth with Colgate or Oral-B toothpaste. You eat breakfast and drink coffee from Nespresso or Tchibo. You come into the office and work on a Dell or Lenovo laptop. And on and on...
What do all these situations have in common? Obviously - they all involve corporate brands. Corporate brands influence how we see the world and what we buy. But how are corporate brands created and how do they work? And why are they so important to a company's success? In this article, we'll answer these questions and show you how to build and maintain a strong corporate brand.

Corporate brand - the face of your company

Corporate brands are brands that represent an organization as a whole. They go beyond individual products or services and are intended to create a consistent and positive corporate image. Corporate brands reflect a company's mission, values and culture and are supposed to create an emotional connection with customers, employees and other stakeholders.

Corporate brands are important for differentiating a company from its competitors, building customer trust and loyalty, strengthening the company's image and reputation, and enhancing its attractiveness as an employer. Corporate brands can account for up to 50 percent of a company's value.

However, developing and maintaining a strong corporate brand is not easy. It requires a clear strategy, consistent implementation, and constant adaptation to changes in the market and society. Some of the challenges for corporate brands include:

  • Differentiate from other brands that offer similar products or services or target the same audience.
  • Integrating different sub-brands or product lines under a unified corporate brand without losing individual features or benefits.
  • Communicating the corporate brand to different stakeholder groups that have different expectations and needs.

stakeholder in meeting

  • Maintain the credibility and authenticity of the corporate brand by aligning it with the company's actual performance and actions.
  • Respond to crises or scandals that may damage trust in the corporate brand.

To overcome these challenges, companies need to follow some best practices, such as:

  • Defining the corporate brand identity by establishing the company's vision, mission, values and personality.
  • Designing the corporate brand elements, such as logo, tagline, colors, fonts, imagery and tone of voice, that reflect the identity and make it recognizable.
  • Implementing corporate brand communications by using all internal and external channels to communicate corporate brand messages consistently and appropriately to target audiences.
  • Measuring corporate brand performance by using qualitative and quantitative indicators to evaluate and improve the success of the corporate brand.

Corporate branding vs product branding

What is the difference? The difference between product and corporate brands is that product brands focus on branding a specific product or product line, while corporate branding focuses on branding the entire company.

Product branding aims to differentiate a product from other similar offerings and create a unique identity. Instead, corporate branding aims to create a consistent and positive corporate image that reflects the company's mission, values, and culture.

Some of the key differences between product branding and corporate branding include:

  • The message: Product branding has a narrower message that focuses on a product's features and benefits. Corporate branding has a broader message that focuses on a company's vision and goals.
  • Target audience: Product branding is aimed at the end consumer. Corporate branding is aimed at various stakeholders such as customers, employees, investors and the general public.
  • Duration: Product branding is more short-term and may change depending on market conditions or product lifecycle. Corporate branding is more long-term and aims to build a stable identity.
  • Role of influence: Product branding influences consumer purchase decisions. Corporate branding primarily influences stakeholder perception and trust.
  • The benefits: Product branding helps to increase sales and market share of a product. Corporate branding helps to increase the reputation and value of a company.

Examples of corporate brands

  • Apple: Apple is known for its innovative and high-quality products, including iPhones, iPads and MacBooks. Apple has built a strong and unique brand that stands for quality, design and ease of use. Apple unites its various products under a minimalist logo and a simple slogan: "Think different“.
  • Nike: Nike has created a powerful and dynamic brand that represents performance, motivation and innovation. Nike uses its famous logo (the swoosh) and tagline ("Just do it") as symbols of its brand.
  • Coca-Cola: Coca-Cola has developed an iconic and nostalgic corporate brand that represents joy, refreshment, and community. Coca-Cola uses its signature font, red color scheme, and curved bottle as elements of its brand.

Examples of product brands

  • Converse: Converse is a Nike product brand known for its classic sneakers. Converse has a distinct identity and positioning from its parent company. Converse appeals to a young and creative audience that values individuality and style. Converse uses its own logo (the star), slogan ("Shoes are boring. Wear sneakers.") and colors (black and white) as elements of the brand.
  • Oreo: Oreo is a product brand of Mondelez International, a multinational food company. Oreo has built a fun and friendly brand that represents fun, adventure and creativity. Oreo also uses its own logo (the name in blue on a white background), tagline ("Milk's favorite cookie") and colors (blue and white) as elements of the brand.
  • United Sodas of America: United Sodas of America is a product brand created by Mucho, a global design agency. United Sodas of America is a line of different beverages and has created a modern and colorful product brand that appeals to health-conscious consumers. The product brand uses a geometric logo, a patriotic name and a rainbow palette.

branding and marketing

An example of a company that does both product branding and corporate branding is Procter & Gamble. The company has several product brands, such as Ariel, Gillette, and Pampers, each with its own identity and positioning. At the same time, the company has a strong corporate brand that stands for quality, innovation, and social responsibility.

Getting corporate branding to work

It is clear that corporate brands play an important role in a company's success. However, they require strategic planning, consistent implementation and continuous adaptation to dynamic market conditions.

Often, it is the little things in day-to-day business that get in the way. Templates are outdated, brand assets are not found, and brand guidelines are not understood and applied. The result is "creative" and inconsistent content.

Software solutions like empower® can help. They make all brand assets such as templates and images available directly in Microsoft Office, support the transfer of content into a new design and ensure that the corporate design is adhered to in all Office documents and e-mails.

To learn more about how the empower® brand control solution can help you strengthen and manage your corporate brand, contact us!

Corporate Design Report

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