Product brands used to be the focus of attention for multi-brand companies, but the role of the corporate brand has become more and more important over the years, as CEOs and boards have realised the enormous value a strong corporate brand can deliver.
What is corporate branding?
Corporate branding is the practice of promoting the brand name of a corporate entity, as opposed to specific products or services. The corporate brand is the “umbrella” brand that sits over all a company’s product and service brands. The scope of a corporate brand is therefore much broader than a product brand.
The way a company’s corporate brand and its product/service brands sit and interact in relation to each other is known as the brand architecture.
Why is corporate branding so important?
People now really care about the corporation behind the product. They no longer separate their opinions about a company from their opinions of its products or services. This is largely due to the digital revolution and social media, which has created incredible corporate transparency. Like never before, customers, communities, government, suppliers, partners, investors and employees have a clear view into corporations’ actual behaviour and performance. They can freely share in their knowledge of, experiences with, and opinions of, organisations.
While this transparency and scrutiny can be problematic for some organisations, it can offer an enormous opportunity to savvy organisations. Those that grab this opportunity with both hands, and leverage social media and other digital platforms, can grow their profile, amplify their organisational purpose, shape their reputation, generate positive sentiment, and ultimately, increase the value of the company.
Creating a powerful corporate brand
The creation of a powerful corporate brand stems from a clear strategic vision and compelling organisational purpose, combined with employees who understand, believe and behave in a way that supports the vision and purpose in every way, every day. The corporate brand is also built and strengthened over time through visible, consistent actions and communications to the market.
The benefits of a successful corporate brand
Let’s have a look at the benefits that a strong corporate brand offers the different areas and stakeholders of a business.
For human resources / organisational development
- Employee behaviours are aligned to business goals – a clear understanding of who the business is and what it stands for ensures staff act in a way that aligns to the strategic needs of the business.
- Increased staff retention – clarity around what it means to be part of the organisation increases staff satisfaction.
- Ability to attract the best – consistent word of mouth and a clear proposition to the talent market ensures the company will stand out from the myriad of competitors.
- Reduced recruitment costs – as the best talent seeks the business out.
- Increased productivity – as a result of increased satisfaction and understanding of the organisation’s purpose.
For the corporate and business functions
- Deep alignment, cohesion, understanding and focus across the entire organisation, of who the business is, how it is different and how that difference turns up as a benefit for stakeholders on a daily basis.
- Overall higher levels of innovation through working more constructively and collaboratively.
- Increased trust with key stakeholders - customers, employees, shareholders, distributors, partners, intermediaries etc.
- Improved and aligned customer experience, as employees communicate and deliver against the company’s overarching intent with clarity, conviction and confidence.
- Reduced confusion and ambiguity when important decisions need to be made.
- Improved returns on company programs and initiatives through increased company presence, understanding and leverage.
- Economies of scale – one advertising or promotional campaign can serve multiple brands, as they all sit underneath the corporate brand umbrella.
- Stronger brand equity for product brands, as the positive corporate brand equity “rubs off” on the product brands.
- Increased acceptance of new products launched by the company, as potential buyers are already familiar with the corporate brand and its reputation.
- A stronger negotiating position – a stronger brand brings a stronger negotiating position and more favourable terms.
- Increased customer resonance – customers have a clear understanding of the value of the business, creating more sustainable relationships with existing customers, and providing new customers with a clear reason to choose the business.
For the value of the portfolio
- Increased value of the company’s product and service brands – as the equity in the corporate brand builds over time, there is the opportunity to transfer the benefit that it brings to the company’s portfolio of brands.
- Increased opportunities for expansion – by establishing the reputation and value of the business, we open up opportunities to move into additional markets.
For relationships with Government and media
- Supports Government stakeholders – smooths the way for Government to support our concerns, views and opinions.
- Increased positive sentiment and commentary in the media, ensuring the company’s brands receive the “benefit of the doubt” in times of crisis.
- Protection from possible industrial activity – through positive, accurate understanding of the company and its overall contribution.
For the community
- Increased awareness of the benefits the organisation offers the wider community – by establishing and communicating what the organisation believes in and the role it plays in the community.
Given all these benefits, building a strong corporate brand is a worthwhile investment for any business. At BrandMatters, working with corporate brands is our daily fare. If you’d like to learn more about how we’ve brought concepts like those described above to life for our clients, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’ve performed this sort of work for clients including Perpetual, Suncorp, Downer, Wesfarmers and Sage amongst many others.