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Corporate Branding

Corporate Branding Strategy Defined

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The competition in the global business environment is tough and achieving a unique position and competitive advantage is becoming more and more difficult and expensive. The high level of investment necessary to maintain production capabilities and rising cost of R&D for product differentiation, makes strong marketing capabilities and unique brands pre-requisites for modern companies to cover these heavy investments. How can companies and management teams catch up?

Corporations around the world are increasingly becoming aware of the enhanced value which corporate branding strategies can provide for an organization. Branding in the classic sense is all about creating unique identities and positions for products and services hence distinguishing the offerings from competitors. Corporate branding employs the same methodology and toolbox used in product branding, but it also elevates the approach a step further into the board room, where additional issues around stakeholder relations (shareholders, media, competitors, governments and many others) can help the corporation benefit from a strong and well-managed corporate branding strategy. Not surprisingly, a strong and comprehensive corporate branding strategy requires a high level of personal attention and commitment from the CEO and the senior management to become fully effective and meet the objectives.

Corporate branding is often, but wrongly, referred to as an exercise where the company logo, the design style and color scheme are changed. Naturally, these are important elements to evaluate and potentially change at a later stage once the strategy has been decided upon. It is often accompanied with a new corporate slogan, and then everyone expects results to occur during the project. Corporate branding is a serious undertaking which entails more skills and activities than just an updated glossy marketing facade with empty jargon.

A strong corporate branding strategy can add significant value in terms of helping the entire corporation and the management team to implement the long-term vision, create unique positions in the market place of the company and its brands, and not the least to unlock the leadership potential within the organization. Hence a corporate branding strategy can enable the corporation to further leverage on its tangible and non-tangible assets leading to Branding Excellence throughout the corporation.

There are thousands of unique corporate brands. Companies like Apple, Intel, Singapore Airlines, Disney, CNN, Google, Mercedes and many others are good examples to think of. The global financial powerhouses HSBC and Citibank have both in recent years acquired a vast number of companies across the globe and adopted them fully under their international corporate brands with great success and within a surprising short timeframe. A strong brand is about building and maintaining strong perceptions in the minds of customers. This takes time to establish and many resources to keep, but no one remembers what the local banks used to be called, and HSBC and Citibank have managed to transfer the brand equities from the acquired brands into their own corporate brand equity.

An ancient and famous Indian proverb says: “If you don’t have a goal, how can you know when you have arrived?”. In order to establish and grow a corporate brand successfully, the management team has to track and measure the strength of the current corporate brand and the entire brand portfolio. Research can help understand the business landscape in more depth and serves as a foundation for the future corporate brand strategy. Modern research tools have become very sophisticated and at the same time easy to employ. There is no excuse for not trying to get a market and customer driven perspective of the brand portfolio including the corporate brand.

The Blake Project Can Help: The Brand Positioning Workshop

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Licensing and Brand Education

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