The other day I went shopping for sneakers for the gym (new year’s resolutions, you know how it is) and I nearly got dizzy from all the options. Turns out you need different sneakers for walking and for running. And then there are the ones for hiking, trail walking, climbing, ones that were labeled ‘training’, even ‘minimalist sneakers’, whatever those are. And of course, a dozen different brands and models for each type.
Has that happened to you? There are so many options that it’s hard to make a decision.
It’s difficult for you and me, but it’s also difficult for the brands themselves. Think about it: how can a detergent brand, for example, get you to choose their product and not the one sitting next to it on the shelf that’s full of very similar products? That’s what corporate branding is for.
What is corporate branding?
Corporate branding is everything a company does to create its identity and communicate it to the public.
Here’s a more complete definition of branding: it’s the management of all the tangible elements (logo, font, etc.) and intangible elements (corporate identity, culture, etc.) that make up a brand. When we apply this concept to companies, we’re talking about corporate branding.
The function of branding is above all to help people get to know your brand and associate it with positive emotions and memories. That’s how a brand connects with its audience, and the audience makes a mental image of it, which influences their buying decisions.
Corporate branding is like the expression of the personality of the brand. We give brands human characteristics, and that’s why brand archetypes are used in marketing. The impression or image we have of a brand is the sum of all the elements that make up its corporate identity.
The most successful brands are the ones that have been able to define and communicate a consistent personality; that’s how to get the audience to distinguish the brand from others, to trust it, and to choose it.
What are the elements of corporate identity?
Many current theories concur on the idea that corporate identity is the sum of the mind and the soul of the brand, or the head and the heart. Quite similar to how we think of the identities of people.
The head or the mind represents what the company wants to be in the future; its mission, vision, and values. The present behavior of the company and its current beliefs and values define its soul.
These elements are the essence of the brand, and are fundamental to creating a solid and trustworthy identity, which enables and strengthens a meaningful connection with its audience.
But it’s not enough to create this corporate identity; you also need to communicate it effectively. And how do we achieve that? With the support of all the many elements of corporate branding. We’ll look at some of them a little later, but first…
5 benefits of investing in corporate branding
- Being present in the mind of the audience.
- Communicating the differential value of your product or service more effectively so that they don’t confuse you with the competition and they come to prefer you.
- Selling more, and better: when you get people to prefer your brand, and to trust it, you have more freedom when setting prices because they’ll be willing to pay more.
- Improving customer loyalty, by creating an emotional connection with the brand.
- Attracting opportunities for the brand: the most talented people and the best investors will be more open to collaborating on a project that has a solid identity.
Elements of corporate branding: it all adds up
Branding expresses the personality of the brand, yes. But what are the ingredients of this personality?
People transmit their identity through their appearance, the way they speak, their behavior, etc. There are hundreds of details that influence how others perceive us, and the same happens with brands.
One aspect of this is visual identity, which is the visual expression of the brand’s personality. The logo, font, and corporate color palette are the most obvious elements of visual identity, which contribute to the material image people form of the brand. For example, when you hear ‘BMW’, what comes to your mind? Is it the car or the brand’s logo?
Here are some templates for making a style guide or brand book that’s super visual and creative.
But remember: branding isn’t limited to just the visuals. If more elements are used when creating the brand, the image that people form of it will be more complete. There are tons of details that can boost the consistency of your brand’s corporate image.
Verbal (or textual) identity, for example, is also very important, although it often doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Voice, tone, vocabulary… maintaining a verbal identity is key for projecting an image that’s solid and coherent.
Some brands use other elements; a smell or a sound can also back up the brand identity and help to create an image. Using scents in branding can be very powerful, as our sense of smell is connected to the area of our brain linked with emotions and memory. In a world where our sense of sight is so saturated, winning people over with smell seems like a great idea.
Some examples of scent branding: in Abercrombie and Fitch, Zara Home, and Starbucks, the smell forms part of the shopping experience.
We are what we do
Ensuring that an entire organization always uses all the elements of branding is essential to maintaining consistency, but it is one of the difficulties of corporate marketing.
That’s why style guides or corporate identity manuals exist, which are a huge help in setting out the guidelines and strengthening brand recognition. And what else can we do to make sure our branding elements are always applied? Make it easy!
In the My Brand section of the Genially Panel, you can add your corporate branding assets and elements: logo, colors, fonts, images, and backgrounds. That way the whole team will have them on hand and can include them in every design or corporate content they create.
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