What is Corporate Branding? Identity and Strategy Basics

What is Corporate Branding? Identity and Strategy Basics

Businesses want to gain trust and increase their market share. Corporate branding helps companies establish themselves in the marketplace, keep existing customers, and attract new buyers.

Branding encompasses your company’s identity, communication style, marketing strategy, and other assets. Reviewing and improving your corporate branding can help you craft your company’s brand voice and set you apart from the competition. We’ll share important facts and tips about corporate branding and how improving your branding process can help your company.

What is corporate branding?

Corporate branding is the messaging and positioning of your brand. It’s more than just a name, product, or color scheme. (needs about a sentence more)

For example, Nike’s “Just Do It” tagline reflects the company’s mentality. Nike entices people to pursue ambitions without letting fear and other elements hold them back. Nike’s company brand is more than just a tagline. The company used its tagline to help develop partnerships with professional athletes to create sneaker and clothing lines, leading to major market and market share growth. This shows how strategic corporate branding can benefit a business.

The corporate brand image is how consumers see a company. Everyone in the company, from an executive to a new worker, has an impact on how your target audience perceives your corporation. Business owners focusing on corporate branding understand this truth and are more careful with how they promote new products and communicate with their audiences. These companies maintain their corporate image across marketing materials. Ads, social media posts, and other assets reflect the company’s identity.

Apple encourages people to “Think Different” in its corporate branding. The corporation’s high-tech, high-quality, luxury products with innovative features demonstrate this sentiment. The company’s origin story and iconic phrases like “1,000 songs in your pocket” emphasize Apple’s mission to “think different.” Apple’s 1984 commercial encouraged people to challenge the status quo and expect more out of their personal computer. The iconic commercial still draws viewers 40 years after it was initially aired.

Why is corporate branding so important?

Apple’s 1984 commercial and Nike’s partnerships with professional athletes are not accidents. Both companies made those decisions based on specific strategies used to develop their corporate brand identities. These initiatives further established their identities for consumers and cemented the companies as household names.

Major corporations focus on their branding before every significant decision. Executives ask if an initiative falls in line with the company’s core purpose and messaging. Why do corporations take their branding seriously? We’ll share a few reasons these corporations and any business owner should prioritize corporate branding.

It establishes a clear vision of the company’s future and direction

Every business owner starts their company with a vision. These owners have ambitions and goals for the company. They know which customers they want to serve and how to measure progress. Most founders extend their teams and hire workers and executives to assist with different parts of the company. Corporate branding helps a founder get started and creates synergy across management teams and staff.

Successful corporate branding keeps your executives on the same page. Everyone can work together to achieve a common objective instead of arguing about the direction of the company. Corporate branding also simplifies training and helps workers effectively represent your company. You can also create objectives related to your corporate branding instead of choosing goals that are not optimal for your company’s future.

Some companies change their name to create a different image in consumer’s minds. Dunkin’ removed “Donuts” from the end of its name to portray itself as an “on the go” coffee brand. The name change also helped further align with the slogan, “America runs on Dunkin’.”

The company made investments to provide customers with a quicker experience so they could grab their coffee and run. Dunkin’ uses its corporate brand identity as guidance for investments and decisions surrounding the company.

Branding makes the company stand out from the competition

When consumers think of companies, they don’t only think about the brand logo. Consumers think about how the company makes them feel, the quality of service, and other elements. Corporate branding reflects how people think about your company; the right branding can help you stand out from the competition.

Coca-Cola uses friendly atmospheres in its commercials to stand out from the competition. Many companies offer soft drinks, but Coca-Cola shows friends and family members  gathering together for events and having a great time. The friends in these commercials happen to drink Coca-Cola. The commercials strengthen Coca-Cola as a brand that brings people together and provides them with refreshing beverages. Coca-Cola’s branding has captured the hearts of millions of consumers.

Coca-Cola focuses on communities in its advertising, while Pepsi focuses on younger audiences. Coca-Cola and Pepsi compete with each other for market share, but neither company is changing their branding to get a few new customers at the risk of alienating their core audiences.

It creates a connection with customers

Customers start to see your company as more than a business that offers products and services. Corporate branding creates a new entity that becomes more relatable. Apple isn’t successful because they sell computers, iPhones, and other tech; many other companies can produce and sell these same resources. Apple is successful because it produces reliable products and has a strong brand that exudes innovation, high quality, and luxury.

Any sneaker covers your foot, but Nike has spent decades (and billions of dollars) surrounding themselves with professional athletes, whose competitive success supposedly is due in part to Nike products.. These efforts cemented the “Just Do It” brand messaging, making it easier for the company to connect with customers.

Nike transformed the running sneaker market with the Vaporfly and Alphafly. These sneakers use carbon fiber plates to give runners an extra spring in their step. Other sneaker companies have created their own version of the sneakers, but most runners still flock to Nike’s brand. When Eliud Kipchoge broke two hours in a marathon, he achieved the feat in a pair of Alphaflys. His achievement creates a stronger connection with customers and lets them see what’s possible with the specific shoes and with the Nike brand. Other brands can’t show that same level of success or be the first to accomplish the once unbreakable barrier. The best corporate branding aims to get customers to marvel at your work and become invested in your message and products.

Branding raises company awareness

Corporate branding makes your company memorable, especially as people see your brand more often. After seeing branding five to seven times, consumers have an easier time recalling a company’s products, messaging, and accomplishments. This dynamic leads to some consumers talking about your product or displaying it in public. When someone takes out their iPhone, they show off the Apple brand. When a runner wears the Vaporfly sneaker, they inadvertently promote Nike’s brand. Corporate branding creates advocates who can turn into your company’s best marketers.

It improves marketing efforts

A clear brand identity simplifies your marketing. Brands use catchy and memorable phrases to demonstrate how they help consumers. Marketing material tied to your corporate brand can boost your brand positioning.

GEICO has used this formula to establish itself as a top auto insurer. Most GEICO commercials remind people that 15 minutes can save them 15% or more on their car insurance. Repeating this simple message across many commercials helps the company stand out and strengthens their marketing.

Corporate branding enables you to use more effective content for your ads, social media posts, and other assets. Speaking in a consistent tone across your digital platforms, commercials, and other communication methods strengthens your brand identity. A consistent identity can improve product conversion rates, lead to returning customers, and accelerate the customer journey.

Want help with discovering your corporate brand identity? Explore the corporate brand specialists available on Upwork who can help.

How to create a corporate branding strategy

A corporate branding strategy creates more consistency and establishes your company’s presence. This branding strategy can help you gain market share and build customer loyalty. We’ll discuss the elements that go into an effective corporate branding strategy.

  • Write out your mission, vision, and values. Your mission statement, brand values, and vision make it easy for stakeholders and consumers to understand your company. This simplified corporate branding identity serves as an excellent starting point for your corporate entity.
  • Study your current corporate identity. Understand the way you currently communicate with customers and talk about your offers. Too many executives focus on financial goals without wondering what people think about the company itself. Corporations become vulnerable to collapse if they stop caring about what customers think.
  • Define your customers’ needs. Customers need sneakers and smartphones. They happen to buy from Apple and Nike because of their great products and corporate identities. You still have to provide a useful product or service, but customers’ needs stretch beyond those concepts. Do your customers care about social justice, spending time with family, and other issues? Figure out what customers need and which of those needs to incorporate in your corporate branding.
  • Create an open channel with colleagues for guidelines. A corporate brand identity impacts executives and workers. Some workers have more experience interacting with potential customers, providing what they need, and fielding complaints. Your colleagues can provide useful insights that can form your corporate branding strategy.

Hire branding professionals for the best results

A corporate branding strategy guides marketing initiatives and makes your company more relatable. Consumers will remember your brand and become advocates for your mission. A great product gets people interested, but branding can turn first-time customers into lifelong enthusiasts for your company. A corporate branding professional can create a branding strategy that increases your company’s market share.

Millions of businesses use Upwork to hire professionals who can help with corporate branding and other objectives. We understand you’re busy and need a streamlined pool of applicants. That’s why we’ve created a list of independent corporate branding identity specialists on our platform.

These specialists have received over 13,000 reviews averaging 4.8 out of 5 stars. You can lay the foundation for more traction and market share by hiring an independent professional on Upwork today.


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What is Corporate Branding? Identity and Strategy Basics
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