There are plenty of businesses engaged in providing the same product or services. You don’t like a particular product or service or the brand, you find an alternative. That’s how easily brands can be replaced these days – in the blink of an eye. Therefore, businesses need to stand out in their niche and build their brand. Promoting one’s product and services becomes vital to inform the audience about your business and gain their loyalty. This is called corporate branding.
History of Branding
Before you understand the contemporary meaning of corporate branding, let us briefly learn about the history of branding and how its meaning has evolved over the centuries. The concept of corporate branding dates back to the 15th century. The term brand originated from the word ‘brandr’ that means to burn woods.
Over the years, people started associating the term brand to marking something with a piece of a hot iron to preserve its identity. Branding was closely related to ownership. In ancient times, the farmers used to brand their cattle with different forms of painting and art. Later, people also started branding their products and property to claim ownership.
However, the actual commercialisation of branding began during the industrial revolution, when the manufacturers started branding their products to grow their business. It brought a significant shift in consumer choices. People no longer wanted to buy local products. Instead, they were more inclined towards purchasing branded goods.
After the companies started to label their products or services, the need for protecting their brand also arose. This gave birth to the concept of ‘trademark’. Subsequently, with the entry of new businesses in the market, the need to build your brand and stand out among the pool of competitors started peaking. Therefore, the idea of corporate branding came into the picture.
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What is Corporate Branding?
What is the first thought that comes to your mind when you think of a brand? It can be either their quality of goods or services, advertisement, some opinion about a company based on your personal or other’s experiences, its efficient or inefficient customer service, or plenty of other things.
When multiple people have the same opinion about a brand, it becomes the brand reputation or its image in the eyes of the consumers and the competitors. This identity of a business becomes its corporate brand, and the process of building this image is termed corporate branding.
The concept of corporate branding, as we understand it today, is not restricted to a corporation’s product or services. A brand’s identity is created by its overall activities like advertisements, affiliate marketing, social media presence, social media campaigns, customer service, and logistics. The identity of a brand does not depend on a few products or services. It has more to do with how the business engages with its customers.
For instance, even if one product of a company does not go well with its customers, they might continue to purchase the other products from the same brand. However, if the customer response of a company is not good, people are less likely to buy anything from that particular brand as it affects the image of the brand.
Why is Corporate Branding Important?
Corporate branding is vital for the company to gain a competitive advantage as the customers are more likely to interact with a popular brand. Moreover, corporate branding also makes it easier for the companies to start new verticals or launch new products as the identity makes the consumers trust the brand. People accept new products or services of renowned brands easily compared to new entries in the market.
How is Corporate Branding Done?
One of the earliest resources of corporate branding was the Thompson Books on Advertising that served as a comprehensive guide for businesses on advertising and protecting the brand image through trademarks. Let us see how corporations can build their brand image.
- Authenticity:- When it comes to corporate branding, authenticity is the ruling factor. Before you start reaching out to the consumers, you must ask yourself – what is the unique selling point (USP) of your business that differentiates it from your competitors and how to enhance your product or services. Also, it is crucial to bring fresh ideas for branding strategies rather than blindly copying what other brands are doing. Authenticity and creativity serve as a plus point for any brand.
- Figure out your target audience:- Before you start making a brand name for your business, it is crucial to determine your target audience. Whether you cater to GenZ, millennials or middle-aged people, it is essential to plan your campaigns and corporate branding strategies accordingly.
- Business owners should be involved:- The first promoters of a business are its owners and employees. While building a corporate brand, business owners also need to get involved. Personal branding is a crucial aspect of corporate branding. Treat your brand as your identity and engage with the audience personally. It helps the audience know the masterminds behind a product or service and helps them connect better with the brand.
- Social Media Presence:- Today, one of the best ways to engage with the audience and create a brand image is by developing an active social media presence. As per statistics, 55% of the customers get to know about new brands through social media. Moreover, over 75% of the consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand if it gets a positive response online. However, you must remember that consistency is the most crucial factor for building a social media presence.
- Advertisements:- The purpose of brand advertisements, especially in India, is to inform the consumers about the brand while also making an emotional appeal to them. Therefore, while brainstorming advertisement ideas, it is important to think out of the box to leave a lasting impact on your consumers.
- Efficient Customer Service:- This is one of the most underrated yet impactful ways of building your brand image. Would you want to purchase products from a brand whose customer response is too slow or a brand that doesn’t resolve your queries or pay attention to its customers’ feedback? Hopefully not. Today, people are concerned with the product experience, but they are more likely to engage with a brand that offers a smooth customer experience.
One of the best ways for brands to grow is to connect with their target audience and cater to their needs. It can be made possible through efficient customer services. Moreover, as per statistics, it is easier for brands to retain existing customers than attract new customers. Loyal customers also refer a brand to their peers or family members, ultimately impacting the brand.
- Market research:- It is an essential aspect of corporate branding. Researching consumer behaviour, preferences, competitors’ products and services, and other relevant factors is crucial for devising corporate branding strategies. Hence, market research plays a crucial role in planning marketing strategies as it gives an insight into the business landscape. Doing case studies on other brands will also help you realise what mistakes to avoid.
How To Learn Corporate Branding?
To build a career in corporate branding, you need to understand how the industry works, the various strategies that top corporate branding agencies adopt, how they work to build a brand’s image from scratch, what tools they use and a lot more. The best way to gain valuable experience in corporate branding is to work on real-world case studies and industry-relevant projects.
If you are keen to learn about corporate branding in-depth, it will be best for you to pursue a Master of Business Administration Elective in Advertising & Branding course from upGrad. You will learn about the fundamentals of marketing and advertising, consumer behaviour, how to do quantitative and qualitative market research, and several other crucial concepts. Along with this, you will also get a chance to work on more than 10 Harvard case studies and several industry projects.
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Corporate branding has become indispensable for businesses due to the constantly rising market competition. You can find plenty of career and growth opportunities in the corporate branding sector. However, it is essential to learn the basics of marketing, how corporate branding works, and its importance. You can learn all this and a lot more from the industry experts through upGrad.
Q1. What is the meaning of corporate branding?
Corporate branding refers to building the public image or identity through various marketing and advertising strategies.
Q2. Why is corporate branding important?
In the era of rising competition, all businesses are striving to stay ahead of their competitors and maximise their revenues. Corporate branding helps companies create their image and attract loyal customers. It eventually boosts sales and increases the revenue of the company.
Q3. What are the main principles of corporate branding?
Some of the fundamental principles of corporate branding are authenticity, clarity on the target audience, consistency, planning and visibility.