HOW CORPORATE BRANDING IS DIFFERENT FROM PRODUCT BRANDINGSEPTEMBER 5, 2020| SpeedPro Solutions
As you continue to grow your Central Texas business and make an impact in the market and community around you, it is critical to carve out a brand for your company. Your brand is the visual language that defines you. It’s also the intangible feeling customers have when they work with you and the values you stand for. Savvy marketers know that corporate branding and product branding serve different purposes. Both complement each other in helping you achieve your marketing goals.
In strategic brand management, you must develop strong product branding and corporate branding. To create strong branding, you should understand the difference between these two types of branding.
WHAT IS PRODUCT BRANDING?
Product branding is a unique set of marketing strategies used to differentiate a product. Most companies have a firmer grasp on their product branding than they do on their corporate identity. When you focus on one product, it can be easier to flesh out the design and messaging for a product’s brand.
Packaging, advertisements and the product itself are all central to product branding. It encompasses all the messages and feelings people have about a particular product.
Product branding is especially important when a company has a diverse line of products to market to different segments. Some companies choose to brand their products around the name of their company. In this case, all the products feature the company logo, and the packaging for each product has a similar design and color palette.
Others create distinct brands for many different products. For example, a company might sell both cleaning products and snack foods. In this case, each item would have a unique label and package design. Most consumers would never know that the same company sold these two household items.
To create a strong product brand, you should understand a few elements about the product:
- What is the product’s purpose?
- Who is the target demographic for the product?
- What beliefs does your target audience hold?
- What do shoppers like and dislike about similar products on the market?
- How is your product different?
Having a strong understanding of each of these elements can help a marketer flesh out a product brand. With this in mind, marketers can design a logo and select images, fonts and color schemes to match the product. They can also develop a tone of voice, sales copy and taglines that will speak to the targeted market segment.
WHY PRODUCT BRANDING MATTERS
Almost anyone can see a red soda can and immediately conjure up the sight, smell and taste of a fresh, fizzy Coca-Cola. That’s because the company has worked hard to bring out a strong product identity for its main cola drink. The cursive font is immediately recognizable, and even the red color itself is a classic. Product branding creates an immediate association for the customer. For a household name such as Coca-Cola, that association is so strong that you can almost taste it.
Product branding also lets a company segment its market, creating distinct product identities for the people who use them. For example, in 2018, Coca-Cola re-branded Diet Coke and introduced four new flavors. The re-brand changed the logo, slimmed down the shape of the can, and introduced new colors for each flavor. The old Diet Coke branding targeted female baby boomers. The slimmer container, modernized logo and bright colors created a more contemporary look. With this new product branding, the company seeks to appeal to millennials. According to a Coca-Cola executive, the new direction is also more authentic, diverse and gender-neutral.
WHAT IS CORPORATE BRANDING?
- Mission and vision
- Brand story
- Value proposition
- Brand positioning
- Relationships with other companies and consumers
- Core promise and values
As a marketer, you should get a clear idea of how each of these elements relates to your brand. Once this brand is clearly defined for yourself and your stakeholders, it can guide almost anything you do as a corporation. It should be the blueprint for how you design your website, how you market your organization and how you decorate your office.
WHY CORPORATE BRANDING MATTERS
In an age where the competition lies everywhere you look, it’s crucial to stand out from the crowd. The question on nearly every stakeholder’s mind is the same: Why should I trust you? It varies a bit depending on the stakeholder, but the core question remains the same. Corporate branding can help you reach many stakeholder types simultaneously.
IT INFLUENCES CUSTOMERS
For customers, a strong brand identity brings you to the forefront of their minds. Corporate branding is vital to brand awareness and brand recognition. It’s also synonymous with a company’s reputation and builds trust in your products and your name. With great brand identity backing your company, you can introduce a new product or enter a new market, and buyers will already trust the company.
Customers are also becoming increasingly savvy and prefer to shop with companies that share their values. For example, an environmentally conscious shopper might want to support a company that uses recycled materials or offsets their emissions.
IT CONNECTS WITH EMPLOYEES AND ATTRACTS JOB CANDIDATES
Your corporate identity also sends the right resumes to your desk and unifies your staff under one goal. Some employees yearn to work for a household name. Others recognize the culture and personality you cultivate and think, “I want to be a part of that.” When you have a strong brand identity and a clear understanding of your company values, it attracts the people who share those values. Identity can help you find the best candidates, acting as a set of criteria you can evaluate during the hiring process.
It also guides your culture and work ethic. With a well-defined brand, an organization becomes a team. It helps every member do their best because everyone knows your company’s definition of excellence. Having a mission that drives everything a company does gives your staff a common goal to strive for.
IT BUILDS TRUST FOR OTHER STAKEHOLDERS
Corporate branding gives stockholders confidence that you will provide them with a solid return on their investment. It shows government organizations your commitment to following the law and protecting consumers. Branding also shows the public you are a responsible business that contributes to society. All this builds reputation and trustworthiness for all your stakeholders.
THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CORPORATE BRANDING AND PRODUCT BRANDING
Corporate branding and product branding overlap in many ways. They both help market to consumers, and both can combine to build a company’s reputation. While product marketing focuses on particular products, a company’s corporate branding can help consumers find and trust these products. A company’s trustworthiness is primarily established through corporate branding. Yet, the brand of a well-known, trusted product can also further an organization’s esteem.
THESE TWO TYPES OF BRANDING COMPLEMENT EACH OTHER IN MANY WAYS. THERE ARE ALSO FIVE KEY WAYS IN WHICH THEY DIFFER.
Corporate branding has a broad scope, encompassing your entire company. It includes all your products, your website, your advertisements, your company logo and your physical space, whether that’s an office, store or warehouse. Product branding has a narrow focus on one particular product. To understand the distinction, look on the wrapper of your favorite candy bar. It likely has very distinct features.
Most of America’s favorite candy bars have their own logos, color schemes and taglines. If you look at the back of the label, you’ll also probably find that another company owns the brand. Most of these companies own many candy bars, each with a distinct brand. So, the company that owns the candy bar brand develops a unique corporate identity for itself. Within that company, each candy product they own has a brand identity with a unique focus.
2. TARGET AUDIENCE
Product branding is for the end-user. Wherever consumers interact with the product is a ripe opportunity for branding. It may involve the packaging design of the physical product — how it looks on the shelf at the store, how it feels to open it and more. It also might include ads on television or social media as well as a billboard on an interstate highway.
A company’s corporate branding is aimed at a variety of key players. Like product branding, corporate branding will have a presence for customers. It will also direct messages at stockholders and investors, suppliers, partners and employees. Some companies might cultivate favor from the government, while others make an impression even on their mail delivery person.
Your company’s corporate identity pulls together many aspects to create a unified brand. A business’s heritage comes into play, as do the shared values of members of the organization. A company’s history and beliefs translate into marketing materials, visual communications, web content and more.
A product’s brand comes from the marketing team’s decisions, informed by market research. Since product branding is aimed at consumers, the brand communicates messages that will appeal to the target audience.
4. WHO IS RESPONSIBLE
A corporate brand stays with a company its entire life. It starts at a company’s founding and lives as long as the corporation exists. The corporate identity needs to remain intact and consistent over time. Consistency ensures brand recognition from stakeholders and presents a company as reliable, trustworthy and long-lasting.
Perhaps the best example of this is McDonald’s. They’ve used their famous golden arches in all their branding materials since 1961. As a result, anyone can recognize the restaurant from half a mile away as the arches peek out from above the surrounding buildings
Product branding lasts throughout the life of the product. It is more fluid and is much more tied to the here and now. Product branding is aimed directly at consumers, and so keeps pace with the market. As trends in graphic design change, a product’s package design might change in response. The goal is for consumers to feel as though the item will meet their current needs.
HOW TO INTEGRATE CORPORATE BRANDING FOR YOUR TEAM/ORGANIZATION
The ability for stakeholders to recognize your brand instantly is so central to success. As you develop a deep understanding of your brand, you also establish a visual identity for your brand. The graphic identity of a brand includes a branded logo, color palette, graphical elements and images that all tie into your company’s mission. These visual communications tell the world who your company is. Big, bold graphics get your brand seen and raise brand awareness.
CORPORATE BRANDING FOR OFFICES
- Outdoor signage: Those driving by and the community at large can instantly know who you are and what you do by the signs outside your office. They tell visitors where to go and act as a valuable reminder of your brand for anyone who sees it.
- Office reception signage: Any visitor from the delivery person or a job applicant to the new CFO or a VIP client should know where they are when they walk into your building. An office reception sign gives people instant recognition. It’s often the first chance your business has to leave a strong impression. They add texture to your office environment, with options such as backlit, contour cut and dimensional signs.
- Environmental office graphics: Wall murals, window graphics, elevator wraps and staircase decals bring a space to life. Environmental graphics truly make a space your own. They add an artistic flair and a pop of creativity to a space. A wall mural can display an image that represents your brand in a more meaningful and subtle way than a logo can. For example, a coffee company might decorate their wall with a photo wall of a foamy latte or a pattern of abstract coffee beans. An architect’s office might decorate their space with stylized floor plan graphics.
- Vehicle wraps: From delivery trucks to company cars, you can get your brand seen wherever you go with eye-popping vehicle graphics. Vehicles decked out with patterns, logos, contact information and more can create lasting impressions on every street corner.