Corporate identity makes up the physical look of a brand, it is a combination of colour schemes, graphic and verbal techniques, designs, words and other elements that an organisation employs to make a visual statement and communicate a single image of a company. Corporate identity is generally made up physical elements such as buildings, décor, stationery and uniforms. Here’s how it works.
A branding guide of what the principles of a winning brand entails.
A name, an image, a logo, a symbol, a word or any other feature that distinguishes one seller’s product from those of others. A brand is the specific perception in a customer’s mind concerning the qualities and attributes of your product or service, your brand is what creates a lasting impression in the minds of customers. It is what prospects think of or feel when they hear your name. Your brand is your most valuable asset and is what keeps customers coming back, recommending you to others and ultimately makes your business successful. It takes many years to build and it is therefore just as essential to protect your brand image as it is to create awareness.
Branding has been around for a very long time; it started more than a century ago when cattle famers used branding irons to ‘mark’ which cattle were theirs. This ‘mark’, eventually made its way onto products, with the widening array of products, producers found the need to distinguish the source of their goods. In the late 1880’s the infamous Coca-cola product started what is seen as today’s first branding: distinguishing coca cola from other soda’s in the market.
Building a brand is more than just making sure your product is distinguishable, functional, searchable and available. Building a brand is making a promise to your customers that they can expect long-term security, a competitive frame of reference and consistent delivery of functional as well as emotional benefits from using your product or service. Branding has thus far surpassed just the physical and functional nature of your product or service, it includes how the customer feels when they use your brand, the customer experience, the customer journey, the customer satisfaction and the customers willingness to continue to use your brand and refer it to others. Everything your brand touches or is associated with is a reflection of your brand. From your premises, your employees, your culture and values, your business operation policies to the manner in which your delivery trucks drive are all factors being accounted for when customers form perceptions of your brand. Hence why brand image, customer service, reputation management, brand partners need to be carefully considered. One unsatisfied customer has the potential to really cause great damage to your brand. The internet is not only your biggest tool as it can reach customers far and wide 24/7, it can also be your most dangerous one. The internet has given the consumer power and a voice, consumers now research you, compare you and read other customer testimonials, they can complain more easily about you and share experiences they had with you with millions of people immediately. The notion that the customer is your businesses most important asset is becoming more true everyday.
Building a brand, requires you to have certain key tools. Your brand building toolbox includes your brand’s identity, the visible elements of your brand, your product design,colours, logo, slogan and imagary . Constantly ensureyour brands image is always consistent and always adheres to your corporate identity.
Brand communication, the different channels a customer uses to interact with your brand, your website, social media channels, your store partner stores etc. Brand awareness, the extent to which your brand is recognized by customers, you need to reach the right customer, at the right time on the right channels. Brand loyalty, how likely are customers to use your brand again, the right customer constantly needs to see or hear your product, you can also build brand loyaly by ensuring your customers leave you satisfied, this way they will tell others about your brand. When a customer is familiar with a brand or favours it incomparably to its competitors, this is when you have reached a high level of brand equity. One of the ways to see that your brand is growing stronger is when your customers start referring to it by something different from its brand name, think of Woolworths, everyone refers to it as Woolies or coca cola referred to as coke.
Brands are everywhere and consumers are constantly experiencing them in their daily lives so it is vital to protect, grow and reinvent your brand all the time.
Building a business is part of something great. Having a business name, mission and vision is not nearly enough to get the ball rolling. Reaching the maximum business potential is what companies focus on. You need something that your customers can hold on to, delivering your brand promise. A brand that people can identify with is just as important as a company providing a service. The definition of branding is “The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products”– Entrepreneur. Effective branding is what sets your company aside from the competition. So how do we achieve effective branding and communications in the new era?
A company’s image, brand message, customer service and communications, builds the foundation for the credibility of the business. In a digital age, with many marketing products out there, competition is on the rise. For this reason, strategically positioning your brand in line with your products and services that can speak to the consumer at a human level is vast becoming a trend. This means if you’re trying to communicate with key consumer targets through digital platforms, try to appeal to them by making their consumer experience almost personal.
While traditional branding is more focused customer retention, communicating with a wider audience through mass communications can turn out to be more profitable.
Best practices for branding and communications
- Create a brand strategy for communicating and delivering your brand messages.
- Be creative with attractive designs identifying your business using catchy phrases.
- Create a compelling brand story by giving something useful to your customers.
- Build around outreach programs, giving something to the community or providing an affordable service that is of high quality.
- Create a buzz around an extreme offer that will drive traffic to your brand.
- Expose your business using social media platforms.
- Be consistent in your messages.
- Show brand integrity and what your brand represents.
The idea behind brand building is for all business elements to integrate with your corporate identity. As a result of effective communications – through various mediums such as your business website, email signatures, email marketing, social media, print and advertising, packaging and promotional materials –your business uniforms and brings about a consistency. With growing competition comes a growing need for businesses to upskill their creativity, user designs and communication integrations for a complete modern age brand initiative. Now is the time – to take the time – to get to know your customer, have a conversation with them and make it a personal brand experience to achieve success.
Brands do not exist without consumers and consumers do not exist without brands – a bold statement perhaps, but very true and relevant. From this, an understanding of Brand Equity vs Customer Equity is imperative!
What is the Difference Between Brand Equity and Customer Equity?
Brand Equity can be defined as; “The monetary value and strength of the brand – its’ total worth.”
Customer Equity is defined as; “The lifetime value of its customers.”
Brand Equity and Customer Equity have two things in common
- Both emphasise the significance of customer loyalty to the brand
- Both emphasise that value is created by having as many customers as possible paying as high price as possible for the product/brand.
How do Brand Equity and Customer Equity differ conceptually?
- While customer equity puts a lot of emphasis on financial value received from the customers; brand equity attempts to place more emphasis on the strategic issues in managing those brands.
- Customer Equity is a less narrow alternative. It can overlook a brands’ optional value, and their capacity effect on revenues and cost beyond the present marketing environment.
- Just as customer equity can persist without brand equity, brand equity may also exist without customer equity. For instance I may have positive attitude towards brands – Nandos and KFC, but I may only purchase from Nandos brand consistently.