Corporate Branding – A Discussion

Today branding as an image building and identity building process has been adopted by virtually every segment of the society. Though we are more aware of branding in the products and services sectors, corporate branding as well as branding by different sectors such as sports, NGO, Cultural and religious organizations including country and regional brand building by nations can be witnessed in different fields.

Branding and image building has become an important exercise for all Organizations as well as institutions.

As far as the organizations go, brand building has become a strategic move, one that is not owned and crafted by their marketing departments. It is the CEOs and the senior management who own and manage the corporate brand identity.

In fact in some cases, the promoters of the Organizations have their own individual brand identity coupled with having to build and manage their Business or corporate identity as well. Richard branson is perhaps the best example where he is a brand in himself as well as owns the corporate brand of ‘Virgin’ Group.

Corporate brand is not just a brand identity for the organization. It is actually representative of the core values, ethics and the value proposition that the organization stands for in relation to its business and its customers. To a large extent the corporate brand is also the ambassador of the culture and value system of the Organization and its reputation.

Brand value or measure of a corporate brand has to be evaluated in terms of its relevant to the customers, its value proposition to its customers as well as its value as perceived by the investors as well.

The stock market sentiments are perhaps reflectors of the brand image and value of a corporate brand. As far as the investors are concerned, they measure the company’s performance in terms of brand value too, besides the balance sheet performance. Industry experts have created models to measure the brand equity of an organization as well as to measure the brand value in the eyes of investors etc.

Maintaining the core brand value, the brand image lies with the management of the Organization. Creating and delivering the brand value experience is an activity that encompasses the entire Organization including all business processes and employees of the Organization.

In the changing market environment, the customer perceptions and requirements keep changing as well. The Corporate branding has got to be managed keeping in line with the new developments as well. There has got to be continuous enhancement of value offering by the Corporate brand keeping in line with the changing markets and consumer perceptions. Take the case of IBM.

The corporate brand image took a beating for some time when the Organization which was a leader in its industry segment lost touch with the changing environment and failed to keep up with the changing needs. It took a while for the Organization to realize its mistake and make the required changes to divest certain businesses and strengthen their focus on the key business segment and once again rise to the challenge of becoming a leader in its segment. Though the corporate brand did take a beating, the brand image and value certainly helped the organization charter its new course and make that course correction without losing its reputation in the market.

Today’s consumers and customers are highly aware and make their informed choices. To be able to build customer loyalty and sustain the leadership position in the long run, the organization has got to work on its corporate brand value and deliver superior brand experience at all times.

The brand experience is a mixture of real time experience that is the outcome of interaction with the customer as well as his perception of the brand experience which is a cumulative impression of his past and present experience, knowledge as well as the perception of the Organizational value and reputation.

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