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Corporate Brand Architecture and Brand Strategy

A critical and often underappreciated discipline in marketing is brand architecture, which are the defined relationships of a company’s brands to each other and to the corporate brand.

When new brands are created, sometimes they’re just added to a company’s portfolio without clearly thinking through the long-term ramifications of their impact. Whatever your brand architecture strategy may be, it’s critical that you consider how you can manage, and market, all of the brands in your portfolio.

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Corporate Identity and Branding – A Reality Check

Some people believe that “image is everything” when it comes to corporate identity and branding. Others think “identity” begins and ends with a logo.

The reality is, both are important, and corporate identity and image have a critical role within brand marketing strategy. Branding consultants are a great resource when designing your successful branding strategies.

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People Cannot Be Enthusiastic About What They Cannot Understand

understand your audience When establishing your corporate identity and branding platform, clarity and focus are paramount – successful corporate identity programs convey their brand messages clearly, concisely and coherently. A strategically focused brand and messaging platform helps connect your brand with its audience. Simply put, your audience cannot become or remain enthusiastic about your products or services if they don’t relate to them meaningfully (brand experience), and your internal teams and external agencies can’t build effective, engaging and cohesive brand communication programs if they don’t tie back to a clear positioning and messaging platform.

Engaging your audience
To help your audience understand and care about your brand, you must find innovative ways of engaging their time and attention. But, accomplishing this coherently across many different touch-points can be challenging. Here are four interrelated and critical areas that your corporate identity strategy should address:

1. Clear Positioning
As a company or brand, uniquely defining who you are, what you do, and why you matter to your most important audiences lays the foundation for your corporate identity strategy. It sounds rudimentary, but many lack discipline on this critical step and as a result their corporate identity is fragmented, inconsistent or undifferentiated.

2. Cohesive Visual Identity
In today’s market, success is difficult without a comprehensive visual branding program. From your name and logo through to online and offline communication programs, telling your organization’s story consistently through visual design enables your customers to recognize and find your brand, across every touchpoint and through every medium.

3. Effective Communications
Many factors come into play when developing your corporate identity and brand marketing strategy, but one of the most important remains connecting your brand to your audience. Name recognition alone is not enough for your audience to understand and relate to your product or service. Listening to and understanding your audience will help you develop clear, consistent messages and a strong foundation for compelling communications.

4. Understanding the Medium
Delivering the right message to the right person at the right time through the right medium is much more than just broadcasting the same message everywhere. Understanding the context where the conversation occurs, from corporate communications, advertising and sales materials through to social media and brand experiences, is as important as what you are saying.

Successful corporate identity and branding programs develop meaningful relationships based on mutual trust and understanding with your target audience. Marshall Strategy is a leader in developing corporate identity programs that are built to last. To learn more about how you can better engage your audience, contact us.

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Corporate Identity Guidelines: 4 Requirements For A Successful Strategy

Corporate identity guidelines in today’s fast paced world, may evolve with our changing marketplaces, yet a corporate identity strategy is simple in concept but can be challenging to deliver. Strategic brand identity is the disciplined effort to succinctly define what a company or brand does, why it matters to its critical audiences, and why it is better than the competition. Regardless of a company’s size, from start-ups to large, complex multinational corporations, its identity strategy needs to be expressed simply and compellingly, and that’s where the hard work begins.

In order to develop brand strategy, you need to first identify brand objectives. There needs to be internal alignment on the brand’s direction to ensure that all the moving parts are moving towards the same goal. Once this alignment is achieved, there can be greater clarity and relevance in communications, which ultimately leads to greater audience appeal. A company that has identified its strategic objectives will have better focus on its mission and greater impact in its market.Over the years, we’ve developed corporate identity guidelines, and found the following four key brand requirements are critical for a successful corporate identity strategy.

Differentiation. In today’s highly competitive market, brands need to have a clear differentiation or reason for being. What they represent needs to be stand apart from others in order to be noticed, make an impression, and to ultimately to be preferred.
Relevance. Brands need to connect to what people care about out in the world. To build demand, they need understand and fulfill the needs and aspirations of their intended audiences.
Coherence. To assure credibility with their audiences, brands must be coherent in what they say and do. All the messages, all the marketing communications, all the brand experiences, and all of the product delivery need to hang together and add up to something meaningful.
Esteem. A brand that is differentiated, relevant and coherent is one that valued by both its internal and external audiences. Esteem is the reputation a brand has earned by executing clearly on both its promised and delivered experience.

Delivering on these brand requirements requires discipline, insight, and a clear understanding of the company’s objectives, audience, competition, and opportunity.

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