The Do’s and Don’ts of Corporate Branding

Successful branding takes time and attention to detail. The elusive “it” factor that makes people recognize your business name is a combination of personality, colors, typography and consistency. People may not always see your brand in the same way you present it to them.

Corporate branding encompasses your business as a whole rather than a single aspect of your company or a particular product. Done well, you’ll highlight the core values of your firm and build a strong image with your customers. When they need anything you offer, you will be the first company they think of. Presenting your brand consistently every time a customer encounters you increases recognition by 23%, whether the effort is online or offline.

Building your image isn’t easy, and keeping things the same across different mediums presents many challenges. Fortunately, there are some tried and true do’s and don’ts to help you with your efforts.

  1. Corporate Branding Do’s

You likely already know some of the basics of corporate branding, such as using a style guide and plastering your logo everywhere. You understand corporate branding is more about the organization as a whole and less about a specific item. Here are some definitive do’s and examples of how other companies incorporate them into their endeavors.

  1. Do: Consider Colors

The colors you choose should speak about your industry. You can also tie into the themes some of your more prominent partners use. If you resell items from a larger corporation, include some colors from the company, so people relate your business to theirs. You can gain a lot of traction out of teaming up with a recognized name.

Consistently use the same colors. Use the palette on your physical store signage for your website and on social media pages.

Gregory Poole uses blacks and yellows on their website. These colors reflect the strength and ruggedness of the equipment. However, it also ties into colors people associate with the Caterpillar brand. By repeating the same shades in the hero image slideshow at the top of the screen, they reinforce their recognizable status in the niche they’re in.

  1. Do: Choose an Easy Domain Name

Some brands try to get cutesy with their domain names. It isn’t easy to find a unique and available name. You may have to spend a little money to grab the name you really want. The first choice should always be to use your company name. However, if the domain isn’t available and the person doesn’t want to sell it, you may need to think of something else.

Consider what you do as an option. What is your brand’s slogan? Can the slogan or part of it be used as your internet address? You should keep it short, get a dot com if at all possible and avoid anything extra such as dashes. Stay away from difficult-to-spell words.

Bruce is a United States flooring manufacturer. Their website address is their name and a dot com. It’s short, simple, easy to spell and memorable. They use just the word “Bruce” in their logo and advertising, making it even easier to remember the website address.

While finding a five-letter domain isn’t an easy prospect, this website illustrates how simple your choice should be and how to reinforce it through the way you brand your name. If you visit their Instagram or Facebook pages, the logo states “Bruce” at the top of the profile and has the same look as what you see on their website.

  1. Do: Tell a Story

The thing making your business unique from all the others in your industry is your journey to where you are. Whether you want to name-drop some of your bigger partners, or you want to show your ability to overcome challenges, share the struggles you overcame. Get personal. If your grandfather started the business, explain why and what it means to you.

Study your competitors and how they tell their brand story. Look for ways your account is different and highlight those points.

Herman Miller shares the story of their corporation’s beginnings, highlighting the company’s 100 years of business. Those looking for dependability and reassurance that the brand will be there if they have a problem in the future will find the history helpful. They highlight their commitment to helping other businesses improve employee performance through the products Herman Miller offers.

  1. Don’ts of Corporate Branding

While there are some clear do’s when it comes to corporate branding, the don’ts may not be as obvious. You tend to stumble into no-nos along the way and figure out what turns off your customers. There are some big ones you should keep in mind, though.

  1. Don’t: Create a Giant Logo

Making your logo huge doesn’t necessarily make it more memorable. Brands such as Apple and Uber keep the logo small on their websites. It is placed in the uber left corner and speaks for itself because of the simplicity of the design. Adjust the size of your logo to the medium. On a website, a small logo in the upper corner works well. It doesn’t need to take up the entire visible part of the page.

  1. Don’t: Team Up With Questionable People

Just as you can name-drop and draw attention to the well-known corporations you work with, you also should be careful who you align yourself with. Choose influencers with an established reputation and study the things they post. If someone working as a brand ambassador suddenly starts spouting off-color monologues, you risk losing your audience.

While you can’t foresee every potential incident, you can carefully vet your partners. If someone goes down a strange rabbit hole, dissolve the relationship immediately. Your reputation is everything when it comes to brand image. You can’t afford to associate your name with anything negative.

  1. Don’t: Make Promises You Can’t Keep

It’s tempting to state that you have the lowest prices or fastest shipping. However, another brand can easily come along and undercut your prices or ship a bit faster. Be careful about tying your brand to a promise that might not stand the test of time.

Domino’s Pizza is a stellar example of this type of branding mistake. When they first opened, they promised fast, fresh delivery in 30 minutes or less. If the pizza wasn’t there within the timeframe, it was free. Over time, they started to move away from this model. It simply wasn’t sustainable for the long term. There were too many factors the owners couldn’t control, such as how far away the delivery was, mistakes made in making the pizza or even how fast the delivery drivers moved.

Make sure any elements you tie to your branding are ones you are able and willing to sustain over time, even as your company and customer base grow.

  1. Your Brand Is Your Asset

Your brand image is one of the most significant assets you have as a business owner. It might sound like a simple process, but you must juggle a lot of different elements to keep your appearance what you want it to be. Pay attention to the little details, and over time people will associate your company with specific attributes.

Lexie is a digital nomad and UI designer. If she’s not traveling to various parts of the country, you can find her at the local flea markets or hiking with her Goldendoodle. Check out her design blog, Design Roast, and connect with her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.

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