Corporate Branding
An Integrated Developmental Approach


By

Somnath Chatterjee
Lecturer
Durgapur Institute of Management Science
 


Abstract

Competition -- the word of corporate war today.  Instead of that, a firm will have to sustain in the market as well as a growth curve is to be maintained.  Corporate Branding is a specialized approach towards growth with competitive advantage.  In corporate branding, a company's mission statement is translated into the culture of the company, which in turn create the image of the company.  Likewise, a company moves through an integrated developmental orientation.

Introduction

Duane E. Knapp, author of "The Brand Mindset" defines a genuine brand as, "The internationalized sum of all the impressions received by the customers & consumers resulting in a distinctive position in their mind's eye based on perceived emotional & functional benefits." In general words, brand is a name, logo picture or a sensational stimulus that is the identity of a product or organization. When a product of a company is identified with its brand name in the market, it is termed as Product Branding. But, when it is the corporate, which is identified in association with any of its product, it is termed as Corporate Branding. In other words, Corporate Branding is an attempt towards presenting the company in front of the world.

It is a high time of competition. To gain popularity among customer, company will have to attain competitive advantage, which can be acquired through corporate branding.  It is an over crowded market today.  Different products with different brands and logo a tough process of memorizing all these.  So, it's a wise step towards corporate branding, where the entire products will get popularity under a single umbrella.  Simultaneously, it's an attempt to integrate all the stakeholders on the way of making popular product and overall development of the organization through corporate branding.

Shift towards Corporate Branding

" I have always believed that the company name is the life of an enterprise. It carries responsibility & guarantees the quality of the product" Akio Morita Late Founder Chairman, SONY

The word 'Branding' is quite related with product. When a customer think about beauty soap, they can talk about Lux, Rexona, Liril etc.; these are the product brands, not manufacturers' or Corporate Brand name. So, there is a good difference in between Product Branding & Corporate Branding. These differences are shown in the box below-

How Corporate Branding differs from Product Branding

Subject

Product Brand

Corporate Brand

Focus attention on

The product

The company

Managed by*

Middle Manager

CEO

Attract attention & gain support of

Customers

Multiple stakeholders

Delivered by

Marketing

Whole company

Communication Mix*

Marketing communication

Total corporate communication

Time Horizon

Short (Life of the product)

Long (Life of the company)

Importance to company

Functional

Strategic

* These two differences were offered by Balmer (2001)

Source: Bringing the Corporation into Corporate Branding; Mary Jo Hatch & Majket Schultz; European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 37, No. 7/8, 2003, pp.1041- 1064


Focus attention is shifted from Product Branding to Corporate Branding i.e., from a specialized sense to undifferentiated sense. In case of product brand, it includes only the product & its attributes, benefits etc. But, along with the shift towards Corporate Branding, the transparency of the organization also increases, as it includes the entire stake holders. Second, in an organization, the brand manager is responsible for branding of product. So, it is the task of middle level manager. But, when it is Corporate Branding, crucial strategies are very important. So it is only the top management, corporate people & CEO, who take the ultimate decision. Any little problem here can deviate the firm from equilibrium point. Every minute decision is important at this stage. Third, the area of targeting is concentrated in Product Branding. Complete customer oriented focus is important. But Corporate Branding has a wide view. Along with customer view, all the other stake holders are viewed & targeted here. It is an integrated approach. All stakeholders are the part of growth; so, in corporate branding, the stake holders get special attention. Forth, it is the Marketing Department who look after the Product Branding. There are different divisions in marketing, like Branding Department, Sales Department, Media Department, Market Research Department etc. ; all these Departments integrate to deliver the exact Product Branding. Integration also important in case of Corporate Branding, but its among all the Departments of the organization, like Marketing Department, Finance Department, Human Resources Management Department, Strategic Department, Production Department, Communication Department etc. From top level to bottom level suggestions and opinions are collected and the process move forward. As, the foundation of Corporate Branding is based on vision, culture & image the overall in depth observation is important. So, the Corporate Branding is delivered by the whole company. Fifth, different Advertisements in different media is a common way of communication.  Mass media are also used for communicating the mass about the product brand or the corporate brand.  But along with the external communication, internal communication is also very important in case of corporate Branding.  Internal communication includes the communication with employees, who are a major part of Corporate Branding. Finally, Corporate Branding includes all the stake holders of the company.  So, it is not concentrating on more part of the organization as sales or marketing; it includes a long term development approach.  Here, the whole company is supporting its product and promoting the overall growth.

Advantages of Corporate Branding

Broader Interaction:

Corporate Branding includes all its stake holders, along with the customers.  It means, with the satisfaction of the customer, it also look after the growth of all the other aspects of the organization. It is the aim to be unique among all the other players of the market. A long term focus on all the stakeholders, regulatory & others will help the corporate to create a relationship with them.  A good relationship always a base of growth of an organization.  So, it's a journey with all the associated blanket members to cover a broader area of interaction.

Advertising Efficiency:

Corporate houses manufacture a number of products / services.  For all products & brands, the costs of advertising (making & delivering) become much higher than the cost of production & delivery of only corporate brand.  So, corporate branding is the other name of advertisement & cost efficiency. We can take the example of TATA. They produce number of product and services; but, when they are going for the advertisement of only TATA Brand name, the brand value is increasing.  At the same period of time, the value of the different products and services of TATA are also increasing, because all these products or services are very much attached with its corporate brand name TATA.

Overall growth:


Finally corporate branding is helpful for overall growth of the organization. A long term established vision is here for a corporate that vision is translated into culture and the corporate move for the overall growth of the organization through corporate branding.  When the organizational culture maintains the right meaning of the vision, it creates a good organizational image.  This image helps to bind its entire stakeholder under one umbrella, with single tune.  A togetherness feeling emerges from this and that leads to the overall growth of the organization.

Competitive Advantage:

Corporate branding is advantageous in gaining competitive advantage.  It is as because, the products are under one brand name and that brand name means something significant; like 'Himalaya' means Indian green Ayurved Concept. So, when a customer finds a product under this brand, they can easily recognize it with its major benefits.

Attracting Human Resource

It is the time of high attrition. If a company can retain its employees as well as attracting new potential employees, it is doing really something good.  When a company is going for corporate branding, it creates its image. This image is advantageous in retaining and attracting new employees. And, employees love to work with highly reputed companies; as they know, its going to make their future.  So, it is advantageous for the corporate itself.

Initiatives in Corporate Branding

CSR

"A business that makes nothing but money, is a poor kind of business"
                                                                                          
Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motor

It was the primary vision of Sir Jamsedji Tata "To Create wealth for the nation".  His TATA Steel was established with the dream.  It is Tata Nagar and Jamsheedpur the twin city, has reflection of that primitive focus of Sir Jamshadji Tata.  These two cities are not only created Tata Steel, but also they are maintaining it in a good fashion.  TISCO is doing some wonderful social job.  They have translated their vision into culture.  And, finally this culture is making an image for the organization.  Because its only the stakeholders, whose view is reflected and create the image of the company. It's the customer, who get quality product the internal customers i.e., employees who are getting benefit even the external environment of the business which can't be controlled by the organization, also get some benefit.  Thus with this step towards a social responsibility fulfilment, the corporate has created a very good image in the mind of its customers; which in turn helps in growth of corporate branding and long run business orientation.

So, the corporate are engaged in social development.  They consider these social responsibilities and create an impact of their activities on their stake holders, i.e., supplier, employees, shareholders, communities.  Though these social responsibilities are not under the corporate legislative jurisdiction, but they are voluntarily taking, because of long term image as well as brand building of the corporate.

Corporate Advertising

To communicate mass people about the brand of a corporate is advertising.  The advertisement includes different form like newspaper, magazine, TV-channel, radio, internet, hording etc.  Though this way of communicating mass by corporate branding is not new, and it is gaining momentum right now.   According to CVS Ratna, "Any advertisement, that talks about the company and not about any specific product, can be called a corporate advertisement". In Corporate Brand Advertising, there are different objectives for different stake holders. Those objectives are shown in the figure.

Corporate Advertising always focuses a hope in long run growth curve. The first step is to build the firms image in front of customers, shareholders, the financial committee & the general public. Secondly, when the organization encourages its internal customers i.e., the employees openly, it boosts their morale, which in turn attracts the new & potential employees. Next, the positive image of the firm creates impact on social, political & environmental issues. As environment & pollution is a huge matter of discussion, when an organization goes for open green management, it attracts the attention of different hierarchical level of society. Finally, as the firm is perceived with positive value, its products also become ready to take the challenge of market place & market space.

Development of Service Sector Branding:

Service is characterized with intangibility, perishability, heterogeneity, inseparability. Services can not be understood before using.  So, the customers look after some tangible items or something on which they can trust and pay their valuable money.  So, most of the service sector players are mainly going for the corporate branding; it will provide an image of trust to the customers. For example, financial service providers like LIC, Reliance Capital, etc.

Healthcare service provider like APPOLO Hospital, Wok hard Hospital though offer different service products, but all those products are named under the corporate brand name.  When it is a question of any product, the corporate name comes with that and the service sector brand names get more value.

Objectives and Audiences

 

Employees

Improve internal communications

Prospective employees

Recruitment ads

Consumers

Enhance awareness of company and products

Financial

Communicate new strategy and financial performance

Suppliers

Communicate commitment to quality

Buyers

Communicate scope of operations

Government

Influence legislation

Local communities

Communicate new strategy and commitment to expansion

The media

Communicate new strategy and performance


Healthcare service provider like APPOLO Hospital, Wok hard Hospital though offer different service products, but all those products are named under the corporate brand name.  When it is a question of any product, the corporate name comes with that and the service sector brand names get more value.

Examples:

TATA

Tata, the dream of Sir. Jamsedji Tata, the founder chairman, a world renowned company offer different product and services in different sector, like FMCG, Health Care, Pharma, Telecom, Steel, Finance, Hotel, Automobile, Education etc. But the corporate brand name always comes first.  And, the mission statement is incorporated in the mind of the customers "Tata means trust".

HIMALAYA HEATH CARE

It is an ayurvedic brand, with one corporate name "Himayala", one logo, and one style.  It offers Neem Capsule, Fairness Cream, Ayurvedic tea, Pet Food etc., which are branded under one name i.e., "Himalaya" the corporate brand.  Even, the organization has opened exclusively ayurvedic concept products selling retail outlet, with the same brand name Himalaya.  In their logo.  The lead with the letter "H" mainly focus on herbal healthcare.  And, as it is with green colored, it says about its proximity with nature.  Thus, Himalaya Health Care, with its corporate branding, can always speak that "Himalaya" is the name of Indian green Ayurvedic Concept.

Conclusion

Someone has truly said that change is the only constant in the world. Now-a-days, it is easy to start a business, but the problem is to sustain in the market; coping with all the internal & external changes. So, it is very much necessary to find out the ultimate solution. Corporate Branding is simply one solution of this enormous change.  At this era of high competition & highly demanding customer base, corporate branding is a specialized way towards the creation of long tern relationship with all the stakeholders & simultaneously preparing a huge platform for its products.  It is a magic of two words that have 3600 developmental outlook. Though, it is not very popular in India till now, but the present scenario is giving some indication of a new revolution.  It might be a good or bad -- time will give the answer. But, standing at this point, with some contemporary experience, we can obviously wait for a bright morning.

References

* Marketing Management, Philip Kotler, Pearson, PHI
* Corporate Branding- Concept & Cases, K Suresh, ICFAI Book
Articles

* Conceptual Framework on Corporate Branding; M Parasuraman, Mohan Raj, A Choudhuri; The ICFAI Journal of Brand Management; Vol-V, No.1; March, 2008
* Ethics & CSR: Do they Accelerate or Hinder Business Growth; Dr. Rashmi Joshi, HRM review, Sept.2007.
* An Indian Perspective of Corporate Social Responsibility; Kinjal Shah; HRM review, Jan. 2008.
* Co-branding in the FMCG Sector; A Srikant & S Ghosh; Marketing Mastermind; Dec. 2006.
* Strengthen Your Corporate Brand Image For Optimum Result; www.articlenext.com/Article/3704.html
* Corporate Branding: Recipe For A  Successful Business; www.articlenext.com/Article/1736.html
* Corporate Branding;  www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_branding

Website

* www.google.com
* books.google.co.in/books?isbn=8763001403
* www.brandweek.com
* www.brandidentityguru.com/corporatebranding.htm
* www.corebrand.com
* www.brandidentityguru.com
* www.aandesigners.com/portfolio/Corporate-Identity-and-Branding
* www.handworkdesigns.com

Important Words

Competition
corporate
competitive advantage
branding
mission statement
customers & consumers
Marketing communication
Sales
Media
Market Research
vision
culture
external communication
internal communication
Advertising
CSR
stakeholders
Service
 


Somnath Chatterjee
Lecturer
Durgapur Institute of Management Science
 

Source: E-mail March 24, 2009

          

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