Branding is the combination of an organization or product’s image, familiarity and reputation. Successful branding is what creates the lasting recognition among consumers that makes someone or something a “household name,” the first thing that comes to mind when your consumers think of a need or desire related to your brand. Whether your organization is large or small, corporate branding and consumer branding are two of the marketing methods for presenting your brand to consumers.
Your company or product’s brand is the cumulative perception created by your logo, advertising, customer service and all other interactions with your customer base. Strong branding creates a visible, memorable and distinct presence that can help build customer loyalty. For example, the brand story of Nike is that it's sports gear suitable for star athletes such as Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan made available to the average consumer. Meanwhile, the brand story of a small-town restaurant might be a reputation for the best breakfast for miles around. Branding is the combination of all the ways you work to build positive relationships between consumers and your product or service.
A corporate branding strategy uses your organization’s name and reputation to draw consumers, as opposed to using the selling points of a specific product. Corporate branding emphasizes your organization as the best provider of your product or service. The message of corporate branding might be how long you’ve been in business, the recognition you’ve earned or a technology that your organization has developed to be a leader in your industry.
Celebrity endorsers such as Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan using Nike products in competition are examples of corporate branding. Endorsement and event sponsorships can make positive connections in consumers’ minds. Small businesses can effectively use sponsorships to create these positive associations in their communities by partnering with youth groups and local events.
Another form of corporate branding is the use of your organization’s name as the brand for your product or service. For example, Disney attaches its name to nearly all of its creations to emphasize its long-standing name recognition. Your small business can use this strategy as well, focusing on your body of work rather than a specific product or offering.
A consumer branding strategy works to create recognition and positive reputation for a specific product. Distinctive packaging and emphasizing a particular product’s selling points are common practices in consumer branding. Consumer branding aims to convince your prospective customers of the value, quality or exclusive nature of your product or service. Where corporate branding presents your organization as the top provider of your product or service, consumer branding presents your product or service as the top solution to your consumers’ needs and desires.
Your neighborhood grocery store is filled with examples of consumer branding on product packaging. Sports drink labels list key ingredients that imply superior performance benefits to competing products. Soft drinks and snack foods strive for eye-catching use of color and design in their packaging.
Your small business can use consumer branding to appeal to the wants and needs of your prospective customers as well. You can promote a unique selling point that aligns your product or service to consumer needs.