The corporate brand

27 Jan, 2023 - 00:01 0 Views
The corporate brand Branding

eBusiness Weekly

Leslie Mupeti

The concept of the brand can be traced back to product marketing where the role of branding and brand management has been primarily to create differentiation and preference for a product or service in the mind of the customer.

The development of product branding over the past 30 years is characterised by layers of added value built around the core functionality of the product or service to create and maintain distinction in a particular market.

A further stage in this evolutionary development of traditional product brand management has been the increasing influence of the organisation behind the brand and an increasing acceptance of its role in the creation of economic value.

The role of employees in corporate branding

The role of employees has changed. No longer can they be subsumed under the category the “firm”; they need to be recognised as a brand’s “ambassadors”.

Employees constitute the interface between a brand’s internal and external environments and can have a powerful impact on consumers’ perceptions of both the brand and the organisation.

Corporate branding necessitates a different management approach. It requires greater emphasis on factors internal to the organisation, paying greater attention to the role of employees in the brand building process.

If the organisation’s employees fail to greet or smile at customers or seem like they are being forced to show up to work by the employer, their behaviours will negatively reflect on the overall corporate brand of the organisation.

Corporate branding versus product branding

Corporate branding draws on the traditions of product branding in that it  shares the same objective of creating differentiation and preference. S. Knox defines corporate branding as  the visual, verbal and behavioural expression of an organisation’s unique business model.

Differences between a corporate brand and a product brand

  1. Corporate branding requires greater focus within the organisation.
  2. A product brand is defined by what it does (features and benefits) and represents, whereas a corporate brand is defined as much by who it is (identity) as what it does.
  3. A product brand typically relates to consumers and user imagery for a specific product whereas a corporate brand personality can be defined in terms of the human characteristics or traits of the employees of a corporation as a whole.

In other words, a product brand is solely focused on pleasing the customer whereas a corporate brand aims to please all stakeholders including customers, employees, media, investors, suppliers, executives and society.

A corporate brand personality will therefore reflect the values, words and actions of employees, individually and collectively.

  1. Another key distinction between product and corporate brands is manifested in language. The company will typically speak of itself as “we”, internally and in public discourse, while customers and other stakeholders will speak of it as ‘they’. A product brand, on the other hand, will be called ‘it’ by everyone.

Improvements in technology means that it is increasingly becoming difficult to differentiate brands based on the product alone.

An example of corporate branding is Microsoft, which has a business oriented, versatile and high performance corporate brand.

Organisational culture is very important in developing a corporate brand. There are many methods which can be used to develop a corporate brand identity.


Leslie Mupeti is a brand strategist and creative Innovator. He can be reached for feedback on [email protected] or +263 785 324 230. His Twitter and Facebook is @lesmupeti.


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