The Evolution Of Corporate Branding Campaigns
How many more pens with your favorite coffee shop’s logo on them can you really still use? We’re long beyond the days of the ubiquitous branded mouse pad, and when last did you attend a year-end party with that much loved branded T-shirt as part of your “gift pack”?
Now, we have RFID cards that contain all of our contact information, and all one needs to do is tap a mobile device to receive it.
So, where does that leave suppliers of this once flourishing industry? Is there still space in our virtual world for traditional corporate branding strategies?
We’re going to unpack that question and examine a few ways why we think that traditional, above-line marketing strategies not only still have a place but can still make an impact (with some modern varieties thrown in, of course).
As always, we need to start at the beginning and understand how traditional branding has evolved to where it stands now. It is a multi-billion-dollar industry that can have you spend anything from a few dollars for a T-Shirt with your logo on it to many hundreds of thousands of dollars to have your brand placed in a movie scene. Thank you ‘product placement.’
“Branding” as a function, and as we know it, started pretty much about the same time we discovered advertising. As countries industrialized and companies supplying similar goods sought out ways to differentiate themselves from their competition, branding as a function was born. Over time it grew from shop window displays to advertisements in newspapers and society columns to the unique mousepads we mentioned earlier.
This then became the glitzy, high-tech sophisticated events and global expos we know now.
Now, if you have a larger company or are still making your mark getting there, the amount of money you have available to spend on branding needs to be carefully controlled. Because without a solid strategy to implement the policy and then test for its success, you could end up burning a hole in your bottom line before you know it.
“If you don’t give the market the story to talk about, they’ll define your brand’s story for you.” – Seth Godin (Author of “Brand Intervention”).
START WITH A STRATEGY
You’re going to hear this word a lot throughout your career as either a marketer or indeed as a business owner. But, without a solid one, you’re not going to know why you’re doing what you’re doing and, more importantly – what you got out of doing what you did.
Your marketing strategy that will ultimately inform your branding plan exists to ensure that all stakeholders in your company and outside your mainframe know what is expected of them and how to deliver on the desired outcome.
So following that to its logical conclusion, you will start by first knowing three vital things about your company:
- What is your visual identity?
- What is your brand voice?
- What is the messaging you want to broadcast or convey throughout your visual media?
Your corporate branding strategy cannot just begin and end with your logo. Now don’t misunderstand; a high-quality, well-researched logo is crucial because it is the instant cognizance that your intended marketing place will associate with your company.
But having the best logo in the world isn’t going to mean anything if no one knows who you are.
LEAD WITH A UNIQUE EDGE
All we need to say is “Just do it,” and you’ll know who we’re talking about, right? So regardless of the size of your company, you need to identify unique markers that exist purely for you. If you’re a fierce local competitor, you’ll know that you can rely on humor or “inside jokes” that only your community will get, but be careful of trying to take a strategy like that father afield.
That said, if you’ve ever been to Maine, you’ll know how successful the “BAH-HABAH” brand has been for the island, poking fun at the local accent. Remember that your overall marketing plan must be part of your ongoing business plan, so keep that updated all the time too.
COMPLETE, WITH A DELIVERABLE
When you’re working through all of this and incorporating intelligence into your strategy, it’s important to appreciate where it’s all supposed to end. A branding campaign for its own sake is the preserve of conglomerates with money to burn; for everyone else – we need direction, monitoring, and completion.
Then, you have to conduct further research to determine the success of your campaign, and this is where you may want to invest in a dedicated agency to do this for you.
Opportunities abound for creative and forward-thinking companies that embrace what they have around them and employ local knowledge and flavor into their marketing and branding strategies.
But no matter how advanced everyone thinks they are, the #1 favorite giveaway at events, parties, launches, and gift bag contents are:
The humble printed T-shirt. So don’t throw away the number of the company that does your t shirt printing just yet.
Categories: Outside Contributors