I recently asked a friend of mine what came to mind when I said “Corporate Image” . She replied “Melanie Griffith, shoulder pads and bad glasses”. After staring at her open-mouthed for many minutes I realised she wasn’t actually that far wrong. Corporate image is how your brand presents itself. Just like the clothes you wear and the way you do your hair, your brand is your outward appearance. Does your business look like an 80’s throwback or do you reflect the ideals and values of your organisation as it is today? Corporate image is the visual representation of your brand, what the public sees. Corporate image can be the difference between having consumer trust and not having it. Trust leads to relationships and relationships lead to sales.
Businesses make one of two mistakes when it comes to branding, they either represent themselves in the way they always have or they haven’t thought about how they represent themselves at all. A poor corporate image can be damaging to a business. There are companies that play it safe, sticking with what they’ve always done, conforming to corporate traditions rather than presenting themselves in a way that will engage and attract their target market. Some traditions are great, Christmas, Sunday Roast, Mothers Day - we love all that. But some traditions are best left in the past, with the shoulder pads and the hairspray. You really don’t want to be the “Working Girl” of your industry.
Is Your Branding Working For You?
Over time culture and society has changed and you need to sure that your brand is sensitive and reflective of those changes. Your branding is at the centre of your corporate image. If your message or corporate values are outdated you could inadvertently be turning people off and when was the last time you heard someone bragging about being a turn-off? If you don’t check in and audit your branding regularly, making sure it’s still fit for purpose, you risk standing out for all the wrong reasons.
You Talking To Me?
Understanding your target audience is key to the success of your brand. Understanding your clients should underpin everything you do in your business including your branding. Creating a customer persona should be the first step in developing your brand image, who they are, what they want, what they worry about and what they need. Knowing who your clients are, allows you to connect better with them and their ideals. Too often I hear, “I want my logo to be a bluebell flower because I love bluebells’. Er, sorry to poop on your flowers, but unless your target audience are also die-hard fans of bluebells, people won't make the connection between your logo and your services and you may be inundated with enquiries intended for the Alzheimer's Society.
What Do You Do, Can Anyone Tell?
Your brand tells people what your business is and does, in an instant. Is it clear what you do? How well does your brand sum up what you do? Does your brand look out of place in the industry? Consumer research around your brand can give you powerful feedback that you can use to inform any changes. If only the bigwigs at Royal Mail had consulted their customers and other stakeholders before they spent £2m rebranding to Cosginia only to revert back 18 months later.
Does your branding reflect your organisational values?
Millennials, criticised by the media and often labelled as entitled, are in fact a generation with the most spending power. This, coupled with the fact that this younger generation represents the future pipeline of consumers, shows that the needs and concerns of this cohort are something not to be dismissed, but should be put at the heart of strategic decisions including branding.
Considering and demonstrating corporate social responsibility is more important than ever because millennials demand it. Millennials are the most likely generation to research the issues a company supports, they are more likely to pay more for sustainable brands. Millennials expect companies to make a public commitment to corporate responsibility. These high expectations translate into their spending habits as consumers.
Corporate branding as a reflection of an organisation's moral compass and driver of corporate responsibility adds immense value. Keeping up with changes in culture, future-proofs your organisation and builds trust with your customers.
Your Branding Should Humanise Your Business
Mad Men, what a great TV show. However, that’s not how marketing works today. Gone are the days when the men headed out to work and the women stayed at home to look after the kids and see to the home. What are the values of your organisation? What is your company culture? Does your branding reflect this?
The age of the faceless corporate organisation is over. People buy from people and people that they connect with and that they believe in. Your branding should showcase your most important assets, your people, your ethos and your personality.
People connect with you through your public image and the easier you make it for them to interact the more successful your branding is. Humans are visual creatures. The human brain processes information both visually (using shapes and colours) and spatially (using location and distance). Audiences prefer animated websites and advertisements over the static equivalent.
The Jessica Draws brand has been evolving since the very first day when I started as a freelancer about 8 years ago. The company is growing all the time and in the very near future, we will be practising what we preach and undergoing our own rebranding. As our business horizons have broadened our customer's needs have changed and our values have matured and deepened. Our brand needs to reflect this change and growth.
If your branding needs a refresh or you want to start on the right foot get in touch with us at Jessica Draws and we’ll make sure we deliver a brand that reflects who you are, speaks to your target audience, on time and on budget.