5 of the Best Ways to Brand Your Big Business

Last month, we highlighted some of the best ways to brand your small business. This month we’re delving into how big businesses cultivate their strong corporate brand identity.

Carving out a brand nowadays is tough. Competition is fierce. Consumers are inundated with numerous options via print, digital, and social media platforms. The companies that do succeed tend to share quite a few things in common.

Take a tip from the pros. To help your business stand out from the crowd, apply these five best branding practices.

1. Use the Brand Identity Prism

Jean-Noel Kapferer’s Brand Identity Prism is a strong template companies use to develop their brand identities. The template contains six aspects of the brand identity: physique, personality, culture, relationship, reflection, and self-image.

Brand Identity Prism
Source: 12Manage.com

Each aspect is an area that the company needs to flesh out. Once completed, the purpose of the prism is to serve as the company’s branding standard. Anyone who works on company branding will refer to the prism to maintain branding consistency.

Here’s how a company like Starbucks would view its brand through the Brand Identity Prism. The prism establishes a standard for the brand by identifying its personality, culture, and relationship with the customer.

Starbucks Brand Identity
Source: Pinterest

Branding Tip: Use the Brand Identity Prism as a template (and later for reference). 

2. Appoint a Brand Czar

Appoint a brand czar to enforce branding standards across all platforms. And when we say enforce, we mean enforce. Don’t give them the title in name only. Give them the authority to make changes even when they’re expensive or time-consuming.

A brand czar wouldn’t allow a company to make a cultural marketing blunder like that time Puff’s tissues did when marketing their products in Germany. Turns out “Puff” in German is another word for whorehouse. Uh oh.

Likewise, a brand czar would make sure the company’s branding message/ethics are aligned across sub-brands to avoid hypocrisy. Unilever, owner of Dove and Axe, found that out the hard way. The two brands are polar opposites when it comes to how women are viewed, and naturally some consumers responded negatively.

Ultimately, it’s a brand czar’s job to make sure defined brand guidelines are consistent for digital, print, and social media. So let them do it (with no complaining from the peanut gallery).

Branding Tip: Appoint a brand czar to enforce branding standards. 

3. Capitalize on Social Media

Adopt a comprehensive social media strategy and capitalize on major events and holidays, like Oreo did with its 2013 Super Bowl Blackout tweet.

When you share branded content on social media, keep in mind the 70/20/10 rule. You want your content to be engaging so it resonates with your audience (e.g. like Instagram does with its own Instagram account).

This ratio also enables you to share information your customers need while not being solely self-promotional.

70/20/10 Rule

Branding Tip: When sharing branded content follow the 70/20/10 rule. (click to tweet)

4. Follow the Corporate Brand Identity Checklist

HubSpot has a fantastic checklist dubbed “The Corporate Brand Identity Checklist.”

HubSpot Branding Checklist
Source: HubSpot

As you address each section, pay particular attention to your brand’s vision. Birchbox CEO Katia Beauchamp recently shared some sage advice regarding branding vision.

“You cannot protect anything about your ideas … but one thing they [copycats] cannot touch about your company forever is vision.”

Branding Tip: Cultivate your vision because it’s what will set you apart from the imitators. 

5. Keep It Simple

Don’t overcomplicate your branding. Take a lesson from Disney’s “It’s a Small World”: keep it simple. That applies not only to your brand’s message, which should only be a few words, but your name, too.

For instance, did you know that Pepsi gets its name from the digestive enzyme pepsin, which breaks down food proteins? Pepsi’s founders could have made up a fancy, convoluted name. But instead they kept it simple, and in turn, have an interesting backstory for the origin of Pepsi’s name.

Branding Tip: Don’t overcomplicate your branding; keep it simple. 

Conclusion

Having a bigger budget doesn’t eliminate branding challenges. But if you streamline the process by adhering to a template/checklist, hiring a branding enforcer, capitalizing on social media, and keeping it simple, you’ll overcome those hurdles and reap the rewards.