Branding14 Feb 2024Simon Druery

Transforming Your Brand Reputation: Best practices

In the digital age, where every click, comment, and review holds sway over your business's destiny, the significance of branding has never been more profound. As a Brand Strategist for over 20 years, I've witnessed firsthand the metamorphosis that occurs when a company harnesses the potent force of branding to shape its reputation. Let's face it. Every brand has a reputation. It lives in the hearts and minds of your customers and employees, your suppliers and investors. And they change, as do their values and preferences as societal 'norms' shift over time. The question is - what are you doing to INFLUENCE their perception of you?

Picture this: A business with a lacklustre or tired image, struggling to stand out amidst a growing sea of new competitors, slowly losing market share and relevancy over time. Now envision the same business, but with a compelling, relevant and differentiated brand story that resonates deeply with its ideal audience. The difference lies not just in perception but in tangible outcomes – from increased customer and employee loyalty to heightened market visibility and, ultimately, sustainable growth.

More than simply a marketing tool, a brand can be the guiding inspiration for HOW you do business; a guiding light, infused in every touchpoint and inspiring the right focus, energy and storytelling at every stage of the customer and employee experience.

In this blog article, we'll delve into the transformative power of branding and how it can elevate your business reputation to new heights. Whether you're a startup looking to make your mark, or an established enterprise aiming to revitalise or refresh your image, understanding the power of branding to shift perceptions and transform reputations is paramount.

Join me on a journey where we'll explore a strategic process and the latest insights to unlock the full potential of your brand. By the end, you'll be equipped with the knowledge and tools needed to carve out a distinct identity in today's competitive landscape and leave a lasting impression on your audience. It's time to embark on a journey of brand transformation – are you ready?

Why Corporate Branding matters?

Having a compelling Corporate Brand, one that is 'magnetic', can significantly impact an organisation in multiple ways. 

Firstly, it can help attract and retain the right people (customers, employees and investors) to your business. In a competitive market, customers are not only looking for 'good value from a product or service, but also for a brand that is a reflection of who they are. A brand that shares my values and beliefs is a way of showcasing 'this is me - this is what I stand for'.

When crafted strategically (which means the brand is informed by data), an effective Corporate Brand can more quickly and easily communicate these aspects to potential customers, employees and investors, thus increasing the chances of them engaging (and being 'sticky') with your business.

Secondly, Corporate Branding can boost existing customer and employee engagement and retention. Customers who feel aligned with a Corporate Brand are more likely to make purchases of a higher value and purchase more often as well as being positive advocates for the business, products or services. Equally, employees working for a company with a 'magnetic' Corporate Brand are more likely to feel proud of their association with the organisation, leading to increased commitment and engagement. This, in turn, can reduce employee turnover rates, boost productivity and enhance job satisfaction. 

Lastly, a positive Corporate Brand can contribute to an organisation's overall reputation, attracting customers and top talent while improving the company's image and standing in the industry.

Best practices for designing a transformative Corporate Brand identity.

The quality of the process of developing a Corporate Brand identity is of paramount importance. Such a process can facilitate the creation of a Corporate Brand that authentically embodies a company's purpose, values, mission, personality and value proposition that will resonate with existing and prospective customers, employees, suppliers and investors. What is key, however, is understanding that the process of branding is to create a powerful tool to shift the perceptions of your target audience. Branding is so much more than just a logo and a tagline. It is a clear signal of the WAY you do business that pervades every touchpoint, constantly shifting how your ideal audience perceives you.

Some of the best practices for designing a transformative Corporate Brand identity are as follows:

Research is key to developing a transformative Corporate Brand

Hear from our Brand Strategist and Head of Research on why research is integral in creating transformational brand strategies.

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Trends in crafting a Corporate Brand identity

Designing a transformative Corporate Brand identity is a fluid and progressive undertaking, subject to the influence of evolving market trends and shifting customer and employee expectations. As such, organisations must stay abreast of emerging trends in crafting a compelling and enduring Corporate Brand identity.

One such trend is the need to create a Corporate Brand identity that is uniquely ownable, thereby setting it apart from competitors. Companies increasingly focus on developing Value Propositions that are authentic and will resonate with their targeted audience to achieve this goal. A few ways Corporate Brands can achieve this is by leveraging the unique journey the business is on, and infusing human storytelling elements into their marketing content. Making sure you include ‘differentiated value’. This means delivering value to customers and employees that is designed to be DIFFERENT to what other competitors offer. 

Another emerging trend is the use of user-generated content as a means of showcasing an organisation's Brand personality. By encouraging customers and employees to share their experiences and stories through social media and other channels, companies can offer a genuine and authentic perspective on their products, and services as well as organisational culture and values. Keep in mind their social networks have 10x the reach of your corporate network of followers.

The third trend is using video to convey authentic narratives of real customers and employees. This approach emphasises their experiences, backgrounds, and motivations, fostering trust and credibility while effectively communicating the organisation's values and ethos in a more human way. Because people trust people over corporations, videos are one of the most authentic ways to create content and quickly build credibility and trust.  

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you create an ownable Corporate Brand?

Developing a distinctive Corporate Brand that embodies an organisation's identity requires a purposeful and strategic approach. To that end, organisations can take several key steps to establish an ownable Corporate Brand: 

Incorporate the organisation's journey: To establish a deeper connection with your target audience, organisations should promote their aspirational journey through their brand storytelling. This means sharing the story of the organisation's planned growth, challenges ahead and milestones along the way. Doing so can help people understand the organisation's mission, purpose, ethos, values and culture. This takes people 'on the journey' and enrols them in supporting where you want to take the brand in the future.

Integrate corporate values: An organisation's corporate values are the guiding principles that shape its business. They are crucial to the Corporate Brand, providing customers, employees and investors insight into the organisation's culture and behavioural expectations. To establish an ownable Corporate Brand, organisations should ensure that their corporate values are clear, pertinent and aligned with their mission and purpose.

Integrate human brand elements: By integrating human brand elements into the Corporate Brand, organisations can create a Brand that is uniquely their own. This includes incorporating authentic and relatable people stories as 'evidence' that the brand is being 'real' about delivering on its promise. People trust people over corporations, so the more human-like you can make your brand the more relatable your brand will be.

What are the three critical components of Corporate Branding?

Corporate Branding constitutes a strategic approach aimed at attracting, engaging, and retaining the right customers, employees, suppliers and investors. Some critical components that make up Corporate Branding include: 

Thorough research on customers, employees and competitors: Before developing a Corporate Branding strategy, organisations ought to conduct extensive research to comprehend the needs, values and perceptions of their customers and employees about the company. This research should also encompass a profound understanding of the competitive landscape in terms of how other companies are positioning themselves in the market. 

Craft a Value Proposition (VP): A Customer Value Proposition (CVP) is a strategic marketing proposition (including pillars and narrative) that outlines the unique benefits and rewards that a customer receives in exchange for their purchase, loyalty and advocacy. Equally an Employee Value Proposition (EVP) does much the same but appeals directly to employees and potential candidates and what attracts and retains them. A well-outlined CVP and EVP can assist brands in distinguishing themselves from competitors and attracting the right type of customers and employees. An effective VP should be authentic, relevant, differentiating and aligned with the organisation's values and culture.

Authentic customer and employee stories that align with the organisation's overall strategy:
These narratives can take the form of testimonials, videos and social media posts, and they are instrumental in showcasing the company's purpose, personality, culture, values and mission. Such stories must be genuine and authentic for maximum efficacy, accurately reflecting the organisation's core principles and values.

Need help to transform your Brand reputation?

At Belong Creative, we’ve been helping some of Australia’s most desirable brands attract, engage and retain the right people for their business since 2009. From crafting human-centric CVP and EVPs, to designing 'ownable' brands, we help businesses transform their reputations through research and strategic-led storytelling; written, photographic and video. We offer an end-to-end solution for people-focused organisations that want to succeed by creating more belonging with their customers, employees, suppliers and investors.  

Article by Simon Druery

Simon Druery is Director and Brand Strategist at Belong Creative. What gets him jumping out of bed each day is helping business owners and marketers craft brands that people want to belong to. When he’s not working you can find him travelling Australia in the family caravan and enjoying a tawny port by the fire.