Perhaps you have a start-up company, and you want to determine what you stand for. Or you have a company with many product categories, but you still want to find some common dimensions to characterize the various products.

What you're seeking is often called a "brand platform" or what has been traditionally called a "corporate image." In essence, the platform or image is really about the corporate (or brand) name. It's important for a company to have a strong brand name that stands for something. That's because if your name doesn't stand for something that you determine, the market and your competitors will do it for you!

But how do you determine this brand platform? That's the subject of this tutorial. We'll start with the fundamental ideas, and then talk about how you might put this into practice.

WHAT IS AN IMAGE OR BRAND PLATFORM?

Brands or companies have names that customers associate with different things. Some of these things may be quite obvious and strong, like the brand Volvo is associated with safety. In other cases, the associations can be weak, like BMW may be associated with safety but only in a very weak manner. To learn more about these associations, see our tutorial on branding.

The possible associations that a brand may want to have actually comes from many sources. For example, it may come from the benefits the customers in a target market may care the most about. But it can also come from various descriptors or the self-image of the target audience. Finally, it can also come from a company's history or core competency.

WHO ARE THE POSSIBLE TARGETS OF THE PLATFORM?

Since we're often talking about a corporate brand platform, it may be that there are many target groups for the image. For example, you may want an image to portray to end customers, employees, and investors. If it's just to one group, determining an image is easier than if you have many groups.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Allen Weiss

Allen Weiss is the CEO and founder of MarketingProfs. He's also a longtime marketing professor and mentor at the University of Southern California, where he leads Mindful USC, its mindfulness center.