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Topic: Strategy

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Branding Vs. Corporate Image

Posted by Anonymous on 250 Points
What is the difference between these two terms and the application of each?

  • Posted on Member
    Some people use them interchangeably, and they can, in fact, often overlap. Typically, corporate image refers to the overall impression you have of a company. Branding often refers to a specific product line (although not always) and are the essential attributes that come to mind when thinking of that product. Essentially, corporate image is used in a more general sense about a company, where branding is often used more about a specific product. This isn't a cut-and-dry rule, however, and the difference can be semantic.

  • Posted on Accepted
    I think a couple of examples might help explain. For the first example, let's take Toyota. Right now, their slogan is Moving Forward. It appears they are trying to project a corporate image of innovation, leading-edge technology, and quality. This slogan appears on all of their corporate communications, their website and all of the product brochures. It would seem, therefore, that they would be careful not to damage that corporate image by, say, sponsoring an event to promote fast food, or something. Anything that would go against an image of highest quality and innovation. However, if you look at one of their brands, there is a slight difference. For example, let's take Avalon. They try to equate luxury with this brand, in the features they point out of this brand, in the way they position the brand, and their frequent use of the word "luxury" when describing the brand. This is consistent with their corporate image of quality, but it takes a slightly different direction. You don't necessarily equate Toyota with a corporate image of luxury, but you do when talking about the brand of Avalon. Therefore, this brand would have appeal to the segment of the market who favor luxury when purchasing a car, with the quality and innovation of the corporate image behind the brand.

    Now let's take the example of Avis. For a very long time, their slogan has been "We Try Harder". This image is conveyed in just about everything they do. They are proud to be #2 because they are constantly pushing to be #1 in their customer service, in their convenience, in their promotion, and in their product. They have been successful because you don't necessarily think of them as second rate, but as a company who pushes the envelope in a quest to be #1. They don't really have any individual brands - this is just an image you have of the company and the company as a brand and what their service is probably like.

    Whether or not these images and brands are all successful in conveying these attributes are a different story. These examples are to show you how branding/corporate image can overlap and be interchangeable (Avis), versus how they can sometimes be distinct (Toyota). If a company has more than one brand, they will often use different brands to appeal to more than more market segment. However, there is usually some consistency in the brands they tie them overall together into the corporate image, so that one brand does not compromise the image as a whole. Instead they can leverage the brand to better exploit the corporate image, while also using the corporate image to exploit the brand. They are complementary.

    Hope this makes more sense!

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