Developing a corporate brand

This approach to the development of a corporate brand was originated at Lloyd Northover and has proved highly effective.

Before starting the design process it is necessary to define what it is that makes a particular corporate brand unique relative to its competitors. In doing this it is useful to think of the brand as having three broad facets:

  • – brand promise
  • – brand personality
  • – brand performance criteria

Brand promise

This is the promise that the brand makes to its customers and to others. Ideally, the brand promise should be unique, compelling and truly differentiating.

As an example, Apple’s brand promise has been well expressed by the slogans it has used – ‘the computer for the rest of us’, ‘think different’ and more recently by its advertising in which the Mac is presented as the antithesis of the PC. Apple’s promise is to provide a real alternative to the dull and ubiquitous PC and to provide a computer system that will appeal to individuals looking for something fresh, unique, distinctive, stylish, and reliable.

Brand personality

This comprises the qualities and characteristics expressed by an organisation. In the case of Apple, its brand personality is informal, youthful, and creative in contrast with the formal, mature, and mechanistic qualities associated with the world of the PC.

Brand performance

This is the way the brand is actually experienced. The way a service is delivered or a product performs, its ease of use, reliability, and the quality of customer support, are all aspects of the brand performance. We all have experience of how poor service at the point of sale, or a poor after sales response can quickly destroy any goodwill we might have felt towards a brand.

Again, taking Apple as an example, its brand performance is signalled by, among other things, the user-friendly operating system interface, the physical design and functionality of the products, and the friendliness, helpfulness and efficiency of the staff providing technical support.

The creative brief

Once you have defined and understood the brand promise, the brand personality and the brand performance criteria, you are well on the way the being able to formulate a creative brief and to create a powerful and compelling corporate brand.

John David Lloyd: