Companies must do all they can to attract and retain customers and clients. Corporate branding, when done right, can catapult a company ahead of its competition in both of those areas. Some companies already realize this while others still have yet to learn the right formula for their organizations.

What Works?

“Successful brands require attention and time,” said Michael Patrick, counsel for Renzulli Law Firm, LLP, in a recent e-mail interview. “You have to make sure your brand is used in the right way, all of the time.”

Realtor Regina Brassil, also via e-mail interview, had this to say, “Branding is so much more than a logo and a slogan. It is your identity, the face you put out to the world, your personality. This image must be consistent or people will begin to sense you aren’t really telling the truth, or perhaps you are confused yourself as to who you really are.”

Kelly Dinoff of Mesh Interactive is in agreement with Brassil. “Your brand is the face and personality of your company and will be communicated at every contact with the public. Make sure that what you’re communicating is in line with both what your audience expects or wants and what you want to deliver,” she advised.

Richard Harmer, the brand strategist for Brady Media Group, believes that knowing the buyer and developing a strategy based on what they know about why people buy their products or services are key to a companies’ corporate branding success.

What to Do?

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Michael Dittner of Dittco, LLC, offered three helpful hints that companies wishing to succeed with their corporate branding efforts can use:

Hire the right people.

Look for a professional graphic designer, design studio or advertising agency with branding experience. Talk to them about what you need and about your budget. Decide depending on experience and your budget. Hire the one that tells you what you need, not what you want.

Follow through in all your marketing materials and efforts.

Don’t drift away from your established message and stay true to what you and your branding stand for. Always.

Keep on working with your branding specialist.

Have him design all your materials. Don’t take matters into your own hand. But if you have to because of a limited budget, talk with him. Keep him in the loop, even if it is as a consultant.”

“Study your market and see what they want,” said marketing and branding expert Kelvin Jones. “This will help you determine if you should build upon something or try to tackle creating a demand through a campaign. The most important thing to remember is that creating a real sustainable brand is a marathon, not a sprint. In this case, be a consistent Tortoise as opposed to a fast, big flash hare!”

Bill Corbett, Jr. of Corbett Public Relations advised, “Although building a brand takes time, don’t be afraid to modify your approaches, features or markets (entrepreneurs and startups don’t always identify their markets correctly when a new product is launched or brand introduced), see who is buying, and evolve with it. A brand or even the brand name may need to be changed to capture the appropriate target market.”

Tanya Hall, the development manager for Greenleaf Book Group, LLC, advocates consistent messaging and brand development that extends beyond the marketing strategy to operations, financial, human resources, and every other department and function in the company. In this way, branding and culture are synonymous.

“Businesses need to think of themselves in terms of a 10-second commercial. How do I get my message across in 10 seconds or less? Those that have the vision to explain what they are selling are successful,” suggested Alan Abeyta of Perpetual Triathlon.

There are numerous ways that companies can develop or improve their corporate branding efforts. Some focus solely on connecting with customers and clients while others believe that the best way for companies to brand themselves successfully starts from within and works its way out, like beauty.