28 Sep Look “Inside” to Build a Genuine Corporate Brand
Jay Joseph BCA, BCA hns, MCA
Positive Reputation to Radical Cynicism
The adoption of a corporate brand is now a benchmarked assumption in business; with all companies’ great and small understanding the importance of adopting and projecting a corporate identity. However positive reputation can be transformed into radical customer cynicism if left unchecked.
Case Study – Subway: Subway restaurant is facing a growth crisis, with sales in the U.S down 3% in the last year, the largest decline of the 25 top fast food outlets in the U.S. The gap between brand expectation and product delivery is one of the primary components driving the decline; with Subway’s ‘health’ promise being undercut by their own – unhealthy practices. Processes such as pre-packaged meat, high calorie, fat, and sodium sandwiches have torpedoed the brands integrity as a healthy fresh food outlet. The espoused health brand now draws cynicism and speculation; even resulting in a public petition in 2014 to remove chemicals found in Subway’s sandwich bread.
It’s widely understood that Subway’s product offering hasn’t changed; however the market has changed, subsequently increasing the gap between Subway’s corporate brand promise and Subway’s product offering. Subway’s corporate expression is no longer genuine – and as a result the company is in decline.
A Genuine Corporate Brand
The pathway to developing a genuine corporate brand follows one simple rule…”Work from the inside-out”
Corporate Brand as a Marketing Tool
A common misconception is that a corporate brand is developed in the weekly meeting of marketing executives; a cognitive conception designed to improve market positioning and sales. The highly glossed idealistic catch phrases, slogans, and logos which project an image that isn’t matched by the company character leads to several outcomes:
- An increased gap between brand promises and services/product performance
- Low engagement from middle managers and general staff towards the espoused corporate identity resulting in the ongoing depletion of corporate culture
- Increasing cynicism among customers, stakeholders and the broader market.
Without market leading price positioning – the erosion of corporate brand authenticity will reduce performance across multiple KPIs.
Corporate Brand…An Expression of Corporate Identity
The alternative view is to build a corporate brand from the components that together form the social structure of the business – its history, its people, and its customers. Defining these components results in an authentic expression of the true persona of the company, which, once articulated will only enhance its character and potency both within the organisation and the marketplace.
▪ What is your history? Track the process of development, get back to your roots, and identify the component which made you who you are today
▪ Who are your people? Identify their key characteristics, their passion, drive etc
▪ Who do you serve? Your customers are an intricate part of your organisation.
Start from the ‘inside’ to restore faith in your brand, develop your product offering, engage your staff and improve performance. Quality research services can help to examine and articulate these characteristics of your organisation.
Jay Joseph, Research Consultant, newfocus Research
newfocus is a national market research company, specialising in strategic market research and social research, with offices in Melbourne, Sydney & Adelaide.
Becker, S. 2015. Why Subway’s Sales are Falling Fast. The Cheat Sheet.
Harwell, D. 2015. The rise and fall of Subway, the world’s biggest food chain. The Washington Post.
Holt, S. 2013. Breaking: Subway just as unhealthy as McDonald’s! Takepart.
James, S. 2014. Subway takes chemical out of sandwich bread after protest. ABC News.
Lutz, A. 2014. The 5 least healthy sandwiches you can order at subway. Business Insider Australia.