What corporate branding really is and how it differs from smaller organizations

By Templafy | 26. March 2018

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In the headquarters of McDonalds, executives constantly remind colleagues of a company adage: “If you see a man in a $300 suit picking up paper in the parking lot, you’d better get out there and help him, because it’s Ray Kroc.” That is because Ray Kroc was so obsessed with McDonalds’ reputation for cleanliness that he would pick up the trash himself and shout at the local owner for not keeping the place tidy.


What is corporate branding?

It is precisely what Kroc was doing. When he cleaned each McDonalds outlet by himself, he maintained a consistent image of the company for outsiders and employees. That’s why McDonalds evokes the same picture everywhere you find it – happy meals for the kids, road trip food, dollar menu…and a clean premise.

Branding is to business what decorum is to people. Much the way everyone from analysts to vice presidents in New York banks come in freshly pressed, spotless shirts every morning to show a professional image, so do entire businesses maintain everything from their ads, websites, outdoor signs, and even internal business documents in a way that their aesthetics are consistent. If the aesthetics are not consistent – How could the product be consistent? How could customer support be consistent? How could the price and quality be consistent?

More than consistency, it’s also important that as the business changes, so does its brand.

Read Next: Brand Consistency Builds Brand Integrity


Corporate branding example: AirBnB

AirBnB’s change from startup to global unicorn shows us one of these examples of corporate branding changes. Earlier, it saw itself as just a technology company and a platform. However, AirBnB’s user community grew to the size of a massive organization by itself. That’s when AirBnB decided its message had to be about community and belonging. This prompted AirBnB to change everything from its logos to pictures to designs to its entire communications style with customers and the customer journey in the website.

AirBnB shows that the definition of corporate branding changes for small businesses and for enterprises in that branding for small businesses is only about the product and the website, while branding for enterprises affects all internal and external communication by the corporation.


If you head the IT team for an enterprise, you may ask, “How is this any of my business? I just keep the software updated and the systems running.” This is correct. But that is why the heads of IT need to find a way to automate the work to maintain corporate branding identity. A small business can keep on-brand digital templates and assets within the Office applications for each user. But a large enterprise needs to manage these templates through a centralized administration system.

Get in touch with Templafy to find out how we can help centralize your template management system

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BDO Norway: From one office to 70

Consider BDO Norway as a corporate branding example. As a single office company back in 1988 (as A/S Revisjon), this accounting firm had no troubles with branding – all it had to do was focus on building a font, logos, and a design style for presentations, reports, and documents, and then reuse them as templates repeatedly. However, once the firm had 70 offices in Norway, nearly every office ended up using a different template for their documents. As an international accounting firm, brand integrity is vital and that entails consistently using up-to-date document templates and digital assets.

At that point, BDO Norway realized it had to move from small business branding to corporate branding. Small business branding is just about logos and consistent visual features. However, corporate branding requires making sure that every activity the business undertakes communicates the same message. And to make sure that the same message is communicated, there must be one centralized team.

That is why BDO Norway used Templafy to offer its employees access to up-to-date templates, images, and logos from a single taskpane. No longer did employees have to worry about using outdated templates when the new templates were launched, and they saved time by having them where they needed them, such as in Word. This ensured that documents produced from any office of BDO Norway had the same look and structure, and hence, they would be reliable auditors for your company. Now, branding could be controlled in a centralized manner, Templafy’s BrandChecker feature could be used to ensure compliance, and employees would only focus on the content and not brand integrity.

Read more about why BDO Norway chooses to use Templafy

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How else does small company branding differ from corporate branding?

• For small businesses, some employees develop one “killer” presentation style, and everyone else reuses it. In a large business, people compete to create better and better presentations, until every presentation has a different look. Having control over the look of every person’s output becomes important.

• A brand change in a small business requires a brief meeting. A brand relaunch for a large enterprise requires overhauling every single department and their IT and physical resources – often forcing everyone to redo their work to be brand compliant.

• Many small businesses ensure that each employee takes charge of learning about the brand and being brand compliant. But for enterprises, employees can lose time and it becomes necessary to find a way to automate brand compliance so everyone can focus on core tasks.

Are you a head of enterprise technology who is often asked to update the systems to manage brand compliance? Or are you a brand manager who wants to assure your company brand stays consistent? We at Templafy want to make this job easier for you, by automating this process through a centrally managed system.

Refreshing your brand? Download our free guide and get a full rebranding checklist:

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