In the latest of our series of expert interviews, Paul (Corporate Eye CEO) talked to Adrian Day about corporate brand, and how companies can express this online – via their own websites, but also via social media.
Maybe retailers do have an advantage: but how do you communicate your bricks-and-mortar brand online? And how do you communicate your brand in an online space which you don’t control?
Do listen: Adrian and Paul consider the websites of a variety of different companies—from Iceland and John Lewis, RyanAir and Greene King to Rolls-Royce and British Airways—and discuss how your corporate brand values are communicated by the things you do (or don’t do) online, whether intentionally or not.
I’ve broken the interview down into smaller pieces, so that you can quickly find particular points you’d like to hear about. I’ve also included the whole interview and a transcript.
Part 1: Brand expression online
- brand and brand expression
- need for a clearly defined brand
- parallels with retail: it’s the detail – look, feel, engagement
“[The brand is] the positioning, the proposition and the personality… the expression is how that positioning, proposition and personality is then expressed verbally and visually”
“Firms have to have a clearly defined brand and a clearly defined sense of self – then it is much easier to express it”
Download: Adrian Day interview: part 1
Part 2: Making it explicit
- the website and the brand
- providing brand expression tools
“Those organisations that really understand their customer and are used to engaging with their customer are better at translating their brand into the online community”
“If you look at John Lewis, Tesco and Iceland… each one of the brand experiences delivered by those websites is in line with what I would expect, knowing about those brands”
Download: Adrian Day interview: part 2
Part 3: Brand across the web estate
- corporate site vs retail site
- consumer vs B2B
“Companies can afford to be a bit braver because people who shop in Sainsburys for example are also shareholders and analysts and we don’t necessarily have these sharp divisions in our lives. I think the messaging can be slightly different, and I think there may be some subtleties in the tone of voice”
“Some of the corporate and the B2B sites are behind some of the more communicative consumer sites”
Download: Adrian Day interview: part 3
Part 4: Getting it right
- getting it right: content, social media and tone of voice
- managing the site for an audience
- demonstrating corporate values in practice
“The most successful web-only brands – or digital brands, if you like – have been founded on a function… I just wonder if that trends gone too far… and that not enough of the brand comes through in the experience”
“Sometimes website content is overly controlled and you end up with something that is kind of bland, and you don’t notice the difference between one company or another”
“A lot of these corporate sites… you don’t get the sense they’re being actively managed for an audience.”
Download: Adrian Day interview: part 4
Part 5: Branding in a difficult economic climate
- rebranding in an economic downturn
- repositioning the brand for customers and for staff
- repositioning for emerging markets
“The time to look at your brand is when your market’s changing dramatically, when the organisation is changing dramatically, or in particular when your brand is out of sync with the business strategy and out of sync with consumers”
“Do you take a different approach because there’s a downturn? Only insofar as you take a different approach to your business. I mean the purpose of brand is to reflect the business strategy.”
“The number of organisations that have looked at their branding [in the last year] has gone up exponentially.”
Download: Adrian Day interview: part 5
Part 6: Brand, social media and mobile
- being there as branding: making the deliberate choice
- brand and employee behaviour
- blogger engagement
- mobile content: less is more
“Those firms that really have strong brands: in the sense of brand, their people will do the right thing.
“Social media is only an amplification of what always went on… but I think organisations do need to embrace it”
“If you can get the American constitution on one page of paper and the Ten Commandments on one page of paper then why can’t you get the key points about an organisation on X number of mobile pages? I think it helps focus the mind and could be an aid to getting stronger brand presence online”
Download: Adrian Day interview: part 6
Part 7: Making the emotional connection
- future of brand experience
- learning from other digital disciplines
- importance of alignment with values and personality
“There is an opportunity for better use of sound and video and colour and pacing… when you look at what television and cinema achieve in emotional connections through visual and sound stimuli I think there’s quite a way for websites to go”
“Don’t just update the website because you think you need a sort of image makeover; it needs to be founded in the organisational change and the organisation’s values and personality”
Download: Adrian Day interview: part 7
Here’s the whole interview, in case you’d rather listen to it end-to-end; and the transcript, for those who prefer to read.
Many thanks to Adrian for taking the time to talk to Paul.
Who were we speaking to?
Adrian is an experienced brand consultant and client director with many years experience working at leading firms such as Landor, Siegel & Gale, Ziggurat and Uffindell. He is now an independent brand consultant.
Adrian is experienced in conducting brand research, brand positioning, brand architecture, naming and creative briefing projects together with brand implementation programmes.
He has developed brand strategies and architecture solutions for a wide range of international clients including BP, RBS, National Bank of Dubai, Swiss Re, Telstra, and British Airways.