Learning More About Corporate Branding Strategy

The principal goal of corporate branding is to ensure that both a company and the products and services that it offers stand out above the competition. Corporate branding strategies are developed with this goal in mind. Competition in the business world is fierce and both achieving and maintaining reputation, presence, production, and capabilities requires a substantial amount of revenue.

A corporate branding strategy seeks to create a unique identity, presence, and position for products, services, and companies. Most importantly, a strong brand both builds and maintains brand and product recognition in the minds of consumers. A corporate brand is also the strategy of a business, what the corporation is currently doing, and what it hops to achieve, which incorporates the personality, values, vision, and other aspects of the business.

Disney, for example, has a very different brand feel than Nike does. We know that Disney stands for family entertainment, classic animation, Walt Disney World, Mickey Mouse, etc. Nike, on the other hand, stands for high performance athletic shoes. Both Disney and Nike use product placement to reinforce their brand image and bolster their corporate branding strategies.

When you purchase pudding cups for your children’s lunches that feature Disney characters on the package, you subconsciously associate Disney with products intended for children. If you are participating in a walkathon and someone hands you a water bottle with the Nike Swoosh logo on it, you subconsciously associate Nike with athleticism. By simply including the name of a company in a product, brand recognition can be achieved. That pudding in the Disney example was Disney chocolate pudding, and the water bottle in the Nike example, is now a Nike water bottle by virtue of the addition of the logo.

As a company grows and expands its product base, brand synchronization also becomes necessary. A clothing company, for example, may have clothing lines for men, women, and children, and may employ slightly different marketing and corporate branding strategies to target these different demographics. A basic, underlying branding strategy is needed to tie these three separate types of products together. The Gap, for example, has an underlying brand of casual, stylish, comfortable clothing. Retailers like Target and Wal-Mart have branded themselves as purveyors of affordable clothing for the entire family.

Developing a corporate brand strategy takes time and research, but the result is a tightly focused dynamic brand, are well worth it. No business can expect to succeed in today’s competitive market without first defining what both themselves and their products stand for and how they differentiate from the competition.

Focus Or Die The New Branding Imperative For Associations

Today’s association model, created more than 100 years ago, is dying. The days of homogenous markets are long gone. Industry consolidation and globalization have rendered many trade association’s traditional member markets virtually unserviceable. Increased competition and higher member expectations have combined with market changes to create an environment that is hostile to the broad-based association trying to serve a complex and diverse member market.

These macro and irreversible trends have resulted in an unprecedented quandary for most associations: Do we continue attempting to serve an increasingly diverse member market? Or do we refocus to serve a member market that has changed significantly from the one that the association was designed for?

In the past, the typical association’s approach was to focus on members’ considerable common interests and needs. They have a predisposition to the member market as it has been. “We serve CPAs.” “Automobile dealers are our members.” “We serve physicians.” “Manufacturers are our members.” And so on. They act as if nothing has changed, when the reality is that fundamental and irreversible changes have taken place in their member markets.

Now common interests and needs are scarce. As a matter of fact, the interests of one member are sometimes diametrically opposed to those of another member.

What is an association to do?

When you boil it all down, there are only three options:
* Continue to struggle with divergent interests and needs OR
* Organize and structure to meet diverse needs OR
* Focus solely on the needs of a definable segment

The first option is not defensible. For an association’s governance and management to acknowledge the situation and its consequences, but do nothing, would represent a major failure in their obligations. This would be like a newspaper seeing the impact of digital information alternatives and saying they’re not going to do anything differently.

The second option has been tried but with marginal success in most cases. Ask any association with sections, special interest groups or divisions, “How are they working?” and the answer will be “It varies. A few work well, some do OK, and others do poorly.”

The last option, focusing on the needs of a definable segment, is the radical solution to relevance.

Does focusing solely on the needs of a definable segment mean yours will be a smaller association? It might. If it looks that way, ask yourself: “Would our members want to belong to a large association or an association that helps them perform and succeed?” For example, the American Medical Association (AMA) and its constituent state and local societies have been unable to serve a population of doctors who are increasingly diverse in practices and interests. Hand surgeons don’t need the same information as family practitioners. Hospital-based physicians require different advocacy than rural, solo practitioners. And plastic surgeons have little, if anything, in common with pediatricians.

While the American Medical Association’s membership and market share have plummeted, the number of specialty and subspecialty medical societies has grown. The American Board of Medical Specialties certifies physicians in more than 145 specialties and subspecialties. With an average estimated membership of 5,300 in a specialty organization, more than 768,500 physicians could be members of these groups compared to the AMA’s membership, which estimated only represents 135,300 ‘real, practicing physicians’.

The growth of associations over the last 50 years shows almost all of them with a narrower focus than their predecessors, indicating that those associations with a precisely defined member market are in demand and succeeding. Their mission is clearer with a well-defined market. Their value proposition is stronger because their programs and services are more focused. Their organizations are more efficient because their resources are more concentrated. Their communications improve with more targeted messaging. Their competitiveness is enhanced with efforts dedicated to a more distinct market. The key to success is brand relevance: focus energy and resources on meeting well-defined member needs and problems rather than trying to be all things to all people in hopes of maximizing membership and dues income.

Keys To Choosing A Business Name For A Business Start-up

Business names are like noses. Everyone has one but not all of them are that pretty. LOL The fact is this… the way you present yourself with your business name will make the difference in how successful you are, with all other things being equal.

The Search For A Business Name

You may ask yourself, what is in a name anyway? Well, truthfully, in reality, there isn’t a lot. If you think about it, a business is a still backed by the same people off the same services if they are called Xeriphylic or “Lawn Moisture.” But the fact is this, there is a big difference perceptionally. The first one is actually very hard to remember and spell. The second is easy to remember, spell, and actually gives the potential client an idea of what your company does!

The business name that you choose should not exist in isolation, but as part of an overall strategy. Naming a business is not only where you start as the business’s founder, but also where the consumer starts. Choose the wrong name and your business will falter.

How to Name Your Business With A Brand In Mind

The first thing you need to do is to decide what you want your new business name to communicate. I happen to think that a business name should accurately describe what you do without someone having to ask. To me, having a good business name is the purest form of advertising. Every time you say the name of the business it gives an opportunity to make an impression.

Not Very Creative? Get Help Choosing Your Business Name

Brainstorming can be an excellent way to generate good ideas. I like to use the branch method of brainstorming for 10 minutes. Then I go over my ideas and group them. I then take combinations and even partial word combos and see what I can find. Important also to me is whether or not the domain name is available for the business, because I want it to be unique and to be able to have the .com address for my business name.

I would not recommend making your first or last name a part of the business name. Like Joe’s Plumbing. What if you sell the business? Think about “Roto Rooter?” That name says it all and is franchisable. For a website design business does “Chandler Web Design” sound better or does “Website Interactive?” It is so easy to see that the later business name is much better. Also don’t make the name hard to spell or remember. Think about it. You will have to use this name all the time. Make your business name an asset. Choose wisely and you will not regret it!

Different Premium Payment Modes Available In Life Insurance

Affordable premiums are definitely one of the most important features of an insurance plan, however it should also have a balanced share of benefits to offer as well. Here in this article we discuss the basic types of premiums and some of the common modes of payments available with the life insurance plans in market.

Types of life insurance premiums:

There are basically two types of premium payments namely single premium and regular premiums. At the time of opting for the plan, every policyholder would be explained in brief by the insurance agent or company about these two terms in particular. These two types of premiums are determined by the quantum of payment and the frequency decided by the person insured. Single premiums require a lump sum payment to be made by the insured at the time of entry while in regular premiums, he/she will be required to makes payments on a monthly, quarterly, half-yearly, or yearly basis. Both single premium and regular premium plans have their own benefits, yet the former proves to be more efficient when considering the total cost involved. The below example illustrates the basic difference between the two types of premiums.

A 32 year old woman pays a yearly premium of Rs.13,000 for 10 years on her life insurance policy, that offers survival benefits of Rs.2,00,000 on maturity. Going by this mode of payment, she will pay a total amount of Rs.1,30,000 by the end of the term period. However, the same plan comes with an option for single premium whereby a person is required to pay a lump sum amount of Rs.90,000 at the time of enrollment. In the second instance, the person insured can save up to Rs.40,000 on premiums. Taking into account the time value of money and rate of inflation, lump sum payments can often supersede the benefits of regular premiums. But again, making payments in one go may not be feasible for many customers and it is finally on their part to choose the type of payment after evaluating budgetary requirements. Therefore, make sure that you opt for the single premium mode only if you can afford the same without straining your finances.

Premium paying frequency:

Under regular premium mode, policyholders are required to pay premiums throughout the term period, while for some policies, the premium term is less than the policy term. For example, if your purchase a policy that offers life insurance coverage for 10 years, you can either choose to pay the premium for the entire length of the plan or choose a reduced payment term of 7 or 8 years. As a general rule of thumb, the number of installments is directly proportional to the sum insured, ie.,higher the sum insured more the number of installments. Once you have chosen the regular payment option, you then need to decide the frequency of premium payments which is either monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually. Your premium payment term is also linked to the surrender value of the policy. Generally, a life insurance plan acquires surrender value after completion of 2 premium years. So in case you surrender your policy after the first year, you will not be eligible for the same.

Different method of paying your insurance premiums:

Gone are the days when one had to wait in long queues at the branch counters to deposit life insurance premiums. Going in line with the digital advancements of today, even insurance companies have launched apps and web platforms to offer a comprehensive range of services online. Given below are some of the most common methods of insurance premium payments:

Insurance agents – An insurance agent visiting your home to collect premiums was a common scene in early days, when private companies had only started to secure a foothold in the Indian insurance industry. Even with the changed times and latest digital enhancements, you can always get in touch with a collection agent of your insurer to come and collect your payments.

Mobile wallets – Post demonetization, the importance of mobile payments have increased so rapidly that a number of e-wallet companies have entered the market within a short span. The e-wallets offer a lot of facilities ranging from booking a ticket to paying off your monthly bills. Some of the mobile wallets have linked up with the insurance companies to facilitate fast and convenient premium payments for policyholders.

Online payments – As already mentioned, you can simply login to the insurer’s website and pay your premiums through internet banking, credit cards, or debit cards

Standing instruction on credit card – You can give a standing instruction to your insurance company to deduct the premium amount on your behalf. You just have to submit an application for the same along with the details of your credit card.

Electronic Clearing System – It’s an automated system of payment where the premium amount gets deducted from the bank account of the customer on due date. You can register for this service by filling out the ECS mandate form and submitting it along with other relevant details to the concerned branch of your insurance company.