How Businesses Can Leverage Corporate Marketing to Attract More Customers  

November 5, 2020

One common-sense tenet of marketing is in the promotional—effectively market, often through traditional advertising, your brand’s products or services to your targeted audience, and, in theory, success is achieved. That simply by showcasing what makes a product or service unique, and to help identify customers’ pain points, will ultimately highlight the clear value and incite brand engagement, conversion and revenue. Fundamentally, it’s a tactic that remains tried-and-true. However, is there more to it? Are there other ways to approach how we essentially “market” what we do and receive similar results—or better yet—better results?

The answer is yes. In marketing, a world of nuances supports a variety of unique approaches. Today, consumers expect so much more from the brands they love and choose to do business with. Your audience craves authenticity and personality. They want to know and understand your brand story more intimately than ever before. What is the story behind the brand? What values does your brand hold dear? And, how can your brand, and the story you tell, inspire customers to become life-long advocates? Your customers don’t just want to buy a product or service, they want to buy an experience and to align their values with.

Look at the contrast between companies like Wal-Mart and Target, or, Samsung and Apple. Both Walmart and Samsung have found success selling similar if not identical products as their counterparts, often at cheaper price-points and by offering more variety and convenience. A big difference? Wal-Mart and Samsung lack the same long-term brand resonance and intense consumer advocacy as their more “engaged” rivals. Target and Apple customers feel apart of something larger when they purchase from them. Something beyond simply the products sold. They feel connected to them.

This is where a focus on corporate marketing can be beneficial.

What is Corporate Marketing?

Corporate marketing, in a nutshell, occurs when a business promotes the company itself instead of its individual products. The idea is to get people excited about the brand specifically and to become an advocate for not just one product or service, but for everything promoted by that brand—even everything they stand for.

This concept isn’t entirely new. Going back decades, Motown Records promoted itself as a label where every artist was worth the time and attention of music fans and radio stations. Ford branded its cars as American-made solutions for patriotic car owners. More recently, Nike transcended shoes and became a lifestyle brand, while Facebook’s marketing has focused less on news feeds and functionality, and more on the ways in which its various products bring people together.

Corporate marketing isn’t a standalone marketing strategy. If people don’t know what your products are and how they can help, they won’t care about your overarching message. In that sense, your regular marketing informs your corporate marketing strategy—and it’s through corporate marketing that you can actually make a difference in the world.

Corporate Marketing Today

There’s never been a more important time for corporate marketing. And, the reason is twofold.

First, the world has seen massive changes in a short period of time. COVID-19 has completely thrown the world into uncertainty, forcing resourcefulness and evolution, and social justice movements have put brands into the spotlight more than ever before—whether they liked it or not. Suddenly, businesses aren’t just selling products and services anymore. Instead, they’ve been forced to stand for something. And while it’s not a responsibility they necessarily wanted, it’s something that’s been demanded.

That brings us to the second reason why corporate marketing is so important. Increasingly, shoppers are demanding that those in power take a stand. They’re looking to brands to make statements about what’s important to them. This sentiment was growing before the emergence of COVID-19, but it’s exponentially more important now. Whether it’s fair or not, those brands that neglected to make a statement in support of the Black Lives Matter movement were branded as just as guilty as those that truly did not support the movement.

In 2020, more than three-quarters of consumers stated that they’re more likely to buy from a brand that embraces corporate responsibility and stands up for what it believes in. These numbers, unfortunately, don’t account for the lost business that goes unseen by brands that have failed to embrace corporate responsibility. But they do highlight the idea that brands can’t just be random products propped up by fancy ads anymore. Shoppers are looking for something more. It’s up to marketers to give it to those consumers.

How to Incorporate Corporate Marketing

We now know that corporate responsibility is an important factor of corporate marketing, and of marketing as a whole in the modern era. It’s critical that businesses realize they have to move beyond simply making money, and move more into initiatives that resonate with people on a personal level.

There’s another factor in corporate marketing that goes beyond what we’ve discussed. Corporate marketing must be genuine. Today’s customers not only look to brands to devote time and money to the causes that matter most to them, but they also demand authenticity and transparency. Businesses that give to causes just because they feel like that’s what people want them to do might experience a slight uptick in consumer approval, but it won’t last unless those sentiments truly matter to the company.

Many businesses have done incredibly well with the concept of using corporate responsibility as an important aspect of their branding. Smaller businesses like TOMS have made causes an integral part of their overall marketing strategy, while larger companies like Ben and Jerry’s have used corporate responsibility to further deepen the relationship between business and customer. These are brands that truly believe in their core causes, and they’ve been able to incorporate that passion into their everyday operations.

Any business can do what TOMS and Ben and Jerry’s have done — provided it’s done the right way. You can’t beat customers over the head with corporate responsibility, lest you turn off apolitical customers or cynics that think you’re just trying to score points with the woke community. You also can’t take no stand at all, which would turn people off even more. Therefore, a measured approach is best.

A great place to start is a “Causes” page on your website. This way, you’ve clearly displayed your beliefs, intentions, and objectives for the audience that derives much of its brand loyalty from corporate responsibility initiatives. For everyone else, it’s out of sight, out of mind. It’s the perfect way to appeal to the conscious customer while not making old-fashioned shoppers uncomfortable.

Adding to this, it’s a good idea to include content on your site about why these causes matter so much. A blog post from your CEO explaining their personal history with these issues can provide the personal touch that gets people behind your brand. A heartfelt video featuring employees giving their input about these causes can also go a long way. These two pieces of content will establish credibility, and they can be followed with anything you can add that displays authenticity — anything that conveys the message you’re in this for the long haul and not simply copying popular marketing trends.

From there, social media is your friend. An occasional social media post to remind consumers about where their money goes. A well-timed response to current events. Occasional drives to give even more money to the causes and charities that mean something to your brand. Speak up when it’s time to speak up, and send sporadic reminders when things are status quo. That’s all it takes to use corporate marketing to its maximum potential in today’s marketplace.

The best companies now must not only offer great products at competitive prices, but they must also practice corporate responsibility. The good news is that this isn’t very hard to do. In fact, as long as your heart is in the right place, it’s quite easy. A little effort, and a true effort towards making the world a better place, will result in a tremendous impact on your brand’s stature and viability. It’s less about corporate marketing than it is about being true to yourself, your brand, and your customers. The added boost to your bottom line is just icing on the cake.

Want to learn more about corporate marketing opportunities for your business and how they can be leveraged to grow your customer base? Contact Commit Agency and let’s talk!