"We are a specialist division of a large corporation which has a strong brand. Our market is very competitive with many focused brand players. How do we compete more effectively within the corporate brand guidelines?"

Large, diversified corporations can be active in many different markets and business sectors.

The corporate brand itself is positioned to embrace its many businesses with sweeping generalities and high-level, emotional messages designed to reflect its broader purpose. Communications are focused on corporate level audiences—the investor community, regulators, partners, etc.

The specialist divisions and business units that compete in highly-competitive, local markets and sectors often find themselves at a disadvantage. The corporate brand guidelines do not help. They are broad and general, while their competitors are independent, specialist players with well-resourced, focused brands.

This balancing act between corporate brand investment and the marketing needs of divisions with revenue goals to meet can create tension and confusion. To compete, divisions create their own brands to escape what they regard as the inadequacies and constraints of the corporate brand, or rely on products to carry the burden. Nobody wins in this situation.

We have helped many divisions of large corporations to compete successfully in their markets. The solution does not lie in brands and guidelines, but in strategy and relevance. Focus has to be on developing a clear, differentiating narrative-based value proposition to the market that is supported with a detailed, customer-focused messaging strategy and relevant imagery.

The corporate brand is a valuable asset providing the over-arching awareness, credibility and reassurance. It has to be utilized appropriately. Sales success is, however, entirely within your power.