When we consider corporate names, like Starbucks or Royal Caribbean, do we automatically think of the products and services they supply or the brand’s image and the identity we have with that company? Will we be more inclined to like a post of a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte or just a regular, black cup of coffee? The latte, right? Our identity with Starbucks as reliable corporate brand should make us more likely to engage with a picture of a pretty coffee and their familiar logo. The specification of a corporate name is critical to the differentiation of products when it comes to brand identity and association. A corporate brand name is the company’s name that results from the branding and the marketing of the particular business endeavor. That particular product becomes identified by that brand name. So, when shopping for running shoes you would probably say that you were shopping for a pair of Nikes because that is the brand you associate with good running shoes. A product name is simply the generic name of the product, such as “shoe.” Companies use specific product names and then create more unique names to differentiate them from competitors. Why is this important you might ask? Well, if we were to go around calling all shoes by their product name, how would we determine our preferences? How would we label trustworthy products? How would we share the products we love with others?
The need for branding is critical in marketing communication, especially in social media. A 2019 study in the Journal of Business Research evaluated the use of corporate brand names in social media posts. Titled “Social media services branding: The use of corporate brand names,” the study of focus looks at how the use of brand names (company vs. product) can impact social media posts when trying to engage customers so that they will purchase items. As we are taught in Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC), effective branding creates awareness, loyalty and relationships with the audience. The brand name becomes the one word that represents the face of the company. We associate all products with the name of the corporate brand. The task of marketers or social media specialists is to effectively use the name to engage audiences and promote purchases, whether it is a good or service.
The study focuses on the use of corporate brand names versus product brand names in the context of social media. The assumption is that the use of corporate brand names, like Starbucks, will increase likes on messages and generate purchases. The researchers predicted that a customer’s brand identification with the corporate name will increase and motivate these effects. To test this hypothesis, the research team conducted both field and experimental research to obtain enough telling data. The field study used Facebook posts and compares the activity of corporate brand name posts and product brand name posts. Follow-up experiments to the field study duplicated the results they obtained that, spoiler alert, confirm our beliefs in branding and IMC.
The data for the field study consisted of approximately 1,500 Facebook posts that were unique to certain profiles of brands of Fortune 500’s that were maintaining active engagement with consumers. The companies spread across all industries, including product and service industries with over 200 brands that maintained consistent activity. They performed a content analysis of the Facebook brand posts, coding for message appeals, vividness, calls to buy, etc. After performing specific coding, they took the data and used the statistical analysis of mean and standard deviation to determine the engagement in the various posts. Results showed that the use of corporate brand names received more interaction and engagement. This proved their belief in the importance of corporate branding, showing high familiar brand recognition with popular corporate brand names. Corporate brand names received more engagement and interaction on Facebook posts emphasizing the need to for businesses to use corporate branding on their social media accounts.
Even though this study was completed in the Journal of Business Research, this research provides critical evidence of the importance of Integrated Marketing Communication within business marketing strategy. Marketers on both sides of the respective disciplines must effectively execute a brand identity to perform better than the competition. However, as the study showed, there is a major difference in the use of corporate brand names over product brand names. The biggest takeaway from this study is that creating a reputable corporate brand name will establish recognition, engagement and loyalty to a company’s product or service. There is no business without this communication, and it is important to realize that the studies of each are not separate. Without IMC in the business setting, messages might not translate as effectively to consumers. A brand name is proven to work!
Miller, E. G., Milne, G. R., & Swani, K. (2019). Social media service branding: The use of corporate brand names. Journal of Business Research. Retrieved from https://pdf.sciencedirectassets.com.
By: M’Lynn Dease
M’Lynn Dease is a senior at the University of North Carolina Wilmington majoring in Communication Studies with a focus in Integrated Marketing Communication and a minor in Business. M’Lynn is interested in pursuing a career in business communication to engage corporate branding.