Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the criteria for choosing cases?
    We enter case stories that meet these criteria:
    1  Branding or rebranding is institutional (not just product or service-specific)
    2  Global relevance (global visibility not required)
    3  Top management intention and engagement was evident
    4  Changes were well planned and effectively executed
    5  Reliable contemporary information on management purposes and tools used was available to us.
  • Are all cases good cases, examples to emulate?
    Yes, but probably none are perfect in all respects. We try to select well-planned and well-executed cases (see "Criteria"). That does not mean their planners and designers considered all available tools, or used them perfectly.
  • Does "Corporate" mean only for-profit companies?
    No. We are using Corporate in the sense of "Institutional," and we include all kinds of institutions... non-profits or NGOs, educational institutions, and government entities as well as companies. In fact, you can search for cases in these four categories (basically .com, .org, .gov and .edu).
    To be more precise, we should probably call it the Instititutional Brand Matrix. We chose Corporate Brand Matrix because it's three syllables shorter, and (frankly) sexier.
  • Where do you get your information? Is it reliable?
    We classify cases two ways -- Estimated, and Confirmed.
    In Confirmed cases, our information and estimates have been reviewed, edited and confirmed by a participant in the rebranding, whether client or consultant planner/designer.
    Estimated cases from prior years are drawn from identified published sources, and/or from reporting by Tony Spaeth published in annual Conference Board Review articles and/or at www.identityworks.com, and thus have been subject to public review, verification and occasional correction.
    New cases, as they are launched, will be Estimated by Tony or Tom on the basis of published information and Confirmed in personal interviews.
  • Why not include product brands, marketing brands, too?
    We see institutional branding and category branding (of products or services, that is, within their categories) as substantially different disciplines. Category branding is about marketing, and the consumer is the only important audience. Corporate branding, however, is primarily about leadership, and the priority audiences are the leadership team, owners and investors, managers, employees, channels and only then the customer. Tool sets too are different, although there is overlap (logo design, notably).
    It's true that some brands serve as both corporate and category brands (Sony, Ford, American Express) but you can't think clearly about them without distinguishing between their category and institutional roles. 
    This Matrix focuses wholly on the institutional brand.
  • What about startups?
    Most startups are small, are reluctant to retain experienced brand planners and designers, and can often get by with a descriptive name or a founder's name. There are few Apple Computers worth emulating. So as a practical matter, virtually all significant corporate identity work is actually in rebranding. Therefore the best branding models for startup companies to emulate are probably those corporate spinouts (professionally advised) who choose the New Vision strategy.
  • What structure did you use for Industry classification?

    We chose ICB, the Industry Classification Benchmark developed by Dow Jones Indexes and FTSE. ICB is in use by major stock exchanges, data distributors, index providers, media organizations  (Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal) and securities analysts. We are starting at the Sector level, and will switch to Subsector categories when justified by case volume.