The term “Brand” has been a very elusive and difficult concept to summarise through a simple definition, at first thought many people are inclined to suggest that a brand might be a logo, a product or an identity but it is so much more. David Ogilvy, the ‘Father of Advertising” summarised a branding as “the intangible sum of a product’s attributes” and in the bestselling book The Dictionary of Brand, Marty Neumeier, also defines brand as “a person’s perception of a product, service, experience, or organization.”
“A brand is not what you say it is, it is what ‘they’ say it is” – Marty Neumeier, The Brand Gap
In this week’s article we are going to investigate with examples the different approaches that are available to businesses, new or old, who are launching a new market or service in their respective marketplaces.
So you know that you need to define and develop your brand, but you have no where to start to start. The first thing you need to do is start looking internally. You need to take stock and outline:
- Where your business is at this moment in time
- What are you trying to achieve with the brand?
- What type of branding will help you achieve your objective
The below list outlines in detail the different approaches or types of branding that are available to businesses. Due to the nature of business there is no “One Size Fits All” approach and it is commonplace to see that business and brands often employ a combination of the different branding mechanisms that are at their disposal to find the “perfect fit”.
- PRODUCT / SERVICE BRANDING: Individual products or product lines must have their own established brands. This is useful when a corporation or organisation has multiple services, including services that at the surface may not seem to have a lot in common. This is particularly prevalent in FMCG and also in Retail. An example of this would be PepsiCo who sell both their flagship pepsi product and also Lay’s Crisps, while both owned by a single entity are very distinct in terms of product look, taste and target market. The main aim of the company when Product Branding is to promote the product in the market in the minds of the consumers creating an emotional connection with a specific set of ideas and emotions that exceed the functional capability.
- CORPORATE BRANDING: Corporate Brandingcuts across an organisation’s services, products, employees, corporate culture as well as corporate social responsibility. Every activity carried out by an organisation has a positive or negative effect on its reputation and a wrong decision can in fact have an adverse effect on the corporate brand. It is hugely important that an overall parent company has its own brand that people recognise for quality and reputation. This is particularly effective when launching product brands or product lines. If you can associate the new product brand with the already well-known corporate brand, it has a better chance of being well received. David Aaker puts it very well: “The corporate brand defines the firm that will deliver and stand behind the offering that the customer will buy and use.” For Example, the Coca-Cola Global brand represents the authority and credible reputation for each of their product lines.
- PERSONAL BRANDING: Otherwise known as individual brand. The brand a person builds around themselves, normally to enhance their career opportunities. Often associated with how people portray and market themselves via media. The concept of personal branding is usually opted and followed by the politicians, movie stars, sportsmen, socialites, and any person who has and enjoys a celebritystatus in the market. Right from the presence on the social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, Twitter, and others along with the right measures by the PR firms is quite necessary to create a successful personal branding. Once the celebrity is successful with his or her personal branding, he or she gets signed up as a brand ambassador for the various successful brands representing their company, products, and services. Gary Vaynerchuk has catapulted both himself and his VaynerX Agency by marketing himself and his personal brand across Social Media. The strength of his personal brand and public appearances has actually allowed him to promote all of his ventures from VaynerX to Wine Library TV.
- GEOGRAPHICAL / REGIONAL BRANDING: This type of branding is particularly prevalent within the tourism industry and seeks to focus on and highlight the unique traits or characteristics of a specific area or region as the selling point. This type of branding is closely intertwined with Cultural Branding as culture is hugely impacted by Geography. It is commonplace to see advertisements that highlight iconic scenes or foods from a particular location, think the Pyramids in Egypt or Pizza in Italy. But a particularly large scale example of Geographical Branding is the “I Amsterdam” rebrand, which aimed to divert the attention from the Red Light District and stereotyping of Amsterdam and highlight the cultural diversity of the city itself. We’ve explored this campaign further in our blog: https://www.futureproofmedia.ie/2019/08/30/we-the-north-campaign-how-the-raptors-marketing-dept-created-a-movement-in-toronto/
- CULTURAL / REPUTATION / CULT BRANDING: The brands that revolve around communities of fierce advocates. This branding is often used to create a cause under which communities can unite. The approach often embraces an “outsider” position and pivots towards stereotypes allowing the community to embrace one another and evoke a “us against the rest” type of attitude. A true culture based brand will take their cues internally from their community in order to trigger a response. On rare occasions they can engage or “pick a fight” with competitors or the market as a whole. The branding and marketing campaign often takes on a “movement” style approach and will have followers as opposed to customers. As mentioned there is a big overlap with Geographical Branding due to the intertwined nature of culture and geography, meaning that it is commonplace for the tourism industry to use a mix of both as can be seen in the #MyDubai campaign. But our favourite example of Cultural Branding is the hugely successful Toronto Raptors “We The North” campaign which we cover in detail here
- CO-BRANDING: Co-branding is often perceived as a marketing partnership between two or more brands such that the success of one brand rubs off on the other. Co-branding is effective in building business, increasing awareness and breaking into new markets. Co-branding involves 2+ company brands are connected by the same product. Some examples of Co-Branding would be the Nike+ project by Apple & Nike, or the Uber and Spotify partnership on the “soundtrack for your ride” campaign, providing users of both apps with a better ride-sharing experience by allowing them to be the DJs of their trips. Also the Red Bull and Spotify partnership for the “Stratos” project where Australian Skydiver Felix Baumgartner jumped from a helium balloon 24 miles above the earth. During the jump, Baumgartner broke three world records, shattered the sound barrier, and used a Go Pro camera to capture everything. The event was wildly popular and a successful project for both Red Bull and Go Pro.
FACES / CHARACTER OF THE BRAND:
Having settled on the mechanism that you will use to define your brand, you will then need to define where you plan to position your brand and what “face” or “character” that you intend for your brand to occupy within the marketplace. In the table below we have outlined with examples some of the most common characters or personas that brands are taking on in today’s age.
Similar to the Branding Approaches, in order to reflect the correct personality of your brand it is possible to use be a hybrid of more than one Brand Character at a time and to move into different spaces over time depending on the business needs and requirements.
FRAMEWORK FOR BRAND DEFINITION:
Having identified the Branding Approach and the Brand Character that you would like to represent, now you need to complete your brand definition. Where should you start? Luckily Here at Future Proof Media, we have created a simple framework for Brand Definition that will help you come up with all the answers.
See below for our framework for Brand Definition:
If you are looking for any advice on defining, refining or developing your brand, feel free to get in touch.