With so many branding strategies to choose from, it may be difficult to pinpoint which branding types work well for your business. Some of the best ways to select the proper branding strategy begin with understanding what branding is and defining your brand identity.
Once you learn how to position yourself as a brand and you take advantage of brand strategies, you will be on your way to earning brand loyalty, recognition, equity, and awareness.
What Is Branding?
Branding is a marketing practice that helps individuals to differentiate your business’ products or service from others. Branding often involves creating elements such as a logo, mission statement, and design that is consistent throughout each marketing communication type.
Your brand is a representation of who you are as a business, and using effective brand strategies can help your business to grow and reach beyond your target audience.
7 Types of Branding Strategies
There are several types of branding that may add value to your company depending on your target audience, industry, budget, and marketing campaigns. Here are seven types of branding strategies that have the potential to build brand equity for your business.
Personal branding describes branding that is used for an individual person, instead of branding for a whole business. This type of branding is often used to establish a person’s character, personality, or work as a brand.
Celebrities, politicians, thought leaders, and athletes often use this form of branding to present the best version of themselves to the public.
For example, Seth Godin, entrepreneur and author of over 20 marketing books, positioned himself as a business and marketing expert. Seth has a recognizable personal brand, and individuals now associate him with his short blog posts that pinpoint one idea at a time. People want to hear from Seth Godin rather than a company or organization due to the effectiveness of his personal brand.
This is one of the most popular branding types. Product branding focuses on making a single product distinct and recognizable. Symbols or designs are an essential part of product branding to help your customers identify your product easily.
For example, Monster Energy drinks have distinct packaging and logos that make it easily distinguishable from Red Bull energy drinks.
Corporate branding is a core value of business and a philosophy that a business develops to present itself to the world and its own employees.
Effective corporate brands often seek to display the company’s mission, personality, and core values in each point of contact it has with prospective customers, current customers, and past customers.
For example, Nike’s core values and mission are recognizable across all of their platforms and products. Nike’s mission statement is “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.” And its slogan, next to their famous swoosh check mark logo, is “Just do it”.
As a corporate brand, Nike positions themselves as a brand for athletes, sports enthusiasts, and anyone who is passionate about fitness. They also make it clear that they believe anyone can be an athlete.
Service branding leverages the needs of the customer. Companies that use service branding seek to provide their customers with world-class service. They aim to use excellent customer service as a way to provide value to their customers.
For example, Chick-fil-A is known for its excellent customer service – making it now synonymous with its brand.
Co-branding is a form of branding that connects companies together. Essentially, co-branding is a marketing partnership between two or more businesses. This helps brands impact each other positively, and it may result in one growing its business, spreading brand awareness, and breaking into new markets.
For example, Frito Lay and Taco Bell came together and made the Doritos Locos Taco that appealed to both audiences.
Online branding, also known as internet branding, helps businesses to position themselves as a part of the online marketplace. This type of branding includes a company’s website, social media platforms, blogs, and other online content.
Most companies use some aspect of online or internet branding in today's marketplace.
This type of branding is also known as minimalist branding. These brands are often generic brands that seek to let their products speak for themselves without all the extras many others provide their consumers with.
Some of the most noteworthy no-branding branding examples include Brandless and m/f people. As you can see on Brandless' website, their packaging, colors, and overall aesthetic is very simple. This aligns with their mission of providing fairly priced food to people without a typical brand.
Despite the fact that Brandless recently announced its closure, it is an excellent example of no-brand branding that saw great success for several years.
m/f people adopts simplicity in everything, from their branding and packaging to their product designs. For example, their skincare products are packaged in bottles with black and white colors and a simple font.
This decision to opt for simplicity aligns with their commitment to making gender-neutral products and pursuing their overall mission: "We aim to make life simple, so you can focus on what matters most." They don't need loud colors and flashy font. They want minimalistic appeal.
How to Select the Best Branding Strategies For Your Business
Many businesses use several brand strategies to reach their goals. Selecting the right strategies is important for your success. Follow these steps to find the best approach that fits your business.
Define Your Brand Identity.
Before you select the proper brand strategies for your business, you should define your brand identity. This involves asking yourself and others involved in the marketing and sales process a series of questions, such as:
- What are my company’s mission and core values?
- If I had to describe my company in three words, what would they be?
- What do I want to be known for in the marketplace?
- What kind of difference do I want to make in my industry?
- What do I want my brand to look like visually?
Asking yourself these questions helps you to determine your goals and direction in the marketplace as a unique brand.
Determine Your Brand Objectives.
Once you identify your brand identity and answer the key questions mentioned above, you should be able to determine your brand objectives. For example, your objective may be to position yourself as an industry leader in a set period of time or to increase customer interactions through reviews, website visits, or online product purchases.
This way, you’ll be able to select a brand strategy that aligns with your business goals and objectives.
Define Your Brand’s Audience.
The best way to define your target audience is to consider what they're interested in, where they're located, their age, what they think of your brand currently, and how you will attract them to your services or products.
Knowing your target market allows you to gather enough data to solidify your message and select the correct brand strategy that helps you appeal to your target audience.
Consider Your Industry.
Each industry likely has different goals and objectives it would like to achieve. Each brand strategy has different things to offer your business. However, not every strategy will fit your specific industry.
To help you decide which brand strategies to choose, you may consider conducting a competitive analysis with the competitors in your industry. Conducting such an analysis will help you to uncover your opportunities and threats in your respective marketplace.
Best Practices for Building Your Brand
It takes time to build a brand, and as your credibility and reputation grows, your brand strengthens. Follow these best practices to expedite this process and foster trust with your audience.
Perfect Your Use of Visual Content.
Visuals are an important part of branding and marketing.
In fact, according to a study conducted by HubSpot, visuals are processed and retained by individuals at faster rates than text. And visuals such as infographics are 3X as likely to be shared on social media over other forms of content.
Visuals make up a large part of what your prospects and customers remember about your brand. Make sure your visuals are related to your overall brand theme and core values.
This provides you with brand consistency and makes it so that your customers can easily identify your brand later on when they see similar images.
For example, the manufacturing company, General Electric, provides its customers with engaging and interesting visuals on its social media channels. This visual content helps them to tell their story to consumers and it establishes their brand identity.
Their Instagram shows real people using their products. Their captions provide descriptions of specific products, like their a-CT7 engine mid-frame in the bottom left image.
Their post describes what the engine is, where it's made (in their GE Additive Pittsburgh Center), and how their team simplified the assembly process. They do a great job of educating their audience about their offerings and telling a story that is visually appealing.
Humanize Your Brand.
Making your brand more human means finding something to believe in and marketing that message to your prospects and customers.
The best way to do this is to find unique solutions to your consumers' problems by understanding that their problems have three parts: external, internal, and philosophical.
When you identify their needs and problems, you can begin to weave a story into your marketing messages that provides your customers’ with value and makes them believe that you have the answers to their problems.
For example, the SaaS company Drift, provides its prospects and customers with the idea that the internet is a conversation. This helps them to tell their story that “emphasize(s) the value of human interactions and connections” as stated on the about us page of Drift's website.
Although they sell software that isn’t very “human,” they market and appeal to people through their stories and what they believe in. They do these things while addressing their customers’ internal, external, and philosophical problems regarding the internet and software.
Keep the Conversation Going.
A large part of positioning yourself as a strong brand includes getting people to talk about your brand and contributing to the conversation.
Keeping the conversation going involves having a strong online presence that allows you to post and comment about the things that your brand cares about.
Give back to your customers and thank them for remaining loyal to your brand. Direct interaction with your prospects and customers in person and via phone, email, or social media helps you to maintain and increase engagement, which leads to building a strong brand.
For example, the tech giant Google perfects their customer and engagement by keeping the conversation going with its customers on social media sites such as Twitter and Instagram. They respond directly to customer complaints and concerns on Twitter and post meaningful images on Instagram that keep people engaged and talking.
Building a brand includes various elements that require patience to develop and execute. As you move forward with understanding the needs of your business and what you hope to deliver to your consumers, you will be able to select the right brand strategy for your business, and your brand will grow and delight your customers.