Just as there are many types of brands, there are many types of branding. No branding strategy is universal. They are all more or less personalized and effective depending on the companies and groups that use them. Quite simply because in branding, everything is a question of personality.
A brand is, in short, the personality of a company. Branding is all the steps that a company takes to express this personality. But developing a unique personality does more for the brand than making it feel like a simple character. When the branding is done well, the organization (or the individual, the movement, the specific product) in question positions itself as a leader in its field and indicates to consumers that this is the choice. ideal for them and their lifestyle.
As a new entrepreneur, content creator, or just a growing individual, understanding your business branding and how to manage it well is one of the key ingredients for success.
The 8 types of branding
What type of branding is best for you? Each type of branding is worth exploring in more detail. So here are the main categories you should know:
- Personal Branding
- Product Branding
- Service Branding
- Trade Branding
- Cultural and Geographic Branding
- Corporate Branding
- Digital Branding
- Offline Branding
We’ll break them down below so you can see how each of these types of branding works, how they can relate to each other, and how they can be of use to your own brand.
1. Personal Branding
It might seem a little strange at first to think of someone as a brand. After all, we are not products, we are people. And we have innate and unique personalities, not fabricated brands.
That is true. But personal branding is not about creating a personality other than your own. Rather, it’s about creating a public figure that will allow you to accurately communicate your unique personality. Personal branding takes place on social media as well as face to face, where the perception others have of you can have a huge impact on your professional and social reputation, positively or not.
So how do you “do” your personal branding? By cultivating a public personality that encourages those around you to attribute certain traits and values to you. Cardi B, for example: whether you like her or not, you can’t deny that she has a very clear and carefully constructed personal branding. She is honest about her past and the fact that she is constantly seeking to expand her empire, her humor, and her language… All of these are part of her personal brand and it is these that make her instantly recognizable.
While you don’t necessarily want to market yourself as Cardi B, there are a lot of lessons to be learned from this example. The way you style your hair, the type of images and quotes you share on social media, the platforms you choose to spend your time on, and the way you interact with others are all part of the story. your personal branding that allows you to show the rest of the world what kind of person you are.
2. Product Branding
Product Branding is about promoting a particular product. Just like with personal branding, it’s about developing a specific vocabulary and aesthetic in order to influence the way the rest of the world perceives the product in question.
The goal of product branding is to create a connection between a specific audience and a specific product. For example, if you design luxury furniture, your typical client will not be everyone. By having a well-designed branding image, you can ensure that the people who match this typical customer:
- Listen to your brand
- Visit your website
- Like, follow, and subscribe to your pages on social networks
- And, of course, buy your furniture.
So how do you tell the rest of the world that you offer high-end furniture for buyers who have taste and means? Thanks to a branding that communicates these values, of course. For this, you might use a serif typeface, a neutral, low-saturated color palette for your logo, website, and marketing materials, and you might well make the choice to only sell your furniture in the stores that your target buyer tends to visit. Your branding can also extend to the way you connect with your customers, by sending a luxury catalog to your existing and potential customers, for example.
If you do not know how the colors and typography influence how consumers perceive your products, check out our articles on the psychology of color and the font.
Want to know more? Read our articles on product branding and branding of promotional items. Any brand that manufactures products must have a good branding and marketing strategy.
3. Service Branding
Unlike products on which it is easy to affix a logo or color, service branding is a little more complicated which does not mean impossible. Brands simply need to be prepared to think outside the box.
Service Branding often comes in the form of ‘extras’ (an insurance company sends all of its customers rebate checks at the end of the year, for example, or a hotel offers free cookies, etc. .). Meeting the specific expectations of an audience in order to differentiate itself from its competitors can also be a form of service branding. An Internet service provider offering human customer service rather than using an automated system for example.
People want fast, efficient, and friendly service, and in some industries providing this type of service consistently is enough to be successful. In others, companies must actively reach out to consumers and exceed their expectations by delivering unexpected benefits in order to stand out. Any business that provides a service, whether it’s just that or a service associated with a product, needs to build trust with its customers. This is all the more true as not all services have immediate results. The key is to create a deep emotional connection with your target audience.
Air New Zealand, for example, has based its reputation as an airline on its sense of humor, mainly by reimagining the traditional safety videos we usually see. It turned out to be a real fun and unorthodox marketing opportunity. While the film success of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit was at its peak, tourism was in full swing in New Zealand. Air NZ has thus joined forces with the directors of the films to become “the official airline of Middle-earth”.
This elaborate collaboration resulted in a video featuring the movies’ most beloved stars. In 2014, as the country celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Sports Illustrated Swimwear Issue, the airline once again created a groundbreaking safety video, this time featuring top international models such as Chrissy Teigen. Although this latest campaign caused some controversy, both campaigns set Air NZ apart from other airlines. These marketing collaborations created a humor-based bond with the brand’s potential customers, and ultimately promoted the airline in public opinion as one of the companies offering the best customer experience and exceeding everyone else’s expectations. “standard” airlines.
4. Trade Branding
When you walk into a store, you associate the look and feel of the store with the brand in question. It’s commercial branding in action. The design choices you make when it comes to the arrangement of items, light fixtures, decor, music, and even flooring are all going to help create an experience that is specific and fits the brand of the store.
E-Commerce Branding is a must for any business with a “physical” store. E-commerce has grown tremendously over the past few years, and that isn’t going to change anytime soon. So, in order to get consumers to walk through your store doors, you need to improve your branding and make your store a real experience that consumers will want to relive.
Trader Joe’s is a very good example of principle. Based in the United States, Trader Joe’s standard is smaller than other supermarkets, creating a simpler and more intimate experience. The decor changes depending on the location, allowing the brand to incorporate a unique part of the local culture into its stores. In addition, customers are offered samples of coffee and other products. These elements are specific to this type of business, and e-commerce simply cannot do the same. These are the foundations of a successful brand image.
5. Cultural and Geographic Branding
Cultural and geographic branding could actually be broken down into two distinct, albeit similar, types of branding. Note that they are both popular in the tourism industry.
Geographic branding is, in short, the branding of a city, a state, a region, and even a country. The famous “I Love New York” which represents the famous city is a perfect example, just as the Eiffel Tower is a symbol of Paris. Cultural branding is similar, but it focuses on the cultural aspects of a region rather than its geographic aspects. Thus, a café terrace will evoke something other than the Eiffel Tower, while still representing Paris. Likewise, the tea ceremony will refer to a cultural aspect of Japan, while Mount Fuji will refer to a geographic aspect.
What type of companies can benefit from cultural and geographic branding? Tourism companies and related to tourism, such as hotels and taxis, for example, but also any type of business that makes its region of origin a central point of its brand image.
A tea company that ships tea from India to all over the world could benefit from cultural branding by using the colors of the Indian flag in its logo, for example. A watchmaker could play on the association that one makes between his profession and Switzerland, by incorporating illustrations referring to the Alps on his website, etc.
6. Corporate Branding
The branding of a company corresponds to the way in which this entity expresses its personality. As with other types of branding, it is a series of graphic choices and actions that allow the brand in question to highlight its strengths, such as:
- Her values
- His mission
- Its prices
- The exclusive aspect of his business
- His ideal client
Corporate branding goes beyond the design of a website and advertisements. It also includes the way in which the company in question conducts itself socially and professionally, in particular through the partnerships it forms with specific charities or the way in which it responds to the news. Branding also often extends to recruiting efforts and general corporate culture. In short, these are all the elements that influence how the public perceives a brand.
Google, which offers its employees everything they could need (free breakfasts, on-site medical care, free shuttles to the office, generous paid parental leave, etc.) is an excellent example of a company whose image of brand is strong internally and externally. To any potential employee, the very idea of working at Google is more like a lifetime opportunity than a job, that of being part of one of the most dynamic and creative companies on the planet.
7. Digital Branding
Digital branding, as the name suggests, happens on the web. Unlike other specific types of branding, like personal branding or product branding, digital branding is broad. Thus, an individual who positions himself on social networks does digital branding, a supplier who advertises his services on the net does digital branding, all the graphic choices you make to create your newsletter are also part of branding. digital, ditto for landing pages, responsive websites, and automatic responses to emails.
For brands that have both a physical and a digital presence, an effective digital branding strategy will typically take the form of an offline brand extension. Your customer service, for example, should use the same vocabulary as your in-store salespeople. The graphic choices must be the same online and at your premises, in order to create an atmosphere that is unique to you, etc.
If digital branding is part of your branding strategy (which is critical these days), the key to success is making sure it fits well with your overall brand identity. If your brand identity is not the same on your website and on the packaging of your products, your customers will be confused, and you will have destroyed all your chances of forming a solid bond of trust with them.
When designing your branding, think about all the places it will appear. Think about how you will express your business personality online and offline, and more specifically where your brand will appear. Sure, it will appear on your website and social media pages, but maybe also in print ads? Promotional items? Product packaging? Think about your favorite brands and all the places you interact with them. How does the branding of these brands differ from place to place while creating a cohesive whole? Walking into an Apple Store doesn’t have the same effect as browsing your iPhone, but the two experiences are resolutely connected to each other.
8. Offline Branding
In case it wasn’t obvious, offline branding is a branding strategy that happens offline. Just as digital branding can encompass other types of branding (personal, product, corporate, cultural, and geographic), the same goes for offline branding.
Promotional items and printed products are part of offline branding. Retail branding is also an entirely part of offline branding. The same goes for personal branding that you might bring to a client meeting or conference. Your wardrobe could be thought of as personal offline branding, along with where you choose to meet your customers, what type of car you choose for your business trips, and even the brand of equipment you use.
It is not uncommon to advertise other brands within your own branding. McDonald’s, for example, offers Coca-Cola, while Taco Bell offers Pepsi. These are partnerships between two brands that are alike.