How do you know which type of branding is right for your business? In the same way there are different types of logos to use for a business, there are various branding strategies a business can use to operate in and capture its market.
In order to help you make the kinds of decisions necessary to create a marketable brand, we’ve broken down the main types of branding out there.
1. Corporate Branding
One of the more reputation-focused types of branding, corporate branding is about making a cultivated name for an entire corporation. The public will associate the organisation’s name with a promise – that they stand behind the services they offer, and that they have a verifiable, positive performance record.
Good corporate branding has long-term effects, as these companies can rely on name brand-recognition; customers tend to automatically trust new products when they are associated with a brand they already recognize.
2. Personal Branding
This usually refers to branding for the individual person, as opposed to branding a whole business. Personal branding is particularly important for public figures, celebrities, politicians and even business executives who want to maintain a positive public image (usually because it benefits them in their career to be endorsed). Social media is a powerful tool when building a personal brand, because you have the ability to reach wide audiences while “speaking” from a personal platform.
3. Product Branding
Ever noticed how ‘Five Alive’ has become a word synonymous with ‘fruit juice drinks’? That’s because the product has reached the pinnacle of product branding success – the type of branding that gets consumers to choose one product over another based on the brand alone. You’ll often see logos or colours on specific items that jump out at you; this is because you’ve learned to associate the two together as a result of effective product branding.
4. Geographical Branding
If you work in the tourism industry, this type of branding is for you. Geographical branding focuses on the unique traits of a specific area or region as the selling point of a particular place and why you should visit.
You’ll often see countries claiming a type of food as their own or hyping up the unique history of the region. (Think Egyptian pyramids or Greek Moussaka.) Also, areas of the world that are trying to change their reputation can try their hand at geographical branding; India, for example, did a great job of this with their “Incredible India” rebrand, turning the focus away from their different challenges and onto the sociocultural and economic richness of the country instead.
Read also: Role of public relations in brand building
5. Online branding
Also referred to as “internet branding”. This type of branding refers to how you position your company (or yourself) online. This could refer to building a website, establishing a social media presence, publishing a blog – anything that happens on the web under your name.
6. Offline Branding
As the name suggests, this refers to branding that happens off the web. From doling out business cards to staging sit-down lunches with desired clients or leads, offline branding requires a mix of good design and outgoing spokespersons to represent your brand.
This is the moment where branding meets partnerships. Co-branding is when two or more company brands are connected by the same product. For example, Mr Biggs and Supa Strikas comics partnered to give free copies of the widely popular comics to young customers who make purchases at any Mr Biggs’ stores. The excited children who enjoy the comics drive their parents to the store and Mr Biggs has high sales figures to show for it.
8. Service Branding
This type of branding puts a strong emphasis on the customer, and on providing your clients with impeccable services. While every brand should do its best not to alienate its customers, service branding takes this one step further; it focuses specifically on adding perceived value to customer service, and uses this as its selling point.
People who interact with service brands look forward to the “extras” they get, whether it’s a telecoms company giving out wrist bands, or a food beverage company handing out branded balls or toys with every purchase.
9. Ingredient Branding
When you highlight the achievements of one specific ingredient within a product, or one specific branch within a business – those become the lure of the brand rather than the product or business as a whole.
10. Activist Branding
If there’s a cause you believe in with all your heart, you may be able to channel it into your brand strategy. Specifically, activist branding, or “conscious branding” is a way to make a positive social impact through your brand, so that your brand ultimately becomes synonymous with the cause.
11. “No-brand” Branding
Also known as “minimalist branding,” this approach assumes that a product alone is enough to capture consumer attention without needing to rely on any bells or whistles.
A good number of small businesses and operators in the informal sector deploy this type of branding. Many of us know a very good eatery or restaurant, a nondescript but good carpentry shop, a reliable vulcaniser or a dependable tailor that do not engage in any form of branding yet their customers can attest to their good products, prompt service delivery and excellent customer relationship management.
As you consider the different types of branding that have made many companies successful (and others less so), think about the face you want your company to show the world, and which type of branding is the best way to do that.