Brand types are categories of brands that share the same strategic approach to shape their competitive positioning. In other words- they are strategic ways that brands compete and are positioned relative to each other. Some of brand types overlap while some characteristic should be embraced by all brands. All brands should offer good service, for example.
Brands come in all sorts of various shapes and sizes with various qualities, advantages and disadvantages. There are at least 21 different brand types on the market today and each one of them has something different to offer. In order to fully understand how industries work or what brands can offer us, we need to differentiate them.
Personal brands are also known as an individual brand. They are defined as the brand which a person has built around himself to promote his or her career opportunities. Personal brand are often not related to a specific business model, which is necessary to commercialize the strategy. Celebrities are the most common examples of personal brands.
For example- people like Martha Stewart, Oprah Winfrey Mick Jagger. It may be composed of a few individuals, where the branding is associated with different personalities. With the advent of the Internet, personal branding offers tools and techniques for anyone to create a brand around themselves.
The most common type of brand is a tangible, individual product. Typically, product brands are associated with tangible products such as cars, household goods or lifestyle products. This can either be specific (individual product) or cover a range of products (product range).
These brands consist of emotions and ideas that can be associated with a product. Thus, the associations exceed the functional capability of the product and rely more on the public impression of it. Product brands are very common in FMCG industries, for example- Tide detergent.
Service brands are quite similar to product brands. The main difference is that they focus on service rather than products themselves. In other words- a service brand is just a brand that is defined by the service it provides. They are harder to develop since services are less tangible than products.
Most of the time, these brands have to associate positive emotions with themselves in order to succeed. There are also new online service brands, for example, subscription brands. They have influenced changes in loyalty and technology expectations. In essence, they rely on the user experience and perceived value to promote their services.
Uber, Lyft and AirBnb are some of the biggest service brands to grow to prominence in the last few years. Along with several others developing a hybrid service brand identity such as Dollar Shave Club, Quip or Blue Apron.
Service brands are characterized by the need to maintain a consistently high level of service delivery. They need to develop and maintain a strong positive image and customer interactions. This category includes the following:
- Classic service brands (such as airlines, hotels, car rentals, and banks)
- Pure service providers (such as member associations)
- Professional service brands (such as advisers of all kinds—accountancy, management consultancy)
- Agents (such as travel agents and estate agents)
- Retail brands (such as supermarkets, fashion stores and restaurants)
The company which delivers products and services are known as organizational brands. That’s because they are closely related to the organizations that stand behind them. Fundamentally, these brands define those organizations and reassure the consumers in the quality and the service of the companies. Most often, corporate brands have all the necessary capabilities and assets to meet the needs of the consumers. Moreover, they have a global or a local frame of reference, performance records and citizenship programmes.
Mercedes and the U.S. Senate possess strong organization brands and each has associated qualities that make up their brand. Organizations can also be linked closely with the brand of an individual, for instance a particular celebrity. Hence, watching that celebrity reminds you of that brand. For example, the U.S. Democratic party is closely linked with Bill and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
These brands are applied to the brands which are listed publicly and to the functions of investor relation. They are often seen as investments but also as performance stocks. Thus, in order for these brands to succeed, investors have to blend their strategic and financial knowledge. In addition, they have to work on their purpose and value proposition. The main objective of investor brand is to get investments from the public and gain increasing high reputation via CSR. As a result, it attracts more investors and increases the share price.
Non-Profit Brand (NGO Brand)
A brand which is dedicated for more than fundraising but rather to drive social missions is called an NGO. NGO brands are usually frowned upon in the non-profit community. These brands are important because they are competing to get a bigger cut of the philanthropic pound. Thus, these brands are not just looking into fundraising to gear their social missions forwards. They are also paying attention to value models. Greenpeace is the classic example of an NGO which works only for promoting the environmental problems.
A brand which is owned and managed by the government is called public brand. At times even, the government is seen as a public brand in the eyes of people. Basically, these are brands related to the way the government is acting towards citizens and entities. Even though we cannot associate consumer choice with these brands, they do still exist. Moreover, they are vital for boosting people’s trust in the way government does its business. Such brands are Google and Facebook, which are also call embedded brands.
These brands come with a purpose that’s always related to some social cause. However, they promote their purpose so well that their consumers opt for them because they’ve distinguished themselves in their minds. A good example is Body Shop, which is completely anti-animal cruelty. Another example is Benetton which has been fighting global issues and bigotry throughout its existence. This brand is synonymous with the cause of purpose where the alignment defines its uniqueness and the minds of customers.
Geographic place Brand
In order to attract tourists, residents, investors and even businesses, destinations can build a brand around themselves. Certain landmarks that have distinct key qualities can be seen as identifications of a brand, if utilized correctly. They are also known as city or destination brands. They capitalize on the feelings that a region builds in order to associate itself with related ideas and concepts.
Geographic branding is used frequently to attract commerce and economic investment, tourism, new residents and so on. “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” or “Visit Denver “are great examples of this brand type. A perfect example would be 221B Baker Street in London which is associated with the famous character of Sherlock Holmes.
Businesses can build ethical brands and use them in two different ways. They can use them to describe which practices a brand uses in order to improve the overall business. For example, an ethical brand might devote its work to CSR and worker safety. On the other hand, ethical brands can denote quality marques. These are important, as they reassure the customers that the brand is, above all, responsible. A good example would be Fairtrade. In addition, most ethical brands are a part of NGOs, like Trade Network and WWF’s Global Forest.
Celebrities can also build brands around themselves. Nowadays, celebrities can endorse products, become brand ambassadors and get associated with brands via product placement. For example, a celebrity can wear a dress by an ethical designer and associate themselves with a good cause. Another example is an association of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt with UNICEF.
Some brands opt to collaborate with ingredient brands so as to increase their value proposition. These brands can add more to the mix in terms of quality and manufacturing. They are the feature elements of the bigger brand and can lead to more sales and more following. Because they are combining their fans with another brand’s fans. Some of these brands are Teflon, Gore-Tex and Intel.
This brand is based all over the world and is well known and renowned on a global level. Their business model most often relies on availability, familiarity and stability. However, these brands often have to adjust to the changing cultural tastes and expectations in order to stay relevant. Furthermore, it is essential that they have homogenous offerings all over the world. Examples include every multinational brand like Google, Microsoft, Apple, McDonald’s, Starbucks etc.
Just as the name says, these brands have lost their distinctive traits and are plain and generic. There are three forms of them. First, a Generic brand that has been used so extensively. As a result, it has been passed as a verb to define the entire category. For example- Xerox, Jet Ski, Sellotape. The replacement of a common name by the generic brand itself says about its success in the market.
Next, brands that are on the verge of ruin, as they’ve lost patent protection, for example. These brand types are specific to the healthcare industry, as the competition there is fierce. The last form of generic brands is the one that has no brand value at all. These brands have unlabeled and unbranded products and they feature a functional description instead of a brand name.
These are usually designer brands whose products can serve as status symbols. That’s why most people tend to aspire to buy luxury brands, so that others can admire them. Luxury brands form a niche market for selected customers. Moreover, luxury brands are often endorsed by their consumers via stories, associations and quality. Nevertheless, they are vulnerable to market shifts, as well as changes in consumer confidence and perception.
Luxury brands are always being pressured to create affordable products, as most people cannot afford them right now. However, they do not engage in reducing the price but are rather dedicated to providing premium service to customers. Rolex watches are the perfect example of a luxury brand.
Instead of having customers, cult brands usually have fierce followers. Moreover, they pick fights with their market enemies; they challenge them, just as the challenger brands do. However, real cult brands usually focus on their own obsessions and passions rather than on what their competitors are doing. They set the rules their followers comply with. Furthermore, when marketing their products or services, they do so in such a way that others flock to them. They rarely have to chase people to pay attention.
Clean Slate Brand
Clean slate brands are actually the pop-up versions of regular brands. As such, they don’t have any proof that they’re good nor are they well known. However, they move fast in order to give their consumers something new and modern. Thus, they can become quite popular over a short period of time.
Private brands are known as private labels, own brands or store brands. These are actually brands that are trying to weaken the name brands’ asking prices. Instead of offering value, these private labels focus on OEM-sourced, value-based retail offerings. As such, they don’t inspire a huge level of loyalty or appeal among consumers.
However, if they work on those aspects, they could increase their value. Moreover, they could play a bigger role in the part of the market that focuses on the “affordable premium”. Private-label brands exist among retailers that possess a particularly strong identity (such as Save-A-Lot). Private labels may denote superior, “select” quality or lower cost for a quality product.
These brand types focus on employee value proposition and deal with high-quality staff employment. In essence, these brands are doing their best to better the recruiting process. Furthermore, some of them also expand on those efforts and work on developing a productive and healthy work culture. Nevertheless, even though employer brands seem like a good idea, they are often just that — an idea.
Most companies have a huge HR staff that has to handle the whole recruiting process. Which means that the employer brand doesn’t have a real purpose in the end. Moreover, marketers are rarely interested in solving people issues. Thus, the satisfaction rates in many corporate cultures around the world are poor and need improvement.
The success of a company depend on the best staff and the ability to retain that staff. Employers need to provide all the functions to the cause in order for them to be retained in the organization. A better staff not only adds value but they also grow the organization along with themselves. Google is one of the highest rated employees and employees are found to love their jobs.
Event brands produce events which deliver a consistent branded experience to its attendees, creating long term consumer loyalty in return. This brand is typically strongly connected with the customer experience the attendees gain from being at the event. Brands are trying to leverage the emotional connection associated with the event’s goodwill by being a part of that experience.
Events can become brands when they strive to deliver a consistent experience that attracts consumer loyalty. Examples include conferences the TED series; music festivals like Coachella or SXSW. Moreover, sporting events like the Olympics or NASCAR and touring Broadway musicals like Wicked. The strength of these brands depends on the experience of people attending the event.
Group branding happens when there is a small group of branded entities that have overlapping, interconnected brand equity. For example, the OWN group brand of the Oprah Winfrey Network and its known members are strongly connected. Similarly, the Rolling Stones represents a group brand that is strongly associated with the personal brands of its members. Another example are the Beatles presented up brand in its entirety as well as for all of its members.
E-brands exist only in the virtual world having a presence over the web. Many e-brands, such as Amazon.com, focus on providing an online front end for delivering products or services. Others provide information and intangible services to benefit consumers. Typically, a common denominator among e-brands is the focus on delivering a valued service or experience in the virtual environment.
Unlike luxury brand, value brand operates on price and offers basic services for a lower price. Since the work on higher volumes, it is necessary that the price their product is lower. Titan is an example of a value brand.
These brand types focus on constantly improving the product by advanced breakthroughs in technology. Innovation is their primary aim and hence these brands are unique to the market. Apple is known for its innovation in the market and Apple products are considered as innovative products.
This is the brand which challenges the current and age-old ways of executing things in the market. Moreover, it introduces and supports innovative concepts that substantially challenge and change the market. An innovative brand may or may not be a disruptive, but more often a disruptive brand is an innovative brand.
Many brand types function across multiple brand descriptions. However, when developing a brand, focus on one primary brand type and let any other associations develop organically. Think about your audience, your industry, your specific USP and how to express your brand values. Make sure your brand generate value and align with your overall brand strategy. In order to grow a successful brand, ensure it stays relevant and able to be distinguished in each context it’s placed in.