Types of Branding
Very much like there are various sorts of brands, there are bunches of various kinds of markings out there. Marking isn't one-size-fits-all; the best methodologies are profoundly customized to the organizations, gatherings and makers utilizing them. That is on the grounds that it's about character.
A brand is fundamentally an organization's character; marking is the means an organization takes to communicate that character. In any case, fostering a special persona accomplishes more than causing an organization to feel like a character. At the point when it's set adequately, marking positions an association (or an individual, or a development, or even a particular item) as a forerunner in their field and imparts to customers that it's the ideal decision for them and their way of life.
As another business visionary, content maker or just an individual going through self-improvement, getting marking and how to do it well is one of the vital elements for progress.
Branding vs. brand identity vs. brand
Before we can get into the 8 different types of branding, it’s important to break down the differences between branding, brand identity and brand.
The 8 types of branding
So, which kinds of branding should you be doing? There are several types of branding that are worth exploring in depth. Here are the 8 types of branding you need to know:
Cultural and geographic branding
We’ll break them down below so you can see how they work, how they can work together and how they could work for your unique brand.
1. Personal branding
At first, it can feel kind of strange to think of a person as having a brand. After all, we’re not products, we’re people. And we have inborn personalities, not cultivated brands.
That’s true. But when we talk about personal branding, we’re not talking about creating a personality for yourself. We’re talking about building a public persona that accurately communicates your unique personality. Personal branding happens on social media and in face-to-face environments where others’ perception of you can have a massive impact on your professional and social reputation—in a good or disastrous way.
So how do you “do” personal branding? By cultivating a public persona that directs the people who see you to assign certain traits and values to your character. Think about Cardi B. Love her or not, you can’t deny she has a very clear, carefully built personal brand. Her candidness about her past, her focus on constantly hustling and expanding her empire, her crass humor and her tongue sticking out are all components of her personal brand that make her instantly recognizable and successful.
2. Product branding
Product branding is the action of branding a specific product. Just like personal branding involves cultivating a public vocabulary and aesthetic for yourself, product branding shapes how the world perceives your product through deliberate aesthetic choices.
With product branding, the goal is to connect the right audience to your product. For example, you might be a luxury furniture designer. There’s a specific type of buyer—also known as a customer avatar—who’s responsible for most of your sales. Through thoughtful product branding, you can make sure people who fit this customer avatar:
Hear about your brand
Visit your website
Like, follow and subscribe to your various social media channels…
…and ultimately, buy your furniture.
So, how can you tell the world you’re offering high-end pieces aimed at buyers who have the means and desire for luxury furniture? Through branding that communicates these values—like a serif font, a muted, neutral color palette for your logo, website and marketing materials and opting to retail the furniture in the shops your target buyer tends to visit, like upscale department stores and independent boutiques. Your branding can also extend to how you reach customers, like sending current and prospective buyers well-constructed lookbooks that use quality paper and binding.
If you’re not sure how the color and font choices you make for your branding shape potential buyers’ perception of your products, check out our posts on color psychology and choosing the right font.
3. Service branding
Unlike products, which are easy to brand in visible and tangible ways, services are a little more challenging to brand. But that doesn’t mean brands can’t do it effectively—they just have to be willing to think outside the box.
Often, service branding comes in the form of “extras”, like an insurance company sending all their customers rebate checks at the end of the year or a hotel offering free cookies at the concierge desk. Service branding can also come in the form of meeting specific expectations that set a company apart from their competitors, like a cable company connecting customers with human customer service reps rather than automated prompts, when they call.
4. Retail branding
When you walk into a brick and mortar store, its physical appearance has a look and feel specific to that brand. That’s retail branding in action. Deliberate design choices like its layout, the light fixtures, the decor, the music played, the display fixtures and even the type of flooring are all carefully selected to build a living brand experience for every shopper who enters the store.
Retail branding is a must-do for any business operating in a physical location. Ecommerce has seen immense growth in the past few years and that trend isn’t changing any time soon. So, to keep shoppers coming through the doors, retailers need to up their branding game and turn their stores into experiences that shoppers want to come back and relive.
5. Cultural and geographic branding
Cultural and geographic branding are actually two separate, but similar, types of branding. Both are popular in the tourism industry.
Geographic branding is branding for cities, states, regions and even countries. Think of “I Love New York” to represent New York City and the Eiffel Tower as a symbol of Paris. Cultural branding is similar, but focuses on the cultural aspects of a region over the geographic ones. Think “a sidewalk cafe” versus the Eiffel Tower to represent Paris or “the Japanese tea ceremony” versus Mount Fuji to represent Japan.
So what kind of businesses can benefit from cultural and geographic branding? Tourism and tourism-adjacent businesses, like hotels and airport taxis for sure, but also any kind of business that makes its region of origin a focal point in its branding.
6. Corporate branding
If a company is a person, their corporate branding is how they express their personality. Corporate branding, just like other kinds of branding, is the series of design choices and actions that communicate key points about the brand, like its:
Corporate branding goes beyond website design and ads. It includes how the company conducts themselves socially and professionally, like partnering with specific charities or responding to current events. Corporate branding also often extends to the company’s recruiting efforts and company culture, which ultimately shapes how the public perceives the brand.
7. Online branding
Online branding, as the name implies, is branding that happens online. Unlike specific types of branding, like personal or product branding, online branding is a broad category that refers to all types of branding that happens on the internet. It’s how an individual positions themselves on social media, it’s the kind of online ads a service provider runs, it’s all the design choices that go into email newsletters, landing pages, responsive web design and automatic message replies.
For brands that have both a brick-and-mortar and digital presence, effective online branding often feels like an extension of the company’s offline branding. Digital customer service guidelines, for instance, often include using the same vocabulary as the brand’s in-store associates would. Otherwise, you may notice the digital design choices of a certain brand may mimic those of the physical store, bringing its offline ambience online.
If online branding is part of your branding strategy (in this day and age, it needs to be) the key to getting it right is making sure it fits into your wider brand identity like a glove. Going from a soft, minimalist ecommerce website to a brash, overloaded packaging design can be jarring for customers when receiving products and so undermines your attempt to build a meaningful relationship between them and your brand.
8. Offline branding
In case it isn’t obvious from the name, offline branding is branding that happens offline. Much like online branding can encompass types of branding like personal branding, product branding, corporate branding and cultural and geographic branding, offline branding can encompass these as well.
Merchandise and print products are offline branding. Retail branding is offline branding. So is the personal branding you might bring to a client meeting or an industry conference. It can include your wardrobe, your choice of venue for sit-down meetings with clients, the make and model you choose for your company cars and even the brands of equipment you and your team use.
Pick the right types of branding for your business
As you can see, there are lots of different types of branding that companies and other entities use to show the world who they are and visualizing it like a Venn diagram, most companies use more than one kind of branding. Think back to our Starbucks example: Starbucks doesn’t just work their locations into their branding, they’ve created a consistent experience in every store and have made a name for themselves as a great place to work.
Think about how you can express your brand through two or more types of branding. Maybe eye-catching vehicle wraps for your company cars and packaging that looks like mini versions of those cars is the best way to drive your brand home, or maybe an app that replicates the feeling of walking through one of your brick and mortar stores is how you can create an unforgettable experience. Play around with it and have fun, because when you’re having fun, you’re being authentic… and authenticity is at the heart of all great branding.