An average person comes in contact with hundreds, if not thousands, of brand messages over the course of a day. Branding is what helps consumers navigate the variety of choices and develop preferences towards companies and products that resonate with their lifestyle, views, and values. To be recognized and differentiated in the market, you need to create a unique psychological experience for your customers every time they come across anything related to your brand.
Branding isn’t just a name and a logo – it’s also the mixture of emotions your brand triggers. It includes managing your brand reputation, your audience’s perception, and their sentiment towards your brand. You want to touch your audience’s hearts and minds, and make them recognize your brand with their eyes closed.
Here are the different types of branding strategies.
1. Product branding
Giving your product a distinct look, tone of voice, and even personality is crucial for its commercial success. This applies to physical and digital products of all kinds – you want them to stand out on the shelf and in search results. Therefore, you need to brand your product before you let it hit the market. This includes creating product landing pages, working on your social media presence, and more. This type of branding goes well beyond popping packaging.
2. Service branding
When selling services online or offline, you need to establish trust before making a sales pitch. You want to show your expertise in a relatable and engaging way to attract a genuinely interested audience and deliver the maximum value to them. This type of branding is usually value-based and aimed to build long-lasting relationships with customers. Start by defining your mission and values and build upon that. This way, your branding will truly reflect what you do and resonate with the right audience.
3. Personal branding
You need to develop your personal brand if you want to work as a solopreneur or freelancer and thrive – there is no way out of it. But, you can also work on your personal branding if you have a team behind you. In many cases, it’s more beneficial to brand yourself rather than cultivate a “faceless” agency brand. Your personal brand will help you establish deeper contact with your audience early on.
These days, consumers are looking for authenticity and are more willing to develop trust towards thought leaders than towards companies. Having a personal brand is a must if you deal with highly sensitive matters and want to deliver personalized experiences. It could be one of these spheres:
- Financial advisory
- Personal care
There is another sphere where personal branding can also play an important role. If you sell hand-made or sustainably produced items, you need to show who’s standing behind the product to make your brand story more compelling. Remember, you need to stay true to yourself and your professional interests to build a successful, powerful personal brand that can stand the test of time.
4. Corporate branding
This type of branding is the most complex. It requires creating a whole ecosystem with frameworks and guidelines that will ensure the consistency of the experience the company creates for its clients. Here, the risks are also high. If a company fails to deliver on its brand promise just once, it may face long-term repercussions and even lose customer trust completely.
Corporate branding creates a sense of belonging not only for the customers but also for the employees of that company. The most devoted buyers and employees may even turn into brand advocates and evangelists to spread the word about the company on social media and through their networks.
5. Retail branding
Branding is always a story, and there are different ways to tell it. For retail, tangible and visual experiences matter the most – you can’t go wrong with retail branding that creates a “wow” moment. But, as with any other type of branding, consistency is the key. Your audience will expect the same level of customer service and satisfaction wherever they come in contact with your brand.
6. Cultural branding
This type of branding is focused on a specific set of traditions or region rather than a company or a personality. Cultural branding usually revolves around certain unique features that represent a culture or a region to an audience unfamiliar with them, such as tourists. You can use cultural or geographical branding for themed venues, hotels, or restaurants. Let your customers experience a little cultural dive – it’ll help them gain positive impressions, scratch the travel itch, and develop positive associations with your brand.
7. Seasonal branding
This one isn’t a total branding makeover but rather a short-term adaptation. Embracing seasonality and holiday traditions is a nice way to demonstrate that your brand doesn’t exist in a vacuum. The change of seasons means a change of pace, different shopping habits, and new preferences. By paying attention to those changes, you win extra points of customer appreciation.With seasonal branding, it can be pricey to redesign your retail store or website all the time. But it’s not always necessary.
You can find a middle ground by adding some flourishes to your packaging, installing new decorations in your stores, or giving your ads a new seasonal spin. Even big brands sometimes go small when celebrating certain holidays – and their campaigns remain just as effective. Seasonal branding isn’t about pouring tons of money into your branding and trying to develop it anew. Instead, it’s about giving it a new flavor (sometimes, literally). You can experiment with your physical merchandise or focus on your brand messaging on social media and try something new there.
8. Online branding
For companies selling their products or services online, branding is the main key to success, provided that the quality is stable. Consumers build strong relationships with brands that understand their needs and challenges and are ready to go the extra mile to deliver on their promises. Relevant online branding can help you boost customer trust and attract new audiences.
9. Offline branding
Offline branding is similar to retail branding – consistency is what brings customers back and sparks their affinity. If you provide your audience with a memorable visual experience and complement it with state-of-art customer service, your brand will win their hearts and minds.
Different types of branding serve different purposes, and it’s up to you to decide which approach to take. No matter what you choose, you need to aim to create a long-lasting impression on your customers, tell them an engaging brand story they won’t hear elsewhere. The devil is in the details. Every employee of your company and every post on your social media channels affect the way your customers perceive your brand.
If you want your audience to develop brand affection, you need to create brand guidelines to keep your messaging consistent and to the point. All of your marketing efforts should stem from a clear, coherent branding strategy – you can’t promote what you can’t define. When your branding is well thought out, your customers always know where they are and who they are communicating with. You achieve an almost visceral reaction, and immediate recognition.
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