Branding is complex topic. Everybody uses the term “brand” but few will be able to clearly define it. We have had clients, who confuse branding with a website. While websites and digital presence is a significant aspect, it is a part of your overall brand. It is necessary to have a clear understanding of these terms in order to have a clear expectation on branding for your businesses and defining the steps to reach an aspirational state. This is why we are listing out 10 of the most widely used branding elements and explaining them with simple examples.
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10 Branding Elements and What They Mean
1. Brand identity
Let us begin with the very basic. What exactly is a brand and what is brand identity? The brand of course is an easily recognizable name that immediately tells people about a certain organization that manufactures certain products or renders certain services. Brand identity is the way people recognize the brand. It may be through the logo or other associated visuals. The Swoosh logo of Nike is very simple, but is immediately recognizable worldwide along with its punchline, “Just Do It”.
2. Brand image
Brand image is the idea of the brand that people develop in their minds. It also dictates what they expect from the brand. For instance, Rolls Royce has the image of a luxury car maker. So, it cannot be making a budget car even if there is a market. Its existing premium customers won’t take it kindly as it dilutes the said image. It’s hard and sometimes impossible to change brand image, so it’s best to know what you’re aiming at, before you invest hard earned dollars.
3. Brand positioning
Positioning is the way a product is placed in the market. It basically defines what segments of the market it is targeting. For instance Virginia Slims is a cigarette targeted at women. Basic ingredients in all cigarettes are same but this one has been positioned to attract women by making it slimmer in size and making the packaging sleeker.
4. Brand personality
Brand personality is just like the personality of human beings. It is certain emotional or personal qualities that we associate with a particular brand. For example we can associate youthfulness with Pepsi or ruggedness with Wrangler. Every element of the brand identity including the colour of the logo and the typography on the brand name adds to the personality.
5. Brand equity
Brand equity is the value of a brand. It may include tangible financial value such as market share and revenue as well as intangible aspects such as strategic benefits of the brand. For example Apple is a major technology brand and people perceive it is a premium, cutting edge manufacturer of quality products. So, it is not only the sales but the sheer image that takes the equity to a different level altogether.
6. Brand experience
Brand experience is a combination of everything that a customer goes through while purchasing and using that brand. For example how does one feel while ordering food and eating at KFC? How does the staff behave and how fast do they deliver and of course how did the food taste? Also, since it has many outlets all over the world, all of them are expected to maintain uniform standards of experience.
7. Brand Differentiation
Differentiation, as the word suggests is how a brand stands out in the crowd. For instance Dell Computers lets people choose their components and assemble their own system, thus making it different from others who just sell readymade machines at the shop with no scope for customization.
8. Brand communication
Brand communication is the message it delivers through various sources like adverts, brochures, punchlines and hoardings. If the brand has to grow, it must be able to clearly communicate its core benefits to the customers.
9. Brand gap
Brand gap is the difference between what a brand promises to deliver in its communications and what it actually does. For its own sake, the gap should not be very high. A successful brand must be able to deliver what it promises. No amount of advertising or content marketing efforts can save a bad product.
10. Brand extension
Brand extension is basically the idea of going beyond ones origins and exploring newer fields. For example Google started as a search engine. But now it provides many other services including emails and mobile operating systems. This is how it has extended the brand but it must be done in a manner so that the existing operations complement the newer initiatives. Google gained market intelligence through its search operations and this is what enabled it to develop other services. Films sell merchandise like clothes or toys pre/post release, which are also extensions as they go beyond the main product (the film).
What other branding terminology are you struggling with? Please let us know and we are happy to dig them out for you 🙂
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