6 Different Types of Brands (and How to Create Yours)
Smart business owners don’t build businesses. They create brands that appeal to their target audience.
The average business focuses on selling a product or service to make money. This approach puts your business’s future at risk. You can easily lose your business if your product or service becomes irrelevant or get outpaced by competitors.
Build a strong brand that’s bigger than your product or service if you want to have a lasting impact on your target market.
Branding statistics show that 59% of consumers prefer to buy new products from a well-known brand. It’s no coincidence that the most profitable companies globally are popular brands like Google, Amazon, and Apple.
This article covers the different types of brands and how to create one that transforms people’s lives and keeps your current and prospective customers loyal and committed.
What is a Brand?
Coca-Cola, Taco, Google, Tesco, Tesla, and Amazon. The list of brands is endless. Think of the popular products or services we have consumed over the years. They are mostly from established brands.
What is a brand? A brand is an intangible marketing concept that makes your company and your product or service stand out from competitors. It shapes your target audience’s perception of your business, products, and services.
Your brand is the unique experience offered to customers each time they interact with your business. A strong brand communicates the business’ visions and values.
Do you know it’s easier to build a company that sells software than to build a strong brand like Microsoft?
For instance, you want new business software for your organization. Thousands of companies sell software packages for businesses, but you would buy from Microsoft. Why? Because you associate their products with high quality. That, my friend, is the priceless power of a brand.
Many people confuse brands and branding to mean the same thing. Branding is one of the best marketing strategies for growing your business. The goal of branding is to create a long-lasting brand impression in the minds of your target audience and customers.
Branding involves using brand elements like unique names, logos, and graphics as marketing tools to build your brand awareness and visibility and promote your products.
Types of Brands
Brands take different forms depending on the entity using them, product and service type, geographical range, and purpose.
Knowing the best type of brand for your business is essential for creating effective strategies for branding. Not all brand types will appeal to everyone. Identify your target audiences and create your brand and marketing strategies around them.
There are brand architecture models that differentiate between brands based on their structures.
- Branded House adopts an organizational structure where one brand, called the “master brand,” dominates other small brands. For example, FedEx Corporation is the master brand, while FedEx Freight, FedEx Ground, and FedEx Office are the sub-brands.
- Endorsed Brands use an organizational structure where the master brand supports to some extent and retains some level of control over its sub-brands. A good example is the relationship between Virgin, the master brand, and its sub-brands Virgin Active, Virgin Radio, and Virgin Media.
- House of Brands uses a structure where the master brand maintains no connection with any of its sub-brands. The sub-brands are completely independent of the parent company. Procter & Gamble is a great example of a company that uses the house of brand structure. Gillette, Tide, and Old Spice are independent sub-brands of P&G.
- Hybrid Brand Models combine one or more brand structures. Usually, the master brand starts out as one brand and, as it expands, creates new and separate brands. A good example is Google, with YouTube, Waymo, and G-Pay under it.
What type of brand best suits your business? Let’s find out.
1. Corporate Brands
A corporate brand refers to how an organization presents itself to customers and stakeholders. The focus is on creating a consistent corporate identity for the brand instead of focusing on products or services.
Corporate brands create a rich reputation that reassures the public of their quality and services. For example, Coca-Cola uses corporate branding as a competitive marketing strategy against its competition. The company’s marketing campaigns revolve around its brand name.
Corporate branding covers your brand’s name, values, missions, beliefs, heritage, design choices, and how you conduct business and marketing campaigns.
Your corporate branding influences how the public perceives your brand, whether you are running a single brand or a multi-brand company like Coca-Cola. The essence of corporate branding is to create a sense of trust with customers while adding value and credibility.
Categories of Corporate Brands
- Non-Profit Brands: The non-profit pool is highly-competitive, with many NGOs competing for grants and funding for their different social missions. Non-profit branding helps your brand stand out from your competition, raise more money, and increase its social awareness. Examples include American Red Cross and Help Refugees.
- Public Brands: Governments set up brands or use branding strategies to boost people’s trust in how they handle their businesses. Examples of public brands include NASA and Aramco.
- Challenger Brands: In every industry, you have market leaders and other players. A challenger brand uses innovative and unconventional methods to challenge the dominant brands and views in its industry.
- Cult Brands: A typical brand has customers, while a cult brand has fierce followers. Cult brands attract loyal communities of customers that aggressively help promote their products.
- Employer Brands: How do your current employees and job seekers perceive your company? Employer brands focus on describing their branding and culture to their employees and the labor market at large. They use internal and external strategies to attract new talent and retain existing employees.
- Online Brands: Businesses that operate primarily on the Internet use online branding to distinguish themselves from other brands. Online brands use social media platforms, websites, and other online channels to position themselves for market dominance.
- Offline Brands: Creating an online brand is a common piece of advice you hear when starting a business with no money, but why not offline? The biggest brands in the world, like Ikea and McDonald's, are offline-focused brands. Offline brands use offline branding assets like print media, colors, and even employee uniforms to attract consumers.
- Group Brands: An organization may have different businesses under it with overlapping brand identities. These brands form a group brand. For example, an entertainment company owns a TV station and a live film studio and sells merchandise. These businesses, although independent, share in the company’s brand identity.
- Retail Brands: Walk into any retail store with multiple locations and notice how they use their physical structures and assets to distinguish themselves from other competitors. Retail branding covers the store’s unique and distinctive layout, employee uniform, music, and other features that create a unique shopping experience for customers.
2. Personal Brands
Branding isn’t just for companies. Individuals can use branding tools like social media channels to build their public personas.
What is a personal brand? Amazon founder Jeff Bezos defined it brilliantly, “Your personal brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
There’s a difference between a personal brand and personal branding. A personal brand is the image or perception of an individual by others based on experience, expertise, actions, competencies, and achievements. You can call it individual branding.
Personal branding is the process of actively creating a strong identity, building a reputation, and taking action to influence the public perception of an individual. The aim of personal branding is to position yourself as an authority in your niche, grow your impact, and advance your career.
Every individual needs to create a strong public persona to market and shape the public perception of them. Celebrities, freelancers, and artists build around strong individual brands to boost their name, image, and talents to attract more career growth and opportunities.
Creating a personal brand is easy thanks to the internet and social media. Oprah, Kim Khardishan, Martha Stewart, Elon Musk, and Gary Vaynerchuk are great examples of personal brands that have set themselves as leaders in their respective niches.
You can create and use personal websites and online portfolios to build your personal brand. There are many personal websites and online portfolio examples you can use for inspiration.
Check out how Tristan Harris designed his personal website to present himself to the world as a software developer who wants to align humanity with technology.
Celebrities are the most popular and recognized form of personal brand. Think of your famous celebrities and watch how they use social media and the internet to build their brands around themselves.
Companies hire celebrities as brand ambassadors based on their personal branding to bring awareness and boost their market reach and sales.
3. Product Brands
A product brand refers to a company’s tangible products and the associated emotions and ideas that distinguish it from other products in the market. Another name for a product brand is a merchandise brand.
Product brands cover an individual product like Coca-Cola or a wide product range like Ford and its distinct models.
There is no product brand without a product. However, a product brand focuses on the public impression of the product rather than the product’s actual capacity.
The fast-moving consumer goods (FCMG) industry is full of product brands. Top brands use product branding to make their products attractive over other similar alternatives. Product branding involves conducting proper market research and picking the right target market.
You can easily mistake a product brand for a corporate brand. A product brand focuses on marketing a product, while a corporate brand markets the entire organization.
Product brands market individual products as stand-alone brands without placing emphasis on their parent brands. Many product brands don’t even mention them. The result? Consumers know about the product brand but have little details about the parent brands.
Business conglomerates use stand-alone product branding for the companies under them to prevent the actions or negative perceptions of one affecting the others.
Procter & Gamble is an example of a product brand. The company has 180 independent brands under it, like Gillette, Tide, Crest, Mr Clean, and Vicks. Check these product brands’ marketing campaigns, and you won’t find the company name P&G mentioned or referenced. Not even once.
Not every product brand markets itself independently of its parent company. There are endorsed product brands that market with their parent company to benefit from its fame, recognition, and positive brand image.
Take the MacBook, for example. The MacBook is an individual product brand on its own but relies on its parent brand, Apple, for a better marketing and sales edge.
Categories of Product Brands
- Ingredient Brands: Some brands collaborate with companies that produce similar or relevant products to increase value for their target audience. A good example of an ingredient brand is Gore-Tex, a proprietary waterproof breathable fabric used by clothing companies.
- Luxury Brands: Every luxury brand creates a perception that their products are high-quality status symbols and worth the expensive costs associated with them. When you buy from luxury brands, you are not buying a product but its extraordinary value and prestige. Examples of luxury brands include Louis Vuitton, Tiffany, and Balenciaga.
- Innovative Brands: Innovation is a business strategy companies use to stand out in a competitive market. Companies that focus on introducing new ideas and unconventional products are innovative brands that disrupt the market. Examples of innovative brands are Toyota, Tesla, and Google.
- Private-Label Brands: Retailers can hire a third-party manufacturer to produce products to sell in their brand names. These products compete with popular brand name products using lower cost and superior quality for an advantage. Examples of private labels include Kirkland Signature and AmazonBasics.
- Activist Brands: Building your business around a social cause is a great way to distinguish your brand from the competition. Consumers will buy products from brands they connect with their causes. For example, Benetton is a fashion brand popular for its stance against bigotry and global issues.
- Conscious Brands: Many companies build their branding strategy around current social issues. A conscious brand makes a positive social impact by engaging with environmental concerns. Eco-friendly companies like Patagonia, Lush Cosmetics, and Green Toys are great examples of conscious brands.
4. Service Brands
The primary difference between a product brand and a service brand is the kind of products they offer. Product brands sell physical products, while service brands sell services. Service brands are more difficult to develop and sell to consumers because of their intangible nature.
Running a successful service brand requires creativity. Brands thriving in the service industry use service branding to influence the way their customers perceive their services.
Many online brands use subscription-based service models where customers pay money to access a product or service. For example, an online graphic design brand can offer different service subscription packages to its customers.
Service brands must develop and command a strong positive brand identity and image. Some of the most successful service brands are Uber, Airbnb, and Lyft. Some brands use a product/service brand identity, like Blue Apron and Dollar Shave Club.
5. Event Brands
Can an event become a brand? Yes, events can become brands when they become known for producing a consistent viewing experience that attracts potential customers to attend.
Many events have grown into brands. For example, sporting events like the Olympics, Super Bowl, and musical events like Coachella.
The goal of every event brand is to turn its attendees into long-term customers. No event brand can survive without its events being the center of its branding efforts. The positive or negative experience of your event’s attendees can boost or weaken your brand.
Top companies sponsor programs hosted by event brands to build awareness. Why? There is a large audience they can reach through these events. They can build on the event’s goodwill and reputation through their close connections.
6. Geographical Brands
Geographical brands are companies that use regional or cultural landmarks and symbols to separate themselves from the competition. They take their brand-naming inspiration from countries, states, cities, streets, buildings, and landmarks.
You can easily find elements of geographic and cultural branding in the tourism industry. Popular airlines like American Airlines and Ethiopian Airlines use geographic branding.
The purpose of geographic branding is to benefit from the popularity of that geographic location. Examples of geographical brands are Amazon, Nokia, California Pizza Kitchen, and India Gate Basmati Rice.
Categories of Geographical Brands
- Place Brands: Entrepreneurs and business owners name their businesses after popular places to attract investors, tourists, and residents. Place brands use the positive ideas associated with the locations to create a memorable brand identity.
- Nation Brands: Businesses named after countries aim to benefit from the peculiar reputations and perceptions of the countries. Examples of national brands are American Airlines, British Airways, and Ethiopian Airlines.
- Global Brands: Companies don’t aspire to become global brands, but they earn the right by becoming famous on a global level. Think of household names like Coca-Cola, Amazon, Disney, and McDonald’s. A global brand creates a consistent experience that attracts consumer loyalty.
How to Create Your Brand
Do you want to attract brand recognition, develop a unique brand identity, reach customers, and influence how they think about your business? Create a brand.
An easily recognizable brand that people love is a valuable asset to any business. However, most companies and business owners don’t know how to build brands that attract.
Creating a successful brand is more than designing your company’s logo and picking the perfect brand name. The process of creating a brand takes time and requires extensive research.
Here’s how to create a successful brand.
1. Discover Your Brand’s Purpose
What is the purpose of your brand? Every successful brand has a clear purpose and story that it communicates through branding.
Your brand’s purpose is more than making money. Think about how your products or services can impact people’s lives.
Discovering your brand’s purpose is easy with these questions.
- Why does your company exist?
- What unique feature or advantage differentiates your company from the competition?
- What are the problems your company or product solves?
- Why should your target audience buy from your company?
You can’t start building a brand without first defining your business goals and values. Setting organizational goals and values will help you understand your brand’s purpose.
Simon Sinek, a leadership expert, reached the importance of discovering your brand’s purpose with this quote, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”
You can define your brand’s purpose using vision, mission, and values statements.
- Vision Statement: A business document that describes your brand’s purpose, aims, and plans in two or three sentences.
- Mission Statement: An action-based statement that describes what your company does and why and how it does it.
- Values Statement: A brief declaration that describes your company culture, values, ethics, and priorities your company wants to promote.
Developing your company’s vision, mission, and values statements doesn’t have to take much valuable time. There are free mission and vision statement generators you can use to develop hundreds of ideas.
2. Identify Your Target Audience
Who is your ideal target audience? You can’t build a successful brand without knowing the target market you want to attract.
Your target audience determines your marketing and branding strategies. Think about the products and services your company offers and think about the best demography to serve.
Everyone cannot be your target audience. The more specific you get with your target audience, the higher your chances of success. Instead of targeting a broad category of customers like pet owners, target people who train dogs for entertainment shows.
The best way to identify your target audience is to create a buyer persona of your ideal customer. Your buyer persona should contain information about your customer’s demographics (age, gender, and location), needs, interests, behavioral patterns, and pain points.
3. Research Your Competition
Smart business owners conduct deep market research to know who their direct and indirect competitors are and what are their strengths and weaknesses.
Study the market leaders in your niche. How do they brand themselves? What marketing strategies do they use? Who are their target customers?
Check your competitors’ website branding and social media platforms for different types of branding elements you want to use. Pay attention to missing branding elements or areas where improvement is needed.
Tracking your competitors shows market gaps you can take advantage of to win over your target customers.
Tesla is an example of a successful brand built on competitor research. The electric car company noticed the automobile market was competitive but full of petroleum-powered vehicles, which were not environmentally friendly and dangerous to human health.
What did Tesla do with this information? Tesla brands itself as an electric car company that provides eco-friendly solutions compared to its competitors. Today, Tesla is one of the most valuable brands in the world.
4. Pick a Brand Name
Your brand name is the number one branding element that separates your brand from others. The best brand names are memorable and clearly show what your brand is about to your audience.
Picking a brand name can be tricky. You can spend hours brainstorming through the best name for your brand only to find out there are existing businesses using that name.
Founderjar’s free business name generator provides a better and more relevant list of suggested brand names, uses AI, and auto-checks domain name availability.
For instance, let’s say you are looking for a fashion brand name. You can use Founderjar's free fashion brand name generator to develop unique and catchy business name ideas for your fashion brand in less than 20 seconds.
Founderjar provides a wealth of free name-generator tools to help you find the best name for your purpose.
5. Define a Visual Language
Every branding strategy includes visual and non-visual elements that help your audience easily recognize your brand.
Your brand’s visual language includes your logo design, brand colors, fonts, shape, imagery, graphics, and everything your customer can use to identify your brand.
Defining your brand’s visual style is essential to maintain consistency across your business assets and branding efforts. Smart brands use a uniform visual identity for their website and product designs, newsletter layouts, and marketing materials.
For example, Apple uses its trademark logo and white-dominated color palettes for easy recognition. You can spot an Apple product and instantly associate it with innovation, high-quality products, and elegant design.
6. Build a Brand Voice
Your brand voice is the official and uniform communication style that your company adopts when talking or writing to your audience.
The correct brand voice depends on your company’s mission, industry, and audience. If your brand is formal and mature, use a professional voice mainly. However, if it is fun and youthful, use a friendly and conversational tone.
Use a consistent brand voice in your written content on your website and social media channels and face-to-face communications with customers. Why? Your brand becomes more recognizable to your audience when you send out content or messages.
For example, Virgin Atlantic is famous for its friendly, personable, witty, and humorous brand voice.
7. Branding the Company’s Website
Building an online presence is essential for every business that wants to scale to a global audience cost-effectively.
Every business needs a website. Creating a website can be an affordable and simple process for beginners, thanks to tried and tested website builders like Squarespace and Wix. These platforms are beginner-friendly and offer customizable templates.
Creating a business website won’t provide you with the marketing success you desire, but website branding will.
Here are the ingredients needed to brand your business website.
- Home Page: The first page your audience will visit on your website is your home page. Appealingly design your homepage to ensure visitors get a good first impression. Your homepage contains your basic company information and product or services.
- About Page: A page that describes your company’s mission, brand story, values, and unique experiences.
- Product or Service Page: What are your brand products or services? Add them to this page with detailed descriptions, including their unique selling points, top features, and pricing information.
- Landing Page: Do you want to get your visitors to perform specific actions like buying a product and subscribing to your email list? A landing page is an ideal tool.
- Testimonials: Social proofs are crucial for building a positive brand image. People will naturally buy from a company that gets glowing recommendations from others. Brands have testimonial pages where they display positive reviews from their customers.
8. Integrate the Brand Effectively Across Other Marketing Channels
The branding process never stops. Smart entrepreneurs and managers integrate their branding into every aspect of their business.
Your branding should envelop your customers so much that it’s impossible not to see, hear, and talk about your brand. Every business asset you have, like cards, advertisements, product packaging, website, and office space, is an opportunity to brand your company.
The list of marketing channels you can use to promote your brand is endless.
- Social Media Marketing: Your company’s social media account is a goldmine for branding. Open accounts on platforms like Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram where your target audience is active, and send branded posts to build awareness and customer interactions.
- Email Marketing: Email marketing statistics show that for every dollar spent, an organization receives $44 in return. Creating branded email newsletters is one of the best ways to build connections with your audience.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Worried about the cost of marketing your brand? Create a business blog and post relevant content that your audience will love.
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