6 Different Types of Branding Strategies Explained

Branding strategies? There's more than one brand strategy? Then, what are the different types of branding strategies?

These are questions we encounter a lot as a branding agency.

Many businesses mistakenly assume that branding is a one and done thing and that their branding strategy is a static document that describes how their logo will impact their target audience.

In actual fact branding isn't just one activity, like designing a logo; it's an ecosystem of interconnected activities intended to construct a reputation, trigger brand awareness and build a brand identity.

But now we know there are so many branding strategies, which type of branding strategy best suits different types of businesses?

We answer the pressing questions with a run down of all the different types of branding strategies.

One: Personal Branding

Let's get personal.

Yes, personal branding relates to branding you, the person reading this right now.

Personal branding is often used to build a specific personal brand identity for an individual, which is usually for career purposes, or to drive fame and fortune goals by positioning oneself as a thought leader.

Easy examples include David Beckham, whose personal branding has not only been used for an underwear, perfume and clothing range, but has also been used to construct his own football team, Inter Miami FC. Beckham's personal branding is one of family man approachability, warmth, colourfulness and fun (hence why his football team's kits are bright pink).

On a thought leadership level, business guru Brian Solis has used personal branding to position himself as a leader in the business industry by providing insights and analysis on disruptive technologies, business innovation, experience design, and digital behaviours. Solis' minimalist branding may be corporate, but the emphasis on happy across his range of books also makes him appear approachable, kind and empathetic.

Fortunately, you don't need to be a billionaire athlete or B2B analyst extraordinaire to make use of personal branding. Anyone can establish a distinctive personality for themselves as a thought leader or public speaker, or general icon. All you really need is:

  • A platform: Like a social media channel or blogs where you can share your thoughts and grow your business.
  • Values: The things that define what you stand for, like helping people overcome personal difficulty.
  • Authority: Evidence of your knowledge, skill or talent (reflected across your platform)
  • Networking: If you're not already famous, personal branding is usually built through making solid connections with people who know other people and who can introduce you.
  • Commitment: The time you're willing to spend on building your brand
  • An image: Some thought leaders don't have a logo, they instead have a “look”.

You create your personal brand strategy by deciding what you want to be known for and developing your identity around this. Your image is developed in the same way as a corporate brand is formed: by every blog, appearance and post contributing to your brand identity.

Remember, even though you can affect public opinion with an effective brand strategy, being yourself is still the best option. Personal brands become more genuine as a result of being real. It's tough to act in every scene of your life, and maintaining a personal brand requires dedication on a daily basis.

Two: Corporate Branding

Corporate branding refers to the image that you create for your business (and it's our specialty). Corporate branding involves presenting a particular brand identity or brand personality through everything your brand says, does and sells.

For example, some businesses decide that they want to be a luxury brand. Unfortunately though, it's not enough to just call yourself a luxury brand. Before it can position itself in front of a high net worth target audience, the business needs to sell high quality products, develop a strong brand theme of exclusivity and opulence and have a streamlined marketing and sales process.

In corporate brand strategies, the corporate branding itself determines which kind of audience you’ll attract, which prices you can charge, what products you can sell and how you position yourself, among other things.

Further, the individual elements of a corporate brand can vary considerably depending on brand objectives. It's often recommended corporate brand leaders create user personas and target audiences so they know who they're targeting their business toward.

That way, once they have a pre identified target customer, they can use their brand strategy to develop a unique brand voice and brand identity to appeal to their desired consumer.

Often, these elements make up corporate branding:

  • A logo: Good logo design is a fundamental part of branding. You’ll need an emblem or symbol that succinctly conveys what your business stands for. You need to consider the quality of your logo. If you have a high-resolution logo, you'll be able to resize it without losing any quality using any online image resizer tool.
  • Font choices: Comic sans isn't recommended for luxury brands, the same way that gothic fonts aren't recommended for kids toy retailers. Depending on the type of business will depend on its stylistic choices like typography.
  • Colours: Colour semiotics are similar to font choices, and can influence how your brand comes across, as well as how your audience relate to you. Red symbolises action and passion, whilst orange symbolises confidence and creativity, for example. The right colour choice will impact considerably on your corporate branding, so it's worth taking the time to figure out. We wrote about this exclusively in our blog here.
  • A platform: Social media platforms as well as a good website are where visitors will come to learn about you, your products or services and with any luck, convert to customers. Make sure these platforms are branded correctly and consistently.  
  • Internet branding: Internet branding, sometimes known as online branding, is a method for businesses to position themselves as online market participants. This form of branding incorporates a company's website, social media platforms, blogs, and other online content. In today's economy, most businesses will need to embrace some aspect of internet branding as having a strong online presence is a must.
  • A personality: A brand personality usually replicates its chosen archetype (you can find yours here). That archetype will determine how you present and should be evident in everything your brand does and says.

Every so often, as your business evolves, you may need a brand refresh or update to keep you ahead of the curve.

Three: Product Branding

Product branding may be considered a component of corporate branding. When you know what your business identity looks and sounds like, you can build a product to match it. Colours, phrases, and pictures are used to differentiate various comparable products. Product branding, like corporate branding, begins with an analysis of your potential customers and what they might want from your company.

Customer-centricity is especially emphasised in product branding. Your objective is to portray your goods as a solution to their problem. Knowing your audience and what they expect from you has a big impact on the type of product branding you'll produce.

A product branding strategy as a whole is derived from a firm's corporate brand, and the audience understanding of the company. The aim is to match the right product to the appropriate demographic in order to enhance your chances of making sales.

To do this, companies need to evaluate:

  • Image: Everything from the brand's use of colours and the shape and style of the packaging will have an impact on a product's appeal. Different markets will have different tastes in packaging.
  • Distribution: What are your strategies for distributing your items to your clients? What form of distribution would be most successful for the audience you want to contact?
  • Pricing: Although your basic pricing strategy should remain consistent across your brand, take into account competing alternatives in your market. While crafting a pricing strategy for your brand, remember to consider competing alternatives, you can kee an eye on these using competitor pricing software.
  • Production: Depending on the types of audience or cultural impacts you may need to modify things like flavours or product sizes.
  • Advertising: Brands must use the right methods to obtain consumer interest in order to advertise their product. This might imply running marketing campaigns across social media channels,  offering free trial samples or even offering free PowerPoint templates.

Four: Service Branding

Sometimes businesses don't sell products, they sell services. Enter: service branding.

As with personal branding, service branding is concerned with establishing the image of certain individuals and their abilities. Like us at Huddle and our team of creative experts who offer branding, content and design services.

However, rather than concentrating on an individual person, service branding focuses instead on the service an entire team may provide to clients. To that end, service branding emphasises experiences created through everything from your customer support to your website encounter. At this level, you should ensure to collect the customer data for later reference in the support ticket.

The potential for service branding is in what you can actually give your customers. Customer feedback and word of mouth have a big impact on brand as the digital era progresses. As a result, you'll need to make sure that you're delivering a consistent experience across all platforms so that your portfolio backs up your claims about what you can do.

The most common components of service branding strategies are:

  • Customer experience strategy: To be successful in the customer experience space, a firm must have a strong Customer Experience approach. Call lines that are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week may be one option. Using a client portal is another amazing solution to manage all customer communication. Live chat on the company's website may also be an excellent way to provide exceptional service.
  • Tone of Voice: A brand tone of voice creates a bond with your buyers. Every channel you engage with requires a consistent tone of voice.
  • Feedback: Service companies pay attention and react to comments from their target audience on a daily basis.
  • Marketing: Service branding, like all types of brand strategies, requires targeted, relevant and engaging marketing campaigns.

Five: Retail Branding

Retail branding strategies are a bespoke type of brand strategy because they combine a unique experience, product, and corporate personality into one package.

One of the best examples of focused retail branding is JD Sports. All JD Sports stores are presented in a way that acts as a Sports Emporium, with dark glossy colour schemes, bright lighting and different sub branded sections. Together this in-person experience displays the underlying personality of the corporate brand as a premium sports wholesaler: though JD Sports sells other branded items, like Nike and Adidas, it receives upmarket brand equity from the model by being able to place its own label and pricing on the products.

Due to the fact that each shop may strive for a different aim, retail branding might be challenging. An exclusively online retailer for example won't be able to create a "retail" branding presence due to the fact that most items are sent all around the world from warehouses.

Amazon is a prime example of this: they opened a grocery store in central London that had no real retail branding identity or product branding and just looked like any other retail grocery store. That's because Amazon itself doesn't actually have offline branding.

There's no pre-existing retail branding that it can take from physical retail stores because it's opted to solely have strong online branding, and branding on its packages, and the Amazon influencer program, instead.  

Despite the fact that many enterprises are moving into the digital world these days, there are still sectors where retail branding has a significant influence on a company's success, and retail branding may be the right brand strategy for your business if you have a unique brand identity.

Six: Cultural and Geographic Branding

Geographic and cultural branding are both different types of branding strategies that share similar styles.

Geographic branding links a business to a specific area, generally resulting in the promise of a local community. Geographic branding can even be used for entire cities. To promote tourism and economic development, government organisations attempt to "brand" their location in a certain place.

For example, a Parisian boutique selling romantic jewellery would be commonly associated with the Eiffel tower, images of the river Seine, or the French skyline.

The concept of cultural branding is similar since it also aims to promote a specific community. Where cultural branding differs from geographic branding is that it is all about the culture of a particular place or country - as opposed to the images or landmarks of a location.

For instance, when New York advertises itself it commonly uses images of Times Square instead of the Statue of Liberty or the surrounding Hudson River because the city aims to promote its culture of art, commerce and theatre.

Companies utilise a geographic and cultural branding strategy to align themselves with specific target audiences and demographics. If your brand was UK born and bred, outwardly proud of its roots and wanting to connect with other patriotic residents for example, you'd use the colours of the flag on your packaging to catch their attention.

Sometimes, geographical branding may even assist in the positioning of a brand. Many wineries in the area of champagne use geographic branding to sell wine at a profit margin. “Champagne” is not named for any particular flavour or style, but rather where it originates from.

Ultimately, geographic and cultural branding may help your company stand out on a global scale. It's also an excellent approach to illustrate your company's down-to-earth and human qualities. Using local branding components, you could brand your business as "home-grown."

To wrap up

Whether you're creating a new brand or updating an existing one, it's important to consider the different types of branding strategies. Though different branding strategies work in different ways, all of them are designed to exemplify your sales and marketing processes and ultimately boost your chances of brand loyalty by connecting with the correct target audiences.

If you need help choosing your brand’s strategy, direction, or even identity request your free brand audit here.