Branding is an important marketing tool used to stimulate recognition. When a product, service, person or place is branded, it develops a personality and a reputation. A successful branding campaign results in a name, design, logo or other recognizable symbol that stands out among its competitors.
Products enjoy some of the most common types of branding. Walking through supermarket or retail store aisles is an easy way to understand product branding. Certain labels will jump off the shelves because they have achieved their marketing goals. Successful product branding is what nudges a consumer to choose one brand over another. The brand has established a reputation as the best or most popular in its class. Think of soft drinks, athletic shoes, computers or jeans and see what brand names pop into your head first. These are prime examples of product branding.
Personal branding is a popular marketing tool among athletes, musicians, politicians and other celebrities. A politician will attempt to brand himself into the type of person the voters want to put in office. A celebrity often becomes self-branded based on his own personality, while others are molded by public relations firms and agents. In addition to a personal brand, a celebrity might become associated with products bearing his name.
Corporate branding is essential for any business that wants to develop a reputation in the marketplace. Everything the company does has an effect on its image. A corporation markets its product or service, its corporate culture, its employees and its contributions to the community. A corporation’s branding can become tarnished overnight because of an industrial disaster or a poor decision by management. If the damage is severe, a corporation might start over with an entirely new strategy for branding a completely new image.
Geographic or regional branding conjures images of certain products or services when the name is mentioned. While the Southwest region of the U.S. might be known for spicy foods, the Midwest is known for steaks. The tourism industry uses branding to lure travelers to the area. Southern states boast their sunshine and beaches, while mountainous areas become known for winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding.
Cultural branding develops a reputation about the environment and people of a particular location or nationality. New Englanders are thought to be hard-working, and perhaps too serious, while New Yorkers are viewed as people always on the go and moving at a rapid-fire pace. Cultural branding is another tool in tourism such as inviting travelers to experience the Amish country.