There Are Many Types of Brands
Many kinds of things can become brands. Different types of brands include individual products, product ranges, services, organizations, individual persons, groups, events, geographic places, private label brands, media, and e-brands.
The most common type of brand is a tangible, individual product, such as a car or drink. This can be very specific, such as the Kleenex brand of tissues, or it can encompass a wide range of products. Product brands can also be associated with a range of offerings, such as the Mercedes S-class cars or all varieties of Colgate toothpaste.
A service brand develops as companies move from manufacturing products to delivering complete solutions and intangible services. Service brands are characterized by the need to maintain a consistently high level of service delivery. This category includes the following:
- Classic service brands (such as airlines, hotels, car rentals, and banks)
- Pure service providers (such as member associations)
- Professional service brands (such as advisers of all kinds—accountancy, management consultancy)
- Agents (such as travel agents and estate agents)
- Retail brands (such as supermarkets, fashion stores, and restaurants)
Organization brands are companies and other entities that deliver products and services. Mercedes and the U.S. Senate each possess strong organization brands, and each has associated qualities that make up their brand. Organizations can also be linked closely with the brand of an individual. For example, the U.S. Democratic party is closely linked with Bill and Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
A person can be considered a brand. It can be comprised of one individual, as in the cases of Oprah Winfrey or Mick Jagger. Or it may be composed of a few individuals, where the branding is associated with different personalities. With the advent of the Internet and social media, the phenomenon of personal branding offers tools and techniques for virtually anyone to create a brand around themselves.
Group branding happens when there is a small group of branded entities that have overlapping, interconnected brand equity. For example, the OWN group brand of the Oprah Winfrey Network and the brand of its known members (Oprah and her team) are strongly connected. Similarly, the Rolling Stones represents a group brand that is strongly associated with the personal brands of its members (most enduringly, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, and Charlie Watts).
Events can become brands when they strive to deliver a consistent experience that attracts consumer loyalty. Examples include conferences like the TED series; music festivals like Coachella or SXSW; sporting events like the Olympics or NASCAR; and touring Broadway musicals like Wicked. The strength of these brands depends on the experience of people attending the event. Savvy brand managers from product, service, and other types of brands realize the power of event brands and seek to have their brands associated with the event brands through sponsorships. Event sponsorship is now a thriving big business.
Geographic Place Brands
Many places or areas of the world seek to brand themselves to build awareness of the essential qualities they offer. Branded places can range from countries and states to cities, streets, and even buildings. Those who govern or represent these geographies work hard to develop the brand. Geographic branding is used frequently to attract commerce and economic investment, tourism, new residents, and so on.
Private-label brands, also called own brands, or store brands, exist among retailers that possess a particularly strong identity (such as Save-A-Lot). Private labels may denote superior, “select” quality, or lower cost for a quality product.
Media brands include newspapers, magazines, and television channels such as CNN.
E-brands exist only in the virtual world. Many e-brands, such as Amazon.com, have a central focus on providing an online front end for delivering physical products or services. Others provide information and intangible services to benefit consumers. Typically a common denominator among e-brands is the focus on delivering a valued service or experience in the virtual environment.