How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Types of brand
The most common brand is that associated with a tangible product, such as a car or drink. This can be very specific or may indicate a range of products. In any case, there is always a unifying element that is the 'brand' being referred to in the given case.
Product brands can be very specific, indicating a single product, such as classic Coca-Cola. It can also include particular physical forms, such as Coca-cola in a traditional bottle or a can.
Product brands can also be associated with a range, such as the Mercedes S-class cars or all varieties of Colgate toothpaste.
As companies move from manufacturing products to delivering complete solutions and intangible services, the brand is about the 'service'.
Service brands are about what is done, when it is done, who does it, etc. It is much more variable than products brands, where variation can be eliminated on the production line. Even in companies such as McDonald's where the service has been standardized down to the eye contact and smile, variation still occurs.
Consistency can be a problem in service: we expect some variation, and the same smile every time can turn into an annoyance as we feel we are being manipulated. Service brands need a lot more understanding than product brands.
Organizations are brands, whether it is a company that delivers products and services or some other group. Thus Greenpeace, Mercedes and the US Senate are all defined organizations and each have qualities associated with them that constitute the brand.
In once sense, the brand of the organization is created as the sum of its products and services. After all, this is all we can see and experience of the organization. Looking at it another way, the flow also goes the other way: the intent of the managers of the organization permeates downwards into the products and the services which project a common element of that intent.
The person brand is focused on one or a few individuals, where the branding is associated with personality.
A pure individual brand is based on one person, such as celebrity actor or singer. The brand can be their natural person or a carefully crafted projection.
Politicians work had to project a brand that is attractive to their electorate (and also work hard to keep their skeletons firmly in the cupboard). In a similar way, rock stars who want to appear cool also are playing to a stereotype.
Not much higher in detail than an individual is the brand of a group. In particular when this is a small group and the individuals are known, the group brand and the individual brand overlap, for example in the way that the brand of a pop group and the brand of its known members are strongly connected.
Organizations can also be linked closely with the brand of an individual, for example Virgin is closely linked with Richard Branson.
Events have brands too, whether they are rock concerts, the Olympics, a space-rocket launch or a town-hall dance.
Event brands are strongly connected with the experience of the people attending, for example with musical pleasure or amazement at human feats.
Product, service and other brands realize the power of event brands and seek to have their brands associated with the event brands. Thus sponsorship of events is now big business as one brand tries to get leverage from the essence of the event, such as excitement and danger of car racing.
Areas of the world also have essential qualities that are seen as characterizations, and hence also have brand. These areas can range from countries to state to cities to streets and buildings.
Those who govern or represent these geographies will work hard to develop the brand. Cities, for example, may have de-facto brands of being dangerous or safe, cultural or bland, which will be used by potential tourists in their decisions to visit and by companies in their decisions on where to set up places of employment.