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Branding : Definitions and Principles

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Sallar Rabiei

Branding has several definitions. It seems necessary to review some definitions of branding. It gives […]

Branding has several definitions. It seems necessary to review some definitions of branding. It gives us several keywords, and these keywords let us know more about what should we have to do to make a brand. The root of this word is brander, which is a Dutch word for an identifying mark burned on livestock or (especially in former times) criminals or slaves with a branding iron.

What is branding?

The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as a name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.
Marty Neumeier has a different idea. He believes that: A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service or company.
The Business Dictionary gives us the same definition: Unique design, sign, symbol, words, or a combination of these, employed in creating an image that identifies a product and differentiates it from its competitors. Over time, this image becomes associated with a level of credibility, quality, and satisfaction in the consumer’s mind (see positioning). Thus brands help harried consumers in a crowded and complex marketplace, by standing for certain benefits and value. The legal name for a brand is a trademark and, when it identifies or represents a firm, it is called a brand name.
Let’s compare these definitions in the following table.
AMA Marty Neumeier Business Dictionary
Name, symbol, or design is necessary for branding. A brand encompasses your feeling. Unique design, sign, symbol, words, or a combination of these.
Either goods or services can be brand. Product, service or company can be brand. Create an image that identifies a product.
Brand makes a difference. It gives you some advantages. Different from competitors.
Associated with credibility, quality, and satisfaction.
Standing for certain benefits and value.
The legal name for a brand is a trademark.
Base on the given definitions all brands need:
  • symbol, icon, and design
  • feeling and emotion
  • value and quality
  • trademark
There is one important rule for startups: Don’t confuse success with popularity. Popularity may include either negative or positive meaning, but success always contains positive emotion. Success is not always what you see.

Different type of branding and brand:

There are many types of brand. There are 21 types of brand, including Personal Branding, Global Brand, Employer Brand, Celebrity Brand, Nation Brand, Product Brand, Service Brand, Plas Brand, and etc. I will mention the most important types of brands in the following lines.

1- Personal Brand:

You may know it as an individual brand. It represents a person. Who you are and what features you are famous for. The act of presenting someone as a brand known as Personal Branding. It seems that Napoleon Hill mentioned Personal Branding in his book (Think and Grow Rich -1937). Donal Trump is a good example of personal branding. He uses his name for his products and buildings.

2- Corporate Brand:

You may know it as an organization brand. In many industries, companies, in addition to requiring brands for their products, require a unique brand for the company to support their product. Apple is a good example. Not only we know apple as a great company, but also we know its popular products such as iPhone, iPad, MacBook and etc.

3- Service Brand:

These type of brands provide a specific type of services to their customer. In fact, they are famous for their services. Service branding helps companies to be chosen by a customer. Google, Uber, and Airbnb are a good example of service branding.
Service brand can be categorized based on the type of service, the type of target customer, and other items.

4- Product Brand:

In this type of branding, a product is branded. Whether for manufacturing companies or commercial companies, the process of product band can be one of the most important topics for the product to succeed and attract the target customer. Depends on the product, each product has different branding processes. Products can be categorized depending on their usage, audience, and price.

As I mentioned earlier, there are many types of brand. And I mentioned the most popular one. In future posts, I will write about other types. Follow our newsletter and don’t miss our posts.

Principles of Branding:

Many business owners consider branding or the process of branding a product or service as a complex issue. To present a trademark as a famous brand, you should follow the following rules:

Customer Service:

I believe the most important topic for brands is customer service. “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.” Jeff Bezos said. Try to provide good service and support to your customers.


Don’t try to follow others. Creativity can evolve your product, service, and even packaging. Design in any aspect is important, do not ignore the role of design and graphic in your product.


Promise to give a good answer to your customer’s need. It is better to focus on the value you provide to your customers.

You’re not going to creat everything:

It’s clear that you can’t provide all the services to your customers. it’s best to focus on your strengths and use your opportunity. For example, Apple does not produce a dishwasher. Identify your expertise and stay focused.

There are other principles since it is a general post, I just try to write the most important facts. Finally, I have to mention the Marty Neumeier quote:
“Brand is not what you say it is. It’s what they say it is.”

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