10 Types of Branding Strategies

brand strategy

Branding Strategies
A branding strategy helps establish a product within the market and to  build a brand that will grow and mature in a saturated marketplace. Making smart branding decisions up front is crucial since a company may  have to live with the decision for a long time. The following are commonly used branding strategies:

Company Name
In this case a strong brand name (or company name) is made the vehicle for a range of products (for example, Mercedes Benz or Black &  Decker) or a range of subsidiary brands (such as Cadbury Dairy Milk or  Cadbury Fingers in the United States).

Individual Branding
Each brand has a separate name, putting it into a de facto competition  against other brands from the same company (for example, Kool-Aid and  Tang are both owned by Kraft Foods). Individual brand names naturally allow greater flexibility by permitting  a variety of different products, of differing quality, to be sold  without confusing the consumer’s perception of what business the company is in or diluting higher quality products.

Attitude Branding and Iconic Brands
This is the choice to represent a larger feeling, which is not  necessarily connected with the product or consumption of the product at  all. Companies that use attitude branding include: Nike, Starbucks, The Body  Shop, and Apple, Inc. Iconic brands are defined as having aspects that  contribute to the consumer’s self-expression and personal identity.
Brands whose value to consumers comes primarily from having identity value are said to be “identity brands. ” Some brands have such a strong identity that they become “iconic brands” such as Apple, Nike, and Harley Davidson.

Derived Brands
Some suppliers of key components may wish to guarantee its own position by promoting that component as a brand in its own right. For example, Intel, positions itself in the PC market with the slogan (and sticker) “Intel Inside. ”

Brand Extension and Brand Dilution
The existing strong brand name can be used as a vehicle for new or modified products. For example, many fashion and designer companies extended brands into fragrances, shoes and accessories, furniture, and hotels. Frequently, the product is no different than what is already on the market, except it has a brand name marking. The risk of over-extension is brand dilution, which is when the brand loses its brand associations with a market segment, product area, or quality, price, or cachet.
Multi-brands Strategy 
Alternatively, in a very saturated market, a supplier can deliberately  launch totally new brands in apparent competition with its own existing  strong brand (and often with identical product characteristics) to soak  up some of the share of the market. The rationale is that having 3 out of 12 brands in such a market will  give a greater overall share than having 1 out of 10. Procter & Gamble is a leading exponent of this philosophy, running  as many as ten detergent brands in the US market. In the hotel business, Marriott uses the name Fairfield Inns for its budget chain.
Cannibalization is a particular problem of a multi-brands strategy  approach, in which the new brand takes business away from an established  one which the organization also owns. This may be acceptable (indeed to be expected) if there is a net gain  overall.
Private Labels
Also called own brands, or store brands, these have become increasingly popular. Where the retailer has a particularly strong identity this “own brand” may be able to  compete against even the strongest brand leaders, and may outperform  those products that are not otherwise strongly branded.
Individual and Organizational Brands
These are types of branding that treat individuals and organizations as the products to be branded. Personal branding treats persons and their careers as brands. Faith branding treats religious figures and organizations as brands.
Crowdsourcing Branding
These are brands that are created by the people for the business, which  is opposite to the traditional method where the business creates a  brand. This type of method minimizes the risk of brand failure, since the  people that might reject the brand in the traditional method are the  ones who are participating in the branding process.

Marketing Takeaways from the Exponential Growth of Snapchat

Snapchat is the fastest growing social media platform with an estimated 200 million monthly active users that send 700 million photos/videos each day, viewed 500 million times per day, and there’s something marketers can take away from their exponential growth. 


In recent years, Snapchat has become a mainstay in the world of social media and marketing, creating an immersive environment that allows users to interact with their favorite brands and even celebrities in real time. It’s methodology of allowing information to be disposable has done wonders to create products and brands, whether corporate or personal, that are completely humanized and relatable and it’s this precise facet that has made the platform so intriguing to marketers as the app continues to grow. What can we learn while traversing the snap landscape? In order to figure this out we have to first go back and take a look of the marketing strategy of the company itself. To begin with, Snapchat had an ingenious and ultimately unintentional marketing strategy/growth hack as a sexting app when it really wasn’t trying to be one. To quote company founder, Evan Spiegel, “It seems odd that at the beginning of the Internet everyone decided everything should stick around forever. I think our application makes communication a lot more human and natural…Ultimately, no, Snapchat Isn’t About Sexting.”

This was always the way snapchat looked at itself internally, however, conveying and executing this vision and value proposition was never going to be easy in the marketplace of messaging apps. This can also be evidenced by the early feedback Spiegel received from VC firms, who he says told him, “This is the dumbest thing ever…”

To overcome this problem, The initial app brilliantly included subtle ways to egg the masses and general media on to believe its sole existence was to help teenagers sext, such as ‘trying’ to prevent screenshots, making messages expire by default etc.  This led to mainstream media to start an extended firestorm about how its dangerous for teenagers, asking parents to be wary about it, focusing about how it could never guarantee privacy of pictures and so on.

Playing along to this tune gave Snapchat tons of free publicity, not just any publicity but just the kind of publicity that mattered to their core demographic of rebellious teenagers who liked things their parents hated. User adoption in this group took off and true to snapchat’s earlier vision, they were not a sexting only app after all.

The biggest takeaways for any company from this strategy are

1. Understand your core demographic and what appeals to them, both from a product and marketing perspective

2. Marketing is not always about conveying your vision directly to your market

3. Any publicity is negative only if it is perceived to be negative by your core users

4. Getting featured in the mainstream media can be something meticulously planned for, but not always monetarily expensive

5. Growth hack features can take many ways, shapes and forms, not necessarily only the iterative ‘product-market’ fit we commonly read about

Web Design Trends for 2016


Monday’s blog post about the minimal downside of trends like flat design had an effect on me that I’d like to continue to expand upon today. It’s been a bit since I’ve written about design so let’s just say that I’ve become inspired to dive deep into it this week. It’s well known that in our time the internet has developed into a valuable source of quality content. Because of the constantly metamorphosing algorithm of Google and search engines like it,  content is gaining new position every day. It is not far off to say, as I’ve said many times before that content is king. Along with content though, the past few years have also seen a rise in the value of attractive design. Because of this, recent years have seen numerous site owners opt in for high end website graphics that sometimes even supplant the content quality they’re putting out. These sorts of trends have flourished in the last few years and don’t seem to be going anywhere fast, so, with that being said, it’s time to take a look at the top 8 web design trends of 2016.

1. Flat design never get old

As I indicated last week, I’m a big fan of flat design, and despite the downsides that I was able to come up with, it remains one of those trends that just won’t die. No matter how much time goes by, flat design does not get old. If anything, it’s continuously evolving to the point that I would say it’s just reached its prime. The newest form that’s been a hot ticket contains both expansion of devices and screen sizes, and thanks to it, the principle of the flat design isn’t going anywhere soon.

2. Typography

Choosing the right font or typeface has never been an easy decision even for the best designers. Recall the backlash against iOS7 I mentioned last week. It is now harder than ever for designers to make those decisions. Typography, the art and technique of arranging type to make written words become more attractive, is in its heyday and  as designers are improving all aspects of design, typography must be included with it. Expect text and typography based design and interaction to explode.

3. Background design with a Fullscreen video

A new rising trend in website design is a homes screen that includes fullscreen video as you can see on sites like BrainsOnFire.com. People have a natural affinity for watching video and having an automatically loading background video will definitely catch the visitor’s attention. A background video also heighten the value of the website.

4. Increased Minimalism

If you’ve ever read one of my design articles before, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of minimalism, and it’s not just because I love Donald Judd. As both responsive design and flat design continue to surge, minimalism will need to increase to make UI and UX experiences simple for users. For people who don’t know minimalism, this is a trend in sculpture and painting that arose in the 1950s and used simple, typically massive, forms. A website with complicated or cluttered design is off putting and aggravating. This alone is why minimalism is becoming more important, and why you don’t see the busy Angelfire and Geocities sites of the early 2000s anymore. Minimalism will affect both user experience and conversion rate for your website. Speaking of responsive design…

5. Responsive design

Similar to flat design, responsive design is the best way to satisfy customers who are using desktop browsers. It’s also more preferable when your website doesn’t have it’s own app for browsing. Even old age websites are changing to responsive design, along with other prominent current websites. A responsive design also increases the loading speed several times over, so there’s no reason for not making your website unresponsive anymore.

6. Mobile apps design

As I just briefly implied, multiple websites have taken to creating their own apps to make mobile browsing easier. With the dominance of both mobile apps and social media, a tremendous amount of traffic now comes through mobile phones, making mobile app development and design necessary.

7. Storytelling

Storytelling is nothing new when it comes to web design and creating quality content. It’s one of those trends that’s been around forever and will continue to thrive after making adaptations to the the current landscape. Storytelling, as its name tells everything, content is the true king. You can hook your customers through emotional or attractive stories. As old as it is, engaging and emotional stories with a great design and content will continue to surge as one of the top trends of 2016.

8. Card based design

A card based design website, like an order of applications in Windows Phone or Windows OS will categorize separate block for content making everything more navigable. It’s something that a lot of people have complained about in recent years, but I suspect that is only because its implication has interrupted the status quo of what people were comfortable with, much in the same way that people feel when they switch from PC to Apple and have to learn all the new gestures and keyboard tricks. I for one believe it is more appealing, and it can show a lot more information more quickly than other formats. Pinterest is the best example for card based design

The Limited Downsides of Flat Design

flat design switch

The last 3 years have seen numerous companies follow a trend and make a dramatic switch to flat design in their attempts to revamp their brand. From Netflix to Google and more, the big players are all making the move to a style that is generating a lot of attention, and while flat design merely seems a trend at the moment, I think it’s here to stay. The benefits that come with the simplicity of flat design are simply too numerous to ignore. In fact, they are so numerous and have been written about so often that it’s made me think that maybe it’s time that someone look at at the negatives, and that’s what this post is going to be. Now, this is not to say that I don’t personally prefer flat design, because I do. I just think it would be interesting to see the other side of things. So, before we move on, it’s important to realize what flat design is. “Flat design,” overall, is just a buzzword that encompasses a wide range of more specific elements, but at the core it really means that your design focuses more on the content and interaction instead on decorative elements which try to mimic the real world.  By taking this approach, flat design set’s a lot of bandwidth and design resources free to use for more important things like meaningful animations that help the user understand context or big and beautiful images that help to tell a story. It also gives the designer much more time to think about those things. But again, there are negative that come with every positive.

Cons of Flat Design

  • It’s Trendy

The thing that comes with trends is that you never know how long a trend will last. I stated earlier that I think flat design is here to stay, but I’m no psychic so I cannot say for sure that it will. Already we are beginning to see more of a move from purely flat design to almost flat design or flat design using long shadows. If you reinvent your website or app frequently, trendy design may be for you. If you want a website that has a long shelf life, consider something a little less “in the moment.”

  • Usability Concerns

When it comes to designing complex user experiences and interfaces, flat design can sometimes actually be too flat and look uninteresting. Not all users are comfortable with the style of an interface and don’t always know what or where to click, so if your design elements fall too flat this could create major usability issues. An analysis by the Norman Nielsen Group found that flat design styles can hinder usability because users don’t always know what is clickable. Further, flat design projects tend to include less “information density” in an effort to keep it simple.

  • Color Palettes Can be Tough to Match

The more colors you use in a project, the tougher it can be to match them properly. Creating a harmonious color palette is a challenge on its own, and can be even more challenging when you add four, five or more colors. Designers who create the most successful flat color palettes tend to stick to a uniform look in terms of saturation and brightness so color choices look intentional.

  • Weak Typography Becomes More Obvious

Just as flat design helps create a focus on good typography, it can really make bad typography stand out as well. (Just look at all the flack Apple received after previewing iOS 7 with an ultra-thin primary typeface.) Flat design is very unforgiving when it comes to boldness. Every choice has some degree of drama, making it hard to hide weak typography. If you are not comfortable pairing or selecting fonts, flat design may not be the best option.

  • It Can Look Too Simple

Depending on the use, flat design has been called “too simple” by some.It can be difficult to convey a complicated visual message in flat design.The other argument against flat design is the simplicity of user-interface tools. Proponents of skeuomorphic design say embellishments that add a sense of realism make tools easy to use. Frankly, it depends on the context.Visual hierarchy can also be a concern with super-simple interface designs. What is most important? How do you emphasis it visually?

  • Some Decoration Can be Good

Not all decoration is bad. Flat design truly limits the number of tricks you can use if you want the project to be truly flat.

The Key Facets of Social Influence.

social influence

In today’s social media world there is a constant battle being fought by companies and individuals to become as influential as possible. The desired result in becoming an entity with major social influence is a big return on investment and drawing new customers to your product. Whether that be tangible product such as a bookcase from Ikea or something abstract such as humor is besides the point. What matters is that the ideas are getting exposure and circulating. But how does one measure their social influence? There are programs out there such as Klout that do exactly that, but figuring out how Klout manages to come up with the score factors in a great many things.

There are several methods of evaluating someone’s chances of being influential, from celebrity status to tracking of social media behavior, and all are highly relevant.  But if we’re looking at this from the viewpoint of the marketer’s ability to engage influencers, then the critical factors actually have to be willingness, expertise and return.

On the willingness front,there needs to be a connection between someone’s behavior (fan counts, followers, Klout score) and their actual interest in engaging with a brand.  As any decent marketer will tell you, past performance is no indication of future results. When it comes to social influence, just because you exhibit influential behavior at one point, say a tweet that gets multiple retweets, doesn’t necessary mean you’ll become a mainstay that can continuously drive return. The key first step is whether you can continuously convince someone to engage and whether they will raise their hand to get involved.

With expertise in mind, influence is a skill like any other.  The more you practice it, the better you are at it. Someone who metrically appears influential and has the willingness to engage still needs to understand how to be effective.  In today’s social media world, this means being authentic and aware of not shilling themselves out and only engaging with brands they actually appreciate.  There’s also the necessity to understand which tools they can use effectively: which platform are they best at creating content for? Youtube? Twitter? A blog?  As platforms evolve, so do the skills necessary to create influence that matters, and that means influence must be measured through people’s ability to get better at being influential.

Finally, there’s the most important component: return.  After willingness and expertise comes the necessity to deliver value.  Tools need to be developed not to just measure someone’s likelihood to influence, but then the result of their specific influence when it occurs.  These measurements can be produced on the group level (these 10,000 people created this return), or the individual level (this one tweet created this much return) but whatever scale it’s at, it can’t be ignored.  The ultimate guidepost is whether someone’s influence actually influences.

Axe Body Spray: A Hilarious Lesson in Good Marketing

Axe Body Spray

With millions of dollars on the table it’s easy to see why we, as marketers, go to such incredible lengths to learn everything we can about the consumer. It’s all about working the right angles to get move product into the hands of the target demographic. It may not always be pretty or politically correct, but hey, if it works, you don’t really see people complaining too often. At least, that’s usually the case. Sometimes it works a little too well though, which it seems was the case with Axe body spray that I recently read about.

I’m sure by 2016 you’re familiar with the hazy cloud that wafts off  of every middle school boy that bathes in Axe body spray. If not, consider yourself lucky. Apparently, in a conversation between author, Martin Linstrom, and Unilever executive, David Cousino, Cousino revealed a hilarious and somewhat shocking secret about what they did to figure out who to target with Axe body spray when it was first developed. To begin with, Unilever broke down men into six separate groups based on how men pursue women. (where do you fit, boys?)

The Predator: That guy who shows up at college house parties years after he’s graduated with the intention of taking advantage of some poor drunk girl. He probably brags about things he may or may not have, doing things he probably hasn’t done, and a luxurious job he probably came up with during all the free time he spends at his parents’ house.

Natural Talent: This guy is sharp as a razor and a pure athlete. He doesn’t need to do much to find a girl that likes him with confidence exuding from every pore.

Marriage Material: Here you have the sweet guy with manners that knows how to be respectful when it counts. He’s also humble and comfortable in his own skin. This is the guy girls want to bring home to the folks.

Always the Friend: Similar to Mr. marriage material, he’s a pretty sweet guy, but he somehow always manages to hit the wall when it comes to his romantic pursuits.

The  Insecure Novice: This guy has no idea what he’s doing when it comes to the ladies. This is your “feels like a bag of sand” man that makes a normal conversation something awkward and uncomfortable. He’s probably most often referred to as a geek or a nerd, or in today’s lingo, a neckbeard.

The Enthusiastic Novice: Finally you have the guy who has no idea what he’s doing, but never stops trying and always tries to improve his game. You’ve got to respect the hustle.

So, after breaking down half of the human population into 6 broad groups, Unilever had to make the decision of which one to pedal their product to. Like any good marketer would do, they chose to go with the insecure novice because out of all of them, these guys probably needed the most help with the ladies, and were the most likely to purchase a product that appeared to mask their nerdy insecurities. Simple logic here isn’t it? “These guys can’t get women, so lets advertise a product that shows guys like them using Axe and being swarmed by perfect 10s.” Love it.

The next step in the equation was making the commercials. The Axe TV ads, as I mentioned/made fun of  above, showed guys being swarmed by women or simply having a lot of women around them, wanting them, simply because they used Axe and were now irresistible. Apparently this method of advertising Axe came after research showed that the ultimate male fantasy is to be irresistible to multiple beautiful women at the same time, a thought that no one had ever come up with before.

All sarcasm aside, what happened next was truly remarkable. Axe became the number 1 selling deodorant brand in a very short span of time. However, every rose has its thorn. Axe actually became so successful so quickly that it became associated with the “Insecure Novices” that it was being advertised to, and they had to backpedal to dig themselves out of the loser rut. On top of this, it also became associated with terrible smelling middle and high schoolers who would drench themselves in the stuff and later have to be taken to the hospital as well as more negative press as some school districts began to crack down on the brands use and ban it.  (I’m seriously wondering how much axe it takes to have to be taken to a hospital.) Moving forward, the brand began to dial it back a bit and started to broaden its target market.

All in all, despite the setbacks, axe has continued to see success as a brand and is a shining example of hilarious but outstanding marketing. As the adage goes: Sex sells. It was true then. It’s true now. And for Axe, it will continue to be true well into the future as they continue to take advantage of mens’ sexual fantasies.