Do you know that PepsiCo stands behind not just your beloved refreshing beverage, Pepsi, but also behind Lay's (which is known as Walkers in UK, or Hostess in Canada), Life (popular breakfast cereal), and Aunt Jemima (cooking mixes)? Yes, all these products belong to one powerful multinational food, snack, and beverage corporation that earns a staggering revenue yearly.
This brilliant plan of action designed to conquer the World with goods under different names belonging to one company is a part of a branding strategy called product branding.
Product branding in marketing is not something new. It is as old as time; however, it works no matter what. In 2021, you can hardly find a huge company that does not take advantage of this approach. What's more, even small businesses and startups prioritize product brand strategy. The reason is simple: not only does it come with numerous benefits that help level up the game, but most importantly, it brings colossal revenue and underlies the whole success of the venture.
Let's delve into the concept of branding a product a bit deeper, consider its pros and check out some examples of best product branding.
Product Branding Definition
Product and branding are different concepts in marketing; however, only in tandem do they exert the most potent effect. Therefore, they are often used together and form a singular term, "product branding."
What Is Product Branding?
Product branding is a part of the general branding strategy that involves a clever combination of design, messaging, experience, and tactics to uniquely identify a product and differentiate it from the competition in its niche. It is the most granular hierarchy level of the brand architecture and lies at the core of its foundation.
Differences Between Company Branding and Product Branding
Although some people use company branding and product branding interchangeably, these concepts are not the same thing. Let's consider the main differences between them.
- Corporate branding sends a general message defining what the company stands for, whereas product branding is centered around the particular article, putting across a pretty narrow message.
- Corporate branding remains intact and consistent over time, whereas product branding may change to meet the new generation's expectations and demands.
- Corporate branding is long-term, whereas product branding is short-term. Just remember Pepsi’s slogan that changes almost every five years.
- Corporate branding covers a broad audience, whereas product branding serves only a narrow target segment.
- Corporate branding can expand its market, whereas product branding is created for just one group.
- Corporate branding spans many different sectors at once, whereas product branding should be focused on one industry at a time.
- Corporate branding promotes the general qualities of the company, whereas product branding promotes only its essential features.
- Corporate branding is based on a company's heritage, philosophy, values, history, and beliefs, whereas product branding is usually based on marketing research and may or may not bear the company's reputation.
Finally, corporate branding supersedes product branding. However, together they complement each other and reinforce their respective positions in the market.
Benefits of Product Branding
Product branding matters because it creates an immediate association for the customers and tugs their heartstrings, evoking a necessary gamut of emotions and establishing a powerful connection. On top of that, it offers such benefits as:
- It makes a public identification of the product, which heavily benefits advertising and marketing campaigns and efforts.
- It makes the product recognizable, instantly differentiating it from the competition.
- It provides a competitive advantage and helps much quickly gain consumer preference.
- It helps to build and reinforce customers' loyalty.
- It helps corporate branding to extend its market and area of influence.
- It elevates brand awareness and may even take it to the next level by winning over the target segment.
- It may turn your product into a representative or even a category synonym. So it will be the one people think of when they consider a whole category.
- It may turn your company into a trendsetter.
- It increases the trust and credibility of the company.
- It prolongs the life of the product and company.
- It may increase interest and drive engagement for the parent company.
- It influences and simplifies the consumer's buying decision at the point of sale.
- It heightens employee motivation.
- It may attract talents to improve your staff with some exceptional specialists.
- It reduces onboarding costs because well-done product branding advocates the parent brand's beliefs and ideology, turning prospects into the company's evangelists.
- It may improve the overall user experience with the company.
- It may inspire your company to create new products or services.
- It may reduce advertising costs eventually.
- It may lower price sensitivity and open new opportunities to grow your revenue.
- It may act as a layer of protection between brands and sub-brands. If the product fails, the company's branding and reputation will be safe and sound.
Strong product branding creates enormous competition in the niche, forcing other companies to invest more money and effort. On top of that, it compels others to improve their products, thereby populating the market with high-quality articles and making the World a better place.
What Makes the Best Product Branding?
First things first. Like it or not, you need a professional product branding company to create a strong product brand. Every industry goliath has a reliable team of experts that sets their particular services or products to a successful trajectory and supports their development and advancement during the lifecycle.
Second, you need to ensure that some of the crucial things that help the product brand establish a firm position in the market are enforced or developed, such as:
- Strong, unique value proposition.
- A clear statement that shows the benefit of the product.
- Memorable and easily recognizable slogan.
- Well-thought-out design traits and well-selected imagery that give an instant idea of what's in the packaging.
- Attention-grabbing design, message, and experience.
- Delineated vital features.
- Eye-catching and memorable mascots.
- The emotional connection between the product and customers.
- The personality that clients instantly recognize and love.
- An excellent user experience that leaves a long-lasting positive impression.
- Trademark protected company and product-brand identity.
- Visual elements that suit the product and are in tune with what the product aims to accomplish.
- An out-of-the-box marketing strategy that follows the promise no matter what.
- Awareness of target audience's knowledge, preferences, demands, and standards.
- Consistent performance in the marketplace.
- Serious mission and objective that signify a contribution to a cause.
- Expansion of marketing strategy and campaigns across social media channels.
- Exposure through all available distribution channels.
In the end, everything boils down to the value that customers get from the product. It is a no-no if it is useless or fails to meet expectations. Therefore, make sure product branding also brings value to the customer.
What Are Essential Product Branding Services?
With such a long list of things that help the brand product achieve success, the question arises, what product branding services you may need. Let's highlight the top seven:
- Name Creation.
- Logo Design.
- Product messaging.
- Product positioning.
- Style guide.
- Product branding strategy.
- Product branding marketing.
Product Branding Examples
Product branding strategy with example is an excellent source of real insights on how to nail this crucial part of marketing. Let's examine five acknowledged and utterly successful product brands and their corresponding parent companies.
We have already mentioned PepsiCo, one of the giant American multinational corporations with a strong position in the food and beverage sector. So, let's dig a little bit deeper.
Formed in 1965, PepsiCo has dramatically expanded its sphere of influence. It is no longer a company that sells only refreshing soft drinks. Nowadays, it offers an increasingly diversified range of food and beverage brands that you might not even know. For example, PepsiCo owns Lay's, Tropicana, Doritos, Cheetos, Starbucks, and Fritos. This allowed the company to generate staggering revenue of 70.37 billion in 2020.
Their product branding is exceptional. The key takeaway: the team does not link its parent brand name with its products. There are two solid reasons for that. First, no one will buy potato chips or breakfast cereal from a company that is primarily associated with a sugary soft drink. Therefore, they were managed to overcome the frustration of the target audience and start with a clean slate yet with huge investments and a well-researched market.
Second, if one of those products fails, the reputation of the corporation will remain untouched, saving decades of hard work.
2. Apple’s iPhone and MacBook
Apple stands in stark contrast to PepsiCo, showing a different approach to conducting marketing campaigns and creating product branding. All its products are closely connected with the parent brand. The team behind Apple uses its powerful reputation to sell goods and give new products a head start.
Everyone knows that Apple is obsessed with perfection. The corporate name is almost a synonym of this quality. Therefore, all the products feel the same way by default. Customers can be sure that they get the best of the best in this sector. Some of the products do not even need an introduction. People will buy them without much consideration.
However, the team goes the extra mile with product branding, investing millions of dollars in packaging and advertising to make the product comply with the company's standards and ideology and meet the client's expectations.
Unlike PepsiCo, Coca-Cola has not dramatically expanded its area of influence. It stays in the beverage sector, even though it has been around for a century.
Instead, the company has carved quite a niche for itself. One cannot deny that when it comes to soft drinks, the first thing that springs to mind is the red bottle with an iconic logo, Cola.
Speaking of which, even though the corporation retails all sorts of nonalcoholic beverage concentrates and syrups and alcoholic beverages around 200 countries featuring numerous products, its flagman remains the same all the time. This is another intelligent strategy that runs smoothly, maintaining the company's legacy over the past 120 years.
The key takeaway is the well-thought-out product branding strategy that heavily relies on consistency. The latter is traced everywhere, starting with the color scheme and ending with packaging and advertising. The recognizable bottle shape, curvy typeface, and of course, red color remain almost the same, bridging the product with the generations of target audience and creating a powerful emotional connection.
4. McDonald's McDrive, Big Mac, and Happy Meal
Consistency and uniformity are two critical ingredients of this bespoken leader in the fast-food industry. Whatever country you are in, I bet you can quickly locate its restaurant because of its eye-catching golden letter "M" and iconic red and white color scheme.
That's not all. The team has done a great job meeting the needs and expectations of local markets by serving dishes with regional flavors. However, when it comes to packaging, range of products, and user experience, the team sticks to their guns, avoiding any compromises. You can find McDrive, McCafe, McExpress, Big Mac, McCombs, Happy Meal, and other quintessential elements everywhere. They help maintain McDonald's ideology and beliefs in every region.
Not only are the food and IT industry famous for its brilliant product branding strategies. Every niche has its heroes that give great insights into ways of conducting marketing campaigns to stay afloat for decades and generations. Nike, the leading manufacturer in the apparel sector, is one of them.
As the World's largest supplier of athletic shoes and apparel, its product branding strategy is one to envy. Though, everything is simple here. The team combines simplicity with consistency and heavily praises and promotes its philosophy through numerous distribution channels, turning brand identity elements into iconic things.
For instance, their logo even has a name, "Nike Swoosh." It is one of those signs that is instantly associated with the sport and widely recognized as an icon of this category.
Another critical feature of product branding strategy is collaborating with famous people. This tactic gives extra bonuses for products and the parent company.
Creating a strong product branding is tough. It does not happen overnight, nor does it happen on its own. It is a long, costly process that requires a professional product branding company. However, it pays off generously in the end.
When well-done and properly nurtured along its lifecycle, it brings numerous benefits to the company: it takes the product to the next level, improves the corporate branding, prolongs both product's and company's life, and manifests in increased sales through the brand, opening new opportunities to grow.