The Difference Between Product, Corporate, and Personal Branding

Branding is a term we hear often when discussing a company. Consumers are subject to branding tactics every single day without realizing it. For business owners building a brand that people connect with is paramount to success. If they feel nothing when interacting with your branding, or worse, they walk away with a negative feeling, it is almost impossible to get them back.

What Is A Brand?

The official definition of a brand is a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s goods or services as distinct from those of other sellers. In simple terms, your brand is what helps customers know whose products they are buying. Furthermore, when done correctly, branding can create impactful brand awareness amongst consumers. When a consumer sees your logo or encounters your product, it evokes a strong positive reaction.

Different types of branding can take different skills and knowledge. Branding a person is not the same as branding a product.

For example, Apple has spent decades building one of the strongest brands on the planet.

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When a consumer sees the Apple logo, they know they are interacting with a quality product. Even if they have never used the device before because it is associated with the Apple brand, they know the odds are pretty high it will be worth the price tag. This is why so many people pay a high price for the new iPhone before even using it. The Apple brand almost guarantees the phone will deliver a high-quality result.

What Is Branding?

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The official definition of branding is a marketing practice in which a company creates a name, symbol, or design that is easily identifiable as belonging to the company. Again, in simple terms, branding takes place when a company makes an effort to connect a positive emotion with their brand including their logo and content. The initial goal of branding is to get your company to a point where your customers can recognize it within seconds of interacting with it.

For example, you may open up a store in your community and begin promoting it in the local papers and through targeted advertising. At first, community members will not know what company they are looking at when they see your ad. However, if you continue to place your logo and content in front of them, over time they will remember you and make the connection quicker. In this example, the second half of your branding effort is in the experience the customer has when they buy your product. The goal is for them to remember a positive experience every time they interact with your brand.

What Is The Difference Between Marketing and Branding?

Marketing isn't branding but they work hand in hand. Bad branding makes marketing hard, bad marketing means no one knows about your brand.

Before we continue, we should take a brief moment to talk about the difference between marketing and branding.

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While the two are intertwined and essentially cannot exist without each other, some differences should be identified. Marketing is defined as the tactics and strategies you use to actively promote your business and products. Branding is about defining who you are as a company.

For example, an online business sending you a 20% off discount code is a type of marketing. They are promoting their latest products and offering you a deal if you agree to buy one. However, you are more likely to make that purchase if you have a positive view of that brand. If your past purchases from this company have been negative, it doesn’t matter how much of a discount they offer. However, if you have had a consistently positive experience with this brand, that discount code might be what pushes you off the fence and into buying the product.

What Is Corporate Branding?

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Corporate branding should come first because it ties together all products and people together.

The official definition of corporate branding refers to the practice of promoting the brand name of a corporate entity, as opposed to specific products or services.

In more simple terms, it is the act of promoting a company on a corporate level. Basically, it is a type of branding that focuses on the company, rather than focusing on the specific products or services. Corporate branding is complex because it includes internal and external elements and sometimes focuses its efforts on more than just the consumer.

A common type of corporate branding is the design guidelines the company has sent for all internal and external presentations and content. This includes the primary and secondary colors, use of the logo, and the fonts you use. This is important because certain colors evoke certain emotions, and some fonts are considered more professional than others. It is also key that anyone who is using your logo understands how to use it properly.

While product branding, which we will talk about in a minute, is focused primarily on the customer, corporate branding is aimed at additional entities such as partners, investors, and the media. For example, a company’s corporate branding strategy may be promoting a diverse workforce and inclusive environment for its employees. This is not something a traditional customer thinks much about when buying a product. However, it is something that the media and potential partners, and investors take very seriously.

If a company is going to enter into a public partnership with your company, they want to make sure you have a positive brand image. The last thing they want is to tarnish their own brand by being seen as connected to a company that does not share their values or is constantly mired in scandal. Corporate branding can also extend to the events a company hosts, the materials they present, and the speeches their executives give. These are types of external messaging that when done correctly can solidify your brand as strong, positive, and trustworthy.

What Is Product Branding?

Product branding is a must for creating product line continuity.

Product branding is a part of your overall branding strategy that focuses on promoting a specific product. Tactics include taglines, slogans, and various marketing materials.

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Unlike corporate branding, this type of branding is zeroing in on the benefits and impact of a specific product. This is done by promoting specific features, product descriptions, outcomes the product will produce, and the problems it will solve. Product branding is key because a company can offer different products targeted at different consumers to perform different tasks.

For many companies, product branding is crucial because you want the consumer to keep buying your product over and over again. It is common knowledge that is cheaper to keep an existing customer than to acquire a new one. The right branding can also encourage a consumer who loves one of your products to purchase a new product that solves a different issue. A consumer is more likely to give a product a try if it is made by a brand they already find trustworthy and reliable.

We see this tactic often in the cleaning products industry. Making sure your home or office is clean is a top priority of a property owner. When they purchase a product, they want to be assured that it will work quickly and efficiently. They do not want to have to clean again in a couple of days because the product did not work. Therefore, when they find a product they like, they stick with it. Essentially, whenever they see that brand’s logo or marketing materials, they subconsciously think about a clean house and useful product.

Let’s use Swiffer as an example to examine the power of product branding. Years ago, if someone wanted to clean a hardwood floor, they had to bring out a clunky mop and bucket. This process is time-consuming because of how long it takes for the floor to dry. Swiffer came along and did two key things. First, they presented an easy-to-use solution to a common problem. Second, they launched a brand focused on easy-to-use products that solve common cleaning problems.

Let’s use Swiffer as an example to examine the power of product branding. Years ago, if someone wanted to clean a hardwood floor, they had to bring out a clunky mop and bucket. This process is time-consuming because of how long it takes for the floor to dry. Swiffer came along and did two key things. First, they presented an easy-to-use solution to a common problem. Second, they launched a brand focused on easy-to-use products that solve common cleaning problems.

An examination of the Swiffer logo gives the feeling of dirt being whisked away. Leveraging the color green was an intentional choice because it is associated with nature and gives a natural, clean feeling. Their marketing strategy focused on showing dirty floors being cleaned and satisfied owners finishing their cleaning tasks faster than expected. Now, anytime a member of their target audience sees the Swiffer brand, they immediately think about clean floors and clean homes.

Swiffer leveraged this positive brand sentiment by launching additional products that solve similar, yet different cleaning problems. One by one, they achieved their goal of replacing almost every cleaning product in your closet with a Swiffer product. When they launched a new product, even though you had never used it before, you were willing to try it out because of your positive view of the brand so far. Swiffer has successfully convinced millions of people that their product will be better than what they are currently using.

What Is Personal Branding?

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Personal branding is often not done by the same people who do corporate or product branding. Find a specialist for this.

The last type of branding we will cover today is personal branding. Unlike corporate and product, this type of branding is not necessary for the success of your company.

A personal brand refers to what people think and feel when they engage with or hear about you as an individual. Personal branding can be helpful for someone who is the CEO of a large company or is a solopreneur that relies on their personal skills and persuasion to gain customers.

For example, let’s say you were starting a coaching business focused on helping people manage their finances. Your personal brand would be important because the product you are selling is centered around you. If people like and trust you as an individual, they will be more likely to sign up to be coached and mentored by you. In order to convince someone to purchase this type of product, your personal branding must position you as an expert in your field.

This objective can be achieved through an aggressive content marketing strategy. The goal is to produce content and materials that answer your customers’ most frequently asked questions and solve their most basic issues. For example, as a financial coach, you may produce content in the form of videos and blog posts on topics such as credit scores, applying for loans, and the basics of investing in the stock market. This positions you as a go-to source for your target audience. When they encounter your marketing, they will become more likely to engage because of their positive feelings about your personal brand.

How Do You Get Started?

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It is clear that branding is a key competent over your overall marketing and sales strategy. While you may have gained moderate success without a strong branding strategy, it will be impossible to scale without it.

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Considering that branding had several different components, it is difficult for a business owner or CEO to tackle this type of project on their own. Even your dedicated marketing team may struggle to establish a strong brand presence due to a lack of experience.

If you are serious about creating a strong and positive brand for your company, then you need to invest in an experienced agency such as Peterman Design Firm. We have spent years helping business owners take their ideas and vision and turn them into a reality. We do this by leveraging our combined decades of experience to create a robust branding strategy that fits your company and the audience you speak to.


To learn more about how we can craft the perfecting branding strategy for your company and products, please contact us.

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