What Are Brands? (Definition, Components and Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 21 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Companies within a market often try to differentiate themselves from the competitors to attract customers and maintain customer loyalty. One way companies accomplish this goal is by branding themselves, or creating a recognisable image, product or service that is unique to the market. Branding offers many benefits to a company and comprises several components, and understanding what a brand is, why it's important and what it might look like can help you create a unique persona for a company. In this article, we explore what a brand is and its major components, with some examples for reference.

What are brands?

If you're interested in a marketing, business or sales career, you may wonder, 'What are brands?' A brand is an interpretation of a company's products, services and public image by whoever interacts with the company. This can include customers, critics, competitors or even regulatory bodies. The brand is considered the company's personality. It embodies its values, mission and what it offers customers.

The public perception of a company can be crucial to company success, because brands often become recognisable for specific traits or attributes, like quality, consistency, transparency or customer service. The customer's view of a brand can dictate whether they support the brand by making purchase and whether they'd recommend the brand.

Related: What Does a Brand Manager Do? (Plus How To Become One)

What are the components of a brand?

A brand comprises several components, including:

Compass

The brand compass is the main component of a brand. The compass acts as a navigator for the company, dictating where the company is heading, why it wants to be there and when it might reach its destination. Typically, a brand compass includes five parts:

  • Purpose: This is the reason the company exists. The company's purpose might be to enrich the lives of customers with high-quality products, provide affordable alternatives to expensive products or create a better process for manufacturing.

  • Mission: The mission of the company is its primary goal and often dictates the company's core values. For example, a company with a mission to reduce emissions in the fashion industry probably has sustainability for the planet as a core value.

  • Values: A company's values are the ideas that drive its mission and that customers can rally around. For example, a brand might adopt the values of honesty, transparency and diversity.

  • Vision: The company's vision is often a phrase or single sentence that defines the company's long-term goals and hints at its core values. For example, an eco-conscious manufacturer might have a vision statement like, Because a healthier planet is good for everyone.

  • Strategic objectives: A company's strategic objectives are goals that the company hopes to achieve during its journey to its primary long-term goals. These objectives provide landmarks for company progress and establish a map for the company's long-term goals.

Related: What Does a Marketing Consultant Do? (And How to Become One)

Archetype

An archetype is a literary term that defines what kind of person a character is. Archetypes are uniquely human and depend on characteristics and beliefs of human beings. For example, your brand might adopt the 'explorer' archetype, which embodies the values of breaking conventional means to explore new territory and is ambitious and restless.

Finding your brand's archetype can be crucial to connecting with an audience, because people often identify with the values of a particular archetype. Supporters of an adventurous brand might also subscribe to the values of innovation, ambition, individualism and independence.

Personality

A brand's personality is how a brand might look, think and act if it were a real person. This includes the brand's archetype, core values, mission and how the brand acts in the market. For example, if a clothing brand focuses on honesty, sustainability and dependability, you might imagine the brand as a trustworthy and caring person. This perception of a brand's personality is crucial to connecting with customers because the customer can start to see a brand as almost a friend. This relationship can help the brand develop greater trust and evolve into a powerful entity.

Competitive advantage

A brand's competitive advantage is anything that it offers or does that other brands don't do. This is a critical component of a brand because it's typically what makes the brand unique and helps customers find the brand in the larger market. For example, a cell phone company might offer a unique 24-month warranty on new phones, something no competitors offer. This unique service can provide extra value to the customers and helps the brand differentiate itself from the other competitors.

Promise

A brand's promise is the oath it swears to the customers and the market. This is incredibly important for a brand because it helps develop and fortify trust between the brand and the customer and the public. For example, a marketing firm might promise the best marketing service money can buy. Customers who use the brand's services expect the brand to uphold that promise and provide the absolute best services for their money. It's important to think thoroughly about a promise you want to make to your customers because accountability comes from those customers.

Visual identity

A brand's visual identity is a culmination of all of its visual elements, including things like logos, videos, photographs, ad materials, social media posts, colour schemes and typography. These visual elements help customers connect the brand's values and promises to a visual cue, making the brand instantly recognisable. For example, a restaurant might use red and yellow in its logo to represent ketchup and mustard as a fun way to inspire hunger and make itself more recognisable. Visual aesthetics help communicate your brand's essence and allow it to exist in different mediums for better communication and representation.

Related: What Is a Visual Merchandiser?

Verbal identity

The verbal identity of a brand is similar to the visual identity in that it also embodies the brand's core values, promises and long-term goals. A verbal identity comprises the brand's written and audio content or anything that helps establish the brand's unique voice in the market. This can be advertisements, web copy, blogs, product description, the brand's mission statement and even verbal statements by company representatives. Typically, brands combine their verbal and visual identity to compliment one another and provide a more consistent sensory experience. For example, an ad video might contain the company logo and a custom jingle.

Branding benefits

Effective branding can offer many benefits for a business, including:

  • Greater customer trust: Customers can rally around brands who consistently deliver on promises and provide the products and services they want. This increased trust can foster loyalty among customers and help the brand establish a positive reputation in the market, potentially increasing revenue and brand recognition.

  • More company exposure: Creating a recognisable and trustworthy brand can help expose new leads to the company, which can result in a larger audience and more purchases, increasing company revenue and giving it a unique advantage in the market.

  • Increased marketing efficacy: Companies that develop strong brands may find that their marketing efficacy increases as it becomes easier to market products and services since customers already trust the established brand.

  • Increased profits: Strong brands often have the unique ability to charge higher prices for their products and services, which can increase company profits. High-end products can earn the company a greater return on their initial investment and those products sometimes become status symbols or items of envy in the market.

  • Stronger share prices: Investors might show more interest in companies with well-established brands. Boosted profits and customer trust can entice investors to commit to the company's growth, which can increase its overall value and provide liquidity for its evolution.

Examples of brands

Here are some examples of fictional brands:

Example 1

Here's an example for a fictional outdoor retail company:

Frontier Gear Ltd. is an outdoor clothing and equipment brand. They produce hiking equipment, camping supplies, insulated outdoor clothing and some tools like knives and axes. The company embodies the values of rugged independence, exploration and innovation and quality. Their mission statement reads, 'When the only thing between you and the elements is your Frontier Gear, you're in good hands.' Focused on high-quality materials, affordable prices and trust, Frontier Gear Ltd. has a strong customer base and increasing profits.

Related: What Does a Social Media Marketer Do? (With Average Salary)

Example 2

Here's an example for a fictional tech company:

TransNebula electronics is a cell phone manufacturer. They produce cell phones, accessories and security software. The company embodies the values of innovation, diversity and transparency. Their mission statement reads, 'Powerful technology for when you need it most.' The company focuses on making high-end cell phones more affordable, using recycled materials whenever possible and providing one of the best cell phone warranties on the market. Customers appreciate the transparency and quality of the brand and that the brand's phones are more affordable than the competitors' options.

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