When you think of some of your favorite businesses, what do you envision?
A successful brand uses imagery and strategic messaging to appeal to their customers and communicate their values. For many, this means that when a consumer thinks of a particular business, they think of a combination of logos, colors, and slogans, thanks to high-quality branding.
Branding is the process of creating a unique and distinctive identity for a product or business. But you may be surprised that a great brand goes beyond just a logo or a visual identity; it encompasses the overall experience, emotions, values, and associations that people have with a brand.
With an effective branding strategy, companies can attract loyal customers, grow brand awareness, increase brand recognition, and even increase sales.
This article will examine how some of the world’s most well-known brands built their brand identities and positioned their business in the market.
What Makes Up a Company’s Brand?
- Brand Name
- Color Palette
- Logo design
- Customer experience
- Brand messaging & voice
6 Great Branding Examples (And How They Built a Strong Brand Identity)
Apple products are instantly recognizable thanks to the iconic Macintosh Apple logo — but that’s not the only thing that makes their products stand out.
Apple is particularly well known for their product branding — the process of creating a unique identity for products or line of products that sets them apart from others in the market.
All of Apple’s products are recognizable because of their minimalist design. Apple's sleek look has become synonymous with the brand. This design aesthetic sets them apart from competitors and reinforces their commitment to simplicity and elegance.
More importantly, they focus on the customer experience. By creating products that are intuitive and easy to use, they’ve fostered customer loyalty. Users will buy an Apple watch, an iPhone, and a Mac simply because they’re easy to use in tandem.
Over the last several decades, they’ve focused on innovation by creating products that are at the forefront of consumer technology. For example, their marketing efforts highlight features such as advanced processors, high-resolution displays, and powerful cameras to showcase their technological prowess.
By consistently delivering innovative and well-designed products, Apple has created a unique and aspirational brand image that resonates with its target audience.
The Coca-Cola company has stayed popular since 1892 thanks to their tasty soft drinks, but also because of their strong branding.
While their logo, typography, and bottle designs are instantly recognizable around the world, they’ve reached their iconic status for many other brand assets and clear messaging.
Rather than focusing just on their products, Coca-Cola has created a clear brand message focused on happiness and togetherness. After all, their slogan is, ‘Open Happiness.’
For instance, consider this ad from their ‘Share a Coke’ campaign.
While this ad showcased their product, it was more about evoking an emotional connection. They printed common names on many of their plastic bottles so people would feel compelled to share them. The video shows customers picking out drinks to share with their friends to make viewers feel joyful and united, which supports their brand messaging.
Nike has established a strong brand identity centered around athleticism, performance, and empowerment. Their logo, the iconic Nike Swoosh — representing speed and movement — is so noteworthy, that their ads and products don’t even need to include their brand name.
Yet the reason why the brand is so popular is because they’ve become synonymous with determination and athletic success. They’ve done this through high-profile endorsements and partnerships with top athletes like Michael Jordan, Serena Williams, and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Nike's brand messaging is encapsulated in their popular tagline, "Just Do It." The slogan encourages individuals to overcome obstacles, pursue their goals, and push themselves beyond their limits. The phrase represents a mindset of perseverance and a refusal to let fear or self-doubt hold one back, showing that Nike aims to empower individuals to believe in themselves, embrace their potential, and embark on their own personal journeys of achievement and success.
Airbnb revolutionized the travel industry by enabling people around the world to host guests in their homes, providing people with unique (and affordable) stays, experiences, and adventures.
Airbnb built their brand around the concept of belonging and fostering a sense of community. They aim to make people feel like they can "belong anywhere" and create a world where anyone can find a sense of home wherever they travel.
They lean heavily on storytelling in much of their collateral. In their advertising and marketing efforts, they do this by emphasizing connections and sharing experiences among hosts and guests from diverse backgrounds. This approach helps build an emotional connection with their audience.
For instance, in this ad they showed pictures of guests staying at a location in Montana.
The video shows pictures of them playing in the snow while the song “what a difference a day makes” plays. Then the video shows the Airbnb app and the filters used to book the location.
The ad is emotional because it makes people think about their friends and family — they could play in the snow in Montana too! more importantly, it shows Airbnb’s app and how users could make this snowy Montana vacation a reality for themselves too.
McDonald’s is one of the most prolific fast-food restaurants in the world. In fact, their global branding strategy is a big part of the reason for their success. From the logo to the restaurant design, menu items, and packaging, they have created a unified brand experience that customers can expect wherever they go.
Whether you’re in Rome, Cape Town, or New York City, McDonald’s golden arches are instantly identifiable.
However, it’s important to note that they do appeal to local customers by modifying their menu. For instance, McDonalds in India don’t serve beef or pork to follow Hindu beliefs and local customs. Instead, they serve items like the Chicken Maharaja Mac and the spicy paneer wrap.
Still, when consumers see a McDonald’s, they can trust that they can find quick and affordable meals regardless of where they are in the world.
Also, McDonald's has continually evolved and adapted to changing consumer preferences and market trends. They have introduced healthier menu options, embraced technology advancements, and explored sustainable practices, demonstrating their commitment to staying relevant.
The dynamic aspect of their brand is a huge part of their brand positioning. They appeal to all types of consumers — for instance, both families looking for a place to grab lunch together, and a businessperson trying to grab something quick at the airport knows they can find something they want to eat at McDonald’s.
Starbucks has created a consistent and recognizable brand image through its logo, store design, and product packaging. The green mermaid logo is instantly identifiable, and the cozy and inviting atmosphere of their stores helps create a unique brand experience. However, what really makes Starbucks’ brand stand out is the company’s dedication to the customer experience and product innovation.
Many people start their day with a Starbucks coffee. That’s because they’re consistent and regularly deliver a quality drink. Customers can trust that they will be happy with what they order because they get the same thing every time.
Starbucks has gone above and beyond to improve the customer experience too with their app. The Starbucks app is a “must have” for many customers because it’s easy to navigate and use. In just a few clicks, a user can order their favorite drink for pick up at the Starbucks nearest them.
They also encourage users to order from the app by creating a personalized and engaging customer experience. For instance, the app makes it easy for customers to use their loyalty rewards because it’s tracked and used all in the app. As a result, it has become the most regularly used loyalty rewards app.
Users also love the app because they can save their favorite drinks and pinpoint their closest cafe, making it super easy to use.
All of this plays into their brand promise: customers come first.
Branding Strategy As A Way to Grow Your Business
Branding is a crucial aspect of any business, as it helps to differentiate your products or services from those of your competitors.
These globally-recognized brands have created comprehensive strategies to promote their brand voice and image to target audiences, which has paid off.
By strategically planning brand messaging, imagery, and products, companies like yours can attract loyal customers and grow exponentially.