Episode 3: Types of Brands

Barry W. Enderwick
Aug 1 · 6 min read

Episode 3 transcript:

Quick question, what do the following companies have in common?

  • Toms Shoes
  • Burger King
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Virgin
  • Scrubbing Bubbles
  • Gore-Tex
  • Netflix

That’s right, they’re all Brands. But what’s the on thing that makes them all different from each other? They’re all different types of Brands.

Hi, welcome to Episode 3 of Barry on Brand & Business. Today I’m going to cover types of Brands.

Remember, every company has a Brand whether they’re working on it or not. But not every company has the same type of Brand. Nor should they.

The approach to Brand depends on a variety of reasons:

  • Desires of the leadership of the company
  • Goals of the company
  • Or even the competitive landscape

All can influence what kind of Brand you want to build. Now, I can’t possibly cover all the different types of Brands there are in a short video like this. So, I’m going to stick with the ones that I mentioned I mentioned in the introduction.

So today I’m going to talk about:

  • Cause-Driven Brands
  • Challenger Brands
  • Founder or Cult of Personality Brands
  • Product Brands
  • Ingredient Brands

And lastly, what I call, Consumer-Based Brands.

Ok, first-up, Cause-Driven Brands

These are Brands that have a cause associated with the core of their Brand Positioning. If you remove the cause, you reposition the company.

A prime example of this is TOMS Shoes. For every pair sold they donate a pair to a person in need. If TOMS suddenly stopped supporting that cause they would be just another shoe company.

Now, Cause-Driven Brands can be a powerful draw for consumers as it makes them feel good about spending money on themselves because they’re also benefitting others. But it can also limit response because not every cause is universally appealing.

Remember, being a Cause-Driven Brand is a conscious decision

Next up, Challenger Brands.

These are Brands that are not in first place in their space and, for one reason or another may never be in first place. But they make a conscious decision to challenge the first place player or players.

One example of this is Burger King who constantly trolls first place McDonald’s. Check out a little bit of this recent promotion from Burger King.

One of the hallmarks of a challenger Brand is that they often name their competitors in their advertisements and promotions.

But just because a company is in second, third, or fourth place, doesn’t make them a Challenger Brand per se.

Take, for example, Southwest Airlines. While they were growing, they never name-checked or badmouthed any of the major carriers that they were competing against. They rooted their Brand in love of the customer. In fact, their stock symbol is L-U-V. They don’t talk about their competitors and how and how they charge money, they talk about how bags fly free on their airline.

Now being a Challenger Brand can cut both ways. On one hand, it can act to level-up the company and make them part of the consideration set along with the first place Brand. But it has a very real downside of keeping competitors’ names top of mind and in the consideration set of consumers.

Ok, so now let’s talk about Founder or Cult of Personality Brands and I think you know where I’m going with this one.

These are companies where the founder or CEO has a very strong personality and pretty much defines everything that the Brand stands for. The company may have its own design aesthetic and marketing campaigns but really the Brand is defined by the founder.

A great example of this is Richard Branson and Virgin anything. Think about it, if you hear the name Virgin Records, Virgin Airlines, Virgin Mobile, the first thing that likely pops into your head is this. That’s right, a picture of a care-free Richard Branson, loving life and living it to the fullest.

And you can see his spirit manifested in the Brands. Take, for example, Virgin America’s safety announcement, that video was unlike any safety video that had ever been done before. Yet it was very Richard Branson in its tone and approach. So, this path can only be taken by founders who think they can handle all the responsibility that comes with it and actually enjoys the attention it brings.

And of course, the downside is, we’re all human. If the founder screws up in some big, meaningful way, it can really affect the Brand in a negative fashion.

Next up, Product Brands.

These are Brands that have no aspiration .beyond the exact product they represent. And they’re usually part of a larger family of Brands know as a “House of Brands.”

Companies like Procter & Gamble and Unilever are examples of this. Each is Brand unto itself but has a family or “House of Brands” underneath it.

A great example of a Product Brand is Scrubbing Bubbles. There’s no higher aspiration for that Brand other than to clean bathtubs, sinks, and toilets.

Then there’s Ingredient Brands.

Ingredient Brands don’t have a direct relationship with the consumer but they still market to the consumers so that they become an in-demand ingredient in another product.

If you do anything outdoorsy, its highly likely that you’ve heard of this Brand — Gore-Tex. Now, you don’t buy from Gore-Tex, do you? Why? Because they don’t make the outerwear you buy, they’re an ingredient in the outerwear you buy. As an Ingredient Brand, they have marketed directly to consumers to let them know that they should look for Gore-Tex in whatever outdoor gear they buy.

So, why take this approach? Because it establishes your ingredient as something consumers should look for, thereby increasing the likelihood that manufacturers want to use your ingredient.

And lastly, I want to talk about Consumer-Based Brands. Consumer-Based Brands do research with consumers to find out what role they need to play in people’s lives. They then root their Brand Position in that role.

Take, for example, Netflix in the content aggregator days. Our Brand was rooted in Movie Enjoyment Made Easy. You notice how it says “movie enjoyment” not “movie renting.” We weren’t looking to satisfy a transactional need, we were looking to play a role in consumer’s lives. We need to be about movie enjoyment made easy.

What are the components of a Consumer-Based Brand?

What are their roles and most importantly, how do you establish them?

That’s what I’ll be discussing in Episode 4. Thanks for taking the time to watch, feel free to enter your email address at ConsultBWE.com to be notified when new videos are up.

And as always, feel free to share this with anyone — …your co-workers, your boss, your spouse, your mailman… anyone. It’s free and they’ll thank you!

Don’t forget to sign up at ConsultBWE.com to get notified when new videos are up and definitely feel free to connect with me on Twitter.

I am a Brand and marketing consultant whose experience includes 11 years scaling Netflix from a small startup to an international brand. As well as helping numerous companies discover, establish, and apply their brands in addition to channel strategy all the way through execution.

Below are just a few of the articles I’ve written previously on Brand and business:

What is Brand Positioning?

Welcome to Barry on Brand & Business. It’s a bi-weekly series of short videos (with transcripts) where I share my knowledge about brand — what it is, how to define it, how to shape it, the value it brings, and more. Hit Subscribe and the li

Barry W. Enderwick

Written by

Brand/marketing executive, former Netflix, MZ. I write on startups, strategy, business, culture & design. Also on Instagram @craftbarry @inthechipswithbarry

What is Brand Positioning?

Welcome to Barry on Brand & Business. It’s a bi-weekly series of short videos (with transcripts) where I share my knowledge about brand — what it is, how to define it, how to shape it, the value it brings, and more. Hit Subscribe and the li

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