24 Ways to Express Your Brand – The Brand Map – 2022 Version
We get the word brand from the ancient North Germanic language Ole Norse. Originally, brand referred to a piece of burning wood. Then late Middle English, brought a new definition: “to mark permanently with a hot iron.” It wasn’t until the 1600s that brand evolved again to mean a mark of ownership made by branding – think Dutch East India Trading Company.
Putting a unique mark or logo on a business’ property serves many practical purposes, but these days branding has evolved into so much more. You may have nailed your logo and slogan, but depending on the industry you are in, you may have dozens of additional modalities for expressing your brand, capturing market attention and outflanking your competition. Check out our list of brand elements along with some winning examples of each to help you get ideas on how you can take your brand to the next level.
- Shape: Coke – Even seen in silhouette, the Coca-Cola bottle is instantly recognizable. Other iconic product shape examples include Toblarone, Volkswagen (beetle), and Pringles
- Symbol: Nike – In every country around the world both young and old alike know that the swoosh belongs to Nike. Other examples of symbols that are deeply embedded in our brains include Apple, Twitter, and McDonalds.
- Pattern: Louis Vuitton – Featured on handbags, purses, luggage, backpacks, and even furniture this pattern has become a recognized symbol for luxury. Other examples of brands that have well known patterns include Burberry, Vans, and Gucci.
- Logo: Amazon – Amazon is one of only a handful of brands that has managed to turn our own doorsteps into an advertising channel. Other examples of brands whose logos seem hard to escape include Goolge, Facebook, and Microsoft.
- Photo/image style: American Apparel – Terry Richardson deserves the credit for establishing American Apparel’s breakout styling for their catalog and advertising photos. Other examples of recognizable photo styles include Giorgio Armani, Marlborough, and Carl’s Junior.
- Packaging: Tiffany – Even without the logo, a teal box under the Christmas tree is a dead giveaway that someone spent the big bucks this year. Other examples of iconic packaging include KFC, Chanel, and Laduree.
- Color: UPS – In the early 2000s, “What can brown do for you” was even used as the company’s slogan. Other brands that have made deep chroma-commitments include Dell, Mastercard and Lyft.
- Font: Absolut Vodka – Based on Futura Black Condensed, but with some tiny serifs added onto each character to make it unique to the brand, Absolut Vodka has cemented their font as a diehard brand element. Other famously fonted logos include ESPN, FedEx and New York Times.
- Mascot: Budweiser – Though only seen in their commercials during winter months, Budweiser has trained us to think of the King of Beers whenever we spot a Clydesdale horse. Other famous brand mascots include Geiko’s gecko, Bell’s laughing cow and Aflac’s duck.
- Personification: Koolaid – While a massive pitcher of sugar water playing wrecking ball with your living room wall may not appeal to everyone, it certainly has become a cultural meme thanks to Koolaid. Other personified brands include Planter’s Mr. Peanut, B&G’s Jolly Green Giant, and Kellog’s Tony the Tiger.
- Attitude: Harley Davidson – “Screw it, let’s ride” as Harley’s slogan kinda says it all. Harley has established itself as the American brand of the rebellious spirit. Other brands that wear their attitude on their sleeve include Ben & Jerry’s, Pink, and Hot Topic.
- Tag Line: Wendy’s – While more of a dis on their competition, “where’s the beef?” has held up as a tag line tied to the Wendy’s brand since their 1984 commercial campaign. Other tag lines that have withstood the test of time include “Just do it,” “Think different,” and “A diamond is forever.”
- Product Naming: Apple – The use of “i” in front of apple products goes back to the first iMac released in 1998. Since then, iBook, iPhone, iTunes, iPad and iPod continued the convention. Other brands with product naming conventions include Ben & Jerry’s, McDonalds, Infinity
- Scent: Abercrombie – A smell so tenacious, you can wash an Abercrombie sweater three times and it will still smell like the store. Other olfactory titilators include Aveda, Cinnabon, and Hyatt.
- Taste: RedBull – Love it or hate it, Redbull has an immediately recognizable flavor that has even been emulated in dozens of (unlicensed) vape products. Other brands with famous flavors include Sriricha, Mountain Dew, and Skittles.
- Lighting: Virgin Airlines – Pink and purple lighting make the interior of Virgin Airlines immediately distinguishable from any other airline. Based on our research Virgin may be the category owner here, at least for national brands.
- Sound/Jingle: Chili’s – When you jingle makes it into multiple Hollywood films, you know you’ve got a winner, even if Fat Bastard isn’t the most desirable spokesperson to have for your brand. Other time tested jingles include “Give me a break,” “Like a good neighbor,” and “K-A-R-S cars for kids” (our apologies for resparking that earworm in your brain)
- Music: Harry Potter – It takes most folks just 2 or 3 notes to spot John Williams’ “Hedwig’s Theme,” originally played on the solo celesta, a small instrument that’s played like a piano but has a light, bell-like sound. Other brands with musical monograms include Disney, DeBeers, and Star Wars.
- Customer policies: Costco – Though certainly some people have abused it, Costco has maintained an unlimited return policy on general merchandise since its founding. Other companies that have emphasized attractive customer policies include Nordstrom,
- Employee policies: In-n-Out Burger – In a hugely impressive showing for a casual dining company, In-N-Out came #4 on Glassdoor’s 2018 list of the Best Places to Work. In the whole country. Other companies offering great employee benefits include Trader Joe’s, Wistia and Publix
- Political/Activism: Chick Fil-A – Though it earned them years of boycotts and protests, the chicken slinger made no secret of it’s support of anti-LGBTQ charities. Nike, Levi’s, and Patagonia have all taken stands on charged political issues.
- Mission/purpose: Patagonia – This outdoor clothier has made the preservation of nature central to its stated mission. Other mission-centric brands include TED, Tesla, The Body Shop
- Legacy: Chanel – The history and prestige associated with the Chanel brand is hard to overstate. Rolls Royce, Rolex, Le Creuset are other examples of legacy brands.
- Cultural Heritage: Kikkoman – Kikkoman has carried on a rich Japanese tradition that dates back to the time of the Yamato Imperial Court era (250 AD -710 AD). Other culturally-rich brands include Fiji Airlines, Ford, and Lindt.
- Social Responsibility: Toms – The ultimate BOGO, for every pair of TOMS shoes purchased, a pair of new shoes is given to a child in need in partnership with humanitarian organizations. Other brands known for social responsibility include Warby Parker, Figs, and BLQK Coffee.
Landscaping – In N Out Burger
Retail space design Apple
Culture – Zappos
Copy-writing – Uber
Reposts are welcome with reference back to this original version produced by a collaboration between HeartBrew and ScrappyAFsolutions