What is a brand?

Your brand is the identity of your company and products. It can be represented by a combination of two components – visual and verbal.


You will need to decide on the relationship between your company and your products. Determining this relationship right from the beginning will guide you on how to grow each brand, be it corporate or product. Two commonly used strategies are family branding and individual branding.

Case Study

The Apple Family
Apple Inc applies the Apple brand to all their products and maintains one single, strong brand identity. With this strategy, they are able to capture the interest of their loyal customers whenever they release new products such as the immensely popular iPad.

Going Solo
Unilever has created product brands such as Dove, Lux and Sunsilk, with no direct association to their corporate brand. Although these individual brands may produce similar personal care products, they are all positioned for different target markets. In this way, they do not cannibalise one another’s sales.

Going Solo
Unilever has created product brands such as Dove, Lux and Sunsilk, with no direct association to their corporate brand. Although these individual brands may produce similar personal care products, they are all positioned for different target markets. In this way, they do not cannibalise one another’s sales.

  • Family branding (or umbrella branding) happens when your corporate brand and product brands are the same. You may benefit from the ‘halo effect’, with positive perceptions of your corporate brand being transferred to any new product brands you develop. You may also benefit from shared promotional costs for all your products since they carry the same brand.
  • Individual branding (or multi branding) happens when all your product brands are unique and different from your corporate brand. Each product brand has a unique image and identity, and can be positioned for different markets with different selling points. Should one of your products receive bad publicity, the low association between brands will also help reduce the negative impact on the other products.

Remember that a brand is an identity. It is not a tangible object. It is the collection of perceptions in the mind of consumers and a basis of emotional and psychological relationship you develop with them.

Why is your brand important?

Your brand is important because it differentiates you from the competition.

Your brand is made up of goodwill, reputation and public perception of how your brand is different.  The better this differentiation is communicated to consumers, the more your brand will stand out among its competitors.

Once established, your brand can add value to your products. When your brand is positively perceived, accepted and preferred by consumers, it can help your company achieve higher profit margins. You can escape price competition, sell your products at a premium and still attract customers. This is a result of the trust and preference they have developed for your brand.

It is crucial for you to manage your brand properly and carefully. Once it is damaged by negative publicity and sentiment, it can take years to salvage, if at all. Therefore, you need to align everyone in your organisation and inculcate in them the responsibility to uphold your brand values at all times.

What is branding?

Branding involves creating and developing a specific identity, communicating values and delivering promises.

Case Study

Introducing the iPad
Over the years, Apple has managed to catapult its brand to cult status with the success of the iPod and iPhone. As a result, Apple sold 2 million iPads in the first two months of its launch, only half the time they took to sell the previous products. By leveraging on its strong brand, it has managed to re-ignite demand for the tablet computer and entice customers into paying a premium over low-cost yet functional laptops and netbooks.

While other companies may not achieve such figures, it fully demonstrates the effectiveness of brand recognition, and the possibilities that lie in store for companies that invest in building their brand.

Branding B2B
The same principles apply in building a corporate brand as for a consumer brand. Top management needs to set the tone on what the brand values are and what differentiates the brand. Relationship and trust building are just as important for B2B businesses, if not more so. Hence, every employee needs to believe in and live up to the brand promise.

To build a strong brand, you need to do branding.

You have heard countless stories about successful brands in the global market. Leading brand consultancy firm, Interbrand, publishes a list of best global brands annually. Both consumer brands such as Coca-cola, McDonald’s and Gillette, and business brands such as IBM, Microsoft and GE, make the list year after year. Why?

Case Study

“The World on Time”
FedEx’s brand promise is to give their customers peace of mind by guaranteeing punctuality and security in their delivery of packages all over the world. For assurance, FedEx allows customers to track the whereabouts of their packages easily online. This brand promise is communicated and reinforced through memorable advertising campaigns. By consistently delivering this promise, FedEx is continually gaining greater consumer confidence in their services.


Singapore Brand Stories
The local media frequently features Singapore companies that have built strong brands. Look out for these and learn from them. You can also visit local government websites to look for brand stories of local companies.

All these successful brands, despite their differences in products, customers, industries or country of origin, have something in common. These are brands that are easily recognized and well-received and have become an integral part of their customers’ lives. Each and every of these brands is able to offer their customers a promise and live up to it. A brand promise is about what your brand can do for your customers. It is important that you ensure that any product bearing your brand must fulfil this promise to build greater trust and confidence in your brand.

Brand decision diagram

The following brand decision diagram guides you on reviewing your brand and explores possible ways to address challenges.

Each question is followed by a “YES-NO” option. Select the most appropriate answer and follow the arrows. In the event that you are unsure or your answer is “maybe”, select the “NO” option. Each of the possible solution is provided within this module. Click on them to go directly to the respective sections.