Branding Study Guide
Branding Study Guide

Branding Study Guide

Lead Author(s): Lumen Learning

Source: Lumen Learning

Student Price: FREE

A handout designed to educate students on the importance of branding and creating a good brand experience.

Branding Study Guide

Why learn about branding?

Pop Quiz!

Instructions: Grab a piece of paper and jot down answers to the following questions:

  • What is your favourite brand of clothing?
    • Why?
    • List a word or phrase that describes how this brand makes you feel:
  • What is your favourite brand of car?
    • Why?
    • List a word or phrase that describes how this brand makes you feel:
  • ​What is your favourite place to stop for coffee, donuts, a bagel, or some other snack?
    •  Why?
    • List a word or phrase that describes how this brand makes you feel:


The Power of Brand

Brands are images that exist in your mind–and in the minds of other consumers–about the things around you: products, services, places, companies, people, entertainment, and so on. In a modern world that offers many choices, brands help simplify the decisions you make about what to buy, where to go, and how to spend your time.

Brands are powerful. When you explain why a brand is your favorite, you probably identify some of the traits or features of its products or services that explain rationally what makes it better than others. But rational explanations are just part of the story. Strong brands are powerful because they also tap into emotions. They make you feel a certain way, and that feeling is hard for any other brand to replicate—let alone replace.

Brands can cause people to spend more money on a product than they would otherwise. Brands can create a sense of loyalty and even lock-in—that haloed point where a tribe of dedicated fans always chooses one company’s product or services over another.

​So how do they do it? What’s happening in marketing departments to create these powerful, emotional assets called brands?

What Creates a Brand Experience?

Go back to your pop quiz responses. Pick one of your favorite brands and list 2–3 things the company behind the brand provides to help make that favorite brand so memorable or special for you. It could be any of the following things–or something else entirely:

  • Brand name
  • Product design
  • The shopping experience
  • The post-purchase experience
  • People or communities associated with the brand
  • Product packaging
  • Advertising
  • Social media activity
  • Customer service
  • Comfort, convenience, or ease-of-use
  • Attitude or personality of the brand
  • Special information, deals, or promotions targeted to you
  • Membership or loyalty programs
  • Pricing or value for the money
  • Events or activities tied to the brand
  • Something else?

​Marketers use these tools and many others to create the total experience with a product, service, or company that turns it into an actual “brand.” In this module, you’ll learn how a brand starts and discover what it takes to coordinate all the different parts of the unique brand.

The Paradox of Brand

Although organizations take all kinds of measures to create and build brands, in fact, the brand isn’t just what the company says it is. In the end, the brand is what customers believe it is, as the following quote explains:

"So what exactly is a brand?
A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or organization.
It’s a gut feeling because people are emotional, intuitive beings. It’s a person’s gut feeling because brands are defined by individuals, not companies, markets, or the public.
It’s not what YOU say it is.
It’s what THEY say it is."
—Marty Neumeier, author and branding consultant, Neutron LLC

Companies can do a lot to create and build brands, but the net impact and value is what happens inside the mind of the consumer. The supreme challenge of brand is to make your vision of your brand the same thing other people experience and believe about your brand.

Read on to learn more.

​​Why It Matters: Branding. Provided by: Lumen Learning. License: CC BY: Attribution