A brand is something that your company uses to distinguish itself from others, it is something unique solely to you. What’s in it is your company’s values. A brand is a symbol that is able to represent a company quickly and accurately so customers can immediately associate it with the company. Correct association, means correct branding. To create a good brand, one must find where their company first lies on the brand quadrant so that they can design accordingly. In our last blog we discussed how a brand quadrant allows a company to fall into four sectors: utility, symbolic, functional, and emotional.
If a company falls into a utility quadrant that means that the company provides something timeless. Companies like Coca-Cola and BMW offer a lasting brand, while also being something that someone needs. Companies that fall in this quadrant usually have consumers that will pay for something that have more value.
The next quadrant symbolic, means that the company offers something that is there for the future, or isn’t quite tangible. One company that falls under this is Apple. All of Apple products represent a status symbol for the consumer who owns them. Apple is well known for being user friendly and having a strong community. By having an iPhone, a consumer has the symbolic nature of a large community of other Apple products owners in their pocket.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have the functional quadrant that deals with special activities or specific purposes or tasks. With a company in the functional quadrant, one never has to question what they offer or what they do. Some functional companies include Yahoo , Microsoft , and Intel , all companies who provide a functional product. If a company is functional, then their brand is simple.
The last quadrant is emotional, and it’s the one that has you mildly tearing up when their commercial is on television. The best example of this could be Sara McLachlan’s ASPCA commercials. It shows depressing images of animals in horrible situations for about a solid minute on television while you debate to change the channel. They use the emotional quadrant to make you feel and also to make you want to donate as animals are often connected with most people. IH Concepts recently positioned Full Spectrum , a homecare agency, as an emotional brand as buying homecare options is an emotional experience. Emotional brands can be quite effective, but remember to not be too depressing or push the envelope too far, because that can push people away as well.
While a company can fall into any of these brand quadrants, it’s most important that they are able to distinguish themselves from their competitors. A brand to a company is like a personality to a person, no two should be the same.
So where does your company fall on the brand quadrant? If your company offers a timeless product that someone also needs, your company would most likely fall into the utility quadrant. If your company offers more of a luxury or lifestyle product, it would most likely fall into the symbolic quadrant. If your company offers a straightforward product or service, your company would most likely fall into the functional quadrant. Lastly, if your company provides a service that touches upon someone’s emotions and offer’s more of a peace of mind result, your company would most likely fall into the emotional quadrant.
Finding which quadrant your company falls into can be tricky, and if you need help figuring it out, hiring a marketing brand consultant would be an advisable option. They can help you figure out your material visually and why consumers want to do business with you.