Product Branding Strategies and its Benefits- Hear it from the experts
A product branding strategy is a process of building a unique visual, emotional, and intellectual identity for a product that sets it apart from its competition. It focuses on elements like a logo, tagline, brand voice, color palette, etc., that combine to create a product’s brand identity.
Product branding is crucial as it directly affects how the user perceives the product. This changes how a user uses a product and the emotional connection they form with it which ultimately affects the user experience (UX).
Bhumit Gadhavi, Product Lead at Fynd, shares this viewpoint and explains that both UX and product branding are inseparable:
“While some would not agree but I think that UX is a subset of product branding, I think UX is also proportional to product branding.”
However, Bhumit also emphasizes that although both UX and product branding aim to deliver the best experience to the user, they are also slightly different in how they do it:
“A robust product brand establishes trust and credibility with the user whereas UX design creates an intuitive and enjoyable experience for the user.”
It is, therefore, essential for product managers to ensure that the product designers and marketers use a common language and work together toward a clear visual identity of the product which is aligned with the company’s mission and vision.
For gaining an in-depth understanding of product branding, it is important to know how it is different from company branding — the brand identity of the company which owns the product.
Product Branding vs Company Branding
Bhumit shares another crucial difference that highlights the difference between the company that makes the product and the product itself:
“Just because a person likes a company brand doesn't automatically mean they'll use their products. It's easier for SaaS brands to gain initial traction from the company brand, but the opposite may not be true for most scenarios.”
Divya Dixit, a Business Strategy & Growth Consultant, highlights how the technical nature of a product and the current business requirements impact SaaS branding and explains the subtle nature of company branding:
“SaaS products are technical in nature and the branding aspect will need to address and attract the attention of TG via the unique and quantitative WHY and HOW specifically related to a set of business requirements. However company branding is a vision, identity of the organization, and responsibility message of the business to its stakeholders, that is softer in nature.”
Rahul Mohandas, a Product Advisor, puts the objective (or mission) of both company and product branding in simpler words:
“The core concept of branding as you would know is to ‘Make a Promise’. Of course, to be successful, the product experience has to ‘Keep the Promise’.”
He expands to explain the importance of choosing what kind of promises to make:
“Once the promise has been made, the product experience has to deliver the promises made to both the buyer and user personas. You would obviously not be talking about any features in the branding exercise. It would be a high-level soft promise - for example, something qualitative like ‘it is easy to work with us’".
Now let’s look at why SaaS brands need a well-formulated product branding strategy.
Benefits of a product branding strategy
Broadly, you have to keep the three following potential advantages of a product branding strategy in mind while building one:
1. Target a specific niche in the market
A product branding strategy can help companies identify and target a specific niche in the market, which can be more profitable than trying to appeal to a broad audience. Focusing on a niche audience will also make your product simpler, which will enhance the UX.
2. Build better brand recall and stand out from the competition
A strong product branding strategy can create a unique and emotional pull that helps a product stand out from the competition and be more easily recognized and recalled by customers. This increases the chances that your audience will think of you when they are thinking about the problem your product solves.
3. Attract loyal customers
By creating a strong and positive brand identity, companies can build a loyal customer base that is more likely to purchase from the company in the future and recommend the product to others. Loyal customers can also be more forgiving of occasional missteps or errors.
In other words, it is almost impossible to build a profitable product without a good product branding strategy. Divya outlines the central role product branding plays in the success of a SaaS product:
“SaaS Product branding strategy helps create a drive for demand via new client leads, customer signups and adoption, account retention, and market expansion of a product in a continuous loop since it is an ever-evolving process.”
Let’s look at how you can separate your product from the competition.
8 steps to build your product’s brand identity
Priyanka Chadda, Product Manager at Single Interface, explains how product teams can position their product as unique in the market through 8 concise steps:
Just like every SaaS tool or process, product branding strategies also come in various forms.
Types of product branding strategies
Based on the aspect of the product or value provided by it, there are four effective ways you can carve a unique brand identity for your product:
1. Relaying your value through feature marketing
A feature marketing strategy focuses on highlighting the value offered by or benefits of a product that differentiate it from competitors. It seeks to emphasize the unique selling proposition (USP) of the product to make it more appealing to customers.
Feature marketing tells your audience the true value of your product, how it will evolve with time, and how better it is than the competition by showing them how you will solve their problem.
Here is how Slack, the renowned team messaging app, leverages this:
Priyanka Chadda describes how they do it:
“When I think of feature marketing in the SaaS world, Intercom comes to mind. What makes Intercom's feature marketing stand out is that they really focus on highlighting the benefits of each feature and explaining how it can help their customers. They don't just list off features, they actually take the time to show how each one works and why it's important.”
She sums up Intercom’s feature marketing approach with:
“Intercom does a great job of making their features easy to understand and showing why they're worth using.”
Figma, a collaborative design tool, shows its users how its features help teams create visuals through animated GIFs:
2. Driving engagement through content
Creating and sharing high-quality content that gives value to your audience. This can include blog posts, videos, social media content, and other types of content.
Apart from increasing brand engagement, your branded content also educates your users more about your product and its vision which enables them to get more value from your product.
The folks at Mailchimp leverage this by creating comical web shows:
3. Building stronger customer relationships via communities
You can build user communities by creating a forum or social media group where customers can connect with each other and the brand.
The strategy aims to create a sense of belonging and loyalty among customers. You can see what your users say about you and use this opportunity to learn more about their expectations to improve the user experience.
Here is how Drift does it with its insider community:
4. Share your story through live events
A live event focuses on creating and promoting events that are related to the product or service. This can include product launches, workshops, conferences, and other types of events that create a memorable and engaging experience for customers.
This creates a buzz around the brand and generates positive word-of-mouth. This strategy improves the user experience by creating a memorable and engaging experience for customers, which can help build brand awareness and loyalty.
Tikva Marom, Integrated Marketing Strategist, Marketing & Creative at Vimeo reveals how you should approach event branding strategy:
“When addressing event marketing you gotta make sure you’re telling the brand’s story in the best way possible, that would suit the target audience, give the right vibe and convey the message you want the people attending the event to leave with.”
They share a great tactic to do so:
“An ad-free HD live stream platform that is also customizable to match your brand (logo, colors, you name it). You can also engage with your viewers, through polls, through Q&A, you can learn in real-time which kind of content is more engaging.”
A product branding strategy separates your product from the rest. Product branding markets the product and drives demand whereas company branding aims to relay the mission and vision of the company.
Product branding strategy helps you target a specific audience, build better brand recall, and attract loyal customers. Product branding strategies can be centered around any aspect of your product or value such as features, content, community, and events.
It is, therefore, important for product managers to make sure each member of the cross-functional product team has access to the right data to build the product your audience wants and the way they want it.
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Table of content
What are the 4 SaaS branding strategies?
The four SaaS branding strategies are feature branding, content branding, community branding, and event branding.
What is product branding for example?
Product branding involves creating a unique name and image for a particular product in the mind of the customer, to differentiate it from competitors' products.
What are the 7 components of branding strategy?
The seven components of branding strategy are brand positioning, brand personality, brand identity, brand association, brand communication, brand loyalty, and brand equity.
What are the 7 stages of the branding process?
The seven stages of the branding process are conducting market research, defining brand strategy, designing brand identity, developing brand messaging, launching the brand, managing the brand, and measuring brand performance.
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