What Is Product Branding? (Pros, Cons, Types & Best Examples)

For most of us, when we think about branding or brands, we think of companies.

Apple, Nike, Harley Davidson, Levi’s…

Yet often, the business brand under which a product lives, isn’t enough to be uniquely distinctive in the market.

You might be in the market for a new phone yet an “Apple Phone” might not have the distinction, relevance, capabilities, sense of novelty or social standing that the “iPhone Pro Max” would.

This is where product branding takes centre stage.

In this article, you’ll learn what product branding is, why it’s so effective as well as the pros, cons and best brand examples. 

For most of us, when we think about branding or brands, we think of companies.

Apple, Nike, Harley Davidson, Levi’s…

Yet often, the business brand under which a product lives, isn’t enough to be uniquely distinctive in the market.

You might be in the market for a new phone yet an “Apple Phone” might not have the distinction, relevance, capabilities, sense of novelty or social standing that the “iPhone Pro Max” would.

This is where product branding takes centre stage.

In this article, you’ll learn what product branding is, why it’s so effective as well as the pros, cons and best brand examples. 

What Is Product Branding? (Design vs Strategy, Pros vs Cons)

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What Is Product Branding?

Well the easy answer is that it’s the branding of a product, but you didn’t want a surface level answer did you?

So let’s dig into the bones a little.

Product branding is the discipline of actively building a positive reputation for a product. This type of branding focuses on the distinction of a product rather than a company. This is achieved by using effective positioning, distinctive brand assets and tailored brand messaging.

In other words, product branding, is exactly like branding… but for products.

Product Branding vs Corporate Branding

When you build a business, you want to build the reparation of that business so more people trust it and ultimately buy products or services from it.

Actively building the reputation of a business is known as corporate branding.

It helps businesses to stand out from other businesses in market and influences the decisions of the consumer to choose it over it’s competitors.

Actively building the reputation of a product is known as product branding.

Often the product brand leans on the brand equity (or reputation) of the business brand. The stronger the business brand, the greater the advantage for the product brand.

Most businesses put all their efforts into branding the business, missing out on the opportunity and advantage that product branding offers. 

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Why is Product Branding Important?

Although we don’t tend to think of specific products when we think of branding, chances are, many of your favourite brands are product brands.

Sprite

Air Max

MacBook Pro

Big Mac

Mustang

Photoshop

501’s

These are all examples of products that stand on their own as individual brands.

In most cases, the parent brand or corporate brand that sits above the product, is excluded when the product is referenced.

For example, most people don’t use the name “Adobe Photoshop”. It’s simply known as “Photoshop”.

Product Branding Pros & Cons

For most business owners, the priority lies with building the brand of the company, which makes sense.

If you’re successful in building a positive reputation for the company, selling products becomes much easier. 

That said, there are advantages and disadvantages for building both a corporate brand and product brands. 

Advantages of Product Branding

The preference of your brand within your chosen market measures how your brand compares to your leading competitors as the preferred choice in the market.

Although this doesn’t represent actual purchases, it’s a very good gauge to measure your brand’s perception and likelihood of purchase in the buying decision.

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Advantage #1: Distinguishes Products For Consumers

Have you ever visited a website of a brand where they offer different services, but it’s difficult to tell which offer would be the best fit for you?

That’s because the business didn’t leverage product branding (or at least not effectively).

Branding your products individually, makes them easy to distinguish from one another, ultimately making the buying decision process easier.

The easier you make it on your customer to buy a product, the more likely they’ll be to do just that.

Advantage #2: Hyper-Targeted Positioning And Messaging

Corporate brand positioning and messaging must accommodate and appeal to the broader target market who likely have different wants and needs.

Many brands offer different products and services to meet the needs of different market segments.

Product branding allows for messaging that differs slightly from the corporate brand (though aligning with the parent brand) and appeals more directly to those who are most likely to buy.

Advantage #3: Unique Visual Identity

Product branding provides an opportunity for visual differentiation and distinctiveness amongst a portfolio of products.

Adobe do this well within their Adobe Creative Suite.

Although all of the icons look and feel like they belong to the same family, their brand colours and unique image style make them uniquely memorable. 

Advantage #4: Makes Brand Advocacy Easier

Last year I bought a pair of Sony Wireless Earphones.

They’re great. I still use them to this day.

Yet.. I don’t know what they’re called.

Even though I see the name of the product everyday as I pair them with my devices, the name of the product is so obscure, I simply can’t remember it 

(For the record, it’s something like MX-C0013… or something ridiculous).

Now of course, I could look up the name of the brand for th