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The best product branding examples and how to recreate them

how to build a strong product branding strategy

For companies who get it right, product branding could mean the difference between a product that languishes on store shelves and one that becomes a household name.

After all, Apple didn’t become Apple overnight.

Many of its products—from the iPhone to the Apple Watch—took on identities and reputations of their own, amassing followers that would later become loyal customers of the company itself.

This is product branding in action. Product branding can be a powerful eCommerce marketing agent, helping to set your products apart and instill trust in your business.

What is product branding?

Product branding is the process of building a positive image around a specific product. It often entails using your product’s physical design and promotional strategies to tell a cohesive story about what your product is, and how it’s different from similar models on the market.

But it doesn’t stop there. There are many qualities that work together to help you market a new product and create a product brand that consumers can trust when starting your business. They include your:

  • Logo

  • Product name

  • Product design

  • Product packaging

  • Value proposition

  • Messaging

  • Customer service

  • Delivery experience

Keep in mind that product branding is distinct from corporate branding, which focuses on building the reputation of your larger business.

Examples of strong product branding

Starbucks’ blended drinks

Starbucks' memorable logo is one that's recognizable to coffee lovers across the U.S. But beyond its famous menu of coffees, Starbucks has a line of blended drinks aimed at consumers with different taste buds.

There’s the Frappuccino, created for coffee drinkers who are looking for a colder, more refreshing beverage for the summer months. And then there’s Teavana—which Starbucks acquired in 2012—aimed at serving premium tea to those craving another caffeinated beverage option.

Starbucks Frappuccino product page

Through these individual product lines, Starbucks has broadened its reach and welcomed a diverse group of consumers into its community. Whether for a tall cup of coffee or a Passion Tango tea, customers can enjoy the ambiance, customer service, and experience that Starbucks’ shops have to offer.

Disney Munchlings

Disney is the master of using colorful graphics to evoke the playful and whimsical spirit of its company. This distinct look and feel is reflected in nearly every Disney-themed product, including toys, clothes, games, and bedding (to name a few).

Of course, every Disney movie seems to carry an entire universe of its own. A single film inspires merchandise, music videos, video games, theme park rides, and even dining experiences—amassing followers of all ages and backgrounds.

On a smaller scale, Disney also releases special product collections, such as the Disney Munchling Plush.

disney category page showing munchlings plush collection

These collectable plushies reimagine famous Disney characters as baked goods, and have a fairytale-like story of their own that may tickle your fancy:

“As story has it, one day when the sun set on Main Street, Master Baker Pierre Dumonet was adding the final touches to his sweet creations. As he hung his apron and left the bakery, Pierre accidentally closed the door a little too hard, causing several jars and bottles to topple over. A small bottle of magic spilled out onto his delicious concoctions below, creating the Disney Munchlings,” writes Disney.

Apple Watch

Among Apple’s many iconic inventions, the Apple Watch is one that’s gained exceptional popularity in recent years.

“It’s the ultimate device for a healthy life,” says Apple, further calling the watch “the fitness partner that fits on your wrist.”

The latest Ultra series appeals to an even more specific subset of users. With features like dual-frequency GPS, Night Mode, and depth gauge (for diving underwater as far as 40 meters deep), the Ultra Watch is designed with adventurers and athletes in mind.

Apple Watch Ultra product page

This messaging is clear, simple, and consistent across its marketing assets, which includes a feature film on the product.

“Every explorer has a packing list,” the video states, “the essential tools for heading out into the unknown. We put as many of those tools on your wrist as we could.”

The Ultra Watch sells at a premium price ($799). Meanwhile, the Apple Watch SE series sells for just under $250 a pop, appealing to a younger, more budget-conscious audience. The SE series still contains the core functionality of the Apple Watch but focuses on the elements that resonate most with younger audiences. Think: family setup, easy access to music and podcasts, and customizable watch faces.

5 steps to building a strong product branding strategy

Fortunately, you don't need a bottomless budget to recreate the success of some of these monolithic brands. Instead, apply the best practices below to create an effective product branding strategy for your own items.

01. Establish your product's goals and objectives

Set goals and objectives for how you want to position your product in the market, beginning with your “why.”

Ask yourself:

  • Why did you choose to create or sell this product?

  • What problem or pain point does your product aim to solve?

  • Is this a completely new product or a variation of something that already exists?

  • Who else sells this product (who are your competitors)?

The answers to these questions should help you articulate what you’re looking to achieve with your product. Whether your product is meant to strike a feeling of nostalgia, offer a convenient solution, or achieve a level of quality that few competitors meet—the purpose of your product should be clear and easy to understand.

02. Define the target user of your product

Paint a detailed picture of the market you’re looking to serve with your product. Flesh out their interests, needs, and values, as well as their demographics and behaviors.

You can do so by scanning social media pages, surveying existing customers, digging through your first-party data (like the insights you get with Wix Analytics), and analyzing industry-wide trends.

The more you know about your audience, the easier it will be to create an experience and content that tug at their heartstrings. It could therefore serve you well to create buyer personas that force you to step into your customers’ shoes.

03. Create a unique visual identity

Even though your product may share the same logo and traits as other products in your catalog, you’ll want to create a distinct identity that sets it apart.

For example, the Apple Watch Ultra may share the same sleek design as other Apple watches. However, its specialized bands, titanium shell, and orange colorway (among other design choices) differentiates it from the pack.

Similarly, if you sell a baby bottle, you’ll want to make sure that its design stands out among other bottles on shelves while still being recognizable as a baby bottle.

Consider how everything from the materials you use and the way you package your product contributes to your item’s branding. Each of these elements should be consistent with the reputation you want to build. So, if your product is meant to be environmentally friendly, then the packaging should reflect this by using recycled cardboard or other alternatives to plastic.

Related reading: Why sustainable eCommerce is the future of good business

04. Create a product style guide

Style guides are the first step towards creating a strong, consistent, and recognizable product brand. They are the roadmap for all your eCommerce branding and offline efforts as you build and maintain your product’s identity.

Create a style guide that details things like:

  • Proper use of your logo, including correct colors, sizing, and placement.

  • Signature fonts and typography, with instructions on which styles and weights are reserved for which purposes.

  • Signature color scheme, especially if you’re planning to designate certain colors for certain purposes and occasions.

  • Standards for any images used in association with your product, including size, resolution, and any other specification you feel is necessary.

  • Definition of your product’s "voice" and personality, including the related keywords and the overall tone or vibe you want to communicate.

Looking to design a logo from scratch? Try Wix’s free logo maker.

05. Reinforce your branding everywhere

Consistency is key to establishing a strong product brand. As you create your go-to-market strategy, experiment with ads, videos, PR, and/or campaigns that help you collect user-generated content (such as customer reviews) that reinforce your branding.

Engage on social media platforms where your target audience is, and invest in creating quality content that reflects your product’s values. Make sure to use the same logo, color palette, and messaging across all channels.

Don’t forget to equip any on-the-ground sales associates or customer support reps with the information they need to create memorable experiences for your customers.

Remember, people connect best with people. One of the best ways to leave a good impression is by making sure your staff knows how to speak about your product and make your customers feel valued.

Product branding is an ongoing process

Bonus tip: Your customers and brand are constantly evolving, so it’s worth revisiting your product branding strategy from time to time.

Keep your eye on competitors, monitor trends, and keep a pulse on customer preferences, taking care not to operate on gut feeling alone.

It’s possible that you’ll want to refresh your logo or product design after a few years, but at the end of the day, sticking to your story (barring any major directional shifts in your company or product) will show customers that you’re still "you" even behind those makeovers.

By reflecting that identity in all aspects of your product marketing, you can successfully create a brand that your customers will remember.

allison lee headshot

Allison Lee Editor, Wix for eCommerce

Allison is the editor for the Wix eCommerce blog, with several years of experience reporting on eCommerce news, strategies, and founder stories.

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