With what feels like a never-ending amount of buzzwords and catchy phrases to keep up within brand strategy, it's easy to tune it all out as noise. One of the key concepts you should make sure to never lose sight of is brand attributes.
Brand attributes are the features that consumers innately associate with your brand. Much like you may find it easier to get along with people with certain personality traits, your brand attributes can — if presented well — make your brand more attractive to some potential buyers.
Today's most successful brands have honed in on strong brand attributes their consumers are now familiar with, including Apple, Nike, and Starbucks. This guide covers the meaning behind brand attributes and why they matter for your business, and it will give you some of the best attribute ideas and examples for inspiration.
What Are Brand Attributes?
Brand attributes are the core values that guide your brand's content.
They cover a wide scope of your brand. At the fundamental level, they include aspects like your company slogan, mission statement, innovations, and the overall look and feel of how your brand presents itself. On a deeper scale, they reflect your key values, credibility, appeal, and — perhaps most importantly — your authenticity.
In fact, nearly 90% of consumers report that authentic content is a key factor that helps them decide if they want to support a brand. Today's consumers want a brand to show who it truly is and speak up for what it values.
Branding that hides behind a veil of mystery can often give target customers an air of mistrust. This makes settling on your attributes require an honest and introspective look into your company and its intentions, above all else.
Why Do Brand Attributes Matter?
Beyond demonstrating your authenticity and transparency, brand attributes can aid you with many other overall brand strategies, including:
- Brand awareness: When you have memorable attributes, you build your brand's awareness or people's recognition of your company. This is important because 71% of customers are more likely to buy from a brand they recognize since people tend to associate familiarity with value. It's also why consumers keep going back to big brands, instead of taking chances on a new one.
- Brand positioning: Attributes are vital in defining your competitive edge, or your brand positioning. When choosing a product or service, consumers want to know what makes a brand unique, and what qualities set it above the rest. Settle on a few key traits that reflect your unique value, and you will stand out in the minds of your target audience when it's time to buy.
- Brand loyalty: Your brand characteristics will often both inspire someone to try out your brand and drive them to keep coming back. Have a consistent image, and you will find a loyal audience who is also more likely to recommend you to other people.
- Brand personality: Many marketers may, at first, have a hard time understanding brand attributes vs. brand personality. Brand personality is a collection of all the attributes that make up a brand. Once you have your brand attributes down, you will have developed an overall personality.
The most successful and well-known brands have easily recognizable brand personalities made of distinct brand attributes.
Brand personality is important in building an emotional connection with potential customers. Whether you're a large corporation, a small business, or a new startup, having a strong idea of your brand personality will be a determining factor in making your brand feel human.
List of Brand Attributes
While every brand will have its own distinguishing attributes that define its personality, a few characteristics stand out in meeting consumer demand. Understanding what makes the modern audience tick helps you develop your own brand attribute strategy. Below is a
68% of respondents in a recent Forbes study said they would recommend a brand that they think is relevant to family and friends. To be relevant, brands must understand the pain points of the modern customer experience, address them, and offer pertinent solutions.
This is especially true concerning the pandemic, which fundamentally changed what prospective customers expected of brands and their interactions with them in general. In the end, being relevant shows that your brand is concerned with what its customers want, is ready to adapt to meet that desire, and listens to the feedback it receives based on those changes to continue to give excellent service.
In a time of uncertainty for the future, dependability is an invaluable brand attribute. This trait also further builds trust and credibility for your brand. To reflect dependability, you must provide a consistently good product or service, stay true to your message and mission, and demonstrate excellent customer service.
Seven out of 10 Americans are more motivated to purchase if a brand shows it's working to make the world a better place. Nowadays, consumers want to know that the brands they spend money on are passionate and invested in making social change. They are also more interested in a brand's foundational values and knowing what movements a brand supports or condemns.
Being transparent about your beliefs and commitments to change will pique the interest of and loyalty in a large group of potential consumers.
A confident brand is one that knows its products or services will be of first-rate quality. Confident brands have done the research, zeroed in on their target audience, and can back up every claim they make. To demonstrate brand confidence, be willing to make an impactful brand promise and stick with it in every action you take.
Brand authority establishes that you're an expert in your industry. You keep up or even set the latest trends, know about all aspects of your product or service, and are confident that you will provide an exceptional experience. Developing the brand attribute of authority takes time and, often, a lot of trial and error. It requires facing challenges head-on and demonstrating your brand's ability to be innovative across the board.
It can be hard for brands to stand out against the competition today. Since just about anyone can start a business with a few clicks online, many markets have become oversaturated with competitors. A brand that boasts a truly unique attribute is more likely to survive and impact consumers. The best way to establish your unique trait is to perform competitor analysis and see what they're missing that your brand can solve. Creating unique advantages over competitors, such as affordable prices, can increase consumer awareness and conversions.
This collection of attributes can act as a source of inspiration and a starting point when putting together your brand strategy.
Best Brand Attribute Examples
The world's biggest brands have successfully defined their company attributes and used them to form a brand personality that resonates with consumers. Check out the best brand attribute examples below to see the attribute process in action.
Apple has managed to create an entirely new culture surrounding its products and services.
If any company today has mastered brand attributes, it's Apple. Apple gained a competitive advantage by showcasing a certain lifestyle through its advertising efforts. Those who own iPhones or MacBooks are part of the Apple culture, living in the world of the cutting-edge, the top-notch, and the must-haves. As such, Apple's characteristics can be defined as innovative, relevant, confident, and simplistic.
Take a look at the above Apple ad. The design elements of the ad are simple — there's an image, two sentences, and the recognizable Apple logo in the bottom-left corner. Yet, though this ad may look simple, it speaks volumes about the characteristics that loyal Apple fans know and love.
The word "privacy" is bold and clear, a subject relevant to modern-day consumers worried about their online security while using devices. The sentence that follows shows how confident Apple is that their product offers a solution to the modern-day consumer: "That's iPhone." Their innovative product is now associated with the solution, making them a go-to choice.
Nike defines all of its brand attributes with the three simple words in its slogan.
The phrase "just do it" is linked with Nike and represents everything the company strives to be: bold, empowering, action-oriented, and unforgettable. Nike's products are also seen as dependable, used by some of the world's best athletes. At the same time, many non-athletes simply like wearing Nike shoes and fashion for their up-to-date looks and style.
Moreover, Nike has stood up for many social changes that it believes in over the years. As a result, there has been some controversy surrounding the brand, with some polarized by the causes it supports. Still, Nike has earned loyal customers because of these stances, proving that the attributes of being passionate and completely transparent can be worth it in the long run.
Starbucks has backed many social changes in recent years, reflecting its brand compassion.
As a brand known for its compassion, Starbucks has grown far and beyond a high-quality coffee shop. The company has also focused on becoming much bigger than just the drinks it sells. The brand has come to characterize itself as sophisticated, unique, artistic, and inclusive. It emphasizes the importance of the experience, creating comfortable atmospheres in its stores for people to enjoy its products.
Like Nike, Starbucks also focuses on bigger social issues. In particular, it concentrates on environmental and current social and political issues. The brand aims to be inclusive for all, emphasizing the importance of community. Similar to Nike, Starbucks' choice to take a stance has alienated some from the brand, though it continues unabashedly — another attribute many appreciate.
Rolex has associated its brand with the word "luxury."
When it comes to the attribute of luxury and confidence, Rolex is one of the most successful brands. The company prides itself on its luxurious product and its elegant appeal. The brand emphasizes that those who wear a Rolex watch will be just as cool, confident, and sharp as the brand. This is what makes the brand stand out against its competitors.
Moreover, because Rolex is confident, potential customers trust the brand to offer an unparalleled product in its field. They believe in its brand authority. At the same time, the target market of Rolex is much smaller than that of other well-known brands. Rolex targets high-end customers who can afford luxurious pieces, rather than trying to appeal to an audience of all financial backgrounds. The exclusivity comes with risks, but Rolex averts them by providing a high-quality product every time.
Tesla fosters itself as an innovator in both its brand characteristics and products.
Additional brand attributes include innovation, experimentation, daring, and sophistication. Like Apple and Steve Jobs or Microsoft and Bill Gates, it's another brand that is strongly associated with its founder, Elon Musk. Musk himself is commonly regarded as innovative and daring in his endeavors. Therefore, the brand is a clear reflection of its creator.
When a brand's attributes reflect its founder, it runs certain risks but comes with potential benefits to customers. When consumers like the founder, their characteristics, and what they stand for, they often have strong brand loyalty. However, those who dislike a founder's words or actions can quickly disregard a company's products or services, no matter how good they are.
While these above brands may differ in the specific attributes they display, they all show a determination to stay true to their roots, values, and beliefs — the ultimate must-have for brand attributes.
Brand Attributes and Your Business
Explicitly define your brand attributes. By making them apparent in your product launches, marketing campaigns, and company culture, you can appeal to customers and increase your market share. You can refine your branding strategy, build brand awareness, and develop strong brand loyalty. Moreover, you gain a competitive edge over other brands that haven't taken the time to hone in on their attributes.
You can start establishing your brand attributes by looking at your brand values, mission, and vision and identifying what makes you a brand worth investing in.