Brand Attributes: Definition, List, Examples & More
Updated: 5 days ago
Discover all you need to know about brand attributes from what it is, it’s importance along with examples, list of key attributes and more.
Table of contents:
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What are brand attributes?
Brand attributes are the characteristics and personality traits to describe a brand such as being innovative, trustworthy, modern or premium. This could be both positive and negative traits that consumers would associate with a brand without first thinking of the product or service they provide like McDonald’s being described as fast and convenient. Obviously, brands want to be seen in a positive light, so they work hard in having attributes that are in line with the values and vision of the brand.
These brand attributes can be split up into two categories hard and soft brand attributes.
Hard brand attributes
Hard brand attributes are the tangible characteristics that the brand can control through the business and marketing material they produce like the:
Sounds e.g., music or songs
Soft brand attributes
Soft brand attributes are the personality traits that characterise the brand (intangible qualities) from your audience’s point of view such as:
Brand attributes are often monitored via brand research along with other measures to keep abreast of how the brand is seen by their target audience, so the business can take action accordingly such as messaging in their advertising campaigns.
Brand attributes vs brand personality
There can often be confusion between brand attributes and brand personality being the same thing but they are different.
Brand attributes are the characteristics and features that people would describe a brand without first thinking of the products they sell such as the slogan or being value for money. While brand personality is the human embodiment of the brand that people associate with certain emotions and feelings.
This is where brand’s try to align their attributes with these human-like brand perceptions of the business, where both work in tandem with each other in building an emotional response to purchases.
Importance of brand attributes
The reason why brand attributes are important is well defined and aligned attributes help brands to stand out in the marketplace by showing their unique selling points (USP) like high quality. This helps with positioning of the brand and its portrayal in marketing campaigns amongst their target audience, so in time they can recall the brand better.
It also has a huge bearing on pricing, where these brand attributes show consumers the brand’s core strengths and values in helping to persuade people to be willing to pay the prices of the brand’s products or service. For example, Apple is seen as premium brand compared to other brands like Lenovo, so they can charge more for their products. The knock-on effects are personal recommendations and more revenue.
Brand attribute examples
Examples of brand attributes could be descriptions like sophisticated, innovative, premium, high quality, credible, unique, relevant as well as particular slogans, characters or theme tunes of the brand.
Below are examples of brand attributes of 5 well-known brands to give you an idea of how this is applied in the real world.
This well-known technological brand, known for being a pioneer in producing electronic luxury cars and its founder the famous billionaire Elon Musk can also be described as having the following attributes:
This leading car brand reinforces the message in its advertising campaigns about their cars being well engineered and its high status, the following are more brand attributes of this famous brand:
Starbuck is known for being a compassionate coffee brand worldwide with locations set in comfortable environments, where it’s brand attributes tend to focus on the following including social aspects:
This iconic American motorcycle brand, where its popularity grew in the 90s after regularly appearing in the early Terminator films can be described as having the following brand attributes:
Nike is a well renowned sports brand with one of the most recognisable logos, worn by many famous sporting athletes, where it’s slogan ‘Just do it’ is a message for meeting your challenges whether that is competing or achieving your goals. This message is very much integrated into the marketing of the brand. The brand attributes that Nike is known for are:
Brand attributes list
When setting up your brand attributes, the following are a list of essential elements you need to consider for your business when growing your brand:
Positioning your brand correctly
This is obviously not a brand attribute but is interlinked and you need to take care of how your brand is positioned in the marketplace such as whether it caters for the luxury market or providing value items at low prices. The positioning needs to highlight the unique selling points and be aligned with values of the brand and its mission statement. This is where marketing comes into play in its portrayal of the brand to its target audience but it also has to back it up through the quality of the products, its features, the level of service provided etc.
This is one of the key brand attributes to have, as consumers trust your brand can deliver on its brand promises in providing reliable products and services and knowing they can go to the brand for expert support and advice. So, transparency of business practices, a great knowledge base and being recommended by existing customers particularly from experts and influencers all helps to build a brand’s credibility.
Relevance of a brand comes into play when the business is apprehensive of the wants and needs of its customers, listens to feedback and is able to be flexible in adapting to the requirements of its target audience. This is where a connection is formed between the customer and the brand. If the experience is good then there will be personal recommendations to people with similar needs.
In an overcrowded market, the brand needs to stand out, so this is where the benefits of using the brand need to be highlighted such as value for money, convenience and superior products. Therefore, brand attributes are very much part of that in making the brand unique compared to its competitors especially if it’s satisfying an unfulfilled need of the target audience. This is where research needs to be carried out to monitor and discover new opportunities to exploit.
Having brand authority takes time to build in establishing itself as having expertise in the field and being seen as an innovator rather than a follower in the market in providing a great customer experience (CX). Apple is one such example of being an authoritative brand with its continuous innovations such as the iPad and iPhone when they first came out.
Customer experience of the brand including the product range needs to be consistent in order to establish trust in the brand that it will deliver on its expectations such as Rolex with its extensive range of watches being of the same high level of quality every time. Therefore, demonstrating the attributes of the brand need to be consistent.
It’s important now for a brand to be compassionate where consumers are interested to know what the brand stands for and its stance on social and environmental issues, so it does have some influence on purchases.
Therefore, transparency is key for a brand in emphasising its values and beliefs. For example, The Body Shop is a big advocate against animal testing in the cosmetics industry and offers a product range that is not tested this way.
In the table below is a list of other possible brand attributes that your business could be described as.
Not all attributes are positive below are examples of a list of negative brand attributes:
Determining brand attributes for your business
The following are steps to take in determining the brand attributes for your business:
Step 1: Establish the values of your brand and what it stands for
In establishing the core values of the brand and what it stands for should be integrated in everything your brand does, which is very much the culture of your business and how it effects the target market.
Step 2: Determine how your brand stands out from its competitors
By highlighting the key values and unique selling points of your brand that form the make-up of your brand attributes, you can determine what sets your brand apart from your competition and appeals to potential customers.
Step 3: Highlight the needs of your target audience
So, first of all, you need to build a profile of who your target audience is and find out what their needs and wants are for the market you’re serving as well as their behaviour and attitudes. All this will help you develop buyer personas of your target audience in which your brand can engage with and be relatable.
Step 4: Explore the emotional side of the customer experience
Determine the motivations, challenges and pain points faced by your target audience and explore how your brand can improve their emotional experience to be seen as more empathetic and intuitive to the needs of your customers.
Step 5: Develop a marketing and branding strategy around your brand voice
Once you have established what your brand attributes are, its first demonstrating this to your target audience in the form of ad campaigns with consistent messaging around these attributes in order to raise awareness and attract customers to use it before they can eventually become advocates of the brand depending whether or not they had positive experiences of your products and services.
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