When it comes to storytelling, there are seven universal plots that have stood the test of time—for example rags-to-riches and voyage-and-return. When it comes to branding, brand expert Mark Di Somma says there are, in fact, at least 21 universal types. Promotional Consultant Today kicks off this three-part series on brand categories.

1. Personal brand – An individual or personal brand is one that a person builds around themselves, typically to enhance their professional status and career positioning. What do you wish for people to associate with you when they think of your name? Is there a certain subject matter in which you want to be perceived as an expert or are there general qualities you want linked to your brand? Once you understand how you wish your brand to be perceived, you can start to be much more strategic about your personal brand.

2. Product brand – A product brand is how a product interacts with its consumer audience through design, logo and messaging. Product brand elevates the perceptions of commodities/goods so that they are associated with ideas and emotions that exceed functional capability.

3. Service brand – Similar to product brands, service brands involve adding perceived value to services. This is more difficult in some ways than developing a product brand, because the offering itself is less tangible. Marketers will avoid competing skill vs skill with competitors (which is hard to prove and often is reduced to a price argument) and instead associate the brand with emotions.

4. Corporate brand – A corporate brand stems from a brand promise—the reassurance to customers that a corporate brand will potentially stick behind assets and capabilities, people, values and priorities, a local or global frame of reference, a performance record, a deliverable.

5. Investor brand – This is normally applied to publicly listed brands and to the investor relations function. Investor brand positions the listed entity as an investment and as a performance stock, blending financials and strategy with aspects such as value proposition, purpose and an increasingly wider reputation.

6. Nonprofit brand – Many nonprofits continue to use their brands primarily as a fundraising tool, but a growing number of nonprofits are developing a broader and more strategic approach, managing their brands to create greater social impact and tighter organizational cohesion.

7. Government brand – This type of branding is designed to present a unified and consistent visual image to the public. It is important that the public is easily able to recognize the work of government, departments, their agencies. This type of branding is especially important for government organizations who compete with the private sector for workers.

Read about seven more types of brands in tomorrow's issue of PCT.

Source: For more than 20 years Mark Di Somma has helped senior decision makers, brand owners and brand agencies define, articulate and elevate the value of their brands. A thought leader in the discipline of brand strategy, his expertise lies in helping brands address and resolve complex business and marketing issues in order to become even more competitive.