Your brand is more than your logo, name or slogan—it's the entire experience your prospects and customers have with your company, product or service. That's why it's important to understand the type of brand you are promoting. By understanding the strategy behind your brand, you can be more precise in both your positioning and messaging.

Today, Promotional Consultant Today wraps up our three-part series on brand types with these brand categories as identified by brand expert Mark Di Somma.

1. Generic brand – This is a brand you become when you lose distinctiveness. It can take one of three forms. The first is specific to healthcare and alludes to those brands that have fallen out of patent protection and now face competition from a raft of same-ingredient imitators known as generics. The second form of generic brand is the brand where the name has become ubiquitous and in so doing has passed into common language as a verb—such as "Google" information or "Xerox" a document. The third form is the unbranded, unlabeled product that has a functional description for a name but no brand value at all.

2. Challenger brand – This type of brand challenges other brands by being unique and different-a market disruptor. Uber and Snapchat are great examples of challenger brands.

3. Luxury brand – Prestige brands deliver social status and endorsement to the consumer. Luxury brands must negotiate the fine line between exclusivity and reality. They do this through quality, association and story. These brands have perfected the delivery of image and aspiration to their markets, yet they remain vulnerable to shifts in perception and consumer confidence, and they are under increasing pressure from "affordable luxury" brands.

4. Cult brand – These brands revolve around communities of fierce advocates. Like the challenger brands, these brands often pick fights with "enemies" that can range from other companies to ideas, but pure-play cult brands take their cues from their own passions and obsessions rather than the market or their rivals. They tend to have followers rather than customers, they set the rules and ask people to comply and, if they market at all, they do so in ways where people come to them rather than the other way around. In-and-Out Burger and Southwest Airlines could be considered "cult" brands.

5. Clean slate brand – These are fast-moving, unproven, even unknown brands that don't rely on the heritage and history that are so much a part of mainstream brand strategy. These brands feed consumers' wish for the new and the timely.

6. Private brand – This one is otherwise known as private label. Traditionally, these are value-based, OEM-sourced retail offerings that seek to undercut the asking price of name brands. They focus on price.

7. Employer brand – This is the ability of a company to attract high-quality staff in much-touted competitive markets. These brands focus on the recruiting process though it is sometimes expanded to include the development of a healthy and productive culture. Think of companies with the reputation of "the greatest places to work."

So there you have it—21 brand categories to consider when launching and positioning your next brand.

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, Di Somma's expertise lies in helping brands address and resolve complex business and marketing issues in order to become even more competitive.