Brand attributes and building a competitive advantage

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Brand attributes are features that make up a company's personality. The sad truth is that people do not trust brands 54%. Why? There are many reasons that could be relevant in this regard. If a company identifies and addresses them, it has the potential to win a lot of dedicated customers. To build credibility and trust with your target audience, you need to know how to authentically promote your brand. Use the tips below.  

The attributes of a strong brand distinguish it from the competition. They make the company's offer unique, provide products of the quality that it declares and ensure the highest level of customer service. Well defined brand attributes make it easier to decide which marketing techniques and tools to choose to promote your company's products and services. Targeted marketing activities and sales must be aligned with the brand's values, goals and attributes. 

What are brand attributes?

Brand attributes are simply all adjectives that define the essence of the brand. These are critical features that are associated with it when recipients see its logo, products, or even when they just think about it. These are all the associations that arise during each interaction with the brand. They are the essential part brand strategytherefore, they should be defined before the branding process begins. Why is it so important? Because they dictate how, for example, colors are chosen for logos and other visualizations.  

What distinguishes your brand?

Identify its attributes and increase sales. We will help.

To understand the importance of brand attributes and their contribution to creating memorable and compelling brands, it's important to understand the important difference between products and brands. The product is a purely physical thing, defined by physical attributes. For example, a car is a physical product. It is mainly composed of metal, each wheel has electric parts, motor, etc.

In contrast, a brand is a specific image and name associated with the cars of a specific company and used to distinguish these products from those of the competition. Consequently the brand represents a promise of qualityit submits to consumers. It guarantees that the product will meet certain standards and expectations. At the same time, a brand can also represent a conceptualization of the values that a product embodies. Often it is the brand values that distinguish one product from another and influence the consumer's purchasing decision. 

Brand attributes - definition

Every thing can have its own attribute, that is, a feature that characterizes it, its own property, some essential element. Objects may not have attributes, but in such a situation it is difficult to describe them without common categories that different people understand. So what are brand attributes characterized by? The definition indicates the basic values that define its character, which are the essence of the brand. These are unique features thanks to which we can characterize it. For example, they can be: name, packaging, price, logo, colors. It is thanks to the attributes that consumers recognize the brand and want to come back to it.

In the literature on the subject, they are divided into both instrumental, that is to achieve goals related to the brand, and the resulting ones, e.g. in the form of triggering a specific reaction among consumers. There are many ideas about what brand attributes are. According to Tomasz Adamczyk, these are "physical factors that influence the perception of the brand by consumers on the market", as well as "features and markings that are to distinguish it from others." Subsequent attempts at translation add that they represent the characteristics of the brand and signify its basic nature. Each of the definitions is based on its characteristic features. However, these do not have to be attributes that we can touch. The "non-physical" ones include, among others, the price-value ratio, or also the image of the brand user, which, when properly presented, makes the consumer identify with a given brand.

How to identify brand attributes? 

Regardless of the type of business they run, to help identify brand attributes, every business needs to answer the following questions: 

- Who are you? In branding identity is everything. A strong brand is one that is immediately recognizable in all aspects of communication. 

- What are you doing? The products and services that the company performs should be immediately visible.  

- What makes you better? How do you plan to do this to be better than the competition? This is where the brand needs to identify elements that distinguish its business away from the competition. 

- What's your target market? Who is yours target group? The company's target market should be willing to interact with the brand without having to "feed" with advertisements every day. 

Remember, brand positioning it's not just a logo, website, brochure, design or marketing. Brand attributes affect the whole thing Customer Experience, i.e. customer experience understood as the totality of interactions between him and the company that take place during their relationship. 

Breakdown of brand attributes 

The advantages in the form of a low price or a well-built distribution network are quite easy to duplicate by competitors. Sometimes they may even be better at it. Therefore, brand attributes that are difficult to copy by other companies are more desirable. And at the same time they make it possible gaining a sustainable competitive advantage. Generally, they can be divided into three areas. 

Functional brand attributes 

The functional characteristics of the brand focus on those attributes of the product that make it unique and distinguish it as superior to competing brands. Functional attributes focus on material aspects and benefits that give the product the ability to perform its intended task better and more efficiently than others, thus providing tangible value to consumers. In situations of high consumer involvement, in which product quality is paramount, claims based on functional feature and benefit may be more convincing than those based on the other two types of attributes. In addition, functional attributes are unique aspects of brands as they can be clearly defined and observed. 

Symbolic brand attributes 

Symbolic attributes represent the external strengths and characteristics that a product may possess. Therefore, they are not directly related to the product itself, but rather to the intangible benefits that customers can obtain by using the product. This can be, for example, an improvement in social status or a higher level of self-esteem. The symbolic attributes of a brand are strongly related to its image, and thus to the perception of themselves and other brand users by people using its products.

In general, symbolic attributes have a strong relationship with the concept of brand association, so there is a positive relationship between the number of symbolic attributes a brand has and the likelihood of consumers choosing the brand. The more symbolic attributes a brand has, the more likely it is to trigger positive associations in the minds of customers. As a result, the probability that it will gain a positive assessment in a given purchasing situation increases.

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Empirical brand attributes 

The empirical attributes are those associated with personal experience of clients. They are similar to symbolic attributes because they are also based on immaterial factors. At the same time, however, they are also linked to the extent to which brands as a whole meet the tastes and perceptions of consumers. In fact, the success of any empirical attribute is very subjective and is based on demographic segmentation. Customer Experience Attributes are undoubtedly one of the most powerful attributes influencing a brand's success.  

The importance of brand attributes in image building 

Having a solid set of brand attributes will make it stand out from the competition because of its uniqueness. What benefits will the company gain thanks to them? First, it builds a strong brand identity because it pays attention to it individual and unique features. Secondly, the company is easier to position on the market and develop its unique character. Another benefit is the clear competitive advantage. Other companies are not able to duplicate what the company presents. All this gives her enormous trust of the recipients.  

FROMimage building A reliable company is always useful, especially when introducing a new product or service to the market. Thanks to its attributes, the brand is strongly identified by current and potential customers. This allows it to explore new markets. Strong brand attributes also give it an advantage in product pricing. Being a leader means providing the highest quality products and services. Strong brands generate for the enterprise additional profits, resulting from higher prices of branded products. When customers are convinced of it, they have great trust and faith in a given brand and its promises, they are aware that the right price comes with it. Most importantly, they are willing to pay the price. It is estimated that products bearing a recognizable brand are approximately 40% more expensive than competing non-branded products. 

Brand attributes and consumer behavior

Exposing or even creating unique brand attributes so that they become a source of competitive advantage is one of the basic goals and assumptions of marketing activities and public relations. According to the 80% indications of the respondents during the European Trusted Brands research, a trustworthy brand is the one that primarily offers high-quality products. According to 76% respondents, personal experiences are associated with a strong brand.  

The importance of the brand as an instrument of communication between the company and buyers increases with the need to distinguish the product from competing products. A brand's attributes determine the strength of its identification. A strong brand evokes a number of positive experiences in the consumer - from confidence in the product, through the reduction of the sense of financial risk related to the purchase and risk related to the functioning of the product. They are also associated with psychological factors. When deciding to buy a brand-name item, the consumer feels accepted by the society as well identifies with the values of the brand. Are brand attributes something worth looking at? Considering that the sale of products under well-known brands already 15 years ago grew in Poland more or less 3 times faster than the sale of unbranded products, definitely yes. 

Brand attributes in marketing activities

Marketing has many definitions. According to the American Marketing Association, these are broadly understood activities that involve creating, communicating and delivering products of value to customers or partners. Philip Kotler and Kevin Lane Keller are tasked with recognizing and satisfying human needs. Yet another definition says that marketing is carrying out specific activities aimed at increasing the sale of certain goods.

In a nutshell, it can be said that marketing is not only about selling. Communication, market knowledge, analysis of actions taken and reliable implementation also play a significant role in it brand strategy. The aim of marketing activities is to build relationships with the target group by satisfying their needs and striving to satisfy customers - and at the same time supporting the sale of products or services by influencing the buyer.

Marketing activities can take many forms. However, to be effective, a proper strategy is needed. Marketing activities cannot be carried out blindly. They require careful planning and strategic thinking. The strategy should bring out from the offer what makes the brand unique and better than the competition. Knowing the brand's attributes is essential here. Thanks to them, you can manage your marketing in such a way as to effectively stand out from the competition, reach a wide audience and interest them with your offer.

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Brand attributes are an important part of designing a marketing strategy. These unique, unusual features make the brand unique and thus allow it to stand out from the competition. They make customers willing to identify with a given brand - because they are guided by the same values, its offer is aimed at satisfying their specific needs. Attributes should be kept in mind at every stage of creating a strategy and undertaking specific marketing activities.

How to build a marketing strategy based on attributes? First of all, you should choose specific values that will determine the main features of the brand - e.g. 3 main features plus 2 side ones. Simplicity is the key to success. Focusing on the greatest advantages will help you reach your target audience and build a strong brand awareness in their minds.

Credibility is what counts in creating an attribute-based strategy. When a brand uses values that do not correspond to reality, there is a high risk that customers will quickly sense the falsehood and feel cheated. The consequence will be a decrease in trust in the brand, which may have a negative impact on its image. And let's remember that rebuilding a tarnished image is hard art.

Well-written attributes are a direct basis for creating assumptions about the direction of your marketing activities. They appoint, inter alia, tons of communication with customers.

What to Avoid When Choosing Brand Attributes?

Brand attributes must be unique. You shouldn't duplicate what your competitors are offering. Why? Because only the brand that stands out, is different, specific and unique in its own way, has a chance to be noticed and remembered. Only such a brand can achieve spectacular success on the market.

When creating brand attributes, you should avoid clichés. Common statements and adjectives that any company in the industry can use. Example? A brand from the technology industry will describe its service as "innovative". A cosmetic company that uses natural ingredients will label its products "eco". In turn, the clothing brand will write about "the highest quality materials used". What does this mean for the customer? None! Such attributes will not distinguish the brand with anything special, they will not make it unique, they will not show that it is unique and unique. This is not the point.

When creating brand attributes, the needs of the target group should be put first. What is important from the point of view of customers? What are they willing to pay for? What features will make consumers choose this particular brand and not another - competitive one? Attributes should refer to values important from the point of view of the target group. They should evoke positive associations.

Attributes must match hers brand identity. Identity is the foundation of the company's operations. It defines how the brand wants to be perceived by the environment. Attributes are the pillar of identity. They should perfectly harmonize with its other elements.

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The mistake of creating brand attributes is to focus on the product itself. In the era of great competitiveness, it is difficult to find a unique feature that will distinguish the brand on the market. The key to success is a unique combination of values and taking care of the characteristics of the attributes. A package of benefits works perfectly, i.e. a product plus a service or a product plus some unique experience. The brand that uses the value pack is BMW. The company is not talking about the best engines, great quality or reliable systems. It promotes its products with the slogan "Joy of driving". In this way, it portrays the emotions of driving their cars. It is based on positive emotions and thus creates positive feelings about the brand in the minds of recipients.

How to effectively maintain brand competitiveness?

The guarantee of maintaining a long-term competitive advantage is a well-structured strategy. What assumptions should be included in it?

  1. Customer-value solutions. That is, clear brand DNA, strong identity, etc. This is what defines the brand. It is the foundation of its functioning, it binds it, it is the guarantor of uniform actions. When buying, most consumers are guided by emotions - they pay attention to whether they like a given brand or identify with the values that the brand represents. That is why it is important for the company to be distinctive. She had detailed DNA - strong attributes that would make her unique. Attributes are features important from the point of view of customers, which at the same time define the brand and guarantee its uniqueness.
  • Actions aimed at unused, forgotten areas. At this point, it is very important to define what the customers expect and what is important to them. The goal is to meet the needs of customers.
  • Communication diagram. Authentic communication and maintaining lasting relationships with customers is an important element in building a competitive advantage. The language and form of communication should be based on brand attributes - for example, if a brand describes itself as a "good friend", it should maintain a "buddy" tone of communication.
  • Original forms of marketing. Basing marketing on the mission, vision and brand attributes, and at the same time reaching for unconventional forms that will effectively interest recipients - e.g. using viral ads humorous tinted by a brand that makes it funny.

All activities undertaken as part of the strategy aimed at building and maintaining competitiveness must be coherent, thought-out, in line with the idea and mission of the brand. All steps should be based on the brand's attributes. Referring to these unique values in every point of the company's operation will emphasize its expressive, unique character.

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