5 Elements of Branding
Applying the principles to Spider-Man
I know the elements of branding can be complicated, and there are a million theories out there. And honestly, most of them are confusing and I think a lot of business owners are just swinging through life shouting out buzzwords that seem correct. Just like my favorite comic book character, Spider-Man, swings through the city fighting crime and just generally being AMAZING! And so I figured I’d throw one more concept out there using web-crawling metaphors that pack a spidey-strength punch. Follow along as we spin a web (sorry for all the spider puns…but not really) of ideas that help create a brand.
1. Brand Identity
The brand identity is what most people think of when they hear “branding”. It’s the logo, the icon, the visual symbol that represents the company. For Spider-Man this would be the following; Red and blue spidey-suit with the web pattern, spider symbol on the front of the costume, his mask. These elements are instantly recognizable in most forms as Spider-Man. You could see a car drive down the road with the red/blue and web design and know instantly that it’s a Spider-Man car!
2. Brand Image
Brand image speaks on what image is portrayed by a brand or product. What do you envision when you think of a particular brand. In Spider-Man’s case it’s super strength, speed, agility, reflexes, coordination, balance and endurance. His super powers are his brand image.
3. Brand Positioning
Brand positioning deals with how your product or service positions itself in the market. Who is the market or target audience? What is your stake of the market equity? For Spider-Man this is incredibly vast, because they’ve relaunched the franchise a few times. So they’re able to capture people in the Baby Boomer era because they grew up with the books originally. The next generation connects because they had more exposure to the human elements of Peter Parker who was a super hero, but also a teenager with regular teenager problems. Spidey now resonates with an even younger generation because of the newest Marvel franchise releases and Tom Holland just generally being the best and most amazing Spider-Man yet.
4. Brand Personality
What’s a brand personality? Well it’s one of the most important parts of creating a brand. It’s the human element of a brand. It’s the combination of feelings and moments that help create the emotional connection between a consumer and a product. And Spider-Man is jam packed with human elements. It’s one of my absolute favorite parts of the Spider-Man story. You’ve got the untimely death of Uncle Ben that drives Peter Parker to becoming a super hero in the first place. There’s Peter’s love and admiration for his Aunt May, now a widower looking after a home and her nephew by herself for the first time. You can relate to Peter’s crush on the literal girl next door, Mary Jane, aka MJ. Dear sweet Pete has a lot going on in his normal teenager life that creates a wonderful story and character even before a single web has been slung in the name of justice!
5. Brand Experience
A brand experience is the end result of the product or service from the consumer’s side of things. It is the way you feel as a result of consuming content, using the product, or enjoying a service. The Spider-Man character resonated with me at a young age because I was an awkward kid, not quite understood, a bit of an outsider, tasked with the monumental journey of life. I had hurdles in adolescence that seemed less daunting because Peter Parker, who is AMAZING and powerful, had problems too. Stan Lee (RIP), had an amazing formula for his characters that allowed people to connect with them on a personal level which hadn’t really been seen before. And branding, at its core, is the emotional connection between a consumer and a product.