Branding is the in thing across industries. Organizations are spending millions planning and implementing brand activities. Every now and then new research is being published and various frameworks are being  developed in the attempt to establish different approaches to brand management. Many different branding approaches, concepts, theoretical frameworks and ideas have popped up in the subject and consequently resulted in a wide spectrum of different perspectives on how a brand should be managed. It is almost impossible to see a brand via a single lens. However, experts have classified various branding approaches in seven school of thoughts which more or less covers the entire branding landscape.

An extensive analysis of numerous papers published on brand management led to seven approaches mentioned below. This included 300+ articles from Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of Consumer Research, Harvard Business Review and European Journal of Marketing. Thereby, we can be safe to claim that no matter which framework or model one follows it must have originated via one of the seven approaches mentioned below.

The Seven Branding Approaches are:

  • The economic approach: the brand as part of the traditional marketing mix.
  • The identity approach: the brand as linked to corporate identity.
  • The consumer-based approach: the brand as linked to consumer associations.
  • The personality approach: the brand as a human-like character.
  • The relational approach: the brand as a viable relationship partner.
  • The community approach: the brand as the pivotal point of social interaction.
  • The cultural approach: the brand as part of the broader cultural fabric.

There are multiple theories and model to be followed in the area of brand management with their own school of thought and have been proven to work. Be it Aaker’s brand identity model, Kapferer’s brand prism or Keller’s customer- based brand equity pyramid, all of them will enhance the brand equity of the product or service but may have evolved from different school of thoughts. Though everyone talks about the different models, rarely we find text on the school of thought rather then the actual model in practice. You will find the Brand Asset Valuator Model in many books but you might never come to know the author’s perspective.

The branding approaches are basically seven different school of thoughts towards brand management. Start imagining yourself, have you ever perceived a brand as a human being or something with whom the consumer is in a relationship? The seven approaches armor us with seven different lenses though which you see a brand. And once we start seeing the brand via different perspectives, we can always juggle between different school of thoughts as per conditions and at times create our own approach to best fit the scenario.

We should definitely know the basic thought behind all the approaches but at the same time we should also learn the fact what actually do we mean by an ‘approach’. How will one handle if asked to formulate own approach towards a brand problem?

Read more about how can you formulate your own approach or get to know an existing approach better in our upcoming articles.



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