Jean-NoëlKapferer is the brand management consultant who has coined the term brandidenitity for the first time.
Everything from the logo, trademarks, taglines, andcommunications to visual appearance is included in the brand identity. Basically,brand identity is the expression of the brand through various means. Aakerdefines brand identity as “A set of associations the brand strategist seek tocreate or maintain.”The brandidentity helps a brand to differentiate itself from the competitors. The brandidentity showcases the purpose for which brand stands for and how brandenvisions its future. Brand identity just like human beings should be uniqueotherwise the brand can get lost in the ocean of the other brands. Brandidentity is not a thing for short period.
It should be something which can staythere for ages. Brand identity is a concept which stays for a long time withthe brand, hence, it is really critical that it is defined correctly. If thebrand identity is unclear it leads to confusion regarding the brand. While ifthe identity is clear, well defined and unique, it can lead to a strong andcomprehensible brand. Brand identityis different than the brand image, as the brand image is related to the targetaudience or the customers while the brand identity is related to the companyitself. Brand identity is created through managerial activites by strategistsof the company while the brand image is created through what the customersperceive.
We can look at it in this way: Brand identity is the message that thecompany sends while the brand image is how the customer decodes that message.Kapferer gave the brand identity prsim as shown in the figure below: Physique is the bunch ofphysical attributes of the brand that comes to the minds of the customers. Thephysique includes the logo of the brand, colours, packaging of the product orthe product itself. Shape of a particular bottle defines the soft drink.Specific colours also define the brand. Blue colour is associated with theFacebook, red and white colour is associated with coca cola etc. For example, whenwe think about Apple smart phones, we think about slim and slick lookingphones. That is the physique with which we associate Apple with.
It is thebrand identity that apple carries.Personality is somethingthat gives the brand a character. This character is created or it gets createdby the customers. A brand, just like a human being, also possess some personalitytraits. A person would always use a brand which matches with his/herpersonality traits. The brands personality can be communicated through thebrand ambassador.
The selection of the brand ambassador should be doneappropriately so that it can convey the brand personality clearly. For example,in India, Virat Kohli is the brand ambassador of Adidas, which matches with hispersonality.Culture is like a linkbetween the brand and the organization of its origin. Each brand represent someor the other culture. The culture of the customers play a vital role while theyare selecting a particular product. How much a person associates himself with aculture decides his choice.
For example, brands like FabIndia or Patanjalishowcase Indian culture. A brand like Mercedes, represents the German culture.How fast and well a foreign brand can adapt to a particular culture andshowcase that in their communication also decides the success of the brand. Forexample, McDonalds in India has modified its menu to match the taste of theIndian consumers. People don’t perceive it to be an alien brand now. Relationship can bebetween the brand and the customer. A brand can also show a relationshipbetween two people for example, mother and daughter, brother and sister,husband and wife etc. A brand manager carefully depicts the relationshipbetween two characters to enhance the brand identity.
For example, Dettol usesa relationship between the mother and the child to showcase the caring natureassociated with the brand. Brand like Maggi has also used relationships likebetween mother and son, brother and sister etc to generate brand identity.Reflection indicates whichsegment of the target group reflects the brand. For example, the Levi’s jeanspromotes its raw look and its ruggedness.
Any individual who can relate to thatwill purchase that product. However, it is not always necessary that only thosepeople who can associate with such attributes will buy Levi’s jeans. A personwho doesn’t have anything to do with adventures can also for some reason buy aLevi’s jean however, he does not reflect the brand. Hence, the reflection of abrand usually comes from a particular segment of the customer base. Self-Image defines how theuser interprets himself in regards with the brand. Every brand gives some orthe other feeling to a person and that helps in creating the self-image of theconsumer. For example, a person driving a Mercedes Benz will have a self-imagethat he is successful.
Similarly, Apple I-Phone user would like to think he issuccessful and rich because of the brand identity of Apple. A person using Nikeshoes will form a self-image about himself that he is an athletic person. Self-imagedoesn’t have to be a reality. It is what the customer thinks of himself it isnot necessary that it is always true. The brand identity should be formed insuch a way that the self-image that it creates on the customer is satisfactoryand pleasant. All these sidesof the JNK brand prism are interrelated.
They can’t be looked at in isolation.All the facets should complement each other to form a strong coherent brand. Ithelps the brand managers to understand where the brand is lagging behind andthe strengths which they can leverage to leave a long lasting impression on consumer’smind.