Jean-Noël
Kapferer is the brand management consultant who has coined the term brand
idenitity for the first time. Everything from the logo, trademarks, taglines, and
communications to visual appearance is included in the brand identity. Basically,
brand identity is the expression of the brand through various means. Aaker
defines brand identity as “A set of associations the brand strategist seek to
create or maintain.”

The brand
identity helps a brand to differentiate itself from the competitors. The brand
identity showcases the purpose for which brand stands for and how brand
envisions its future. Brand identity just like human beings should be unique
otherwise the brand can get lost in the ocean of the other brands. Brand
identity is not a thing for short period. It should be something which can stay
there for ages. Brand identity is a concept which stays for a long time with
the brand, hence, it is really critical that it is defined correctly. If the
brand identity is unclear it leads to confusion regarding the brand. While if
the identity is clear, well defined and unique, it can lead to a strong and
comprehensible brand.

Brand identity
is different than the brand image, as the brand image is related to the target
audience or the customers while the brand identity is related to the company
itself. Brand identity is created through managerial activites by strategists
of the company while the brand image is created through what the customers
perceive. We can look at it in this way: Brand identity is the message that the
company 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 of
physical attributes of the brand that comes to the minds of the customers. The
physique includes the logo of the brand, colours, packaging of the product or
the product itself. Shape of a particular bottle defines the soft drink.
Specific colours also define the brand. Blue colour is associated with the
Facebook, red and white colour is associated with coca cola etc. For example, when
we think about Apple smart phones, we think about slim and slick looking
phones. That is the physique with which we associate Apple with. It is the
brand identity that apple carries.

Personality is something
that gives the brand a character. This character is created or it gets created
by the customers. A brand, just like a human being, also possess some personality
traits. A person would always use a brand which matches with his/her
personality traits. The brands personality can be communicated through the
brand ambassador. The selection of the brand ambassador should be done
appropriately so that it can convey the brand personality clearly. For example,
in India, Virat Kohli is the brand ambassador of Adidas, which matches with his
personality.

Culture is like a link
between the brand and the organization of its origin. Each brand represent some
or the other culture. The culture of the customers play a vital role while they
are selecting a particular product. How much a person associates himself with a
culture decides his choice. For example, brands like FabIndia or Patanjali
showcase Indian culture. A brand like Mercedes, represents the German culture.
How fast and well a foreign brand can adapt to a particular culture and
showcase that in their communication also decides the success of the brand. For
example, McDonalds in India has modified its menu to match the taste of the
Indian consumers. People don’t perceive it to be an alien brand now.

Relationship can be
between the brand and the customer. A brand can also show a relationship
between two people for example, mother and daughter, brother and sister,
husband and wife etc. A brand manager carefully depicts the relationship
between two characters to enhance the brand identity. For example, Dettol uses
a relationship between the mother and the child to showcase the caring nature
associated with the brand. Brand like Maggi has also used relationships like
between mother and son, brother and sister etc to generate brand identity.

Reflection indicates which
segment of the target group reflects the brand. For example, the Levi’s jeans
promotes its raw look and its ruggedness. Any individual who can relate to that
will purchase that product. However, it is not always necessary that only those
people who can associate with such attributes will buy Levi’s jeans. A person
who doesn’t have anything to do with adventures can also for some reason buy a
Levi’s jean however, he does not reflect the brand. Hence, the reflection of a
brand usually comes from a particular segment of the customer base.

Self-Image defines how the
user interprets himself in regards with the brand. Every brand gives some or
the other feeling to a person and that helps in creating the self-image of the
consumer. For example, a person driving a Mercedes Benz will have a self-image
that he is successful. Similarly, Apple I-Phone user would like to think he is
successful and rich because of the brand identity of Apple. A person using Nike
shoes will form a self-image about himself that he is an athletic person. Self-image
doesn’t have to be a reality. It is what the customer thinks of himself it is
not necessary that it is always true. The brand identity should be formed in
such a way that the self-image that it creates on the customer is satisfactory
and pleasant.

All these sides
of 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. It
helps the brand managers to understand where the brand is lagging behind and
the strengths which they can leverage to leave a long lasting impression on consumer’s
mind.