Brand Identity : Crucial variables that dictate a brand's identity

 | March 04,2014 01:25 pm IST

Brand identity is the configuration of words, images, ideas, and associations that form a consumer's aggregate perception of a brand. The identity is a brand's unique fingerprint that makes it one of a kind.

Brand identity lives entirely in the minds of the consumers. An identity is not what the marketers create but what the consumers perceive has been created.


The two most crucial variables that dictate a brand's identity are: -


1. How a brand is "positioned "within the minds of the consumers and prospects, and
2. What kind of living personality the brand projects into the market place.


Let us try and discuss the above stated crucial variable like "Brand positioning", brand positioning is the strategic genesis of the marketing mix. Freudians might call this as the "ego" of a brand and, like the human ego. It's not created by the individual brand itself, but by how others perceive it. The strategic personality is the set of external qualities of each brand, its public face, which is a direct extension of its positioning.  






Evaluating the Brand Reality

Brands are complex animals that live in their own ecosystems of economical, social, and competitive realities. The most important realities of all are the realities that share with their customers. Evaluating a brand's reality is the first step in creating and managing the optimum identity.


The three realities, which are important, are: -

* Customer's individual reality
* Internal reality
* External reality


1.Customer individual reality
This is basically the attitude carried by the end customers about the brand and its positioning in their minds. This study would reflect the perceptions of the customers and the effectiveness of the various channels of communication with the customers. Individual reality exposes the hidden need and aspiration from the brands, which are articulate and inarticulate in nature.


2.Internal reality
Internal reality is the attitude and the perceptions carried by the internal customers of the company who are in fact the employees, distributors, and dealers. This study reflects the mind frame of the internal customers and how they at each individual level communicate the corporate communication in their individual small ways to the external customers.


3.External realities
This is what we generally call the positioning or the projected image of the brand to the market and its competitors. This study would be reflecting the attitude of the market and its various forces towards the brand and its growth.


The above discussion would lead us to the positioning of the brand in the minds of the internal and external customers. As we know the positioning is not an act but it's a continuous process. Thus now let us analyze another important feature of brand identity and that is brand personality or as we also call it strategic brand personality. This is said so because of the strategic importance of the brand personality to its overall positioning and popularity.


Strategic Brand Personality

While it's difficult to create a brand personality using a purely rational process, there are some steps that can be taken home in on promising directions. Developing a strategic personality should start with a review of all quantitative data and other research that might shed light on the needs, desires, and attitude of the audiences who will judge the brand personality.


The Big Five

Brand personalities can be assessed more definitely through adjective checklists or ratings. Stanford's Jennifer Aaker conducted a research project looking at brand personalities that provides interesting glimpses into the personality of well-known brands. She concluded that the brand personality is mainly influenced by five factors.


These factors are as follows: -
a) Sincerity (down to earth, honest, wholesome, and cheerful)
b) Excitement (daring, spirited, imaginative, and up-to-date)
c) Competence (reliable, intelligent, and successful)
d) Sophistication (upper class and charming)
e) Ruggedness (outdoorsy and tough)


There are seven suggested ways to achieve or to arrive at a strategic brand personality: -


*Weigh the alternatives with a single customer in mind: Strong personalities, whether humans or brands, are most effective when they touch each person as individual. Thus providing a personal touch to the customer care would lead to a successful brand personality and would increase the brand recall in the customers.


*Envision the personality s extending seamlessly from the positioning: The positioning is the base of the brand personality and the personality is the extension of the positioning. It's the power of the synergy and synthesis, the strategic center of the brand identity interwoven with the brand's countenance. The stronger the tie between the positioning and personality, the better the chance that consumers will be hit with the full impact of both.


*Focus personality on a core emotion: Personalities are extricably tied to human emotions. Each of these emotions could be used to help shape the brand's personality, but they could also confused the issue if they were all considered to be the central emotion of the personality. Thus the company should adopt a proper and a focus core emotion to align its products and brand its positioning accordingly.