Brand identity (Trigger 3)

How to transform a brand identity in order to maximize profits?

Learning objectives:

  1. What is branding/brand identity/brand image?

  2. Methods of branding, brand identity models.

  3. Good, bad examples.


So here are my findings:

1. What is branding/brand identity/brand image?

Branding is the marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other. Basically, brand is company’s promise to its customer. It tells them what they can expect from company’s products and services, and it differentiates company’s products from that of their competitors. The brand is derived from who you the company is, who they want to be and who people perceive them to be.

The foundation of any brand is a logo. Website,packaging and promotional materials- all of which should integrate the same logo – communicate the brand. The brand strategy is how, what, where, when and to whom company plans on communicating and delivering on your brand messages. Where company decides to advertise is part of their brand strategy. Distribution channels, what you communicate visually and verbally is part of the brand strategy, too. Consistent, strategic branding leads to a strong brand equity, which means the added value brought to company’s products or services that allows them to charge more for their brand than what identical, unbranded products command.  For example, Nike associates its products with star athletes, hoping customers will transfer their emotional attachment from the athlete to the product. For Nike, it’s not just the shoe’s features that sell the shoe. (Source)

Marketing VS Branding

Sometimes, it is difficult to distinguish marketing and branding, so here I found a good article explaining the difference between these two concepts.

“Marketing is aimed to actively promote a product or service. It’s a push tactic. It’s pushing out a message to get sales results:“Buy our product because it’s better than theirs.” (Or because it’s cool, or because this celebrity likes it, or because you have this problem and this thing will fix it, etc.) This is oversimplification, but that’s it in a nutshell.”

Branding is not push, but pull. Branding is the expression of the essential truth or value of an organization, product, or service. It is communication of characteristics, values, and attributes that clarify what this particular brand is and is not.

A brand will help encourage someone to buy a product, and it directly supports whatever sales or marketing activities are in play, but the brand does not explicitly say “buy me.” Instead, it says “This is what I am. This is why I exist. If you agree, if you like me, you can buy me, support me, and recommend me to your friends.”

So we can say that branding is strategic concept, while marketing is tactical.

Marketing contributes to a brand, but the brand is bigger than any marketing effort. The brand is what remains after the marketing strategy changes. It’s what sticks in your mind associated with a product, service, or organization—whether or not, at that particular moment, you bought or did not buy.

The brand is ultimately what determines if you will become a loyal customer or not. The marketing may convince you to buy a particular Toyota, and maybe it’s the first foreign car you ever owned, but it is the brand that will determine if you will only buy Toyotas for the rest of your life.

The brand is built from many things. Very important among these things is the lived experience of the brand. Did that car deliver on its brand promise of reliability? Did the maker continue to uphold the quality standards that made them what they are? Did the sales guy or the service center mechanic know what they were talking about?

Basically, brand is the relationship between an organization and an audience. Consistency allows your audience to build a memory structure around who you are and what value you have to offer.This memory structure becomes the identity of your organization.

2. Methods of branding, brand identity models.

Here are a few simple, time-tested tips for branding:

Get a great logo. Place it everywhere.

Write down your brand messaging. What are the key messages you want to communicate about your brand? Every employee should be aware of your brand attributes.

Integrate your brand. Branding extends to every aspect of your business–how you answer your phones, what you or your salespeople wear on sales calls, your e-mail signature, everything.

Create a “voice” for your company that reflects your brand.This voice should be applied to all written communication and incorporated in the visual imagery of all materials, online and off.

Develop a tagline. Write a memorable, meaningful and concise statement that captures the essence of your brand.

Design templates and create brand standards for your marketing materials. Use the same color scheme, logo placement, look and feel throughout. You don’t need to be fancy, just consistent.

Be true to your brand. Customers won’t return to you–or refer you to someone else–if you don’t deliver on your brand promise.

Be consistent. This tip involves all the above and is the most important tip on this list. If you can’t do this, your attempts at establishing a brand will fail.

Brand identity models

There are many different brand identity models:

  1. The Birgkigt & Stadler model shows the relationship between organization’s self-presentation (the desired image) and its perceived identity (image). Basically, the image is the reflection of an organization’s identity. Three elements (outer circle) form the organization’s personality. Using this models, managers can get insight into the balance between the organization’s identity and the image that it creates among different target groups.
  2. Swedish Research (Gromark, Asvik & Melin – 2005) states that brand-oriented organizations are more profitable. By using 8 factors, the research makes distinction between 4 types of organizations, based on the extent to which they place the emphasis internal or external focus when developing their brand.
    1. Sceptics – brand as logo: when corporate brand in nothing more than a trade name and actually remains unused
    2. Salesmen –the brand is a sales tool: when a brand is used mainly as a tactical sales instrument
    3. Educators – the brand as internal socialisation mechanism: companies that see a strong connection between a strong corporate culture and a strong corporate brand
    4. Leaders – the brand as a central philosophy for the organization: giving priority to the corporate brand and using it as a philosophy, departure point, support etc. in the performance of all activities.
  3. Aaker views brand equity as a set of five categories of brand assets and liabilitieslinked to a brand that add to or subtract from the value provided by a product or service to a firm and/or to that firm’s customers.These categories of brand assets are:
    1. Brand loyalty
    2. Brand awareness
    3. Perceived quality
    4. Brand associations
    5. Other proprietary assets such as patents, trademarks, and channel relationships.

    As per Aaker, brand identity consists of 12 dimensions organized around 4 perspectives:

    Brand loyaltyBrand awareness

    1. Brand-as-product (product scope, product attributes, quality/value, uses, users, country of origin)
    2. Brand-as-organization (organizational attributes, local versus global)
    3. Brand-as-person (brand personality, brand-customer relationships)
    4. Brand-as-symbol (visual imagery/metaphors and brand heritage).

Good/Bad examples:

  1. Subway. There was a great year for female empowerment. Unless you were Subway, in which case you told women to eat right so they’d be sexier in their sexy Halloween costumes. The ad was pulled from YouTube.
  2. Victoria’s Secret. Leave it to Victoria’s Secret to completely ignore the advertising trend toward Dove-style “real beauty” and instead launch a campaign all about “The Perfect Body.” After widespread backlash, it changed the theme to “A Body for Every Body.”victorias-secret-perfect-body-hed-2014_0
  3. Urban Outfitters. This time, the provocative clothing store decided to sell a “vintage” Kent State University sweatshirt featuring fake blood splatters. (Four students died at Kent State during an anti-war protests in 1970.) The brand apologized, but claimed the sweatshirt was just “part of our sun-faded vintage collection” and the red marks weren’t supposed to look like blood.kent-state-sweatshirt-hed-2014

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