Firstly, what is a brand identity? A brand identity is how a company wants the target market to view their business. However, this is often confused with a company’s brand image, which is realistically how the target market thinks and feels about the company and by extension, their products, services and consumer experience.
Whilst analysing the key components of brand identity in 1996, professor Jean-Noël Kapferer created a distinctive theoretical prism for establishing a successful business brand. If followed exactly, the hexagonal prism should create a powerful, enduring and recognisable brand for any business. The aim of the prism’s formula is to enable businesses to build trust with their target market and establish long lasting brand loyalty.
Kapferer- “Strong brands are capable of weaving all aspects [of the prism] into an effective whole in order to create a concise, clear and appealing brand identity”.
The key elements of the Brand Identity Prism
Physique- Kapferer stated that the business’ physique should be considered the basis of the brand. Thus, the physique of the business is how the brand looks. This can be achieved through a brand’s iconography; namely, a memorable symbol or logo. The logo often embodies the services or products the business provides, therefore bringing awareness to the brand by using a familiar image that triggers recognition from not only the target market, but also a larger consumer market. The colour imagery of the logo is also a very important factor in gaining brand recognition. For example, the bright red and yellow of the McDonald’s logo appeals to a younger target market. Combined with incentives to consume the product [small collectible toys with specific meals] and the service the consumer receives [a child’s party or balloon advertisement], McDonald’s, with its primary-coloured logo, successfully attracts the target market by containing a reflection of the market’s interests.
Personality- The brand should always aim to showcase its personality through marketing as well as products. This ensures that the customer’s schema about the company as a whole is well ingrained and has strong positive connotations. Examples of when the company defines its personality may include bold colour palettes, distinctively toned copywriting and evocative brand messaging. This combination should create a personality for the brand that is enduring yet flexible to the consumer’s needs. Therefore, presenting an impression on the consumer that the company is more than happy and willing to meet the market’s demands to the highest possible standard.
Furthermore, the brand’s personality can be portrayed through online marketing. To successfully convey an attractive business online, all platforms should contain motifs that promote the company’s core values, whether they be social, emotional or purely informative. This can then be furthered in communications with the consumer, such as in emails and interactive social media. Some businesses may also opt to create brand deals with celebrities or influencers to promote their products. This gives the company ‘a human face’ with which the target market can relate, therefore increasing a products demand.
Relationship- The relationship the company builds with its consumer is crucial to success and longevity. This can be achieved through post-purchase care warranties and communicational lines of support. In turn, the building of a positive relationship with a customer induces brand loyalty and repeated purchases, as trust and security is established.
Culture- The culture of the business usually stems from how it operates on a day-to-day level. Does it treat all of its employees equally? Does it have ethical and sustainable aims? Perhaps most importantly though, does it resonate with what the consumer feels passionately about? An ideal example of a company that ‘hits the nail on the head’ for this issue is Google. Google is known for its creative work spaces and happy to help attitude. For example, its mission statement on the ‘About Google’ page includes words and phrases such as ‘organise’, ‘universally accessible’ and ‘useful’. Therefore highlighting to its large consumer market that its service promotes ease of use, accommodating varied needs and reliability of the service itself.
The culture of the company may also focus on what type of experience the service provides, whether it be a luxury or practical one. This can often match the culture of the country of origin. For example, companies with a Japanese origin may utilise a Kaizen management model. The Kaizen model promotes continuous improvement, teamwork, elevated employee morale, discipline and quality. Therefore, instead of the innovative approach of Google, Kaizen companies prefer a steady yet successful approach to business culture that is equally as effective.
Reflection- The reflection of the brand identity can be thought of as the stereotypical consumer of the specific product. Targeted marketing to this persona is of great importance also, as the motifs presented within branding must align with the demands of the main consumer to promote sales.
Self image- Self image is the way the consumer feels about themselves after using the product or service. The ideal positive self image may typically be attractive or confident and should be enhanced by the product provided. For example, the L’Oréal hair slogan “Because you’re worth it” may empower the consumer, thus increasing confidence in the product and enhanced self image. The positive connotations the consumer has of the product’s effect may then inspire repeat purchases. Created in 1973, the legendary phrase appears timeless and L’Oréal even claims that ‘80% of women recognise and respond to the positive phrase’, thus making self image a very important part of a brand’s identity.
Why use the Kapferer Brand Identity Prism?
The Kapferer Brand Identity Prism enables businesses to build rapport with a large market of consumers that are not only loyal to the brand, but also support the business’ endorsements and aims. Without establishing a successful brand identity, big businesses could not stand the test of time, with its fluctuating trends and modern demands. The prism allows businesses to effectively build mutual trust and respect with the target market in order to expand both physically and in its widespread reputation with prospective customers also.
If you’re thinking about your brand or considering a rebrand, talk to the team at Leblek. Our Branding & Graphic Design knowledge and experience is on hand and we’re more than happy to help, just contact us today.