In a natural attempt to be liked, brands often find themselves in a position where they try to be everything to everyone and, as nice as that seems, it adds no value to the brand equity a brand aims to build.
In its simplest form, a brand is a combination of perceptions associated with that specific brand and it is in this understanding that the importance of having a consistent brand experience is revealed; each contact point (brand extension) either contributes to or detracts from the perception being created or which has already been created.
You may ask why it is important to have a clear and concise brand perception. Well the value is affirmed in the well-known example of Volvo and its association with the word, “safe” – Own a brand adjective in a specific industry and you’ll likely own the sector.
Understandably, such clear brand positioning doesn’t just happen overnight but, as The Cluetrain Manifesto (Locke, Searls, Weinberger & Levine 2009) suggests, companies attempting to position themselves should rather just take a position and then continuously assume that position and reiterate it at every opportunity.
In order to do so effectively, a brand needs to establish a fixed set of associations which it intends to achieve and maintain. A useful model for this exercise is Brand Identity Model (Aaker & Joachimsthaler 2009), which will help you establish the specific set of associations that will form your brand’s identity.
- The brand identity model will help you establish:
- Your brand’s essence
- It’s core identity
- The brand’s extended identity, which takes into consideration how it will be presented in various frameworks (E.g. as a symbol, a product, a personality or an organization)
- The value propositions your brand offers customers on an emotional, functional and self-expressive level.
“If you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything” – Irene Dunne, a truth that can’t ring truer for brands.
See further details on a section of the Aaker Brand Identity Model attached.