A brand identity is different from a brand image. The brand image is the current physical and associated attributes of the brand. A brand identity on the other hand, is the inspirational aspects of the brand. With this in mind, the question is, does your brand identity need to change?
Being flexible and evolving
Brand image should be flexible and evolve whilst the brand identity should be enduring and resonate across individual trends in specific markets. It is critical that your brand team and the individuals involved in the day-to-day management of the brand understand the brand identity.
Planning the brand identity
To understand the brand identity, a process of analysis must be undertaken. Only through following an analytical methodology will a robust strategy be developed that is worthy of corporate investment.
As well as the undertaking a brand identity analysis, you should also consider the brand identity construct or a method of formally managing the process and making sure it is current and up to date.
How to get started?
To conduct a brand identity analysis, the following things should be considered:
Who are your customers and who should your customers be? A process of understanding your customers, why they buy from you, and what the key attributes they associate with your brand are, as well as uncovering the reasons why they don’t sometimes buy from you, is critical in understanding how your brand is understood externally. This can be very powerful and can challenge the internal perception. Customer analysis is best achieved through qualitative research and can be as extensive or limited as time and budget allows.
Understanding the competitors
Understanding your competitors through a systematic analysis of them is critical. It is important that this is an ongoing process and not simply conducted at intervals. Understanding the drivers in the market and what your competitors are doing is fundamental in developing tactical campaigns that can meet these challenges. If you ignore this you will be left flat footed!
Analysing yourself and your brand is key to understanding how the market will understand you. It also gives insight into how you can respond and develop your own position. Some organisations use SWOT analysis to combine the second and third aspect of the brand identity analysis, however, this should be focused on the brand and not on irrelevant environmental attributes that may cloud the issues.
Brand analysis is the starting point
The brand analysis is a fundamental starting point. However, it is important to develop a system that constantly updates and validates your understanding of the wider environmental factors. Through adopting a systematic approach towards brand analysis, you will ensure your brand remains relevant for the current and future operational environment and provides a robust foundation of understanding from which you can make informed decisions.