In order to avoid possible mistakes in managing your brand there is a need to clarify and identify some of the main brand and branding terms.
When analyzing your current brand situation there are three elements that should be taken in consideration:
- A. Where is your brand at the moment? – how’s your brand perceived by your audience. Where you stand in the eyes and minds of your stakeholders. This is your Brand Image.
- B. Where do you want it to be? how do you want it to be perceived. There might be some surprises in making the differences between how you wish your brand to be perceived and how it is actually happening. And this is Brand Identity.
- C. What are you communicating? What are you actually doing to move from point A to point B. What part of your brand identity you actually communicate to your audience. What is the value you communicate, how do you do it. How do you translate your identity into valuable propositions for your audience. And this is Brand Position.
We should keep in mind that the target audience for your brand should be either your current customers or potential new ones, your employees, your partners etc. You should carefully consider appropriate ways to communicate with each of them in order to have a message that converge to your brand identity.
Since you have to start with the final purpose in mind you should, first of all, correctly have a clear vision of what do you want your brand to be. How do you want it to be perceived? Defining a brand identity should be step one. In his “Building Strong Brands” book, David A. Aaker identifies four traps you can get into when you approach the development of the brand identity:
1. The Brand Image Trap
The brand image trap comes up when the brand image becomes the brand identity rather than just one input to be considered. Creating a brand identity is more than finding out what customers say they want. It must also reflect the soul and vision of the brand, what it hopes to achieve. While brand image is usually passive and looks to the past, brand identity should be active and look to the future.
2. The Brand position trap
The brand position trap occurs when the search for a brand identity becomes a search for a brand position, stimulated by a practical need to provide objectives to those developing the communication programs. The goal then becomes an advertising tag line rather than a brand identity. There is a need for a rich and complete understanding of what the brand stands for in order to create an identity.
3. The external perspective trap
Most of the brand strategists position the brand identity creation as an entirely external oriented process, something that gets the customers to buy. The external perspective trap occurs when firms fail to realize the role that a brand identity can play in helping an organization understand its basic values and purpose.t is hard to expect employees to make a vision happen if they do not understand and buy into that vision.
4. The product-attribute fixation trap
A brand is clearly more than a product or a service. Focusing your entire strategy and brand identity on the attributes of your product is an erroneous strategy, especially on a long-term.