Know and Avoid the Brand Identity Traps

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: Continue reading

How to Protect Your Brand Identity on Social Media?

Whether you are a start-up or an already established business, you need to take necessary precautions to protect your brand identity. Due to extreme popularity that social media has received, businesses are utilizing the power of this medium for their personal benefit. However, with benefits, there are some disadvantages as well, such as people will try to distort the image of your business by creating fake pages on social networking sites. So, protecting your brand identity on social media is crucial.

We will now discuss some important elements that will allow you to save your brand identity from getting distorted by frauds and cheats.

First Thing First – Create Your Presence:

The first thing you need to do is to create your presence. Find the most famous sites and create your accounts there. For example: Facebook, YouTube, Digg, etc. You can easily get a list of some of the most famous social media sites. After you create your account, you need to personalize your profile with your company information.

Logo Design plays a crucial role in building your brand image. Thus, it must be on every profile page that you create on all different websites. You need to also mention your contact details, so potential clients or interested people may contact you.

Create Personal Pages and Videos:
After you sign-up and upload your logo along with necessary details about your business, you should now work on creating personalized business pages and videos. This will enable you to represent and promote your business and products. Plus, who is better than you to represent your business?

If you create a Fan Page, make sure you mention that it’s the official fan page of your business. This is what other businesses do as well to stand-out from fake pages created by competitors or other people to distort your business image.

Start Adding People to Your Network:
The next thing you should do is to start expanding your network by adding people, especially from your own industry. Start interacting with them and avoid posting excessive marketing and promotional material and discount offers. The first thing you need to do is to win the trust of your network. Only then it will be right to promote your products.

You Have Now Created Your Presence on Social Media:

After following the steps mentioned above, you will be able to create your presence on social media effectively. Plus, all the information about your business will be authentic because it will be posted by you.

It’s Time You Search for Thugs and Frauds:

Once your presence is created, it’s time you start searching for frauds, cheats and thugs who are planning to distort your business image by creating unethical pages and creating wrong videos in your name.

At least once a week, you should visit all the social media sites where you have created your presence and search for information about your company posted by others.
Let’s say you come across a fake fan page, you will be able to report it and it will be removed. So, this is an ongoing process where you will have to create your presence and search for cheats who are trying to destroy your brand identity.

This is a Guest Post by Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson is the Alliance Manager at Logoinn, a custom logo design company. He writes about the effect of design on marketing and brand identity and helps small businesses find design solutions for effective marketing.

BBC on Brands and Slogans

Brand identity is something all companies worry about. One way companies are trying to attract and retain our attention is through memorable corporate slogans.

These catchphrases are designed to sum up the essence of a business in a way that will stick in the mind and trip off the tongue.

Marketing professionals say a corporate slogan must be concise and distinctive, encapsulating a basic “promise” to a company’s users.

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Corporate Branding vs. Product Branding

Product branding is a well-known phenomenon in marketing. A brand is a promise to the customer that goes beyond the generic product, the technical and physical attributes. When selling a branded product the company promises that the consumer will achieve special qualities by using the product, different qualities than when using a similar non branded or different branded product. A typical message from the company is “when using this product you will be more attracted, become better looking and signal a higher social class“. By using the branded product the consumer can communicate his/her lifestyle or wanted lifestyle.

On the other side corporate branding refers to the practice of using a company’s name as a product brand name. It is an attempt to leverage corporate brand equity to create product brand recognition. It is a type of family branding or umbrella brand.

Martin Roll, author of Asian Brand Strategy : How Asia Builds Strong Brands has an interesting view on corporate branding:

Corporate branding employs the same methodology and toolbox used in product branding, but it also elevates the approach a step further into the board room, where additional issues around stakeholder relations (shareholders, media, competitors, governments and many others) can help the corporation benefit from a strong and well-managed corporate branding strategy. Not surprisingly, a strong and comprehensive corporate branding strategy requires a high level of personal attention and commitment from the CEO and the senior management to become fully effective and meet the objectives.

Among the advantages of a corporate branding strategy we can count:

  1. the corporate brand is the face of the business strategy, portraying what the corporation aims at doing and what it wants to be known for in the market place, is the overall umbrella for the corporations’ activities and encapsulates its vision, values, personality, positioning and image among many other dimensions.
  2. corporate branding strategy creates simplicity; it stands on top of the brand portfolio as the ultimate identifier of the corporation.
  3. a coporate branding strategy can drive some cost efficiencies that can often be achieved as opposed to a large multi-brand architecture where the corporate brand plays a smaller or insignificant role.

On the other side among main disadvantages of this strategy is that products may not be treated individually, which reduces the focus on the products’ unique characteristics or that the corporate name can become synonymous with a product category

Three different strategies can be approached for corporate branding:

Branded identity is when a company uses different brands for their products that function independent from each other and the company’s brand. The strength of this strategy is the flexibility. The company can build different brands in different marked segments and for different products. If a brand is involved in a scandal it will only damage that brand, and will not hurt the other brands of the company.

Endorsed brand identity is when an organisation has a group of products or companies that it endorses with a group name and a common identity. The strength of this approach lies in the relationship of the products/companies, they can benefit from the goodwill given to others with the same common identity.

Monolithic brand identity is when a company uses only one name and one visual style for all it products. The strength is the simplicity and the potential for growth. The weakness is that one happening; one scandal can cause severe damage even to big strong brands.

Brand Extension – 4 Steps Strategy

I mentioned here before the major types of brands extensions as well as basic principles to consider before running into a brand extensions process.

Most companies know how to extend their brands by leveraging organizational competencies and determining unmet customer needs. However, surprisingly few have a strategic approach briefing in place to ensure that potential new product areas are consistent with a brand’s identity. Even an outstanding new product concept, satisfying a significant unmet customer need, will not succeed in the market if it is launched under the wrong brand identity.

Here is a four-step road map to make sure that future new products or services complement, or better, enhance the current equities of the brand.

1. Determine brand and category associations.

The first step in determining brand relevance is to begin with a comprehensive assessment of what your brand and those of key competitors in the category currently stand for in the minds of customers.

Even an outstanding new product concept, satisfying a significant unmet customer need, will not succeed in the market if it is launched under a brand identity for which it is a poor fit. The foundation of this assessment is qualitative customer research (e.g., focus groups and in-depth interviews), which provides the richness and depth of response needed to construct an accurate portrait of your brand and the category. The research should focus on uncovering the key associations customers link to the brand and competitive brands in the categories (e.g., product or service features, functional, emotional, and self-expressive benefits, and personality).

2. Develop brand extendibility proxies.

Once the six to eight key associations have been identified for the brand and category, proxies should be carefully chosen for each one. To accomplish this, turn each association into a continuum of attributes and benefits that range from “close in” to “far out” relative to where customers perceive the brand to be today.

This continuum begins with a proxy that’s relatively close in and ends with one that is a significant stretch from how customers perceive the brand today, with several points in between. It’s important to remember that these proxies were strategically chosen to represent distinct points on a continuum. The proxies chosen may or may not represent good new product opportunities for the brand (i.e., customer unmet needs). What’s more important at this point is that they provide the basis for rich conversations with customers as to how the brand can and cannot be extended in the future (i.e., brand relevance).

3. Conduct brand extendibility research.

Once brand and category associations have been determined and representative proxies selected, it is imperative to go back to customers to solicit their input.

A variety of stimuli can be used for the chosen proxies to facilitate brand extendibility research discussions, including white paper concepts, representative images, and actual products or prototypes. During focus group customers are asked for their opinion as to how well each product, service, feature, or benefit fits with the brand in question.

Once again, it’s important to remember that we are mostly interested in understanding customer rationales for why something does or does not fit with the brand.

4. Create brand extendibility guidelines.

The final step of this approach is to take the insights obtained in the previous step’s customer research and develop guidelines detailing how the brand can and cannot be effectively extended. Customer feedback (i.e., which proxies are in, which are out, and the reasons why) needs to be interpreted and translated into guidelines for extendibility.

Once an adequate number of guidelines has been established, it’s helpful to prioritize them because they won’t all be of equal importance. One way to think about this is to establish several guidelines that are imperatives. What this means is that unless a potential new product or service opportunity satisfies these guidelines, it should not be considered for marketplace introduction. Other guidelines would be deemed important but not mandatory. In other words, if a potential new product or service opportunity satisfies this guideline, it should be considered favorable.

Read more on the subject, from

Brand Extensions: Keys to success in international marketing

Brand Stretch: Why 1 in 2 extensions fail, and how to beat the odds: A brandgym workout

5 Dimensions of Brand Identity

Brand identity is composed of various shares that trigger particular responses in consumers in addition to filling the afore-mentioned functions. These shares build on one another; the more shares a brand has, the stronger and more positive the relationship with consumers.


At the very lowest level, mind share must be created in the consumer consciousness (cognitive level). This means that, as a complex perceptual and conceptual construct, the brand evokes an internal neural representation in the minds of consumers, leaving behind certain brand impressions.


This refers to the emotional relationship a consumer should develop with a brand. Heart share is less a matter of a product’s functional utility and more a matter of its symbolic attributes. The buyer of a Ferrari, for instance, will not develop an affection for the car based purely on functional attributes, but rather as a result of the values associated with the brand and the brand environment it operates in.

Buying intentions

Brand identity must trigger a buying intention share in consumers. After all, despite the importance of a brand’s mind and heart share, it only makes sense for a supplier to invest in brand identity if consumers will also want to buy the brand.


Brand identity contributes to self share, which means that the brand functions as a manifestation of the self, a tangible expression of self-image within the social environment. In this context, brands serve self-expression and self-design purposes, differentiating the individual within the social group. Brands can easily serve similar ends in the realm of business-to-business, where they bolster self-image in terms of a company and its functions.


Here, the brand shares in the existential search for meaning conducted by a consumer in a world enlightened to the point of meaning-lessness and takes on a virtually religious character. This aspect sheds light on the cultural-sociological proposition that brand management is worshiping the customer. Brands allow consumers to achieve social position or status, to partake of cultural expression, to create mythology and shape meaning, and as a result, to weave themselves into the social and metaphysical fabric of the world. In this context, a loyal customer is a member of a community and an individual loyal to that community not just a customer who makes repeat purchases. A brand is a tool for building a sense of community and belonging, for building the community itself.

Branding’s “Periodic” Table

Talking about elements in the previous post just sent me straight to a nice visual periodic table of brand elements. It is bassically a small branding glossary and here are some quotes out of it:

20 – Brand Evolution – Adapting a brand to align a company’s promise, or value proposition, with its growth over time; a company’s brand must reflect its current position to ensure that it keeps its promises and is accurately “known” by customers

36 – Brand Identity – The outward manifestation of a corporate brand, product brand, service brand or branded environment including name and visual appearance.

37 – Brand Integration Plan – A proactive, structured and disciplined plan, with clear strategic objectives and detailed implementation steps that helps merged companies build a new, integrated brand and value proposition. Ideally this planning begins prior to completion of merger or aquisition

See full branding “periodic” table.

Building an Internal Brand

Employees, like consumers, are bombarded all day by information. Brands are a way by which we identify our priorities. Consumer brands help us simplify our lives and streamline our selection-making. Internal brands enable us to prioritize our most precious resource: time.

By linking your corporate brand to your culture and values – thereby creating an [tag]internal brand[/tag] – your organization can create a platform from which to communicate to your employees the vision, mission and urgency. Internal branding helps improve credibility and strengthens the bonds of trust between leaders and employees. When people are united in purpose and know where they are headed, positive results can occur.

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Brand-Customer Relationship

Brand is often limited in its definition to awareness of a product or service. A company markets its brand – creates the name, broadcasts it to target customer segments, and applies it to its corporate identity or a set of products and services. The brand makes the company, product, or service recognizable.

This limited view of brand is destined to fail in today’s business environment. Marketing, which orchestrates only a small part of the brand-customer relationship, puts the face on the brand, making a set of promises.

Creating a coherent brand experience requires aligning every touchpoint of your organization with your brand. The more perfect that alignment, the more perfect the customer brand experience. You can’t escape your brand. Either you make the customer experience, or it gets made without you. Brands are essentially the collective perceptions of an organization’s key constituents (customers, suppliers, investors, employees, etc.) and are defined more by deeds than by words. Brand is how your customer experiences what you do.

Visionary companies recognize that responsibility for brand management belongs with the organization as a whole.

It’s your choice: deliver an effective brand experience or don’t. If you’re active in shaping the customer experience you can develop a rich and long-lasting relationship, firmly based in your brand. Where you fail to create a strong relationship with customers, a competitor will. Here are five places to start:

1. Clearly articulate your brand identity. If you can’t clearly articulate your brand identity, you’ll be unable to control how customers interpret it. A clear brand identity sets expectations across your organization for your products and services.

2. Establish a customer value proposition and use it to guide each department. The various departments responsible for delivering against your customer value proposition need to understand what the customer value proposition means to them.

3. Define the optimal customer experience. Identify the contact points where customers interact with your company.To create a holistic brand experience, you need to create a consistent and compelling experience at each of these touchpoints.Take an outside-in perspective when aligning each department with your customer value proposition and brand identity.

4. Cultivate relationships with customers. Treat these relationships carefully. Listen attentively to what you’re being told, learn from it, and respond.

5. Strengthen your brand over time. Based on what you learn from your customers, recalibrate your brand. Always be aware of how your brand can strengthen your brand-customer relationship.