Brand identity is the embodiment behind a corporation’s reason for existence. Simply, the brand identity is a set of individual components, such as a name, a design, a set of imagery, a slogan, a vision, etc. which set the brand aside from others. In order for a company to exude a strong sense of brand identity, it must have an in-depth understanding of its target market, competitors and the surrounding business environment.
Brand identity includes both the core identity and the extended identity. The core identity reflects consistent long-term associations with the brand; whereas the extended identity involves the intricate details of the brand that help generate a constant motif.
According to Philip Kotler et al. (2009), a brand’s identity may deliver four levels of meaning:
A brand’s attributes are a set of labels with which the corporation wishes to be associated. For example, a brand may showcase its primary attribute as environmental friendliness. However, a brand’s attributes alone are not enough to persuade a customer into purchasing the product.These attributes must be communicated through benefits, which are more emotional translations. If a brand’s attribute is being environmentally friendly, customers will receive the benefit of feeling that they are helping the environment by associating with the brand. Aside from attributes and benefits, a brand’s identity may also involve branding to focus on representing its core set of values. If a company is seen to symbolise specific values, it will, in turn, attract customers who also believe in these values. For example, Nike’s brand represents the value of a “just do it” attitude. Thus, this form of brand identification attracts customers who also share this same value. Even more extensive than its perceived values is a brand’s personality. Quite literally, one can easily describe a successful brand identity as if it were a person. This form of brand identity has proven to be the most advantageous in maintaining long-lasting relationships with consumers, as it gives them a sense of personal interaction with the brand Collectively, all four forms of brand identification help to deliver a powerful meaning behind what a corporation hopes to accomplish, and to explain why customers should choose one brand over its competitors.