A brand is the entity by which all public opinion is based. A brand is who you are and should be at the forefront of any marketing strategy. One of the best brand planning models to-date is the Aaker Brand Identity Model. Created by David. A. Aaker, a professor of marketing at the University of California, author and management consultant, Aaker states that to truly define a brand we must consider the following points;
Brand as Product
Brand as Product – The Aaker model focused on the overall product, with particular consideration towards aspects such as the scope, attributes, quality, value and users. Brand as Product will help identify the desirability of a brand. Questions to be considered include; why would a consumer purchase our product? Is it an emotive purchase or a functional one? The answers to which, could in theory be the pinnacle point of a branding strategy. For example, most dietary branded foods have an emotive tag which aims to trigger a desired response from the consumer, this is because a dietary based product is usually an emotive purchase based on a desired goal. Quality and value also play a major role in identifying where your product class should be based. So consider what perceived value the product holds and where it appears within the given market. Is It a luxury item or basic? Identifying where a product class base lies, allows a business to project a branding strategy towards the most relevant target market.
Brand as Organisation
Brand as Organisation – Focusing on the organisation is sometimes overshadowed by the immense focus placed upon the product. However, an organisation is far more enduring that its product and it is this fact alone which throws weight behind the Brand as Organisation point. Consider the winning attributes of your organisation; are you innovative, cutting edge or environmentally friendly? Do you have a strong culture or value? By enveloping the core organisational beliefs into a brand, an organisation creates an anchor to the brand as well as creating an attachment between the organisation and consumer. The concluding analysis from Brand as Organisation should be viewed as the driving force behind a branding strategy.
Brand as Person
Brand as Person – For some this is the most relevant point due to the popularity of online presence. A Brand is its own personality, with specific views and opinions which mirror that of its consumers. Social media sites are the modern day vehicles for injecting life into a brand. Aaker explained that there are three ways Brand as Person could create a stronger brand; By creating a self-expressive factor which allows a consumer to express their own personality; By forging a relationship between brand and consumer and by communication of the key attributes of a product. All three points are now easier to achieve through social networking and interaction. Your brand should have its own personality and use all the major social networks to relate the key attributes to consumers.
Brand as Symbol
Brand as Symbol – This may be regarded as the oldest form of brand awareness but the symbol is still how consumers recognise your brand. The more recognisable your brand symbol, the stronger your market presence will be. Aaker stated that the three types of symbols are: visual imagery, metaphors and the brand heritage. Heritage of course can take time but visual imagery and metaphors are instantaneous. A brand image should incorporate all brand attributes in one status symbol. Apple is an exceptional example of this; there visual brand encompasses all the major strengths; from product to organisation to personality. It is instantly recognisable on an international scale and shares its views and opinions with that of the consumer.
Aaker breaks Brand identity down into two categories; core identity and extended identity. Core identity should be the foundation to any brand, it should remain fairly illiquid to change as new products are developed and new markets are breached. Extended identity should move with features, products, popularity and demand. An extended identity can evolve through time and reflect the ever changing demands of a market. By combining the four key points of Aaker model, a business can start to build a strategy which will not only highlight the strengths of a brand but also the competitive advantage a business has over others. The model allows a business to create a clearer view of how a brand will appear to the consumer and give a mulch-dimensional view of the overall brand.