More than ever, brand identity is created in dialogue with consumers and brand image is influenced by functional alongside emotional needs. Brands must ensure that their values are reflected in more than imagery – modern branding extends to customer service and company culture, which alongside design mediate the brand experience.

Definition

Brand identity and image are terms that reflect the values and purpose a company wishes to portray on the one hand (brand identity) against its actual set of perceptions and opinions that consumers have in mind – what the brand stands for (brand image). Symbols and signs such as logos are graphical representations of brand identity. A brand name and logo are key to building a brand image.

Key insights

1. A distinctive, consistent brand identity eases consumer decision-making

To increase brand salience at the point of decision-making, brands should be easily recalled and recognised. Marketers should prioritise developing and managing brand assets, such as colours, logos, slogans, language, shapes and sounds, which are unique and easy to communicate. These assets should be used prominently in communications and point of sale to ease identification. Great care should be taken when updating branding and visual identity to avoid abandoning valuable assets. Reviving historic assets can boost brand salience due to the existing brand memories they carry. The Ehrenberg-Bass Institute has developed four ‘commandments’ to guide strategies for achieving salience and this avoid misuse of brand assets:

  • Choose the asset wisely
  • Prioritise smartly
  • Execute well
  • Resist change