Brand Identity Essay

Marketing communications play a very big role in creating a strong brand identity. A brand is more than just that, a brand is almost like a person; it holds certain characteristics, values and personality traits. Combining all these aspects allows a brand to communicate with their consumers, which creates a strong relationship between the two parties. Brands have to communicate a certain message to reach their consumers and get them on-board with the brand, they communicate their messages using the following marketing communication tools: advertising, public relations, personal selling, sales promotion and direct marketing.

These marketing communication tools can be broken down into two categories: personal communications and non-personal communications. Advertising, public relations and sales promotion can be grouped under non-personal communications because they communicate with consumers in the mass, they tend to be able to reach a large audience and have low interaction with consumers. They also can have a high percentage of wastage. The other marketing tools are known to be personal communications, these types of communications interact more with the consumer.

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They are two-way communications and they are used directly face to face or through mail and email or using Internet based services. Communications can sometimes fail to reach the intended target, misinterpreted or blocked by noise. External noise such as poor reception, distractions and other commercial communications can hinder the effectiveness of communications. Internal noise can also block commercial communications.

Some may not be noticed, particularly if they are not relevant, others may be changed to fit existing attitudes and beliefs and only some messages are transferred from short to long-term memory so many might not be remembered. Some brands that have had difficulty with their intended messages include Stella Artois, Lacoste and Burberry. Stella Artois gave out the message of being “reassuringly expensive” but they earned the name of “wife beater” (Moore, V. 2007) . and was now being called “dirt cheap” Their higher percentage alcohol content made them the “lager of choice for football thugs” (Moore, V. 007) which is not the message they were trying to communicate at all. “None of this is compatible with the sophisticated and upmarket image that Stella has tried to push, using TV ads with such high production values they look like expensive art-house mini-movies. ” (Moore, V. 2007) That’s just an example of how a brands transmitted message can be misinterpreted Positioning within the market is important for every brand; differentiation from competitors is key. A good example of a very successful brand is Apple; it is one of the most recognizable brands in the world and is one of the leading innovators in the technology market.

It had unrivalled success with their iPad and has been able to “seize a large proportion of the market share at 11%” (Keynote,2011). Apple’s brand value of being premium quality and trendy has helped them on their way at achieving their success. Another brand that has seen success is Coca Cola, they are the market leaders in soft drinks and their logo is recognized worldwide, they have positioned themselves in a way that they are global and multifaceted brand that can fit into many cultures.

The definition of branding can be explained as “a name, term, sign, symbol or design or a combination of these intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers to differentiate them from their competitors” (Kotler, 2000) Branding can be broken down into 3 main characteristics using the halo diagram, core, augmented and halo. Brand halo characteristics are characteristics such as brand associations, the brand name and brand image; these are created through marketing communications. These are the main characteristics that create brand identity.

They create emotional bonds with the brand’s consumers. Augmented characteristics are things like the packaging – very important in differentiating the brand from competitors and making the brand familiar to consumers. Price is also an augmented characteristic, consumers seem to link quality and price and usually expect to get what they paid for. For instance take Mercedes Benz, known worldwide for its quality and superb engineering. “Mercedes-benz continues to rank among Asia’s most enduring luxury symbols, and remains the region’s most sought-after premium car. (Mulchand, S), All over the world Mercedes Benz is seen as a status symbol because of its luxurious augmentation. The lowest priced hatchback from Mercedes Benz in the UK, The A Class, is just over ?16,000 in comparison to the Renault Clio which is a similar type of hatchback which costs just under ?9,000. Consumers will expect to pay more for a Mercedes because of its augmented status. The third characteristic of a brand is the core, which is the actual functional characteristic of a brand such as shape, taste or performance.

This is less important in terms of creating a brand identity and brand image but it could still contribute; a product’s certain shape or colour could be very iconic and differentiate it from competitors, for example galaxy chocolate has a unique texture and shape that is different to competitor chocolate. Branding is about “adding emotional meaning to a product or service, a strong layer of emotional affinity, or identification between brand and constitual [target audience] meaningful symbiotic relationships from which organisations achieve lifetime loyalty (dahlen)

One of the key aspects of branding is that it is consistent. This benefits both consumer and business. Consumers can identify their preferred products that they have had an experience with before and it also reduces perceived risk. Quality is easier to judge because of branding and it reassures the consumer that the right decision has been made, it also reduces customers having to research and evaluate. Benefits for the business includes, being able to differentiate their products to competitors, it can enable them to set premium pricing.

Customer loyalty is also gained through branding; customers continuously purchase brands that they are familiar with. It can also contribute and heighten corporate identity. Creating brand identity includes the following things, the logo, typeface, symbols and colours. These always need to appear the same everywhere that they are placed and seen by consumers, whether it is in adverts, books, stationary, television and Internet to continue the consistency of the brand. As well as the appearance of the brand the strap lines and slogans need to be consistent and go along with the brand identity and brand values.

Brand personalities are built within the brands. Possible brand personality strategies can be seen in this diagram from Aaker. Brands can choose to come across as sincere, exciting, competent sophisticated or rugged. Sincere brands like to come across as honest down to earth and cheerful a good example of this kind of brand is the innocent drinks brand, their brand is based around ethics and good morals and organic ingredients. When talking about exciting brands Lnyx springs to mind, their campaigns are daring, spirited and provocative.

They like to use provocative and sexual references, which seem to work well with their brand personality. Lynx has used biblical references using inspiration from a story about an angel that was banished from the heavens. Clare Dowdy explains the advert as “A host of attractive young female angels drop from the sky, lured, we discover by the pleasing whiff one local lad is giving off – courtesy of said body spray. Once they clap eyes on him and his moped, they defy the Almighty by wrenching their halos off. (Dowdy, C) Clare Dowdy also makes a point about lynx’s brand identity “The suggestion is that Lynx Excite can even make goody-goody angels succumb. This fits in with the brand’s positioning: “Helping guys get ahead in the mating game. ” (Dowdy, C) Lynx continues to expose their naughty and exiting brand personality in recent ads and campaigns they have been doing. Other than those set brand personalities of sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication and ruggedness, there can be alternative ways to personalise a brand.

For example explained by (Williams,2000) : “Real Things: ‘originality’ and ‘authenticity’ create myths around the brand’s past to reinforce their position. The Appliance of Science: promises of security through scientific development. Excessories: the so-called ‘premium brands’ promise indulgence and hedonic consumption and might reflect status Get On and Get Up: examples of brands that offer empowerment can be information technology products Irreverent and Independent: Brands often employ complex codes and require consumers to decode their meaning.

Wonderlands: some brands offer a holistic brand experience which permeates all aspects of exposure to the brand. Fun and Friendly: some brands develop stand-alone characters which personify the brand, become friends to the users and make it easier to form a quasi-human relationship with the organisation or product. Globally Local: Brands are used as a way to define and express our identities. Global brands maintain a consistent image Guilt and Anxiety: Brands which provoke feelings of fear play on our anxieties of safety or assurance. (Williams,2000) The main thing is the brand personality makes sends messages to make consumers feel a certain way about the brand. A good example of brands with different personalities but in the same market is Green & Black’s chocolate and Cadbury chocolate. Green & Blacks is based all around ethics and sets itself up as a premium brand. “Green & Black’s announced that it would be switching its entire chocolate bar range to fairtrade in order to appeal to a more global audience.

Green & Black’s had already released the Fairtrade Mayan Gold bar in 1994, becoming the first company to launch a fairtrade product in the UK. Keynote,2011). Green & Blacks has understood how consumers are now more concerned about ethical issues. Cadbury seem to have similar objectives of ethical trading and they take part in fair trade for most of their products but they have positioned their brand in a different way, completely different to any other chocolate brand which reflects why they are market leaders. Cadburys recent campaigns have been unique and iconic. “The frenzy of brand awareness generated by the Dairy Milk “Gorilla” ad of 2007, which rapidly went viral and transformed consumer perceptions, is not easily generated. (Kleinman, M,2009) it was reported that year “Cadbury said its multimedia “Gorilla” advertising campaign had helped increase sales of its core Dairy Milk chocolate brand in the UK by about 8 per cent since its launch at the end of August. ” (Kleinman, M,2009) This just shows how much of a major impact their branding made towards their success. Their ‘Glass half and full’ campaign showed a fun and friendly and original side of the brand. The iconic Phil Collins song partnered up with life-like gorilla playing drums was amazingly effective and created a popular brand personality.

The importance of brand identity and brand personality in creating a strong, successful and long living brand has been shown by the biggest brands in the world. Communications between brand to need to be clear and different tools can be used to create the brand identity and brand positioning.

References

Moore, V. (2007). Where did it all go wrong for the beer they call wife beater?. Available: http://www. dailymail. co. uk/news/article-494149/Where-did-wrong-beer-wife-beat er. html. Last accessed 7th December 2011. Mulchand, S, Media Dec 17, 2004), Mercedes Benz p. 42-43

Dowdy, C. (2011). Financial Times. The public image: Lynx’s ‘Even angels will fall’ campaign: Ad deconstructed, 45. Keynot, 2011, Confectionery Market Report Plus 2011, UK, Available at: https://www. keynote. co. uk/market-intelligence/view/product/10421/confectionery/chapter/11/current-issues, [accessed 7th December 2011] Keynote, 2011, Computer Hardware 2011, APPLE (UK) LTD from Computer Hardware 2011 Available at: https://www. keynote. co. uk/market-intelligence/view/product/10455/computer-hardware/chapter/14/apple–uk-ltd? highlight=apple, [accessed 7th December 2011]