It is important to distinguish between corporate identity, brand identity, and brand image. Corporate identity is concerned with the visual aspects of a company’s presence. When companies undertake corporate identity exercises, they are usually modernizing their visual image in terms of logo, design, and collaterals. Such efforts do not normally entail a change in brand values so that the heart of the brand remains the same – what it stands for, or its personality. Unfortunately, many companies do not realize this fallacy, as they are sometimes led to believe by agencies and consultancy companies that the visual changes will change the brand image. But changes to logos, signage, and even outlet design do not always change consumer perceptions of quality, service, and the intangible associations that come to the fore when the brand name is seen or heard. The best that such changes can do is to reassure consumers that the company is concerned about how it looks. Brands do have to maintain a modern look, and the visual identity needs to change over time. But the key to successfully effecting a new look is evolution, not revolution. Totally changing the brand visuals can give rise to consumer concerns about changes of ownership, or possible changes in brand values, or even unjustified extravagance. If there is a strong brand personality to which consumers are attracted, then substantial changes may destroy emotional attachments to the brand. People do not expect or like wild swings in the personality behavior of other people, and they are just as concerned when the brands to which they have grown used exhibit similar “schizophrenic” changes.
On the other hand, if the intention is to substantially improve the standing of the brand, then corporate identity changes can be accompanied by widespread changes to organizational culture, quality, and service standards. If done well, and if consumers experience a great new or improved experience, then the changes will, over the longer term, have a corresponding positive effect on brand image. If you are spending a vast amount of money on corporate identity, it is as well to remember this.
Brand identity is the total proposition that a company makes to consumers – the promise it makes. It may consist of features and attributes, benefits, performance, quality, service support, and the values that the brand possesses. The brand can be viewed as a product, a personality, a set of values, and a position it occupies in people’s minds. Brand identity is everything the company wants the brand to be seen as. Brand image, on the other hand, is the totality of consumer perceptions about the brand, or how they see it, which may not coincide with the brand identity. Companies have to work hard on the consumer experience to make sure that what customers see and think is what they want them to.
|The blog onwer’s comments on this article
This article raises a very fundamentail issue in brand manegement – if visual design/change in brand identity correlative to a change to brand image in perception of customer? In order to address this comprehensive question, it is essential to make clear how customers perceive about a brand and the extent of elements of this brand identity efffects their perception on this brand image.
Personally, changes in a brand identity, to some sprcific degree, will result to a change in customers perception on the image of that brand. For potential customers, they will naturally have different perceptions exposing to to the new and old logos or listening to the new and old jingles. For existing customers who have been ingained with brands they have experienced with the effects may be different. For those who have associated their favorite brand with the specific visual identity, some changes in logo, color, slogan, etc, it may take times for them to familier with this change or in the worse case, they maynot be able to adapt their perception to the new look of brand. On the other hand, for some customers, as long as their brand keeps the name unchanged, any change in brand identity may not change their perception about this brand image.
In principle, a company can control one hundred percent on brand identity – they can design logo, worlding, slogan of a brand in a way they want. Of course, these brand components are intended to convey specific features of this brand personality. That is very true that brand identity is everything the company wants the brand to be seen as. However, that is big challenge if customer perceive a brand image in a way that it has been originally projected by the brand owner. In other words, that is very critical to make the meanings of a brand identity match it brand image in the perception of customers? There is no doubt that this entails a lot of principles in brand communication – suitable tools of media, consistency of message delivered, concentration of key personalities, suitable brand positioning strategy, etc.