Brand- A combination of attributes that gives a company, organisation, product, service concept or even an individual, a distinctive identity and value relative to its competitors, its advocates, its stakeholders, and its customers.
While the definition may vary depending on who you are asking, all brands come down to reliable foundations. So what makes up a brand’s foundation, and how can a solid foundation lead to a successful brand? We’ve broken down the elements of the Aaker brand vision model to identify the building blocks of successful brand foundations and why they are crucial to every brand’s future success.
Brand Vision Elements (Brand Elements for short) are vital components that help define and orient a brand. Each brand is different, but a company’s core brand elements may include things like their logo, company name or slogan. Successful brands will identify several core and extended vision elements. Although they may vary slightly, both core and extended brand elements are important for cultivating brand personality. Identifying these vital elements early in the branding journey will serve as a guideline, keeping activity aligned and ‘on-brand’ during the various stages of brand growth.
Just like individuals, no two brands should be identical. Recognising the values and traits that are unique to you and your brand fosters authenticity and distinctiveness. Precise details help craft an interactive and authentic brand personality, allowing your brand to respond effectively and accordingly to any development.
How is your offer different from your competitors? If your brand was a person, what would they be interested in? How would your brand interact with customers and potential clients? How would your brand feel about a given situation? Why? Don’t be afraid to get specific!
Brand Association is a pillar in brand evolution, but what exactly is it? Simply put, brand association can be anything that the customer has in their mind about your brand. Understanding positive and negative associations with your brand provides an opportunity to branch out into other markets. Brand Association also provides a set of remembered qualities which are communicated to customers, a real win when it comes to brand loyalty! Equally, Brand Associations give customers a reason to purchase, providing yet another basis for moves into newer and more lucrative markets.
Brand Essence represents the central theme of your brand vision, acting as a sort of umbrella covering aspirational goals, USP and internal and external values.
Brand Essence helps drive internal communication and can serve as inspiration for employees or as a guide for future programs. While a brand’s essence is something that should constantly be sought after, it is in fact an optional building block. In certain instances, a brand’s essence may draw attention away from core elements, potentially diminishing a brand’s external personality.
In these instances, it’s better to highlight core elements rather than forcing a contrariant essence. If you’re still a bit confused about whether your brand’s essence meshes well with your brand vision elements, it might be the right time to reach out to a brand strategist.
Communication is key. While this building block may seem obvious, it’s important for brands to be versatile enough to excel in a variety of different contexts. For example, brand positioning in a magazine will differ from that of a social media platform.
Employing a brand in various contexts and situations can highlight the multitude of elements (and hard work) encompassed within a brand’s vision. While positioning might change based on the product-market context, a strong and versatile communication strategy allows for a brand position to evolve without ever losing sight of its core elements and associations.
Tried and tested crew
While it might be true you can technically lay the foundation for your own home, some things are best left to the professionals. Just as it’s essential to have a strong and reliable foundation for a building, it’s essential that your brand be built on a solid and consistent foundation. A brand strategist can be an incredibly beneficial addition to your team, working with you to identify each of these essential building blocks for your brand, raising important questions and making suggestions based off market and insider research. Working with your brand strategist can also be a vital resource when it comes to branching into new and unknown markets. Even well-established brands can benefit from a second opinion from a packaging agency when it comes to effectively capitalising their brand.
Whether your brand is in its infancy or well-established, a solid foundation is essential for long-term brand success. The building blocks outlined in Aaker’s brand identity model lay the blueprint for a robust and reliable foundation, ready for the construction of a consistent, distinguishable, and valuable brand.