2.2 Brand Identity
2.2.2 Defining Brand identity
In consideration of identity theory and social identity, it is not difficult to understand why brand identity is such a complex and multifaceted construct (Zaichkowsky 2010).
Ultimately the purpose of brand identity is similar to that of personal identity, in that it is about striving to have a clear identity which describes the media brand aspirations and provides clear inclusiveness yet differentiation from others. The definition by Kapferer (2012) articulates that identity is about beliefs and values: ‘‘the key belief of brands and its core values is called identity’’. (p.149)
Brand identity is deemed fundamental to any future media brand building and
therefore needs to be rich with real depth. Aaker (1996) categorised brand identity as being constructed from a core brand identity, an extended brand identity and the brand essence.
47 188.8.131.52 The core brand identity
The core brand identity encapsulates the most important elements of the media brand identity, reflecting the culture, values and strategy of a media organisation in addition to how the media brand is different from others (Aaker and Joachimsthaler 2000; Harris and Chernatony 2001). Internal organisational characteristics such as the mission, ethos, values, goals and culture come through in the explicit
representation in order to reflect a differentiated brand identity (de Chernatony 1999;
Katsanakis and Voyer 2014). Traditionally it is viewed that internal leadership defines the organisation and media brand values, and direction and management is provided to ensure employees' values and behaviour are consistent with them (Harris and Chernatony 2001). Culture and values are seen to be able to create clear
differentiation against the competition (Schein 1990).
In regards to the core brand identity, Aaker (1996) presented this as being ‘timeless’
and ‘constant’, including elements that make the media brand both unique and valuable yet are constant. The core brand identity is deemed tight in description and precise in nature.
184.108.40.206 The extended brand identity
To provide a fuller and richer media brand identity, the extended brand identity, which,
“provides the strategist with the permission to add useful detail to complete the picture’’ (Aaker 1996 p. 88)
is layered around the core brand identity. The extended brand identity provides further texture and depth to the core description. The extended brand identity contains elements that give an extra interesting dimension to the media brand, and are organised in a way to provide cohesion and completeness to the overarching
48 media brand identity. The extended brand identity includes notions such as brand personality, visual and symbolic representations, and relationships. All of which help bring a media brand to life(Ghodeswar 2008).
Brand personality makes the media brand more interesting and is what sets the foundation for the relationship between the brand and customers (Aaker 1997). It is this personality which people connect to. Symbols, and other visual representations, provide recognition which people link onto. Presentation includes “identification of presentation styles to present the brand’s identity so as to reflect consumers’
aspirations and self-images” (Harris and de Chernatony 2001, p. 444). How the media brand is, or will be, viewed by stakeholders is of primary importance to this extended element of brand identity. Ultimately, the design elements of the media brand identity (for example, name, logo, tone, tagline, typeface) are created by the media organisation in an aim to reflect the value of the brand and to make it appeal to its customers. This relationship, or brand positioning, defines the media brand, who it is offered to, and the value for consumers. When implemented the media brand identity helps to establish a relationship between the brand and the user. As with the other extended facets, brand positioning is disseminated from the media brand’s core values (Harris and de Chernatony 2001).
The extended brand identity makes the media brand more dynamic and relatable, adding much needed richness. This extended brand identity is what presents a more accurate representation of the media brand, making it less ambiguous and providing depth of understanding and connection. The core and the extended are then
summed up into a single thought, the brand essence, which captures the fundamental nature of the media brand (Aaker and Joachimsthaler 2000).
49 220.127.116.11 The brand essence
The brand essence provides greater focus and clarity to the media brand identity by providing ‘’a single thought that captures the soul of the brand’’. (Aaker and
Joachimsthaler 2000 p.45). It is not about a strapline or phrase but is deemed a powerful mechanism to connect all the media brand identity elements together. A strong brand essence is deemed to have three characteristics: connecting with customers in a way which strengthens the value proposition of the media brand;
inspirational to the employees and other stakeholders of the media brand; and providing differentiation and cut through from the competition (Aaker 1996).
The three dimensions of the core, extended and the brand essence are developed from twelve brand identity elements, to give the media brand identity uniqueness and differentiation, together implying a promise to customers and other stakeholders (Aaker and Joachimsthaler 2000). These dimensions represent what a media brand aspires to create or maintain. The original work of Aaker (1996) presented that these dimensions are formed from twelve elements which are grouped into four frames of reference – the first frame of reference being the brand as a product, under which the elements of product scope, product attributes, quality/value, user experience, uses, country of origin, all fit. The second perspective considers the brand as an
organisation, with the elements of organisational attributes and local v global within it.
The third reference considers the brand from the perspective of a person and
captures the aspects of brand personality and relationships. The fourth consideration is the brand as a symbol, with the aspects of visual imagery and brand heritage (See Appendix 4 for a table showing the brand Identity dimensions, frames of reference and elements).
50 De Chernatony's (1999) identity-reputation gap model of brand management,
focused more on the organisational frame of reference for brand identity, and
although did not provide the detail of Aakers (1996) twelve elements, did complement the discussion on the core and extended brand identity by identifying that brand identity consists of several components: vision and culture, aligned to the core brand identity of Aaker (1996), and then the desired positioning, personality, representation and subsequent relationships, which coincide with Aakers (1996) extended brand identity.