Kapferer Brand Identity Prism – Concept and Examples

Kapferer Brand Identity Prism with Examples.


Kapferer Brand Identity PrismIn order to become a brand with loyal following or how Kapferer says ‘passion brand’ or ‘love marks’, brands should not be just a name. Instead, they should have a story or a deeper inner inspiration which connects to its consumers. Brands should have their own character, their own beliefs and their own identity. Kapferer Brand Identity Prism tells us how to build a story and give the brand a much-needed identity considering six important facets of brand identity.

Kapferer Brand Identity Prism

1. Brand Physique

A brand, first and foremost, should have ‘physique’ with physical specifications and qualities. It is made of a combination of either salient objective features (which immediately come to mind when the brand is quoted in a survey) or emerging ones. Physical appearance is important but it is not all. Nevertheless, the first step in developing a brand is to define its physical aspect: What is it concretely? What does it do? What does it look like? The physical facet also comprises the brand’s prototype: the flagship product that is representative of the brand’s qualities.

Example: Coca Cola in all its marketing communication lays special emphasis on the ‘Coke Bottle’ and how it looks. For markets where Coke entered for the first time, it always starts with the traditional Coke bottle. In fact, to no surprise, Coke cans also have an outline of the iconic coke bottle. Therefore, the physical appearance of the brand remains intact.

Also, the colour of the product (say Black in the case of Coke), should be a part of the physique. And if so, you can never imagine a colourless Coke. There could be variants of different colours but the brand colour will never change.

2. Brand Personality

As per Kapferer Brand Identity Prism, a brand has a personality. By communicating, it gradually builds up character. The way in which it speaks of its products or services shows what kind of person it would be if it were human. This is a tough task to implant a product as a human in the mind of consumers. Therefore, brands rope infamous personalities to endorse the product. The brand and the celebrity being roped should sync in personality therefore forming an important facet of Kapferer Brand Identity Prism.

Example: Mountain Dew, a drink from Pepsico, promises thrill and adventure and therefore always loops in celebrities who are seen close to sports.

3. Brand Culture

As per Kapferer Brand Identity Prism, a Brand should have its own culture and brands with strong culture end up being ‘cult’. Both product and communication should reflect this culture. Brands targeting masses focus on culture which is common to a wider chunk of population or vice versa. Late entrants to the market prefer choosing a niche targeting a particular culture and evolve big in due course of time.

Brand culture plays an essential role in Kapferer Brand Identity Prism and helps differentiating brands. It indicates the ethos whose values are embodied in the products and services of the brand.

Example: Royal Enfield motorcycles in India have a cult following as the brand has a very strong culture. Though started slow but the brand is the fastest growing in the motorcycle industry in India both in terms of following as well as market share.

Brand Culture is very much influenced by the country of origin. Other global brands such as Apple, Nike, IBM adhere to an idea which is more globally accepted.

4. Relationship

As per Kapferer Brand Identity Prism, brands are often at the crux of transactions and exchanges between people. This is particularly true of brands in the service sector and also of retailers. Once the consumers build a relationship with the brand, the brand can demand consumers to do things which it believes in.

Example: Nike bears a Greek name that relates it to specific cultural values, to the Olympic Games and to the glorification of the human body. Nike suggests also a peculiar relationship, based on provocation: it encourages us to let loose (‘just do it’). Nike in India created amazing TVC celebrating women athletes featuring Deepika Padukone. Here the brand is in a position to ask its consumers to ‘Just Do It’ because it has nurtured a relationship. The ad campaign was named Da Da Ding.

5. Reflection

A brand is a customer reflection. When asked for their views on certain car brands, people immediately answer in terms of the brand’s perceived client type: that’s a brand for young people! for fathers! for show-offs! for old folks! Because its communication and its most striking products build up over time, a brand will always tend to build a reflection or an image of the buyer or user which it seems to be addressing.

Example: A majority of apparel brands portray a model in the age group of not who they are targeting, but the age group which the consumer thinks he/she belongs on buying that brand. In reference to the below ad, only a minuscule percentage of people in the age group (as shown in the image) will buy a Louis Vuitton suit. The consumer group will be much older for the product, however all those consumers will perceive to look younger with an ad featuring a young model (Jacey Elthalion in the below ad).

6. Self Image

Finally, a brand speaks to our self-image. If reflection is the target’s outward mirror (they are …), self-image is the target’s own internal mirror (I feel, I am …). Through our attitude towards certain brands, we indeed develop a certain type of inner relationship with ourselves. And therefore, these brands always communicate to push the limits.

Example: BMW India launched a campaign for people who see themselves driving a BMW, no matter now or future. The campaign went on TV as Don’t Postpone Joy. Below is the TVC asking to drive a BMW sooner.

Read More on Brand Identity – Aaker Model – Defining Brand Identity

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