This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
Brand Identity refers to the way the company would like their product or brand to be perceived by the customer and what sets your brand apart from the rest. Brand identity is the voice the brand gives to the product or service. This includes the visual elements customers see, such as the logo, color scheme, and slogan, and those elements can be controlled while the brand image is how the consumers perceive the product or brand. The company has no control over these factors as the brand image is affected by what they hear. As Jeff Bezos says, “Branding is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” The goal of luxury brands is for both brand identity and brand image to overlap. To accomplish this, brands must make critical and strategic decisions based on the factors that are within their control.
Luxury brands must be able to clearly state what they stand for, what the message is that it wants to portray, and hence, why consumers should buy it. If a company develops strong brand identity and maintains a sharp brand image, it will achieve positive brand equity. “Brand equity is a marketing term that describes a brand’s value. That value is determined by consumer perception of and experiences with the brand. If people think highly of a brand, it has positive brand equity. When a brand consistently under-delivers and disappoints to the point where people recommend that others avoid it, it has negative brand equity.”
Achieving Brand Equity Through Consistency
Any brand can have a brand identity; however, consistency is critical in being able to communicate the brand identity to consumers and developing brand equity. Consistency is essential not only to communicate the brand identity but for differentiation. Luxury brands differentiate themselves by focusing on brand experience versus merely product attributes. “These luxury brands are typically characterized by high levels of customer loyalty, powerful associations, symbolic value, and key features that define them and set them apart from the general market.”
Luxury brands can develop this consistency through implementing brand guidelines such as style and usage guidelines to ensure all their messages are consistent and align with the company’s mission. Elements such as logos and design in generating content must remain consistent, brands that are consistently presented are 3 to 4 times more likely to experience brand visibility. The content put out by the brand, such as social media posts and even social media channels utilized by the brand, also have to be in line with the brand’s missions and goals. Recently, I highlighted a flaw in our website design to our developers that was affecting the user experience of our website. The company is a luxury skincare company, Elemis, and so we had to ensure that any changes made were consistent with our style guide. The situation was that customers were missing the option to select free samples due to the pale color it was written in. The solution put forward was to change the color to another secondary color available in our style guide.
Maintaining customers and sales is essential for any brand; however, within the luxury industry, brand identity, brand image, and brand equity are crucial to the brand’s success. A luxury brand must have a clear vision and purpose. The brand’s end goals are to build awareness, trust, and loyalty amongst its consumers, and so brands must strategize the pattern of expression that affects how customers perceive the brand.