• Dr. Mohan Dewan

 Jean-Noël Kapferer is an Emiritus Professor of Marketing at HEC Paris. He is known for his works on brand identity, strategic brand management, brand portfolios, brand architectures. He is a Ph.D. from Kellogg Business School.

In 1966, Kapferer invented The Kapferer Brand Identity Prism through which any brand owner can analyse the identity of his/her brand with the six elements from the prism.

In this article, we will understand this brilliant branding/marketing tool in simpler terms.  

Broad idea is that these six aspects are detrimental to brand building and if they are aligned correctly, these aspects work together to strengthen a brand’s identity. A brand owner needs to pay attention to all these six aspects and cannot neglect even one as they are crucial  for projecting a brand as the brand owner wishes/or wants to it to be , which in turn results in customer associating with the brand.

1.           Personality

Brands like humans have humanistic traits and hence have archetypes, understating the relevant consumer/client base and projecting appropriate personality helps a brand to connect with the consumer at a personal level. We have written a detailed article on archetypes which you can refer for better understanding.  Determining appropriate Brand personality helps in setting the tone and manner in which your brand will visually and verbally advertise or communicate with the consumers

2.           Culture

Brands are a reflection of the people behind the brand, therefore keeping an appropriate brand culture is detriment. How the brand owner treats its employees results in how the employees treat the consumers/clients. In this era of social networking, brand culture is very apparent to everyone.

Hence the work environment and work culture of the brand owner needs to be taken care of us, it will affect the sync the team has with each other and also how they interact or deal with the customers.

3.           Self-Image

Self-Image aspect relates to the manner in which how target customers visualise their ideal selves and how the brand projects its self to match that of its customers. Customers associate/ connect more with a brand which is like them. An outlaw will relate more to outlaw an archetype brand like Harley Davidson and an explorer will relate more to explorer archetype Jeep or Land Rover.  These brands strengthen their archetype via verbal visual advertisements to attract more customers and also to resonate with their existing customers effectively. Hence it is important to understand how the target consumer views himself/herself and also what he/she feels will bring him/her more close to his/her ideal self. If purchases and interactions with a brand bring them closer to their ideal selves, they are going to buy the product.  

4.           Reflection

Reflection aspects deals with understanding what the brand’s target audience, or who is the ideal buyer? To understand this we need to first understand that the ideal buyer is one who buys the brand’s product and also promotes /becomes an ambassador of the product, and refers to it to others.

Therefore a brand owner needs to determine its target audience as although the brand’s advertisements will be for all, it should specifically target the ideal buyer, by using slogans, messages, celebs and endorsers that match the archetype of the ideal buyer.   What his/her target audience look like.  

5.           Relationship

Next in line is relationship. It is important for the brand owner to work towards development of a relationship between his/her brand and its consumers. The key is to not to sell the product or service once, but to ensure that the Customers come back and buy the products and services again from your brand.  The brand owner needs to understand that Customers return back more often if they have the impression they’re involved with the brand in a manner that’s more important than merely purchasing.

The Brand owner needs to make honest efforts to build a meaningful relationship between the brand and its consumers, in this way his/her brand will last longer in the market and will also be a respected brand. It is not a quick process and needs time and determination for the brand owner. Brand owners use, round the clock customer service, guaranteed quality, and sometimes a lifetime warranty to strengthen the brand consumer relationship. However these are not the only options, there could be a variety of other things that a brand can do for its consumers.

6.            Physique

This brings us to the last yet one of the most important aspects of a brand’s personality that is its physique. Physique refers to the tangible characteristics of the brand like product design, colour, shape, logos and the like. These are characteristics that differentiate one brands product from those of others. These characteristics are strongly engraved in the minds of consumers if he/she is happy/satisfied with one product of a particular brand, he /she is likely to buy another product of the same brand if they show the same characteristics.

This the reason why Tech Companies design their products in a manner that they look sleek , whereas car companies design their products in a manner that they look fast or muscular depending upon the segment of car that they are selling. These physical attributes sublimely convey the brands identity to its target consumers.


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