Author Topic: Some ideas on a brand's character and how brands are built  (Read 1806 times)

sally crocker

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Some ideas on a brand's character and how brands are built
« on: March 13, 2016, 10:15:48 pm »
An intangible element of a brand is character. As a consumer, what attributes do you perceive a particular brand to have? Many factors go into creating this character, and all play a substantial role in helping a consumer determine which brand(s) he or she wants to be associated with.

The more a brand can be viewed as one that consumers aspire to be associated with, the greater the branding influence. Through this influence, tangible outcomes such as increased sales and positive word of mouth are achieved.

Factors of Character


The most important distinction that any brand will achieve is the trust of its consumers. Built slowly over time and continually needing to be reinforced, the greatest tribute any brand can achieve is that consumers trust it and respect what the brand stands for. This respect manifests itself in many ways and can provide a brand with numerous business opportunities. For example, a brand with a high trust factor in a particular industry (e.g., pharmaceuticals) may try to extend the product line into a new but related industry (e.g., personal hygiene or household cleaning products). The greater the trust that a brand has achieved, the more consumers will give it a chance to prove itself in a new area.


A very intangible aspect of a brandís power is the prestige that it carries. Prestige is defined as the high status or reputation achieved through success or influence. However, what defines a brandís prestige can vary. To some, prestige is closely associated with luxury or a high price point. However, while price certainly is a factor in driving prestige, it is only part of the matrix. For example, an environment-friendly product could achieve prestige for being responsible, even if the price is moderate.

L2 founder Scott Galloway describes heritage as a primary foundation for prestige. Often, heritage includes a history rooted in craftsmanship that helped create and refine the product. In addition, prestige is driven, in part, by the brand being strongly associated with an individual. The individual allows consumers to associate a human face and personality with the brand more easily and quickly than they would with a faceless company. Lastly, brand prestige is often based on what the product says about the individual who uses it. If a product carries a high price point and has a strong and positive recognition factor, consumers want to be associated with it and prestige becomes self-perpetuating.


The comfort of a brand means just what it saysóhow comfortable are you as a consumer with a particular brand? Does this brand make you feel safe in its purchase, knowing that the product or service will deliver what it says it will deliver? The stronger the comfort level a consumer has, the more loyal he or she is to the brand. For example, a consumer may have a better history taking ibuprofen for a headache, instead of aspirin. This person may have developed a strong preference for Advil. The person is comfortable with the product and the expected outcome from the product compared to another brand or product.

Brand Character

To properly define a brandís character, an organization must have a buy-in from internal stakeholders. A few individuals cannot define what a brand stands for or how it should be defined. The larger the organization, the greater the challenge in directing and aligning people to reach an agreement on the desired brand character. The earlier in its infancy that an organization can begin to define its character and the more it can be ingrained in employees at all levels, the better the chance the organization has of building, sustaining, and growing its character.

If an organization is already well established, altering or redefining its character is still possible, albeit more difficult. The organization must attempt to identify key influencers at all levels and use this subgroup as a sort of Trojan horse to spread the new character throughout the entire organization. In the end, a brandís character is the sum of its people, and the more cohesive and unified these individuals are, the more pronounced the brandís character and the more successful that brand tends to be.