Put your brand under the microscope – The Kapferer Brand Identity Prism

Welcome back to Bangula branding! Previously, we discussed the basics of branding . Basically your brand is more than a logo, it is the personality, ideology and methodology of your company.

There are various ways that we can determine the final equity or value of a brand. It depends on the company conducting the audit as well as the final focus of the report. I highly recommend you read both of these brand reports as they will give you an understanding of how brands can create value internationally as well as tell you which brands to look at when developing your own strategy:

  1. Millward Brown’s 100 Top Brandz (May 2015)
  2. Interbrand’s Best Global Brands

Before we can start with working on how to develop our brand equity we first need to understand the facets of our own brand. To do this we start with a brand identity model. There are a lot of different models that we can use but I’m going to run you through through Kapferer\’s Brand Identity Prism.




The Kapferer Brand Identity Prism

This is a model created by Jean-Noel Kapferer. It requires a deep understanding of the various factors inherent in your brand, but for the experienced it can be a highly valuable tool for identifying and quantifying your own brand. Let’s dive into the content!

According to Mareting91,  several market research questionnaires over the years ask basic question about a brand / product. These questions may resemblee “if xyz brand was a person, who would you compare him with”, “if xyz brand was a person, what would its age be”, “is XYZ brand aggressive, warm, humble” etc

Thus these questions compare a brand to a person. The brand identity prism therefore applies human traits to a brand to recognize what consumers actually think of the brand. The brand identity prism, as the name suggests comes in the form a prism with 6 different traits at each end of the prism.

These traits are the headings that we use to further divide our stakeholder interactions. External factors are those that are shown and directly expressed with stakeholders. Conversely the internal factors are personality traits of the brand and it’s inner workings. These are more subtle expressions of the brand but can be equally important in the consumers mind.

Now lets look at each of the brand traits as suggested by Kapferers’ Prism:

  1. Physique

They physique refers to the brands physical symbols. In the case of most companies, this would be their logo. But this could also include things such as the distinctive red in Coca-Cola advertising. Or the signature square Jack Daniels bottles. The key is to imagine the brand in the consumers mind. What does the brand look like? What really distinguished the brand from competing products? Is there a functional difference? Is the physique easily recognised?

  1. Relationship

The relationship is basically how the brand treats its stakeholders. This is more of an ethereal concept but it is essentially the same as a relationship between people. A great easy-to-understand example is Lexus. When buying a Lexus the salesmen are trained to give their customers the ‘red-carpet’ treatment.

There is a physical component but that merely refers to the manner in which you treat your stakeholders with regards to your assigned relationship.

So you can think of it like this. Think of a mother and a child. The mother is your company brand and the child is the consumer. The relationship would be described as caring, loving, warm, nurturing etc. The physical component of the relationship could be something like a mother giving her child a hug. At the end of the day you need to examine the aspects which make the relationship successful and whether this fits the target market.

  1. Reflection (Consumer)

Reflection refers to personality and there are two distinct types that we need to examine. The ‘consumer’ reflection is the personality of the brand that we Image showing consumer reflectionshow; the consumer metallisation is the other side of personality, but we can deal with that in a moment.

Reflection of the brand is essentially the tonality of your branding communications and which stakeholders for whom the message is designed. Let’s look at this tweet from Kit Kat. Now they’re playing on their long time slogan have a break, have a Kit-Kat. The tone is light and playful. Based on the content, we can tell that they’re talking to a younger crowd namely young people 8-18 and since the content is about One Direction, we can therefore assume a higher percentage of girls. Therefore our reflection and tonality are cued towards this target demographic.

  1. Personality

The personality is the brand character. Literally it’s main personality. If we were to look at a brand like Lamborghini, then this would be exciting, sporty and lively. Red Bull would have a similar brand personality.

  1. Culture (Values)

These are the values with which the business operates. Culture is the link between the brand and its organisation. If we are to look at companies such as Mercedez Benz. Their company is meant to operate with German values, such as efficiency and quality. What us important here is that stakeholders identify with the inner values. A top-notch example is Nike Sportswear. Nike culture is all about performance and their sponsored athletes are perfect examples of this. When consumers want to buy high quality sports gear they can associate with this culture and therefore Nike is a top-of-mind brand for consumers. Sharing a culture with stakeholders is very powerful for generating brand equity, especially with regards to organic and environmentally responsible brands.

  1. Consumer Metallisation (Self Image)

Self-image is basically how consumers can identify themselves with your brand. In other words, lets look at a person who buys Lacoste shoes. These people typically (Lacoste has done research to support this) see themselves as sporty people, even if they don’t actively participate in sports. So basically, how does the user see themselves with your brand? How does your brand portray either what a person is, or what they want to be?

To use the Prism identity model all you need to do is work out how your brand fits within the parameters outlined by Kapferer, from either an external or internal view but always with your consumer in mind.

Hopefully you now have a basic understanding of what it takes to understand and quantify a brand identity. Next week we’re going to use the Kapferer model to gain an understanding of Samsung. If you’re up for it, why not try to break down the Samsung brand by yourself and compare with our next blog.

Yudesh Moodliar

Project Manager

IL Consultancy