The Kapferer Brand Identity Prism is a tool to help businesses build strong, enduring brand identities.
What is the Brand Identity Prism?
Building a strong brand can help your company stand out from the competition, attract more customers and increase their loyalty. To provide a more holistic representation of this concept, Jean-Noel Kapferer created a model called “Brand Identity Prism”. This author uses a hexagonal prism as a model to define the brand identity.
The prism illustrates 6 aspects that compose the brand identity: physical elements, personality, culture, relationship, reflection, and self-image. As you might have noticed, there is not much difference between these elements and the characteristics that make each person unique and inimitable. Let’s now analyze the elements of the Brand Identity Prism using the brand Levi’s as an example:
Physique: the set of adjectives and external characteristics associated with the brand.
These are the basic elements of the brand, the ones that evoke the physical aspect of it. They are necessary, but certainly not sufficient to form a brand. For example, the physical characteristics of Levi’s are the iconic red logo and classic blue jeans.
Personality: the character of the brand.
It is the set of human characteristics associated with a brand. You can read more in our article specifically dedicated to brand personality. Levi’s is usually identified as a young, rebellious and free person.
Culture: the value system and the fundamental principles on which the brand bases its behavior.
The brand encapsulates a specific culture and can evoke a country of origin or a particular technology. Levi’s is a classic American company and, because of this, is rooted in a profoundly individualistic mindset.
Relationship: the kind of human relationship staged by the brand.
The brand often provides the opportunity for an intangible exchange between people, establishing an explicit link between them. Taking into consideration the advertisement over the years, it’s clear that Levi’s is looking for clients who share adventures and emotions with their friends while wearing the iconic jeans.
Reflection: the “ideal self” of customers.
The brand reflects how the company’s customers are identified by others. People who wear Levi’s are usually perceived as young trendsetters: fashionable without trying too hard.
Self-image: the consumers’ self-image that derives from their use of the brand.
It is the image that the customers have of themselves and that must find confirmation in the brand. In this case, Levi’s customers see themselves as trendy, confident and independent: this image is consistent with Levi’s brand identity.
In conclusion, the Brand Identity Prism is a way for a brand to identify and transmit precise imagery and a personal way of communicating with its target. The company that can send a unique message – as positive and identifiable as possible – will manage to stand out from the crowd.
J. N. Kapferer, “The New Strategic Brand Management: Creating and Sustaining Brand Equity”, Kogan Page, 2004.
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