Using the Brand Identity Prism to Solidify Your Brand Personality

To build a loyal customer base, organizations look for ways to get consumers excited about their products. One way companies go about this is by establishing and promoting their brand personality; a concept that attributes human characteristics to the brand name and all of the associated products and services that fall under that brand. A brand personality is effective because consumers relate to brands that have traits similar to their own. Consumers have an emotional response to the brand and want to be associated with products or services that fit their lifestyle.

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The brand identity prism was defined by Jean-Noël Kapferer and signifies the six aspects of brand identity. These are guidelines for companies to expand their brand in effective ways that they can communicate with consumers. The more an organization is able to combine all six traits the stronger the brand personality will be as a whole. Establishing a more solidified brand image through the use of the brand identity prism makes it easier for a company to market their brand to consumers. The following six characteristics make up the brand identity prism.

1. Physique

This aspect represents all of the physical qualities that will be seen by consumers, including the brand’s logo, color, shape, and any other symbols. This is the foundation of the brand because it evokes a visual image in the mind of the consumer that they will recall when talking or thinking about the brand. It is important for companies to create a brand physique that is easy to recognize and remember as well as being unique enough to differentiate from other brands. All successful brands follow this rule. For example, the McDonald’s logo is a golden letter “M”, which is both simple and recognizable.

2. Personality

The overall character of a brand makes up its personality. By demonstrating personified traits, such as being adventurous or fashionable, the brand establishes a way of communicating with the consumer that resonates throughout every marketing campaign. Companies can think of their brand as a person and consider how this person would talk or act and what attitudes or styles they would embrace. Consumers then know what to expect when interacting with the brand. For example, the gear and apparel retailer REI caters to active people who love the outdoors. Their brand personality therefore embodies the rugged, prepared and adventurous traits that mirror those of their target consumers.

3. Culture

The culture signifies a deeper understanding of what the brand stands for as far as values, principles, origins, and behaviors. Organizations can instill their values and worldview into the brand by associating it with their message. Brands can be eco-friendly, socially responsible, or youth-centric, among others. Often a brand associates with their nationality as seen by many American brands, such as Ford and Coca-Cola.

4. Relationship

This trait in the brand identity prism represents the relationship between the brand and the consumer. This relationship shows how the brand fits into the consumer’s life and shows how it provides services to customers. Usually, these connections mirror associations and beliefs that are present in human relationships, such as a parent and child relationship. This aspect is particularly important for a brand that provides services because it lets consumers know what they will be receiving when they make a purchase, such as an easier buying experience, more convenient workflow, or more luxurious accommodations.

5. Reflection

Reflection refers to the demographics and other characteristics of the ideal consumer of the brand. This aspect does not deal with how the brand is perceived by the consumer or anything to do with the brand itself. This is useful for businesses to think of when marketing their brand because it provides insight into the target audience. By determining consumer characteristics such as demographics, age, and background, companies can transform their campaigns to reflect who the target consumers are, thereby appealing to all members of that group.

6. Self-image

This characteristic shows how the consumer of the brand perceives themselves. Understanding this aspect is essential in relation to other aspects of the brand identity prism because it forms the brand personality as a whole. For example, consumers who use Dove products see themselves as beautiful, confident and optimistic and companies who know this are better able to mold the physical, personal, and cultural image of the product to fit these internal customer needs.

Understanding both the consumer and the brand is essential for creating effective marketing campaigns. Companies that can apply the brand identity prism to their product will be able to relate to their audience on multiple levels. By building a brand to consumers, businesses can increase brand loyalty and profitability.

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Recommended Readings

Ohio University Blog, “Uber, Airbnb, and the Revolution of Business”
Ohio University Blog, “Five Change Management Models in Business”
Ohio University Blog, “6 Tips for Managing Leadership Change Through the Succession Plan”


Investopedia, “Brand Personality”
Marketing91, “Brand Identity Prism with Pepsi as an Example”
Gaebler Resources for Entrepreneurs, “Understanding the Brand Identity Prism”
AdWeek, “Infographic: What Marketers Need to Know About U.S. Soccer Fans”