multiple identities

We are a brand design agency. The value of our company’s services–in fact for our whole industry–is based upon this single truth: image is a perception, not necessarily a fact. Buyers cannot know in a factual sense all there is to know about your company. What they don’t know, they might assume with or without any real evidence. These so-formed perceptions are influential to a buyer, just as real factors based on hard evidence are, and may well determine the buying decision.

Phillip Kotler of the Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University tells us that usually a company has several different identities: the communicated, actual, conceived, desired and ideal identity. First, you need to know where you are—your actual identity (1), in order to find a way to your desired identity (2). Preferably, the desired identity is also the ideal identity (3). However, what you’re communicating (4) and how people conceive it (5) can be two very different things.

Your identity is made visible in your brand image: your company name, logo, tagline and brand story. Your brand identity is, of course, much more. It is a long-lasting strategic asset that represents the timeless values of your brand and exists in the minds of your customer. Your brand image (names, logos, taglines) is a tactical asset that can change from time to time.

Potential customers, who have never had any contact with your company, may still possess a strong image of you. Without a purchasing experience, image may decide whether they use you at all. That’s why one of the most important goals in brand management is to reduce complexity. Inasmuch as buyers cannot know all there is about your company, and you can’t be all things to all people, it is essential to concentrate your brand message to what is critically important.