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August 7, 2013

Developing Brand Identity Systems | Avoiding 8 Common Mistakes | Part One

Drawing on first hand experience in developing and helping others develop brand identities, Austin West has identified eight guidelines as you read, focus on the suggestions most relevant to the context that applies to your brand. I’ll first list the eight most common mistakes and then every week focus on each one in more detail. Here are the eight common mistakes:

1. Avoid a limited brand perspective

2. Link to a compelling functional benefit whenever possible

3. Ignore constructs that are not helpful

4. Generate deep consumer insight

5. Understand competitors

6. Allow multiple brand identities

7. Make the brand identity drive the execution

8. Elaborate the brand identity

1. Avoid a Limited Brand Perspective:
One common brand management mistake is to view the brand too narrowly. Some people succumb to the “tagline trap,” the belief that the brand identity should be captured in a three-word phrase. But even the brand essence statement should not be the only (or even the dominant) part of the brand identity. For example, 3M is not just innovation; it stands for a large set of associations, including quality adhesives and adhesive products, video and audio tape, and a Midwestern personality.

An even more common problem is the product-“attribute fixation trap” which occurs when the brand is viewed as simply a set of attributes delivering functional benefits. Companies in the high-tech and industrial marketing world are particularly susceptible to the assumption that customers process only on factual information about brands and base their choices solely on the attributes most important to them. In fact, it is usually more accurate and helpful to conceive of a brand as what is left over after the impact of attributes has been subtracted.