Brand Identity Exercise

Brand Identity Exercise

To learn how to analyze various brand identity elements including name, logo, symbols, colors, characters, spokespeople, slogans/tag lines, packaging design, etc.

Materials needed:

Physical samples of two brands from the same category (one of each for every two students)– one relatively rich in brand narrative with relatively strong brand identity elements, but largely unknown, especially to your students (low awareness/high meaning narrative) and one relatively poor in brand narrative with relatively weak brand identity elements, but widely known, especially to your students (high awareness/low meaning narrative). These will help you differentiate between building brand awareness and building brand meaning. This semester, I used two brands of iced-tea. My low awareness/high meaning brand was “Rob’s Really Good Half and Half” and my high awareness/low meaning brand was “Nestea Iced Tea”

How to run it:
Group students into pairs and distribute the product samples. Remind students of the various brand identity elements and the criteria by which you would like them to judge them (list on the board).

(20 minutes) Ask students to analyze the brand identity elements of each brand and evaluate them on the following criteria (introduced in a lecture earlier in the class):

• Is it memorable?
• Is it meaningful?
• Is it likeable?
• Is it differentiated from the competition?
• Is it transferable? (product extensions/brand extensions)
• Is it adaptable? (across cultures, across target markets)
• Is it protectable? (by trademark or patent)

(20 minutes) Come back together as a class and discuss what happened in the pairs.

• Which is the stronger brand identity? Why? Probe to draw out differences between awareness and meaning. Students are likely to prefer the low awareness/high meaning brand, but ask them to consider why the high awareness/low meaning brand is doing so well in the marketplace. Make the point that having a good brand narrative is not enough and that brands need to spend to build awareness. A good story that no one has heard of means nothing in the marketplace.
• How did each brand use its brand elements to build brand meaning? Which elements are contributing to the brand meaning and which are not?
• Which brand elements are most memorable? most meaningful? most likeable? most differentiated from the competition? most transferable? most adaptable? most protectable?
• How would you improve each brand’s identity?
• How important is brand meaning in this category? Why? What types of brand meaning are most important?
• How important is brand awareness in this category? Why?

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