Brand Reflections is a new framework to help brand owners and agencies understand and communicate brand identity more effectively.
It may appear that everyone involved with the brand shares the same views and underlying assumptions about the brand, however often there are key differences that can lead to misunderstanding and disagreements over strategy and inconsistent communication. Likewise, the gap between how customers perceive a brand and how the brand owner sees itself can sometimes be poorly understood.
By using the Brand Reflections framework to understand these differences, it becomes much easier to gain consistency and alignment around a brand’s key characteristics.
We believe that Brand Reflections is especially useful for branding and marketing agencies looking to accelerate their understanding and research into a client’s brand. By getting to the point where the creative process can start with everyone confident that they are on the same page, it is possible to save time and money.
Brand Reflections is currently undergoing beta testing.
Pitching to Prospects and New Clients
When pitching to new clients, Brand Reflections can be used to identify areas of inconsistency or uncertainty in a brand’s personality. Quickly gathering data on new clients represents an opportunity to shorten and simplify the initial research undertaken into a potential new client.
Measure the Difference between Brand Owners and Customers
Sometimes, brand owners and customers of the brand don’t always see eye to eye about the characteristics of the brand. Understanding where these differences exist and why can help brand owners understand the gaps between how they want the brand to be seen and how it is actually perceived by people outside the business.
Increase Clarity and Alignment
The degree to which a brand owner’s internal team and advisers are in alignment around the key characteristics of a brand’s identity can be easily measured using Brand Reflections. By understanding where there are differences in perception amongst team members, it is possible to create greater consistency and alignment.
Accelerate Client Onboarding
For agencies, Brand Reflections is a way to accelerate the initial phases of introducing new clients to the business. By reducing the amount of time spent conducting background research and measuring the degree to which agency and client are in alignment around the brand and its future, the sooner the creative work can start.
Understand the Competitive Landscape
We can use Brand Reflections to understand the personality and characteristics of competitor brands. Understanding how different brands are perceived, we can identify how best to achieve differentiation and generate a sense of uniqueness for the brand.
Greater Strategic Insight
When developing brand strategy, our decisions are informed by our perceptions of brand identity. There are two main benefits to understanding these sub-conscious brand perceptions, firstly by understanding the personality or characteristics of the brand we can see what decisions would be consistent with that identity.
Secondly, Brand Reflections can be used to understand the differences between current perception and how the brand owner would like the brand to be in an ideal world. Measuring the changes in behaviour required to shift between the two can help underpin the rationale supporting decision making and long term planning.
Data gathering takes place via a questionnaire. Respondents are asked to imagine the brand in question as if it were a person. Questions include the gender and age of the brand, along with a variety of personality adjectives.
There are a number different ways that the questionnaire can be used. The default option is to look at how respondents see the brand currently. For brand owners and agencies, it may be useful to contrast current perceptions of the brand with a second questionnaire to see how people perceive the brand in an ideal world.
There are two versions of the Brand Reflections questionnaire. The full version takes around 15 minutes to complete and is best answered by people who have a lot of experience with the brand. The shorter questionnaire takes 5 minutes and can be compared against other groups taking the long version of the questionnaire.
We think that having a better understanding of brand personality is important for a number of reasons: primarily, for those involved in managing a brand, it is often assumed that during meetings and discussions, team members share the same underlying perception of the brand. This is often not the case and brand personality is a good way to understand these differences. In many cases small differences in perception can lead to lack of clarity when communicating a brand’s character and values.
Brand personality is also a good way to understand differentiation between brands. Using the Brand Reflections framework, it becomes possible to understand the competitive landscape and the personalities of competing brands. This information can then be used to identify opportunities for greater differentiation and optimal positioning.
We can also use brand personality to understand how brands can be more genuine or authentic. For many businesses, the brand identity can become confused or contradictory as brand owners position the brand as being all things to all people. By identifying the behaviours and values most resonant with the brand, it becomes possible to focus on a more realistic and believable identity.
For any brand we come into contact with, however tangentially, we build a sense of personality or characteristics for that brand. Brand Reflections lets us understand these perceptions and compare them with others.