The Brand Explorer

The Brand Explorer evaluates brand attributes, brand image and the overall brand essence. Focus lies on the analysis of the brand's core, or essence. We examine most closely core values and associations; attributes; brand benefits and ideas which form the character of a brand in the eyes of its users.

However, measurement and exploration of these elements is not enough. Labels are essential for brand building and are integral components of the brand image - yet are only components and not the whole.

What may happen when elements of the brand's outer shell or attributes which are situated near the outer shell are placed at the center of marketing activities and surveys can be best summed up with the phrase "Coca-Cola's marketing fiasco," which has gone down in history as an instance in which central core brand values - in this case the emotional relationship Americans have with Coca-Cola - are neglected, with dire consequences for the brand.

The Brand Essence Model

Brand Core, Brand Space, Brand Shell

The image of a brand can be depicted graphically using three elements: the brand shell, the brand space, and the brand core.

The brand shell consists of the surface characteristics of a brand, including labels such as name, logo, symbols, design, packaging, slogans, jingles etc. These elements are normally explored under the catchword Brand Awareness and the contributions they may make to it.

The brand space establishes the image of a brand. Here the relevant questions include: how does the brand differentiate itself from others? Which attributes, benefits and ideas are associated with the brand?

Of less relevance are recall and recognition of the brand; instead, associations are key. The idea of the brand and the characteristics related back to the brand are seen from the point of view of the brand user. The user determines the meaning of the brand.

At the brand core certain characteristics are consolidated to form an overall impression of the brand which is usually emotionally deep-seated. Here is where those core values and associations lie which are most closely associated with the brand and which determine the brand image.

Recognizing these associations is of prime importance, as these core values and core associations are used to formulate the brand's promise to the consumer.

Brands create expectations.

© 2018 Hoffmann & Forcher