Brand Identity Planning Model

David A. Aaker, a marketing professor at the University of California at Berkeley developed a comprehensive Brand Identity Planning Model.

Positioning is about what is being said about a brand, while Brand Identify is about how it is being said. Brand Identity Model defines what must stay and what is free to change in a brand.

Limitations of Positioning

  • Positioning focuses on the product itself.
  • Positioning does not reveal all of the brand’s richness of meaning nor reflect all of its potential.
  • Positioning does not expound on communication style, form or spirit. It controls the words only, not on how they’re delivered.

Brand Identity and definition are essential prerequisites for efficient brand management.

Brand Identity Model (BIM) is similar to an identity card – a personal, non-transferable document, which tells in a few words, who we are, what our name is and what distinguishable features we have that can be instantly recognized.  The importance of a BIM enhances when the brand becomes more and more diversified. As civil status and physical appearance change, identity cards get updated, yet the fingerprint of the holders always remains the same.  The identity concept questions how time will affect the unique and permanent quality of the brand.  Some of the basic questions, which need to be answered, are;

  • What is the brand’s particular vision and aim?
  • What makes it different?
  • What need is the brand fulfilling?
  • What is its permanent nature?
  • What are its values?
  • What are the signs that make it recognizable?

Brand Charter are the standard visual identity guidelines for the brand.  However, this should be the proceeding step to developing the BIM.  This means that there is a need to first define what is the key message that we want to communicate about the brand, and then worry about developing the visual identity guidelines. Very few brands actually have a brand charter defining the brand’s long-term identity and uniqueness.


The family resemblance between the various models of BMW conveys a strong identity, yet it is not the identity.  The family resemblance of various models of BMW is actually the result of a well-thought out BIM.

Brand IDENTITY (Equity) Planning Model

Brand Identity provides the framework for overall brand coherence.  It is a concept that serves to offset the limitations of positioning and to monitor the means of expression, the unity and durability of a brand.

Difference between Brand Image and Identity

Identity precedes image.



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