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How’s my driving? Brand identity vs image


You’ve got a product, a logo, and a slogan… But what do customers really see when they look at your brand? Fred Janssen of Kronos joined us to talk about creating an identity people will love – and the image to back it up.

On the way to the DirectionGroup office, the taxi carrying Fred Janssen was cut up by a van. Later, at our office, he told us, “I base my opinion of a brand on the last interaction I had with it.”

The van had the brand’s logo all over it. The logo was meant to be clever, or recognisable, or friendly. The brand’s slogan was promising reliability, or services, or “solutions”. But the van had been driven so badly that Fred now decided he’d never buy from them again.

That’s the difference between identity and image.

The ingredients of identity

Fred is Director of EMEA Field Marketing at Kronos. He came in to talk about how businesses balance identity with image. If identity is what a brand decides on in the boardroom, the image is how everybody else sees it.

BMW is the “ultimate driving machine”. The image is of a solid, quality product. Coca-Cola is “the real thing”. It’s the image of a one-of-a-kind experience. Royal Dutch Airline promises “worldwide reliability”. You can trust its behaviour.

The product, service, logo, slogan, and behaviour of a business create a particular identity – and customers create the unique image of the brand in their own minds. And if they can identify with what it stands for, they’re more likely to buy.

An image customers love

Fred told another story. On holiday in Spain, he pulled into a service station. As he was filling his car with petrol, another car pulled up at the next pump. Fred recognised the Dutch number plate. Dutch himself, Fred couldn’t resist striking up a conversation with the driver. In their nationality, they found something they had in common. Neither could help talking to the other.

Here, their nationality was part of their identities. But to one another, it gave off an image they could both relate to.

If marketing is getting customers to love your brand, creating a unique identity and image they can relate to is how you do it. Because everyone wants to belong to a club. So create the club your customers want to join.

Keeping up appearances

Since joining the DirectionGroup club, we’ve created a number of campaigns that showcase the unique Kronos identity and image. The latest generated 24 new leads from customers that liked what they saw. Some of those leads are ex-customers that want to come back. We’ve positioned the product, people, and systems to feel right for customers.

For Fred and everyone here, making an identity work means knowing your audience and giving them something to love about you. It means having human conversations and doing everything you can to defend your image. And it means making sure that everything a customer can connect to your brand matches up with the identity you’ve created.

So please drive carefully.

Thanks for coming in Fred. We had a blast 🙂

Tom Rippon

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