Identity vis-a-vis image

At the time of studying the situation of each company regarding identity and image they can present one of five possible situations.


  • If the apparent identity and image are high (1), we face an institution which, after generating a consistent identity, has achieved an image aligned with its idea in action. It is an entity which shares values with its audiences and communicates them correctly. This includes cases that go from consumer goods, like Zara, to institutions like Karolinska Institutet.
  • If the company presents a strong identity which does not finally reflect a strong image (2), the latter possesses a great opportunity that so far has not been exploited. It is known, respected and understood, it generates likeness “¦.but it is not capable of creating a close relationship with its audiences. This might be the case of some Eastern Europe brands.
  • If both identity and image are low (3), we are in front of a commodity, and this could be a strategic option taken by the company
  • If image is high and identity isn’t (4), we are in front of Nabuco Donosor’s statue: a giant with mud feet. In the past we saw this type of giants and effects were devastating. We refer to cases like Enron and WorldCom, where an image was rapidly built without making sure whether a true identity was supporting it.
  • Finally, if both image and identity are average (5), we are in the “limbo”. The truth is that to overcome this situation two movements are required: first to finish building a strong identity and then do something about the image. Many companies are in this situation, mainly due to the following two reasons:
    • It is a comfort area, since not much may happen in the short run, but if certain factors are taken into account, such as change speed, broke inertia, perfect competition and higher demands of audiences (which eventually will all become clients) a problem is beginning to appear.
    • Resignation. We have lived and grown with the paradigm of being the best. Being the runner-up is no good. This statement is tricky, since you can accomplish being the best in the world in something, the best of the region in something else and customers may finally purchase products and services from the best in the neighbourhood, because it is precisely the latter the one they share their values with.

Identity and image are different concepts; however at the time of building a brand, in many cases image has received more attention than identity. Success lies on the fact of image and identity walking hand in hand, in that what one stands for, is what the other one really conveys.

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<a href="" target="_self">Cristian Saracco</a>

Cristian Saracco

About the author

Founding Partner | Allegro234 Founding Member | The Flow Collective Full Member | Medinge Group Member Editorial Committee | Branders Magazine

Mar 3, 2008

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