Brand identity is composed of various shares that trigger particular responses in consumers in addition to filling the afore-mentioned functions. These shares build on one another; the more shares a brand has, the stronger and more positive the relationship with consumers.
At the very lowest level, mind share must be created in the consumer consciousness (cognitive level). This means that, as a complex perceptual and conceptual construct, the brand evokes an internal neural representation in the minds of consumers, leaving behind certain brand impressions.
This refers to the emotional relationship a consumer should develop with a brand. Heart share is less a matter of a product’s functional utility and more a matter of its symbolic attributes. The buyer of a Ferrari, for instance, will not develop an affection for the car based purely on functional attributes, but rather as a result of the values associated with the brand and the brand environment it operates in.
Brand identity must trigger a buying intention share in consumers. After all, despite the importance of a brand’s mind and heart share, it only makes sense for a supplier to invest in brand identity if consumers will also want to buy the brand.
Brand identity contributes to self share, which means that the brand functions as a manifestation of the self, a tangible expression of self-image within the social environment. In this context, brands serve self-expression and self-design purposes, differentiating the individual within the social group. Brands can easily serve similar ends in the realm of business-to-business, where they bolster self-image in terms of a company and its functions.
Here, the brand shares in the existential search for meaning conducted by a consumer in a world enlightened to the point of meaning-lessness and takes on a virtually religious character. This aspect sheds light on the cultural-sociological proposition that brand management is worshiping the customer. Brands allow consumers to achieve social position or status, to partake of cultural expression, to create mythology and shape meaning, and as a result, to weave themselves into the social and metaphysical fabric of the world. In this context, a loyal customer is a member of a community and an individual loyal to that community not just a customer who makes repeat purchases. A brand is a tool for building a sense of community and belonging, for building the community itself.
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