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Behaviour...the reality behind the brand promise

Brand perception is about the logo, visuals, personality, communications and products. However, it’s also about behaviour, about walking the walk as well as talking the talk.

Eric F 15 June 2016

The best brands are not visual

As an example, read each of the below names and pause after each one to clock what you think and, more importantly, what you feel.

  • Nike
  • Apple
  • The Beatles
  • Aldi
  • Vegemite
  • Amazon
  • Red Bull

If these brands/names resonated with you, each name probably conjured up impressions similar to reading a list of people you know. The name triggers a mental image of their personality and their relationship with you.

A brand is the perception formed in the audience's thoughts about an organisation, individual or idea. This perception is the culmination of the logo, visuals, personality, communications, products and activities.

A lot goes on below the surface before you ever ‘see’ a brand. A great deal of thought and strategy goes into how an organisation wants its brand to be perceived.

Brands also often evolve over time. Look at any famous band like The Beatles and you’ll see a number of dramatic changes in identity, from the fresh-faced pop sensation right through psychedelia and finally to the elder men of musical innovation. Each phase or album marked a maturation and new direction in the brand and its message. All this was conveyed not only through their music but also in all other areas of communication, such as the way they dressed and, most importantly, in their perceived behaviour.


In a word this is how a brand blossoms; through behaviour in every aspect of the brand from business strategy, to how it treats its employees, to dealing with customers. It’s what goes on below the surface that drives a brand.

This behaviour works hand-in-hand with a brand’s market positioning. Brands positioned against rival brands demand differentiation in behaviour and message. The goal is to persuade qualified consumers that the brand provides greater value than competing brands. If customers identify with a brand they are much more likely to give that product/company their business.

Numerous strategies are used to position brands using non-service or non-product-related qualities in their behaviour:

  • Retailer Nordstrom has stressed outstanding client support as part of its brand positioning.
  • Ben & Jerry's ice cream has separated itself from the plethora of ice-cream makers through emphasis on environmental responsibility.
  • How does a caffeinated sugary drink get associated with extreme skydiving or any extreme sport for that matter? Red Bull is perhaps one of the most successful examples of how behaviour translates into brand image and back again.

When it comes to creating a successful brand for your organisation and your customers never forget or underestimate the importance of brand behaviour.

Two great quotes from two great minds (one real, one fictional!) come to mind:

‘Do. Or do not. There is no try.’ Yoda

‘You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.’ Carl Jung


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