Branding is a concept that originated to define identity to a brand, person or a company. The word brand itself originated from old Norse language meaning to leave a mark on your livestock to claim ownership. A symbol or name were either drawn or burnt on the livestock to show everyone who owns it.
This is how brands and the concept of branding started and we can see the same practice going on with logos of brands. When we see the logo of a brand we immediately realize which brand it is. Simple examples are Facebook, Twitter, McDonald's etc.
Brand identity - Brand identity is the visible elements of a brand, such as color, design, and logo, that identify and distinguish the brand in consumers' minds from other brands. Brand identity is defined by the company or the person who owns the brand and is defined based on what the brand wishes to be seen in the eyes of the consumer.
Brand image - Brand image is the general impression of a brand perceived by real or potential consumers. This image develops over time. Customers form an image based on their interactions, advertisements and experience with the brand. Advantages of having a good brand image is that it is easier for the brand to launch new products and better business-customer reltionship.
A brand is represented by various tangible elements. Elements used to express/represent and identify/differentiate the brand.
The consistent use of Brand Elements in all marketing programs helps communicate the Brand Character to the marketplace.
The brand name, logo, slogan, and packaging style are all examples of Brand Elements.
Here I’ve picked Zara to define 9 of its brand elements because they are a relatively new company (compared to older luxury brands).
Also their branding is meant to align with high fashion even through they are a fast fashion company.
Zara’s brand elements is different from the others of its category because of its high fashion with the combination of fast fashion.
Here are 9 defining brand elements of Zara.
The logo was designed to emphasize the simplicity and elegance of the brand found by Amancio Ortega, the founder of Zara.
Zara is one of the world’s most successful fashion retail brands. With its introduction of the concept of “fast fashion” retail since it was founded in 1975 in Spain, Zara aspires to spread fashion amongst a broad spectrum of consumers, spread across different cultures and age groups. It is the world's largest apparel retailer. Zara always put its customers first which made them a global powerhouse. They have defined the company and the brand’s culture right from the very beginning.
Zara focuses on giving customers high-end fashion along with high quality materials at an affordable price. Providing customers with fast fashion at such low rates was a first by any company.
Customer co-creation ideology, that is Zara’s principal designer is the customer.
Zara’s unrelenting focus on the customer is at the core of the brand’s success. There are many fascinating stories around how Zara co-creates its products leveraging its customers’ input. Another secret of Zara’s success is that the brand trains and empowers its store employees and managers to be particularly comprehensive of the customer needs and wants, and how customers express themselves.
Zara is one such brand where they make people enhance their self image by making them look strong, confident and unique ensuring that the clothes are always in par with the trend.
Zara is very low-key about their advertisements because of their huge existing loyal customer base and gain new customers without having to advertise as much. When they do advertise it is mainly through print and magazines. It prefers to invest a percentage of its revenues in opening new stores instead which has help increase sales drastically.
Zara is a brand with elegant style which is very rustic in nature. This is primarily because of their unique brand style. They bring in street style fashion into high fashion which is very enticing and appeals to a wide range of people.
Zara only allows its designs to remain on the shop floor for three to four weeks. Due to Zara’s very fast customer research capabilities, its product offerings around the world in its various stores is unique to customer needs and wants in terms of physical, climate or cultural differences of that country.
Sustainability has been a hot topic in the fashion business for the last decade and is now quickly becoming a must-have factor for fashion houses that want to resonate with and win the loyalty of its global customers. For Zara, this means having a commitment to people and the environment. Additionally, Inditex, the company that owns Zara takes wide-ranging measures to protect biodiversity, reduce its consumption of water, energy and other resources, avoid waste, and combat climate change. Zara is now fully focused on how to make fast fashion fully sustainable.