Brand Clarity


By Emmanuel Obeta

Brand Clarity or lack of it is another reason why brands succeed or fail. Brand clarity according to Hanafi Sam is how your brand works in general and talks about every small detail of your brand including your design and brand experience.

Clarity or lucidity refers to perception or understanding; freedom from indistinctness or ambiguity, the state or quality of being clear or transparent to the eye. When people talk or refer to your brand what do they actually mean or imply. Communication by its very nature can be understood or interpreted differently depending on the various individuals and their different peculiarities. Regardless of that the clarity of your messaging or perception by your customers and consumers will preclude a lot of options that are undesirable or unintended by the brand owner. It reduces the extent of confusion and ambiguity about the brand because it is clearly defined and explained in terms of its purpose etc.

Clarity in terms of your messaging and purpose presupposes a clear and unambiguous understanding of who your brand is, what it wants to be or grow into as well a clear understanding of your audience; their nuances, cultures, beliefs, style of communication and relationship. If you do not understand who you are or what you are trying to become or who your audience are then you will definitely be driving or piloting your communication towards an undesirable or unintended direction that will not be impactful or useful to both parties and especially to the brand. This is usually why there are oftentimes a disconnect between what the brand is trying to communicate about itself and what the people are perceiving and understanding which could be distasteful or disconcerting for both parties.

If your brand is a person clarity will refer to the people who you are trying to describe or explain your brand to being able to understand and develop a clear picture or perception of who the brand is, what it will likely do or how it will behave in different situations or contexts; who its associates will be and the kinds of ideas or position that it will advocate, propose or support.

Clarity is important because simplicity not only empowers the communicator but also frees the recipient from errors of meaning due to lack of clarity. Complexity in content and message strangles good communications and will often leave your audience lost in intent and making assumptions in purpose and desired outcomes. Simple and clear direction produces higher quality results.

Clarity also improves connection and engagement primarily because it increases trust and transparency. It exposes purpose by unveiling expectations and telling people exactly what you want.

Clarity and concise messaging is also an essential ingredient in convincing people both about your intent and to also take action.

Brand clarity encompasses all the vital elements about your brand; your brand strategy, brand story, brand essence, brand attributes/values, brand personality, brand positioning and your target market etc. Ability to identify the fundamental elements as well as the core of your brand is essential in achieving brand clarity.

Brand Presence is another critical element in the success or failure of a brand. Presence refers to the fact of being in a particular place; the state of being present or someone or something that is seen or noticed in a particular place, area, etc.

Looking at presence purely from this perspective will lead to the proposition of a physical solution to the problem, like in the area of distribution where the presence of a brand or product is looked upon basically as an availability issue. The brand is present when the physical units of the brands are available in the store or shops and warehouses.

As valid as that perspective is, brand presence encompasses a lot more variables and ideas than that. Presence can also exist in the mind etched in the mind by all the various interactions and experiences the consumer or customer has had with the brand over time, such that even when the brand is not physically available there is a longing or preference for the brand. Which is why customers will go into the store and ask for a particular brand and if it is not available will not be assuaged or convinced to buy another brand.

The third aspect of brand presence refers to the various physical or psychological cues or reminders about the brand that keeps alive the feelings and fondness about the brand in the minds of the customers/ consumers. This aids brand recall.

The fourth aspect of brand presence is remarkability or reckon and attraction. A person for instance can be at a meeting or at a party and will just be noted as being present whereas another person can be at the party and the cynosure of all attention and attraction. As a matter of fact the person will be the toast of all attention and the life of the party. The first person is present or availability at the party whereas the second person has presence. The same analogy can be attributed to brands in the market place. Some brands are just present in the market place whereas others have presence and are the toast of the market place. Other brands don’t get to be sold or noticed until the other brands have finished selling or had their day in the market place. Presence here refers to a larger than life attribute endowed upon the brand such that oftentimes even what the brand does not claim to do can be attributed to the brand.

A brand that focuses mainly on the first parameter of presence without first cultivating the second and third parameters is mainly a push strategy and may run into a situation where the brands fully flood the stores without a pull strategy that will facilitate a pull through the stores.

Presence is therefore more of a mental construct akin with the child who despite his father not being around is well aware of what the father wants and will not want to go against it or offend the father despite his absence. That is also why parenting based on fear or physical monitoring as opposed to self-monitoring is usually not very successful.

Brand presence is therefore about establishing your brand in the lives of your consumers. There is a 360-degree approach to branding that makes your brand an essential aspect of every area of your consumer’s life. A good example of such an approach was the advert run by Coca Coca (Coca Cola moments) where the different occasions where consumers can take or drink Coke alongside their other foods and other activities were highlighted. Similar advert executions were adopted by Peak milk. A company with solid brand presence has their content and services built into the very fabric of their market vertical such that the brand can be seen or viewed as a life enabler; an essential part of their lives and not just as an external intruder.

A brand with a huge brand presence will always be a winner in the market place whereas one which has not been able to break through the clutter and establish itself will always be a misnomer and a failure or at best an also ran brand.

*Emmanuel Obeta is a Brands & Marketing Consultant with Directorate Level experience across FMCG, Banking and Public Service ( ; +2348139322773)