What is Kapferer’s Brand Identity Prism and How is It Effective?

Kapferer's Brand Identity Prism


What would come to your mind when you think about a luxury car? The first thing that will come to your mind is mind-blowing speed and incredible performance. That is true essence of brand identity. Big brands have developed innovative and unique ideas that have worked effectively to reach out to their customers.

The story of a successful brand identity is based on people’s interests and preferences. But, in the absence of a significant and transparent identity, a brand will never be able to stand tall in this highly competitive market. To understand this concept better, you should learn about the Kapferer’s Brand Identity Prism.

The Essence of Kapferer’s Brand Identity

If you are on your way to develop a brand identity then you have to know about Kapferer’s Brand Identity Prism. In 1996, Jean-Noel Kapferer, the professor of marketing strategy at a popular management school in France, had introduced the Brand Identity Prism in his book, “Strategic Brand Management”.

In the introduction, the professor had highlighted six key elements that are considered as very effective tools for building brand identity. If you are trying to develop your brand’s identity, you must know that it is your customers’ experience with your brand and its history that determine the way your customers’ think about your brand. Moreover, customers will attentively look for some clues about what your brand is mostly known for.

However, these clues are represented within Kapferer’s six section of prism:

  • Physique
  • Personality
  • Culture
  • Relationship
  • Reflection
  • Self-image

In his book, Kapferer mentioned that these features would only come in effect when a brand will communicate with consumers. According to the professor, a brand will be considered strong if it is capable of incorporating all features into an effective effort to avail a concise, transparent and appealing brand identity. In this article, we will cast light into those six aspects introduced by Kapferer.


The basic of your brand’s identity will be determined by its “Physique”. The physical characteristics and the primary objective of your product or service create some specific images, ideas and emotions among the consumers.

For example, the physique of products made by Apple is a slim and aesthetic design that gives the brand a unique identification. For another instance, the American express is assembled with a physique of high class and excellent standards.

To understand the physique of your brand, look at them and try to understand what do the products or service under your brand look like? What kind of perception and emotions do they promote for your brand? And, are those portraits and emotions meet the standard that you want for your brand?

These are all about the physique of your product or service within your brand. These are such kinds of features that can mount up your brand value within a very short span of time.


Here the term “personality” stands for the character of the brand. By making contacts with consumers in some specific ways, organizations try to make consumers’ realize that they have actually constituted an individual with a certain character that always speak to them.

However, organizations become enable to do so only when they incorporate a specific style of writing, using specific color and design. For example, if a brand endorsing an ambassador for any product or service, the character of the ambassador must be depicted as familiar with the product or service, so that the endorsement can convey a significant meaning.


The culture of the brand establishes link between brand organizations. Many companies are clearly depicting the country of their origin. For instance, the soft drink giant Coca-Cola always highlights the value of America; the country of its origin. The luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz always appeals to German value and the Citroen highlights the French value.

It has been seen that, several brands are benefited by the fact they are considering as originated in consumer home nation. Professor Kapferer has given an example by saying that, American brand “Mars”, the candy bar manufacturer, makes Dutch people feel that the company is from their home land.

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Here the term “Relationship” signifies the relationship between the customers’ and the brand. A brand can symbolize some specific relationship between two people, such as mother and child, bond of two friends, teacher and student, etc. To highlight the aspect, a brand manager is highly required for an organization who can present the idea of depicting a relationship in a well-processed manner.

For example, the luxury carmaker Lexus clearly sets its class apart from MBW by providing its customers a red carpet treatment. The true aspect of relationship is more significant for the service brand than the product brand.


This aspect signifies the reference direct to the stereotypical consumer of the brand. If you think of the term of “Reflection”, you can take the example of Coca-Cola that basically targets the consumer aged between 15 to 18 and they promotes the values such as sporty, fun and friendship, when their actual target is much broader. In his book, professor Kapferer stated that there is no requirement to hire a brand manager to make a significant reflection of the actual group in their advertisement campaign, but rather they should present a group that can appeal to the entire member to the target group.


The term “Self-image” stands for a mirror held by the targeted group itself. For example, a driver who used to drive a Porsche can easily indulge in a thought that he is a rich man, as he can afford such a high-class expensive car. When a company develops its brand identity, the brand manager should take such facts into account. We can take another example of Lacoste, as researchers have found that consumers of the brand always love to consider themselves as members of a sports club.


From the above discussion, we can understand that Brand Identity Prism allows the brand managers to evaluate the potencies and weaknesses of their brand.

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