The Brand Identity Elaboration Model by David A. Aaker is used to make a brand identity come to life. The purpose of the model is to paint a rich picture of the brand identity from different perspectives. The model consists of four elements: strategic imperatives, proof points, internal role models and external role models.
The Brand Identity Elaboration Model
The Brand Identity Elaboration Model provides clarity to brand identity. A brand identity or vision is the aspirational image of what an organization wants the brand to stand for. Too often a brand will have an identity that is too vague, so it lacks direction. Therefore, the organization will not know which programs to develop in order to make it come to life. The solution is to elaborate the key identity elements in four ways.
A strategic imperative is a strategic investment in an asset or program necessary to maintain or achieve the aspired image. For instance, when a bank aspires to deliver friendly interaction, they may need to develop new training programs and guidelines.
The proof points are assets, programs and initiatives that substantiate the core identity and help to communicate its meaning. They provide credibility to customers, employees and stakeholders. For example, Husqvarna stands for experienced pioneering and creates substance for this with a visual article about their heritage.
Internal role models
Symbolic, internal role models are stories, people or events that are on-target representatives of the brand identity. An example for this, is the 3M engineer that invented Post-it Notes because he needed a bookmark that did not flutter.
Extern role models
Internal role models can be really powerful because they are already in the brand context. However, they are limited to the organization’s history. By choosing an external role model, an organization can cast the net wider. A bank that aspired to be a trusted advisor, may look to Home Depot. By doing so, the identity becomes more vivid.
By elaborating on all elements of the model, clarity to the brand identity is provided. As a result, ideas for brand building will be more out-of-the-box and effective.