An astute opportunist can construct a brand solely on an economic model. By attempting to follow a formula of another brand’s success, they can make it look, feel and sound like the thing they're trying to emulate. But ultimately if the brand isn’t built on an authentic idea, it will ring hollow. There is no soul. The best brands are born from an idea, a passion, or a very real need. A brand’s soul should remain the same from that initial spark through any transformation that’s to come, even a rebrand! The soul defines core values, drives mission and guides positioning. This doesn’t just apply to premium brands. Even value brands that are filling a need and can offer authenticity with their visual language and messaging. The trick is to get the two sides of the coin right: the look/feel and the messaging.
Visual branding represents the idea through colors, textures, white space, type choices, layout design and of course the logo. But more than that it's the culmination of all these visual cues that evoke a feeling. Messaging involves the communication style and tone of the brand. Positioning guides these elements and are ultimately sprung from the brand’s soul. This explains why an organization can rebrand, it can even change names but repositioning a brand is difficult! Customers tap into a brand’s soul and the authenticity behind it very quickly.
This is also why copycat brands often fail. There is no soul and eventually they are found out.