Tacit Brand Identity Raising PriorityConsistency in brand identity is less important than it once was. In the days when consumers sifted through stacks of similar brands at the supermarket, searching for their familiar brand, a consistent brand identity was extremely important. The Coca-Cola brand logo has undergone only half a dozen minor changes in its 125 year history. However, modern brands are less strict about consistent brand identity. Google has promoted over 1,000 wildly different brand identities in just over 10 years!
A brand such as Google is defined by the service it provides. Moreover, it can be consumed intentionally but without knowing the trademarked identity of the multi-colored Google logo because the service can be automated through a bookmark or toolbar. So, when a consumer accesses a Google service (such as search) in a familiar way and receives the expected service (such as a list of high-quality results), the brand experience of Google is reinforced. Even if the brand identity looks like this Doodle (from May 2012, copyright Google).
In the case of Google, the tacit elements of the brand - how to access the brand, the experience of consumption - become more important contributors to brand equity than the explicit element of the brand identity - what is the trademarked logo. Many brands, even traditional fmcg brands, have opportunities to leverage further the tacit elements of their brand identity. Even a staple retail brand like Coca-Cola has over 11 million members of its digital community, Coca-Cola Park.
Brand marketers should ask themselves, "In a world without the brand identity, is the brand equity still strong?" If the answer is "no", explore ways to raise up the power of tacit brand elements.