Recently I have been asked if Android is experiencing brand identity crisis. That was my reply:
I know that Androids worldwide market share is very high, but it seems that people would go with the iPhone because of the mindset behind Android phones. Many people think of them as slow, buggy phones that are lower end. Android used to be a device for developers, but after reading Why Android First is a Myth, even that part of identity that seemed healthy, weakens.
Afterwards, I realized I should not have said anything about Android identity crisis. I should not have said anything about any identity crisis.
Although we all tend to judge various brand’s potentials, threats, opportunities and values, such acts are in fact futile and serve only to social interactions. Someone outside a brand can never judge if that brand is going through an identity crisis and can even less judge brand value or any other brand identity element.
From outside, you do not know the brand’s business model, neither you know what identity would they like to develop and run. They might inbetween change identity plan for whatever reason. They might even decide to exit from some markets with the lowest cost possible, for instance, and silence identity completely.
A person that is an external stakeholder to a particular brand has only one option regarding that brand: to buy it or not to buy it. Only those that are part of that brand, that are internal stakeholders that have privileged access to a brand business model, are eligible to judge brand. Only they can tell if the brand is in identity crisis that experience that crasis personally.
A person that audits brand, for instance, has another insight into that specific brand, but even such an idea is not enough to make solemn judgements about brand identity as a totality of all identity traits. No partial view entitles one to make any judgement about brand totality.
Could we then conclude that since even internal stakeholders can only have a partial view on brands that they co-brand (work in) that there surely exists at least one position that has a holistic view over brand and can thus make reliable judgements about that brand? Would not that be a brand manager for a larger corporation? Would not that be a brand owner for a small privately-owned company?
Unfortunately no. As much as there is no privileged position of “me” in our brains, no centralized managerial position of an individual, there is also no such position for any brand. Brands are living creatures on their own. They have their own personality that emerges from an immense number of interactions with various stakeholders. No one really manages or owns a brand’s personality.
The brand manager, though, is the one that knows the most, but there are dispersed customers and other stakeholders that know nothing but decide about everything. They don’t know anything about identity crisis since they create or un-create it.