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Brand Awareness vs. Brand Identity for Jewelry Brands

I recently read an article in JCK about Pandora’s efforts to reinvent itself after an “unsatisfactory” 2018. Pandora executives admit the brand has high brand awareness but lacks brand identity. This got me thinking about the difference between brand awareness and identity and why it matters to jewelry brands.

In Pandora’s case, many consumers – even people who have probably never even bought from Pandora – know the “Pandora” name and are aware that Pandora is a jewelry store. They’ve probably walked by a Pandora store in a mall setting or have seen an ad for the jewelry in a magazine. They may also know that Pandora – at least at one point in time – was well known for its charm jewelry and that charms can be a great gift option. That’s brand awareness.

Today, I don’t see very many people wearing Pandora jewelry, at least none that I can identify as the brand’s signature charm bracelets. These bracelets have fallen out of style, and women are no longer going out of their way to fill their bracelets with new charms. What does Pandora even sell anymore? I think I heard they’ve been trying to release new products, but what are those new products – and why should I care? Should I bother going to a store to check out their latest offerings? That’s lack of brand identity.

At the height of the brand’s popularity, Pandora had both brand awareness and brand identity. Consumers recognized the brand’s name, and they knew they could visit a Pandora to buy a starter charm bracelet or add-on charms, for themselves or for a loved one. The word “Pandora” was synonymous with charms.

However, over time, the popularity of the charm bracelets faded, and Pandora continued releasing new product lines in categories like rings, earrings, and necklaces. When the brand’s loyal consumers wandered into a store out of habit, they may have been confused by the new product assortments. Over time, these loyal consumers were no longer charmed by charms – and not interested in trying something new. The brand awareness remained, but the brand identity became muddy.

As a jewelry brand, why should you care about this story? Most importantly, it serves as a cautionary tale for the importance of monitoring your brand awareness and brand identity, at every stage of growth – and then acting accordingly to maintain balance.

If you’re a new jewelry brand, you probably have the opposite problem. You are working on building your brand identity, but you have very little brand awareness. At this point, you may want to focus less on solidifying your identity and direct more attention on getting your brand noticed. Over time, you can return to your brand identity and make adjustments based on the feedback you’re getting from new customers.

With persistence and patience, you’ll eventually strike the perfect balance of brand awareness and brand identity. Customers will not only be familiar with your brand, but they’ll also be clear on what you are offering them. Once you’ve reached this balance, you’ll want to continue checking in on your equilibrium and asking yourself important questions, like:

  • Am I growing too quickly and losing my brand identity in favor of brand awareness?
  • Am I introducing too many new products too quickly?
  • Am I trying to evolve in ways that confuse the customer?
  • Does my customer even want the new things I plan to offer them?

Do you feel like you’ve found a steady balance between brand awareness and brand identity? In what ways could your jewelry brand build upon one or the other to find a happy medium and sustain long-term growth? We’d love to read your feedback in the comments.