What is Brand Identity?

Companies looking to increase their market share and strengthen their relationship with existing customers would benefit from creating a strong brand identity, but what does the term mean, how does it differ from brand image, and what are the benefits? 

Brand identity

Brand identity explained

Brand identity is defined as the visible elements (i.e., company name, logo, design, colour schemes, advert text) that help customers instantly identify a brand and distinguish it from similar ones. The elements are specifically chosen to make potential customers feel a certain way and want to spend money at that company. 

Brand image is how the brand identity is received by the customer base or public. Simply, brand identity is intent and brand image is impact.

What can a strong brand identity do?

The biggest and most popular companies in the world have strong brand identities that resonate with their customer base. The identity is the result of consistent messaging across all platforms for years and even decades. It can be one of the company’s most valuable assets.

Some of these companies include Apple, which promotes its products as status symbols that are powerful and easy to use, and Amazon, which prioritises buyer experience by offering quick delivery (sometimes same-day and sometimes free) as well as an almost unlimited range of products. Both brand logos are instantly recognizable (the bitten apple and the Amazon smile) and hard to confuse with their competitors.

These identities can help make the rollout of new services or products easier because people are more likely to trust an existing brand that they have a relationship with. Consider how Amazon has been opening physical stores that use “computer vision” to track what you pick up and charge your account without going through a till. An unknown brand with the same technology probably wouldn’t get a big customer base.

However, brand identity can also backfire when potential customers cannot relate to it or it actually harms sectors of the community. For instance, the American fast-food chain Chick-Fil-A donating money to organisations that discriminate against LGBTQ+ people.

How to create a brand identity

Every company is different, which means there is no one set way to create an identity that will translate into higher sales and more customers, but there are a few steps that can apply to many businesses, so let’s look at those.

  1. Analyzing the company and market: This involves looking at the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats so that the business can see better where they stand.
  2. Determining business goals: This means considering what a business wants, from increased market share to expanding abroad to aligning with a social issue.
  3. Identifying customers: To know how best to appeal to customers, you must first identify them through surveys, focus groups, and interviews.
  4. Figuring out brand personality: It’s impossible to appeal to everyone, so the result of the customer identification process must inform whether the brand’s personality is formal, casual, or any other trait.
  5. Investing in branded merchandise: Promotional goods can be a great way to show brand identity. (Check out some possible designs on pens.com/uk/). A health-orientated company could, for example, give away custom water bottles. 

Now that you know what brand identity is and how to create your own, it’s time to start doing the work to determine what your identity should be.

About Carson Derrow

My name is Carson Derrow I'm an entrepreneur, professional blogger, and marketer from Arkansas. I've been writing for startups and small businesses since 2012. I share the latest business news, tools, resources, and marketing tips to help startups and small businesses to grow their business.