The Basics: Brand vs Identity vs Branding
Why Building Your Brand is the Cornerstone of Success
It shouldn’t be a secret that branding is the cornerstone of success for any business. But unfortunately many companies don’t give it the attention it deserves.
As branding experts, we know the power it has over a business’s success. That’s why we’ve put together this article: it’s designed to help you understand why branding is so important.
We’ll cover what exactly we mean by a brand, what a brand identity is, and some comprehensive information about branding.
What is a brand?
This might seem like a fairly simple question to answer, but what is a brand?
A brand might refer to a company’s logo or its identity, but these alone aren’t a brand.
In short, a brand is a set of assets relating to a business. Many of these are intangible and built around their relationship to their customers.
For example, a brand includes:
- An emotional connection
- A range of feelings associated with that company
- A promise to offer a good product or service
These might sound like incredibly generic concepts, and to a certain extent they are. However, they’re all based around the way a company offers itself to its customer base. In other words, a brand is credibility.
Take a minute to think of some top-name brands. These might be companies like Apple or Coca-Cola. While their credibility might be debatable in some regards, their customers definitely hold them in high regard.
People love brands like Apple and they trust them. Here you can see the benefit of emotional connections between a company and their customers.
What is brand identity?
If the concept of a brand is so fleeting and intangible, is the same true for a brand’s identity? No, a brand’s identity is essentially the opposite of what a brand is.
Brand identity is the range of assets that influences the way customers perceive a brand. They’re things that set one brand apart from another and help a company to solidify their position in the minds of consumers.
Importantly, things you might have considered to be a brand actually relate to brand identity. Things like logos, website design, color schemes, custom fonts, these are all part of brand identity.
Brand identity is what you see about a brand. Think again of the two major companies referenced above. Coca-Cola has one of the most instantly recognizable brand identities in the world. This is arguably part of their massive success.
Similarly, anyone could point out an Apple product. Even without seeing the logo, their cool, sleek product design is another part of their brand identity.
The key to great brand identity is consistency. Creating a consistent and holistic identity for your brand will do wonders for its success.
Of course, this is one of the main roles of a designer: they help to build a brand through its identity. A good designer will create the intangible (emotional connections) through the tangible (recognizable logos).
What is branding?
Now what we have a better understand of a brand and brand identity, we can discuss the concept of branding. Branding is the process of combining the two.
Perhaps the best way to understanding the process is through the words of successful marketer Marty Neumeier. Marty claims that branding is the process of creating potentially millions of brands, one unique brand in each of your customers’ minds.
Similarly, he states, “a brand is a result. It’s a customer’s gut feeling about a product, service, or company.” By this, he means that your goal is not so much selling a product or service, but the associated feeling that draws customers to your company.
Branding, therefore, is the process of creating this feeling within your potential market. It uses identity to create an image in the minds of your customers, the result of which is a successful brand.
It begins with research: what your customers want and what you will give them. Next comes strategy, the process of how your company will give it to them.
Once you have this in hand, then you cover brand identity. This is based around your strategy and assets, and how these combine to create your unique niche.
Only once this is completed can you move on to what people believe branding to be: advertising. Advertising is basically creating your brand identity in the minds of potential customers, hoping they’ll perceive you in the desired way.
It’s up to the specific company how they want to proceed with branding, but it’s essentially the process communicating your desired identity. As mentioned, your brand is the result of this successful communication.
Strong and successful branding comes about through long-term strategies built around a tight concept and unique identity. It’s not a guaranteed process, but the better the strategy, the more likely you’ll be to succeed.
In short, a brand is the result of the successful process of branding using a unique brand identity.
Having a clear picture at every stage will result in a strong and successful brand.
Here at Gee Productions, we’re experts in brands, and we bring our knowledge to each and every business we work with.
If your business needs to build its brand, contact us to see how we can help.