Brand vs. Identity: What’s the Difference?
Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.Jeff Bezos
Just as there are so many marketing “buzzwords” floating around when it comes to content – like campaigns, social media, and SEO – there are more when it comes to the essence of your business.
Brand and identity are two words that often seem to be used interchangeably. However, we’ll discuss some key differences between the two that indicate the different purposes they serve.
Brand is sometimes a “catch-all” term that is used in many different ways. When you think of your favorite logos, you might identify those as brands. But brands are actually much more intangible. A brand is the emotional relationship between a business and its consumers.
In a saturated marketplace, consumers are looking for a reason to connect with one company/product over another – and that’s where the company’s challenge is to set itself apart. One way this frequently happens through a strongly-developed story that resonates with its consumers, thus establishing a unique position in the market.
All of this together creates the essence of a “brand.” Take a look at our highlighted quote above by Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos. A brand is not what you say about yourself – a brand is what your customers say about you.
Now, let’s look at how this compares to identity.
Identity is also a word that is sometimes used in a variety of ways. But just like brand, it has a specific way it should be applied when discussing a marketing strategy.
Remember what we said about brands – they’re intangible. And here we have the first key difference between brand and identity. Identity is tangible. Identity is something you can see, touch, or hear. Whereas a brand is something you feel.
Since your brand is what others say about you, your identity is everything you do to influence those perceptions. In reality, much of this comes down to design. From colors, fonts, logo, graphics, video, product packaging, web design and more, these are all aspects of identity.
When you take all these distinct elements and create a unifying, coherent image across all fronts, that’s identity. And the identity is used to tell your story – to create that emotional resonance with your consumers.
Brand + Identity
As you can see, brand and identity are two separate but equally important components of any company’s image. Together, they make up a consistent voice that compels consumers to feel connected – through both the tangible and intangible aspects.
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