Brand identity is the essence of a brand. It is not a corporate identity, it is not a visual identity, it is not a logo. It is made up of two areas, the brand personality and the brand image, it is the sum of the visual, verbal identity, personality, positioning.
I think it is important to clarify some terms that we use in the branding field, it may be something obvious, but today we continue to find confusion and mixes in the terms that make our task, already complicated, is even more difficult. Brand identity is perhaps one of the most misunderstood.
Brand identity, brand image, corporate identity or visual identity are not the same thing. But let’s start by defining each of these terms in order to understand this whole:
Brand image is the perception of a brand by its stakeholders. The feeling that the brand awakens in its customers. This is the sum of the corporate identity and the visual identity, all this is in turn the sum of the brand identity. A simple example to be able to differentiate these terms would be, for example, a diesel brand, its brand identity is well built, it is recognizable and it faithfully conveys its value proposition, but this does not mean that its brand image corresponds or is what this brand expects if its audience associates it with pollution or even being behind wars between countries.
Corporate identity is the physical manifestation of a brand. The set of graphic elements that help to differentiate generally consists of a logo, typography, color… in short, the visual aspects or graphic expression of a brand.
Visual identity is the set of elements that tangible the value proposition and personality of a brand. It consists of the corporate identity, photographic style, visual key and signature system. Everything that makes you distinguish a brand from others.
Therefore, brand identity is the sum or set of characteristic elements that make up a brand.
Those who say they do branding and are really doing corporate identity, I would love to be explained to me about ‘doing branding’ … with all the respect in the world, ‘doing branding’ and ‘doing design’ are not the same, it is more, a project of branding does not have to contain any design phase.
The brand identity is nothing other than the activation of the visual, verbal identity, personality, positioning … this activation is the work and grace of branding. Coordinating all these elements that compose it is how we get a brand to achieve its objectives.
I love to use the example of Ikea, and I think it helps a lot to understand all this a bit. Does Ikea have a nice logo? Not at all, but it has brilliantly built its brand identity . A great branding job in which its personality and value proposition make us all identify and understand this brand, regardless of that terrible logo.
Getting to be what we want to be, this helps the brand identity.
The meanings, how you act, your tone of voice, your behavior towards others. All this is what must be worked on strategically in the activation of a brand to create a brand image, not an identity. But all of this is only achieved once your foundation, the brand identity , is well built and ready to be activated.
That a brand manages to establish an emotional connection with its audience, make them participate in its growth, its achievements, that they feel its values or that they share its philosophy, that is branding. And all this is only possible with a series of tools that must be applied strategically at each step of the project, creating a roadmap where to know in each phase what activation requires.