Everyone always wants one, everyone knows it should be great, but what goes into a great Brand?
For instance, Brand Identity and Brand Image are different animals.
Brand identity is the combination of variables and characteristics that inform the personality, behavior and appearance of a brand. The Image is how your audience perceives it. How they act on it or talk about it. The Identity is the brand itself.
Brand identity is what differentiates one company from another while leaving a lasting impression on the audience. Brand identity is crucial because it gives entrepreneurs and brand strategists the power to choose and construct an authentic identity. Brands with strong identities are self-assured – they know who they are and how to convey that to connect with their audience. In short, a clearly defined brand identity gives brands an edge and an increased chance of long-term success.
Collaterals not in sync with a company’s brand identity dissipates their customers’ clarity. Same can be said for the brand name. Often the first thing to represent the company, the mark and the name should be memorable and easy to say and spell.
Providing a brand with specific character traits makes it more human. A clearly defined brand personality generates attachment among its audience. Consumers feel concerned by its behavior and values, just like they would with a person.
A brand’s personality corresponds to “its way of being” and forms the basis for building its visual and verbal identity and behaviors.
According to branding expert Jean-Noël Kapferer: “brand personality fulfills a psychological function. It allows consumers to either identify with it, or to project themselves into it.” (1)
Communication style and tone of voice
A brand’s communication style and tone of voice define how it communicates with different audiences. It includes the type of vocabulary used, how the brand expresses its messages, interacts with others, and the emotions it conveys.
Communication style refers to how a brand interacts with its audience through speech (factual/analytical/questioning or opinionated); dynamism (calm or energetic); feelings (depth of feelings vs. being detached and undemonstrative); protagonism (storyteller vs. good listener); and communication channels.
Tone of voice can be divided into four main styles: funny/serious; formal/casual; respectful/irreverent; and enthusiastic/matter of fact.
The brand as a product or service
Consumers can quickly judge a brand based on its products or services (e.g., uniqueness, perceived quality and functionality, added value, feelings conveyed, product production, and social and environmental impact).
A brand’s products or services are part of its identity. They represent the brand and embody the different facets of its identity.
It is essential to create products and services that are exclusive to the brand and aligned with its overall identity.
A brand’s visual identity is the combination of graphic elements that identify the brand.
Elements of visual identity include:
Typefaces and fonts
Imagery and photography style
Graphic design layouts
Product and packaging design
Being consistent in visual branding improves brand recognition and inspires trust.
A strong brand identity is a crucial piece of a brand strategy. It explains how the brand should be, act and look. By considering a brand’s cultural, geographical, and historical roots, choosing an appropriate name, establishing a distinct personality, offering products and services that embody the brand, and creating a consistent visual and sensory identity, you can create a powerful brand that appeals to its target audience.
Source: The Branding Journal, April 2023
Kapferer, J., 2012. The new strategic brand management. London: Kogan Page, p.159.
Slade-Brooking, C., 2016. Creating a brand identity, a guide for designers. 1st ed. London: Laurence King Publishing Ltd, p.30.