The brand. The personality.

When asked most people would describe a brand as a company's logo, tagline and maybe the icon like the Nike swoosh. The brand is really so much more. I've been studying branding for almost twelve years and the best way I sum it up is the brand is the heart-and-soul of a company (or person.) The brand is the personality. It is the the thing that either attracts or repels people. It is the essence of the organization that shapes how people think and feel when their hear your name or see your logo. 

If you do a quick Google search the term brand following show up:

It is the emotional and psychological relationship you have with your customers.
A type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name.
The name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller's product distinct from those other sellers.
It is the idea or image of a specific product or service that consumers connect with by identifying the name, logo, slogan, or design of the company who own the idea or image.

These definitions are only partial answers. I share them to show you how varied brand is defined.

If we think of a business as a person, these questions need to be asked to discover the personality:

  1. What's its' name?
  2. Where is it from? Urban, suburban, rural?
  3. How was it raised? Middle-class, low-income, upper socio-economic level?
  4. What's its' style? Design, logo, color, typography, feel
  5. How does it communicate? Brand positioning - how messages tell the story that resonates with customers to encourage them to yes to the offers
  6. What does it stand for and what are the core values? Brand promise, value proposition, purpose statement
  7. With whom does it associate? The target market and best friend is the Ideal Buyer
  8. Is it popular or well-known? Brand awareness - The degree to which consumers are familiar with the qualities, image and reputation of  the brand, or specifically its' goods or services

As with humans, brand personalities are dramatically different. Think about two best friends who are similar, and share common interests - no matter how much they are alike, their personalities are still distinct. This is true for brands. Look at the Subaru and the Rolls Royce - both functionally produce the same product, but have two distinctive brands.

brand image vs. brand identity

Starting with a blank slate or relaunching your brand? This is a must read to get you started for extraordinary success.

what brand means to industry influencers

So, when you launch your brand, what's the identity and what's the image? Where do you start?

The brand identity  is the voice you give your company, product and service. These messages you control.

The brand image is what you customers hear, see and perceive. These messages you have no control.

The brand identity is the values you have associated with your brand. It's how you choose to present in order to influence how others perceive it. ,,,,

Shape brand identity,
brand image will follow the lead

Brand Identity

  1. Brand identity develops from the company
  2. Brand message is tied together with identity
  3. Who you really are?
  4. The nature is strategic
  5. Symbolizes reality of itself
  6. Represents "company's view" of itself
  7. It's enduring
  8. Looks forward
  9. Identity is active
  10. Signifies "where you want to be"
  11. Total promise from company to customers

brand image

  1. Brand image is perceived by the receiver or the consumer
  2. Brand message is united by consumer
  3. Who market says you are
  4. The nature is tactical and appearance driven
  5. Symbolizes perception of customers
  6. Represents "others view"
  7. It's superficial
  8. Looks backward
  9. Image is passive
  10. Signifies "what you've got"
  11. Total customers' perception about company

The brand identity is the way people recognize your business. Your brand's name, the logo, the colors, the typography etc. of your brand is a reflection of your brand's vision. The messages, images and the culture all interact with customers which directly impacts your brand's identity - what you control.

The brand image is the way your customers receive your brand identity. It's the way consumers think, feel and talk about your brand with others. The brand image sets the expectations and sets the tone for how you should respond to make customers happy. The brand image is what consumers control.

Brand personality refers to the values, attitudes, emotions and characteristics associated with your brand. The personality influencers how you connect, interact and form relationships with consumers. As you build a positive reputation, you'll build deeper and more meaningful relationships, which breeds brand loyalty, thereby increasing brand equity.

Consumers have evolved. They both embrace and expect a brand experience. It's your job to share your vision, exemplify your mission, establish effective processes and procedures for building those experiences. ~Andrea A. Callahan

Industry Influencers take the lead because they understand how to weave together the brand identity + brand personality + brand image + the added corporate identity. Although each is separate, together they = brand success (or epic fail.)

For business owners, your corporate identity is all the internal activities that help to shape perception. In part, it's your company culture, but it's more about how you answer the questions, "Who are we?" "What do we stand for?" and "What are our priorities?" 

The corporate identity is the actions organizations take to achieve a good perception from their buyers. This identity is strategic, with design, communications and behavior. Industry Influencers focus on building a 5-star reputation, while being socially conscious, thought leaders, and community leaders.

I hope this articles helps bring clarity about the misconception of brand identity vs. brand image. Industry Influencers must know the difference because it is the difference between your brand success and establishing long-term brand equity.

I would love to hear from you. Please leave comments, questions or share how you shaped your brand identity. 

I would also love it if you would share on the social below. 😍


Andrea Callahan inspires passionate & purpose-driven brands to maximize their strengths to craft an image that represents their WHY, and then use that WHY to position themselves as Industry Influencers; who share experiences that attract their Ideal Buyers. Callahan is a speaker, seminar leader, and the author of, "It's Your Brand ~ Make Your Identity Clear." Callahan is also the principal brand manager @ACIagency, a high-end boutique, integrated-marketing agency, specializing in helping locally-owned brands share their WHY.

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