Just like your personal identity makes you uniquely you, your brand identity is what sets you apart from every other company or organization on the block. Your brand identity design is what shapes your company!

But what exactly is brand identity? How do you shape a strong brand identity that takes your business to the next level?

The terms “brand,” “branding,” and “brand identity” are sometimes treated as interchangeable, but that’s not always the case.

  • Brand is the perception of the company in the eyes of the world.

  • Branding involves the marketing practice of actively shaping a distinctive brand.

  • Brand identity is the collection of all brand elements that the company creates to portray the right image of itself to the consumer.

Brand Identity System

Let’s say you are a middle school student. As an awkward pre-adolescent, you want to be perceived as cool and get invited to sit at the best table in the cafeteria. But you can’t just force other people to have that image of you. In order to develop this brand, you need to do some work.

Maybe you start shaping up on your free throw skills, then you start working on a hilarious impression of Mrs. Smith, your history teacher. These actions are the work you’re putting towards developing your desired image; your branding.

Last but not least, you need to make sure you look the part. You save up your money to buy the newest hot basketball shoes everyone wants. You get a new hairstyle. You try out for (and join) the schools hottest sports team. Those tangible elements—the shoes, the hair style, the sports team membership— all of that is your brand identity.

Your brand identity is what makes you instantly recognizable to your customers. Your audience will associate your brand identity with your product or service, and that identity is what forges the connection between you and your customers, builds customer loyalty, and determines how your customers will perceive your brand.

So, how do you develop a strong brand identity? — Know who you are.

Before you know what tangible elements you want to make up your brand identity, you need to know who you are as a brand. This made up of a few key elements:

1. Your mission (the “why?”)

2. Your values (what beliefs or belief systems drive you?)

3. Your “brand voice” (how would your brand talk if it were an actual, human person)

4. Your brand personality (if your brand was a person, what would their personality be like?)

All of these things combined are what define your brand, and before you start building on your brand identity, it’s important you have a clear understanding of each of them.

Once you’ve locked in who you are as a brand, it’s time to build the identity that will bring your brand to life and show who you are to the people who matter most: your customers. The next step in the process is brand design, and putting together a brand style guide, but that’s a blog for another time. Stay tuned!