Branding, brand, and brand identity are not the same thing. While all three of these terms share some things in common, they also have many different aspects. These aspects mean different things to different people.
Often, it is easy for a marketer to mix up or fail to recognize the differences between these terms. This can be especially true when you’re getting started with a business or opening a new company.
Here you’ll see a breakdown of the critical differences between branding, a brand, and brand identity. This explanation will help you understand the specifications, so you can better understand each distinct aspect and use the best corporate branding services accordingly.
Branding Is All About Positioning
It’s about finding the perfect spot in your industry to lay down roots and call home. With this position, you can develop a strategy that will help you stand out from your competitors and move toward the specific goals of the business. This positioning enables you to define your business and what it stands for or what it is most known for.
To position your business, you will need a solid brand identity – one that reflects the values you want people to see in your company and one that differentiates you from competitors.
Use the Word “Brand” As a Noun or a Verb
As a noun, it is defined as the name of the product, service, or company. As a verb, it’s defined as anything that can be branded.
When you brand something, you give it an identity. For example, if people see your business name on marketing materials, they will know your product or service. In this way, branding is essential because it helps customers and clients know who you are and what your company is about.
On the other hand, a brand is a lot more than just a name or logo design. The word “brand” is often used as a noun or a verb. As a noun, it represents the product, service, or business itself. As a verb, it identifies these offerings as a specific type of brand.
Brand Identity Is a Larger Concept Encompassing Various Components of a Brand
Brand identity is determined by everything from logo design and tone of voice to physical spaces and clientele. When talking about brand identity, you’re looking at all those elements as a whole. This means you will have to consider many different factors when creating your overall strategy.
So What Does This Mean?
To understand the difference between “branding” and “a brand,” first understand what branding is and why it’s essential. You can then begin to set goals for your business and include ideas about where you want your company to be positioned and what brand identity you want to get there.
The word “brand” is often applied interchangeably with the words “logo,” “logo design,” and even “identity.”
These terms and concepts are very closely linked and interrelated, but there is a difference between them. Once you understand the difference, it will be much easier to set brand identity goals that match your overall business or company goals.
How to Get Started With Corporate Branding
Branding is really about positioning and finding your place in the market. With this position comes a strong identity that reflects what makes your business unique. Branding strategies are integral to the success of your company – whether it’s a small business or an international corporation.
However, sometimes businesses don’t see their brands as being integral to their success. They see branding as secondary or even superfluous to the “real work” of running a business. This is both short-sighted and incorrect. Without brand identity, your company would be all but invisible in the market, with no voice and no presence.
Rather than letting this happen, you should take all the necessary steps to make your brand work for you and support the overall company goals. This means hiring a good branding agency to help you create and implement a strong strategy.
Brand Identity in Action: 4 Steps to Implementing Your Brand Strategy
Step 1: Define Your Business Plan
First, you need to give some serious thought to what type of business or company you plan to create and where you want it to go in the future. This should include deciding if your business will be service-oriented, product-oriented, or a combination of both. Also, decide which target market(s) you will be aiming for. Create a budget that makes sense for the overall company goals and includes money for branding efforts.
Step 2: Set Company Goals
Once you have a solid business or company plan, it’s time to set some goals around brand identity. These should include:
- The exact style and type of logo design you want
- The voice you want to use in all your company’s written communication
- The visual look, tone, and feel you want for your physical spaces and displays
Step 3: Identify Company Values
By now, you should have a very good idea about the type of brand identity your business or company wants to portray. These are the values that will make up this brand identity. Your values will be used to create a brand personality or “voice.” They should include:
- The traits you want your business or company to embody.
- The qualities imperative in the decision-making process of your target market(s).
- What sets your company apart from its competitors?
- Why will customers choose you over all others?
- How do you want to be remembered by your clients?
Step 4: Create an Action Plan
Now that you have goals around company branding, it’s time to create an action plan. This will break down these goals into measurable steps, with timelines and benchmarks for success. If you need help, call in a good branding agency to help you out.
Product-oriented corporate branding services are ideal for businesses that sell products. Service-oriented branding strategy offers a hands-on experience for establishments like spas or design firms. Marketing or advertising-styled branding service is often used by companies that must attract new customers.
And there you have it – the difference between branding, brand identity, and the brand.