A question that seems to come up a lot is ‘What is the difference between brand identity and brand image’? These terms are widely used every day as interchangeable synonyms. However, they are not the same thing. Let’s dig a little deeper.
First of all, what is a brand?
A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service or organization.Marty Neumeier, The Brand Gap
The term brand has been given a myriad of definitions by marketing experts and branding professionals alike. Today the word ‘brand’ refers to the perception people have of a company, product or service. In short, the brand is your reputation.
Therefore you can’t brand something. You earn your brand.
Brand Identity vs Brand Image
Many agree that brand identity is not the same as the brand image.
The brand identity is developed by the company to reflect the values it is trying to bring to the market to appeal to its target audience. It defines how the business wishes to be perceived by others.
The brand image is how others perceive the business in reality.
Therefore, they are essentially the same, but while the identity is how a business wants to be perceived, the image is the reality today. A successful brand is, therefore, one whose image matches the brand identity. Needless to say that this is often not the case.
Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room. Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon
The brand identity should do what it says: give your business, product or services an identity, some character and personality so that your company is easily recognisable and appeals to your target audience. Your brand identity includes the total proposition that you bring to the market–everything from the language you use, your organisational values, products and customer service through to your colour palette, use of imagery and other visual elements.
So we can conclude saying that every company goal and aspiration should be to have a brand image that matches their identity.
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