In today’s episode, I want to talk about the differences between the terms brand, branding and brand identity because believe me, there are differences.
There’s a well-worn mantra that “a brand is more than a logo” and this is most definitely true however some might think that this only extends to anything that can essentially be ‘branded’, for example, business cards or a website but that isn’t’ the case.
Very simply put, the difference between brand and branding is that one is an emotion and the other is a marketing tool. Brand and branding are often referred to as two of the same when in fact that couldn’t be further from the truth. Branding is the process of building a brand and brand identity is part of the process.
Listen to the episode
Let’s dive into each of these three terms in a bit more detail shall we.
What is a brand?
Often when you hear the word brand, you might think of a logo or website. But it’s not. Believe me, it is so much more than that.
Your brand is how others perceive your business. It’s essentially the connection that you make with your audience. It’s your reputation. It’s what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.
Brands build relationships. Brands create customer loyalty. Brands help businesses stand out in a crowded market.
Think about some brands that you absolutely love. What is it that you love about them? What keeps you coming back for more. These brands that you love have created something that keeps you loyal even if what they are selling is more expensive than their competitors.
A brand is the emotions that people associate with your business.
A brand is almost entirely the result of how your audience feels when they come across your business. It’s how your customers feel when they do business with you. It’s what they take away after coming across you on Instagram, reading a blog post, receiving an email, working with you 1:1 or purchasing a product. It’s the words and emotions they use to describe your business to friends, family and colleagues.
When you build a flourishing online brand, you’ll no longer need to compete on price. You’ll no longer need to worry about others in your industry who are doing similar things or selling similar products. When you build a flourishing online brand, you’re building something that your competitors can’t compete with and likewise, your competitors are building something that you can’t compete with. Because you are unique, your business is unique and people are unique.
“Your brand is whatever your customer says it is”
What is branding?
Branding is the set of actions that you take to build a brand. It’s a process that you go through to influence how others perceive your brand. Branding is essentially a marketing tool. It’s what your business needs to do to break through the noise and stand out in what might be a crowded industry.
Branding is what you need to stand out and take your business to the next level. If you want your business to succeed then branding isn’t something you might do. It’s something you must do.
When you build a visual identity for your business, that’s branding. When you create your brand messaging, that’s branding. When you write content for social media and show up on Instagram stories, that’s branding.
Why is branding important?
- Branding helps you to stand out from the competition. These days, no matter what type of business you have, you’re going to have competition. Branding will help you create a brand that stands out and shows your audience why they should buy from you or work with you over your competitors.
- Branding creates a consistent experience for your audience. No-one likes an inconsistent brand. Inconsistent brands do not build brand loyalty. This is why every interaction that your audience, customers and clients have with your brand needs to be consistent.
- Branding turns first time buyers into long-term customers. When you do branding right, it can change your business. You can go from always competing on price to charging based on value and booking dream clients even if others are doing it cheaper. When you do branding right, you’ll have a base of loyal customers who buy other products and services you create. After all, it’s far easier to sell to those who have already bought from you than someone who hasn’t.
What is brand identity?
Brand identity is the visual aspect of branding. Your brand identity is what you can see. Your brand identity consists of your logo, colours, typography, brand photography, packaging, marketing graphics and your website.
Your brand identity influences your audience’s perception of your brand based on how it looks. This is why creating a brand identity is about so much more than choosing a pretty font and selecting your favourite colours. Your brand identity sets you apart visually from your competitors and it draws people into your business who resonate with your brand identity and the personality it portrays.
Why it’s important to get your brand identity right
Getting your brand identity right is so important on many levels. If your brand identity gives off fun, loud, outgoing vibes but your brand personality is more subdued and calm, then your audience will be confused. This is why everything needs to be consistent.
It’s important that when you’re working on your brand identity, you don’t just get a logo because a logo isn’t your brand identity. A logo is one part of your brands identity.
Ways in which you can DIY your own brand identity
Even if you’re not ready to invest in custom brand identity design just yet, don’t worry. There are plenty of ways you can DIY your own brand identity and in fact, it’s what I recommend you do at the beginning.
Some ways to DIY your brand identity is to purchase a template. Templates are amazing for those newer to business. They provide an affordable way for you to have a brand identity from the beginning. There are different types of templates from brand kits which are lower in cost but available to many to semi-custom brand kits where the designer customises the brand kit to suit your identity and there are usually limits on the number of sales so it’s more exclusive but with exclusively comes a higher price point.
Another way is to take a DIY your brand identity course which will guide you through the process of creating your own visual identity.
Why you shouldn’t invest in custom brand design when you are starting out
The reason why I recommend you don’t invest big money into a custom brand identity at the beginning is because your business will change. Trust me. It’s unlikely that the business you create at the beginning will be the exact same business one or two years in. Once you’ve been in business for a while and have a clearer idea of what you want to offer and who you want to work with, it’s then a good time to invest in custom brand identity design.
So in summary…
Your brand is how others perceive your business. It’s the emotional connection that you make with your audience.
Branding is the set of actions you take to build your brand. It’s a process that you go through to influence how others perceive your brand.
Your brand identity is the visual representation of your brand and the visual part of the branding process.
I hope you enjoyed this episode and that you now have a clearer understanding of how these three terms are different but at the same time, all play a part in working together.