Brand Identity- Meaning, Definitions and Components
“A company’s brand identity is how that business wants to be perceived by consumers.”
“A company’s brand identity is how that business wants to be perceived by consumers. The components of the brand (name, logo, tone, tagline, typeface) are created by the business to reflect the value the company is trying to bring to the market and to appeal to its customers. Brand identity is separate from brand image – the term for how consumers actually perceive the brand.”
Brand identity stems from an organization, i.e., an organization is responsible for creating a distinguished product with unique characteristics. It is how an organization seeks to identify itself. It represents how an organization wants to be perceived in the market. An organization communicates its identity to the consumers through its branding and marketing strategies. A brand is unique due to its identity. Brand identity includes following elements – Brand vision, brand culture, positioning, personality, relationships, and presentations.
Brand identity is a bundle of mental and functional associations with the brand. Associations are not “reasons-to-buy” but provide familiarity and differentiation that’s not replicable getting it. These associations can include signature tune(for example – Britannia “ting-ting-ta-ding”), trademark colours (for example – Blue colour with Pepsi), logo (for example – Nike), tagline (for example – Apple’s tagline is “Think different”),etc.
Attributes of good brand identity
- It should be uniquely identifiable to help distinguish it from the competition. Think of how many brand messages you are exposed to each day—for instance on a public transit ride, in a grocery store or surfing the web. Remember it’s not necessary to make your identity represent exactly what your company does. This will avoid your identity resembling the competition and not limit areas of future growth.
- It should be simple enough to be instantly recognizable. Can you easily picture in your mind’s eye the Apple logo? When we can easily recall and remember an identity, we form positive reactions to it that lead to feelings of comfort and trust.
- It should draw the viewer in with pleasing aesthetics that appeal to the intended audience. While the culmination of a neutral colour palette, elegant typography and beautiful photography create a tasteful and sophisticated look for Martha Stewart, this same look is likely not appropriate for an apparel brand aimed at a youth market into extreme sports.
- It should use shape and colour to enhance recognition and emotional response. The Nike swoosh creates an image of energy and dynamic power and Coca Cola uses red to suggest energy, life and vitality. It’s hard to imagine either of these identities without their signature shape or colour. We would not have the same reaction to them, nor would they be as successful, otherwise.
- It sometimes has a hidden element or meaning that demands attention. Have a careful look at the FedEx logo. The negative space between the capital E and the lower case X form an arrow shape. This subtly portrays forward movement and is ideally suited to a shipping company. We naturally want to try to figure out the meaning of these kinds of identities and the more time we spend with them, the more familiar they become.
- It must be culturally relevant. Certain symbols and colours have very specific meanings to different cultures. For instance, in the Western world we are very familiar with the Red Cross Society. In other parts of the world, the cross is replaced with a crescent and the name changes to the Red Crescent Society to be more sensitive to followers of the Islamic faith. Make sure to do some research ahead of exploring a creative direction that could cause problems in an increasingly global marketplace.
- It will stand the test of time and not date itself quickly The CN logo is an example of an identity that is timeless in appeal and not be subject to changing trends or fashion. Most companies or organizations would do well to follow this route, but there are always exceptions. For example, certain product brands will be more fashion-forward in their approach to capitalize on the latest fad or trend.
- It should be easily reproduced across a variety of media, both in print and online, and at a variety of sizes. What is legible on the side of a truck may not work as well when reduced to the size of a favicon in a browser address bar. A complex identity with gradients and transparency may work well on a web page, but may prove difficult to embroider on branded apparel. A well-designed brand identity system is flexible enough to easily accommodate different methods of reproduction and sizes.