Branding vs. Identity: Understanding the Difference (and Where Your Logo Fits In)
If you’re confused about the differences between brand and identity and logos, you’re not alone.
Most people use these terms interchangeably, but the truth is, they are different concepts.
A logo is pretty straightforward. It’s the simple icon that helps identify your business.
Your identity (sometimes referred to as “brand identity”) is made up of all the recognizable elements that distinctly characterize your brand. This can include the logo as well as any visual imagery, spokespersons, jingles, colors, taglines, etc.
For instance, if I were to ask you to think about Coca-Cola, you might envision the color red or the white swoosh. You may think of the stylized Coke bottle, or remember the tagline “Have a Coke and a smile.” You may even remember the songs used in Coca-Cola commercials. These are all aspects of Coca-Cola’s identity.
Your brand is much more abstract, as it incorporates not only all of the visuals, but also the emotional perceptions associated with your company. Your brand is like your company’s personality. And as with a personality, there are many different characteristics that go into building a brand.
For corporations this can include corporate structure, the company culture, ethics, charities, etc.
Think of Starbucks and its commitment to hire 10,000 veterans, or Subaru’s initiative to maintain zero waste facilities while utilizing green energy sources. Even Google’s use of illustrations/doodles on its search page adds to the Google brand.
A designer can help build the foundation for your brand, but it’s really your audience that connects to and makes (or breaks) the brand.