Aligning Visual Brand Identity with Reality 

Do you know the difference between brand image and brand identity? Most people use them interchangeably. But one refers to how your brand is perceived, and the other refers to how your brand is represented, a subtle but important difference. This blog will cover the differences between the two, common pitfalls in developing brand identity, the dangers to your business if your brand identity doesn’t match your marketing presence, and how you can work toward remediating any issues you identify. 

Brand Image vs. Brand Identity 

Brand image is the way that customers or potential customers view your brand and the way they feel about your brand after an interaction. Brand image is the consumers’ collective opinion about your brand, covering everything from products, to their impression of you, to the way your brand is visually represented. 

Where brand image is driven by the consumer, brand identity is driven by the company. It includes everything from company name to logo, color, design, and messaging. Brand identity is a carefully crafted aspirational persona—how you’d like customers to view your brand. In short, brand identity is representative of your organization’s personality. Components of your brand identity may include: 

  • Brand name and logo 
  • Color palette 
  • Imagery and design 
  • Typography  
  • Messaging and tone 

Each of these components plays an important role in your overall brand identity, and they must all work together to achieve your company’s objectives. 

Where Brand Identity Goes Wrong 

Every brand has a personality. Some of that is a result of brand identity, but most of the time, it works the other way around, and brand identity is driven by brand personality. Where companies run into problems is when their marketing presence doesn’t match the core of who they really are. 

Here are some common examples of where companies can falter in their brand identity: 

  • Boring or stale social media presence for brands with fun products or services 
  • Lacking authenticity by using complicated vocabulary or messaging on a website selling approachable products 
  • Leaning into a color palette that doesn’t reflect your audience or the emotions you’d like to evoke 
  • Logos that skew too serious or are outdated for the brand they represent 

These might seem like simple gaffes, but they can have a serious impact on customer growth and retention. 

How to Identify Misaligned Brand Identity 

Having a well-thought-out brand identity is crucial to the success of your organization. To build trust with consumers, you must first build a brand identity that speaks to your audience.  

Here’s how you can get there: 

  1. Develop a deep understanding of your audience. You should know exactly what they value, how they behave, and how they interact with other products in your industry. You want to differentiate your brand from the competition, but not alienate your audience in the process. 
  1. Craft your message. What are the customer problems you’re trying to solve? Focus on that one question, and everything you do will become inherently customer-focused. If you’re trying to reach an audience of young parents, for example, you probably wouldn’t want to write at a PhD reading level. 
  1. Create graphic elements that reflect them. Colors, typography, and imagery are powerful representations of your brand, and often the first and most impactful interactions with consumers. Ensure they evoke the proper emotions.  

When your brand identity is established, it’s important to maintain consistency across your entire marketing presence, from your website to your social media profiles, to any paid media advertising your company chooses to pursue. Failing to do so can negatively impact brand recognition, but furthermore, can confuse or isolate customers. If any of these suggestions leave you scratching your head, it might be time to evaluate your brand identity. 

Building Your Brand Identity  

Brand identity is a critical part of building a successful and long-lasting company. If your company needs support in building or revamping your brand identity, Kolbeco can help. We employ our expertise in branding, alongside our proprietary 490 factor, to help clients develop a consistent and complete presence at every consumer touchpoint.  Successful marketing starts with a brand identity that clearly articulates your company’s position in the market and speaks to the audience you aim to reach.