In the world of branding, there are a lot of confusing names. Brand, branding, brand identity, visual branding, and brand personality are just a few words that can make the entire process confusing. So I thought I’d provide some clarification and definitions for a few of these terms.
What is a Brand?
A brand is a name, term, design, symbol, or other feature that distinguishes an organization or product from its rivals in the eyes of the customer. (Wikipedia)
In order to understand what a brand is, focus on the most important part of that sentence from Wikipedia – “in the eyes of the customer.” Your brand is how others see or perceive your business, products and services. It’s the relationship between your business and your clients/potential clients. You can’t control your brand, and you can’t create it. You earn it, for better or worse.
What is Branding?
So the goal of branding is to try and define and shape the way your clients and potential clients perceive your brand.
Branding is something you do. It involves defining and creating the individual elements of your brand’s identity.
What is Brand Identity?
Brand identity is made up of three components: brand voice, visual branding and brand personality. Actively defining and creating these elements is what’s involved in branding your business and creating a brand identity. It is extremely important that all three components of your brand identity are clear, consistent and in sync with one another, and most importantly, in sync with the reputation and perception of your brand. Also, it’s equally important your brand identity is consistent across all platforms and media – everywhere your brand shows up, online and off.
Visual elements are the visual elements that represent your brand identity. These include your logo, typography and font styles, color scheme, patterns, textures, photo styles, icons, etc.
A component of visual branding are branded images. These are images that support your visual branding. They can include, at minimum, your logo watermark. but branded images can also be styled and designed to specifically match your color scheme, using your brand’s fonts and help relay your brand’s personality via the types of images chosen and the style/design in which they are presented.
Brand voice is how you communicate with your clients. It is the tone you use, the words and language you use, the way you speak to and interact with your clients in person, on phone calls and via emails. For example, does your brand communicate with a more formal, business-like tone or a more casual tone? This is your brand’s voice.
Brand personality are the human characteristics connected with your brand. What adjectives can describe your brand? How would you like clients to feel when they interact with your brand? This is brand personality.
Although you can’t control how clients and potential clients perceive your brand, you can help shape it through your brand identity, by consistently using it to define and portray the image, personality, experiences and feelings you want clients and potential clients to have with they interact with your business.