What is the difference between brand, branding and brand identity?

Difference brand vs branding vs brand identity

In the field of marketing, one encounters many buzzwords about whose exact content one is often not at all sure. Today we dedicate ourselves to the terms Brand, Branding and Brand identity. What's the difference between the terms and how can you use this knowledge to build a successful business?

What is a brand?

A brand is defined by the image your customers have of your company. The brand is not simply a logo or sign that distinguishes it from similar products. Rather, it is what customers tell each other about a company (see also Brand Story). All experiences and impressions merge into a unique idea. A strong brand creates trust and thus a long-term relationship. I can identify with a brand because I know what I can expect from it.

Brand: What is a brand

Brand is the totality of all associated stories & emotions. (Illustration by Ivan Haidutski from Icons8)

So in a way, the brand reflects the personality of a company. It encompasses the way a company is perceived by people and what associations customers make with your company.

What is branding?

Branding describes the measures and actions that a company takes to create a certain image and differentiate itself from the competition. Branding thus describes the active shaping of your brand, the strategic control of the desired external perception. The goal is to define who you are as a company. You show what makes your company, your brand, what sets you apart from the competition. Branding thus supports the establishment of your brand identity.

Branding: long-term customer loyalty

Branding includes measures for long-term customer loyalty (Illustration by Aleksey Chizhikov from Icons8).

Through marketing, you establish a relationship with your customers and convince them of your products or services. With branding, however, you ensure that these customers stay with you in the long term. Branding includes all measures to establish a brand. It starts with the vision and follows the long path through brand voice and brand story to the final brand personality.

What are the benefits of branding for my company?

Branding is recommended for every company and every person who wants to make themselves known and position themselves in the competition. If a company wants to distinguish itself to the outside world, it must know what makes it special, what sets it apart from others.

Let's take the Jack Wolfskin brand as an example. With the slogan "At home outdoors," the brand conveyed freedom and resilience, and not just on a hiking trip, but also on a rainy stroll through town. So a very broad group of consumers felt addressed, Jack Wolfskin became the partner for all outdoor activities.

Branding leads to clarity and clear positioning.

If you want to build a business, branding comes before marketing. Why? You can't market a brand if it hasn't been designed yet. Who are you as a brand? What is important to you? Who do you want to appeal to? How do you want to be perceived by your potential customers?

Once these questions have been clarified, the marketing measures can be tackled.

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What is brand identity?

Brand identity is the self-image of a brand. All the special characteristics that distinguish a product or service from similar products describe the Brand identity. Various concrete brand elements create a brand image and thus ultimately the brand identity.

The brand stands for the logo, the company name, the orientation of the company. The identity stands for the unique selling proposition that positively distinguishes you from your competitors. A company thereby creates the desired, "right" image of itself with the customer.

Brand identity and recognition

Brand elements create a brand image and ensure recognition (Illustration by Natasha Remarchuk from Icons8).

The more distinctive and expressive elements such as logo, typography, language, slogans are, the greater the chance that a brand will be formed, recognized and accepted by the consumer.

Let's take the familiar blue cream can as an example. Nivea stands for trust and consistency and has therefore hardly changed its visual appearance for decades. This traditional company has managed to evoke clear emotions and establish a stable brand image with an effectively communicated brand identity.

Your brand identity makes you unmistakable to your customers. Your customers will associate your company with your product or service. This creates long-term customer loyalty. Brand identity is becoming increasingly important, especially in the service sector.

In order to be able to establish your brand identity, you first have to find out for yourself what makes you and your product or your company special. In a brainstorming session, you should define why you started your company, what your values and goals are, what makes your product special, or what your team does better than any other competitor. Describe your brand in three words. All of these answers will define your brand and help you on the path to your successful brand identity.

What is recommended for companies?

Marketing can be used to gain the attention of customers. Branding can then maintain this in the long term. Branding creates customer loyalty and strengthens brand recognition. Marketing strategies change (meaningfully), branding remains. You can think of marketing as short sprints, while branding is like running a marathon.

Without marketing measures, it is difficult to survive in today's highly competitive market, regardless of the industry. You need the right marketing strategies to stand out from the crowd and attract new customers. But you also need branding to build long-term customer loyalty. After all, you want your customers to stay with you and your company.

For entrepreneurial success, you need marketing and branding. The brand identity is the figurehead of your company. It is an important decision criterion for your target group.

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