What is brand identity? (Plus how to maintain it with tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 8 November 2022

Published 2 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Brand identity is a comprehensive marketing approach created with the desire for a company to be easily recognisable to consumers. It incorporates the elements required to market a brand to the widest audience possible. If you are in marketing or a related field, understanding this and how it differs from branding can help guide your work. In this article, we answer, 'What is brand identity?', look at the components of brand identity and give tips on maintaining your brand identity for optimum success.

What is brand identity?

Understanding what brand identity is can help you better implement it in your work. Brand identity describes the range of strategies that create a brand's overall image. While these are sometimes interchangeable, they have different components. Brand image is the outside perception of the product, how it looks and the first visual impression the consumer receives. Brand identity is the whole concept that encapsulates brand image to achieve optimal sales and keep the brand in the public eye.

Related: What is my personal brand (with 10 personal branding tips)

What are the components of brand identity?

Brand identity aims to create a personal connection between consumers and a brand, based on perceived value, history and the brand's uniqueness. For instance, it can connect the brand's visual appeal to the brand's origin story. Brand identity has multiple components that combine to connect consumers through the brand's story and image. These components, such as logo, slogan, colour scheme, target demographic, target persona, user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) align during the brand identity creation process.

The components of brand identity can make the brand's products more appealing because consumers can associate themselves with that identity. This can include a brand platform, which is a business base for creating that identity and growing public awareness of the brand. A major component of good brand identity is a brand that is memorable, easy to identify, easy to pronounce and suggests something positive about the brand's products.

How to improve brand identity

Here are some things to consider if you want to improve the identity of a brand:

1. Make the brand available

Business sales reports provide useful information on how the brand sells in different locations and during various times of the year. Consumers may lose interest if a brand's products are frequently out of stock, undergo sharp price increases or become unavailable to purchase at locations near them. Making your brand's products accessible to consumers who want to purchase them can help a brand achieve its full potential.

2. Learn from experience

Whenever you implement a new idea or strategy, there are lessons to seek from it. Sometimes, a strategy may fail entirely, which can be an enlightening experience. Even with the strategies that are most successful, there are almost always aspects that you could have implemented or designed better. Ways to help this include setting predetermined fail criteria, evaluating past strategies and analysing customer feedback.

3. Invest in the brand

Brand identity campaigns of any kind often require financial investment to promote the brand consistently and appropriately. This investment then generates additional sales to boost business revenues. An important part of this is getting a workable budget that allows you to get the best results possible. You can also maintain budget margins to ensure that your marketing activities are cost-effective.

4. Maintain the brand's identity

Maintaining a brand's identity is an important part of keeping it distinct. While change is typically inevitable and often desirable, it's important to remember that excessively frequent changes to a brand's identity can cause confusion among consumers. This is especially relevant to loyal customers who have a long relationship with the brand. A particular identity becomes recognisable over time, so you can risk this recognition by embracing too much change.

Instead, consider maintaining the brand's identity as much as possible. If you incorporate changes, it's a good idea to do so in ways that maintain its current identity. For example, if you have a logo with a distinct colour scheme, you could subtly change the shape, design or font for letters, but you'd want to keep the colour scheme and basic components of the logo itself. As long as consumers can look at it and recognise it as the same brand, it's probably an acceptable change that maintains the brand's identity.

Tips to market your brand identity

In any competitive market, having an effective and appealing brand identity can be a significant advantage. If you're working in a marketing or similar role and want to increase brand identity, consider some of the following tips:

Know yourself to know your product

Your knowledge of your product gives confidence in the brand itself and its importance. The goal is that a consumer chooses your brand rather than a competitor's version. As you tell the product's story, the brand develops its own personality, which reflects the company's culture. If you believe in your brand and its values, you can help establish market trust. Getting to know yourself involves asking some questions, for example:

  • Why this specific brand identity?

  • What makes this brand special?

  • How might customers describe the brand?

Related: How to brand yourself in 10 steps

Send your message

Consider the message you want your potential clients to receive. It may be useful to get colleagues' feedback to ensure the message reads as you intended. You can even adjust this based on particular audiences or consumer personas that are important to the brand. Whereas brand image is what all potential customers see and includes the tag line or slogan and email campaigns, the brand identity encompasses the brand image and brand messaging to convey a consistent story to all potential consumers.

Research similar products

It's usually a good idea to research your brand identity potential thoroughly and to know your market. One way of doing this is to understand the brand compared to its competitors. Consider some market competitor research to gather information about what appeals to consumers, how they see your brand and who has the best brand identity. This can also help you generate new ideas for further developing this identity.

Related: Discover how to become a visual merchandiser in 8 Steps

Find your target audience

A brand's identity can attract the attention of new consumers and audiences, which can therefore lead to greater expansion as sales and market share increase. Knowing the audience that you want to target can help you better target them with an appealing brand identity. To do this, you can research their preferences, buying habits, social priorities and spending behaviour. It's also useful to gather and listen to customer feedback, as this can help you retain existing customers and regain previously dissatisfied ones to maintain competitiveness.

Attract attention to your brand

Consumers view brand selections and typically make a purchase based on their individual preferences or requirements. A brand can utilise its identity to appeal to a customer's preferences. You can do this by incorporating elements of the brand identity into many aspects of the product, including the following.

  • Packaging: Packaging is often on display within physical retail spaces and is the first thing that many customers interact with after making a purchase.

  • Design: This makes a product stand out using unique designs, distinctive logos and memorable catchphrases to get customers' attention and interest.

  • Self-promotion: Companies can use business cards, newspaper advertising, introductory portfolios, word of mouth and many other creative ways to boost business growth, all of which can incorporate the brand's identity.

Think about marketing strategies

Marketing strategies are an important part of familiarising consumers with a brand. The way you market a product or brand can also relate closely to the brand identity. For instance, a brand which sells technological items might prefer to advertise in tech magazines. A brand that wants to portray itself as luxurious or high-quality might run advertisements that place its products alongside other types of items that people associate with luxury items, such as watches, cars or yachts, in their advertisements. All of this derives from and contributes to the brand identity.

Conversely, a brand that prioritises quality and functionality might emphasise the materials it uses in production or the intricacy of its production methods. You can also emphasise things like sustainable production methods, recycled materials or cooperation with popular causes. Some brands might run a few different types of marketing or advertising campaigns to appeal to different consumer types.

Related: The benefits of networking and how to get the best results

Know where to market

Markets are diverse in terms of geography, culture, requirements and preferences. Businesses can grow sales by targeting diverse communities, advertising seasonal events and adapting to various cultures. It's important to consider how to adapt your marketing approach and the aspect of the brand's identity you're emphasising based on location. Consider the following way of separating this.

  • Local: These are sub-national areas like regions or counties which might have different tastes or preferences.

  • National: Many countries exhibit certain preferences regarding products and their marketing, often because of cultural norms.

  • Global: This is the largest possible market. You would therefore try to develop identities and marketing strategies with the broadest possible appeal for this, and then perhaps incorporate regional or national variations.

Related:

  • What is a brand image? (Plus importance and how-to guide)


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