Brand Identity

How to be crystal clear about the personality and character of your organisation

The terms ‘brand’, ‘branding’, and ‘brand identity’ are sometimes treated as interchangeable. The SERVICEBRAND approach starts with Brand Identity and we refer to this as the collection of all the brand elements that the company creates to describe its personality and character. The brand identity is what makes an organisation instantly recognisable to different stakeholder groups (customers, employees, service partners, local communities etc), creates the connection with these stakeholders and determines how the organisation is perceived. Some leaders in organisations think that their brand is simply the name and logo. Of course, the name and logo are important parts of the visual identity and yet there is so much more to an organisation’s branding and identity. It consists of intangible elements such as the organisation’s purpose and values as well as tangible elements such as visual identity and tone of voice.

If we ask: “Who is responsible for the organisation’s brand identity?” many people answer “The Marketing department, the Marketing Director” or similar. This is hardly surprising when many organisations operate this way. But an organisation’s brand identity is too important to be owned by one function. This is especially so now, where any shortcomings can be communicated to millions in a heartbeat. Have you ever seen an expensive advertising campaign for a hotel brand on television and yet, when you drove past one of the properties, the external signage needed repair? Or a brand-new car showroom with boxes of brochures in the corner because the display racks haven’t arrived? Or a new website extolling the company value of ‘Excellence’ where there are spelling mistakes in the copy? Or a customer services agent who tells you something completely different to what you had been told by the in-store service people?

We usually begin with the organisation’s Purpose and Values because these elements can then guide and inform all other decisions throughout the organisation. The brand identity services we provide sometimes involve a review of what is already in place or a refresh exercise and other times involve creation of the Purpose and Values statements from scratch. There is a close connection between the brand identity and employee engagement initiatives because the behaviour by and decisions of employees will determine how the organisation is perceived by other stakeholders – we think of employees as brand ambassadors. There is also a close connection between the brand identity and customer experience initiatives because the customer’s felt experience needs to reinforce the organisation’s stated purpose and values to be an authentic experience.

“Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room” Jeff Bezos