What’s the Difference Between Branding and Identity?

In today’s saturated market, thousands of companies that offer similar products or services are competing. When it comes to consumers choosing between these products, branding is often what makes one stand out over the other. Customers prefer to choose brands they like and trust and will usually stick with brands they have bought from before.

Branding is crucial to gaining a competitive edge over the current economic landscape. As companies start to market themselves with this goal in mind, they often don’t understand the difference between branding and identity. 

What’s the Difference Between Branding and Identity?

When it comes to branding, there’s a multitude of terms to juggle:

  • Brand identity
  • Brand promise
  • Brand values
  • Brand voice 

These are all elements that add to the confusion. Believe it or not, but all of these terms have different meanings despite their common denominator! However, it is often branding and identity that cause laymen the greatest trouble.

What’s Branding?

Branding refers to all steps you take to build your brand. This includes the methods you use and what you do to influence people’s opinions on your company. When branding is done right, it can elicit a strong emotional response that stands in line with how you wish to be perceived. 

The brand of a business is not a tangible asset. It cannot be designed in one day. Instead, companies build brands over long periods.

Branding is all about perception – what you have to offer, what you stand for, what sets you apart from the others. Branding is what translates into the gut feeling consumers get about your company. 89% of consumers stay loyal to brands because they share their values. 

The most notable example of successful branding is Apple. The name alone evokes a perception of trust, modern elegance, fashion, and wealth. Consumers consider their use of Apple products as a part of their own identity. They buy into the brand as much as they buy into the product.

What’s Brand Identity?

The brand of a business is an intangible asset. Brand identity is what makes it tangible. It consists of all the visual assets associated with a brand, in the broadest sense. Brand identity brings all your values and promises alive in a way consumers can interact with. They will meet that identity on every platform and channel through which they interact with your brand.

Brand identity for a business includes elements of visual identity such as:

  • Logo
  • Website design
  • Business cards
  • Stationary
  • Promotional items
  • Brochures and flyers
  • Videos
  • Audio
  • Photography
  • Illustration
  • Typography
  • Voice and tone
  • Colours

However, the brand identity is broader than this and includes the way in which employees behave and any point of interaction with any stakeholder group (customers, employees, service partners, local communities, investors).

Your brand identity will frame your message throughout all your marketing campaigns and across your online presence. It will stand out on social media on your website and feature in all printed advertisements.

The brand identity aims to paint a cohesive picture of what your company stands for and what your brand encompasses. Sometimes, people mistakenly believe that the logo is the only aspect of brand identity. However, designing and delivering a brand is consciously delivering the perception created at every single touch point every day.

Consistency is key. The aim is for your brand and brand identity to work in perfect conjunction. When the identity miscommunicates the brand, branding can fail. If done right, consistent branding across all platforms can increase the profits of a brand by 23%.[AW1] 

The Differences at a Glance

Let’s review. These are the core differences between branding and identity:


  • Encompasses all steps companies take to build a brand
  • Is about how the company is perceived in terms of emotions, associations, and thoughts
  • Is the external perception of customers
  • Is a reflection of customer and candidate experience
  • Relates to emotions like trust, reliability, happiness, etc.

Brand Identity…

  • Is the overall image of a business in terms of general perception
  • Is designed by the company to communicate its internal brand perception
  • Consists of all visual, tonal and behavioural aspects of marketing
  • Can be used to support other branding efforts
  • Incorporates guidelines that are used by all departments of a company to consistently display the same identity

Branding and Identity Should Work Together to Create Trust

When a brand has clarity about their own branding and identity, they can communicate their values and promises to its audience. When these elements work in conjunction, a clear, concise message can be sent to consumers that strengthens trust in the brand. SERVICEBRAND GLOBAL helps authentic service organizations be crystal clear about their brand identity and values to deliver a consistent customer experience. We combine an approach of brand identity, employee engagement, and customer experience supported by systems and processes and measurement and insight to help your organization build sustainable performance. Get in touch today to see how we can help boost your brand. 

 [AW1]Is there a reference for this?