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Your Brand, Your Brand Identity, The Difference Between Them

Many new clients come to us using the term “branding” when they mean “identity.” And we totally get it—the two are intertwined, and they’re easy to confuse.

So, here’s our small business PSA for the day: Branding is an organization’s personality and the values it will uphold with their customers. Identity is the organization’s visual representation.

To explain a little further, we’ll take a closer look at how we define an organization’s branding and identity.

Defining Your Brand

Here at Allen Wayne, we define an organization’s branding using six key brand attributes, as well as brand archetypes. These brand attributes are culture, customer, voice, feeling, impact, and x-factor. As you work to define your branding, you should carefully consider each of these brand attributes.

  1. Culture: Do the inner workings of your organization reflect your brand ideals? Do the people who make up your organization embody your brand? Practice what you preach, and you’ll gain your customers’ trust.

  2. Customer: Who is your target customer? What kind of person are they? How do they spend their time? What are their needs? Make sure you get very specific here. If you try to talk to everyone, you’ll reach no one.

  3. Voice: What tone do you use when communicating with customers? Is your brand casual, using humor to connect? Or maybe your tone is distinguished, setting you apart as a leader in your field.

  4. Feeling: How does your brand make people feel? Do they feel comforted and secure? Excited and full of possibilities? It might be cliché, but it’s true—people will never forget how you make them feel.

  5. Impact: What difference does your company make in the world?

  6. X-factor: How does your organization add value in a special way? What do you bring to your customers that your competitors can’t (or won’t)? This is what sets you apart from everyone else.

Brand archetypes work hand-in-hand with the six brand attributes. They’re a method of understanding the emotional disposition of your organization, helping you to work with your strengths and overcome your challenges. Knowing your archetype helps you to authentically deliver exactly what your customers want and need. Check out part one and part two of our blog post on brand archetypes to learn more.

As you might guess, all these factors that make up your organization’s branding cannot be communicated solely through your logo. Rather, an organization’s branding is seen through employees upholding the brand promises and brand actions, as well as by exemplifying the brand attributes. Branding is often felt or seen through actions more than through a graphic or advertisement.

Defining Your Identity

As we explained earlier, your organization's identity is your visual representation. This includes your logo, color palette, photography, and website; any visual or graphic element that represents your organization falls under identity. Customers often identify organizations by their logo or by remembering a specific advertisement since it’s so much easier to remember images than words. (This probably explains why people so often misuse the term “branding”!)

Your organization’s identity should support your brand by using colors, pictures, and language that align with your core attributes and brand archetypes. Once your branding is strong, you’ll be able to make visual choices that reflect it.

Brand and Identity in Action

To see some real-life examples of how brand and identity can work together, check out these Allen Wayne projects:

Learn more

We’re Allen Wayne—a full-service creative agency with a diverse, talented team that works strategically and collaboratively with our clients to create phenomenal brands. We crave challenges. We solve problems. We develop solutions. Allen Wayne goes Beyond Design to craft an identity and personality for your entire operation. Contact us today and get your branding and identity in sync.


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