The terms branding and visual identity are often used interchangeably but they are actually not the same thing. Getting these two terms confused can result in missing out on opportunities to connect with your customers in valuable ways. In this blog, we will define both terms to help gain understanding and help you create more depth in your branding.
“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” - Jeff Bezos
There have been many efforts to define branding, but the subject of branding can sometimes be difficult to narrow down into one simple statement. This quote communicates the general concept that branding goes far beyond your logo, and is actually largely made up of non-tangible things.
When branding your local business, often times business owners will spend lots of time and money to create a logo, but neglect to invest in creating a complete brand. In doing this, businesses are only completing part of the branding process.
What Is Visual Identity?
Visual identity and branding are two terms that are often used to describe the process of creating a brand for your business. However, the two terms have different meaning.
A visual identity is the visual aspect of branding that businesses create in order to evoke the certain feelings and experiences with the brand.
It includes anything visual that your brand produces such as logo design, fonts, photos, and any other visuals that you use to communicate your brand. One big mistake business owners make is thinking that branding is simply just making a logo. While it is a part of it, branding goes far beyond a logo. Your visual identity is part of your branding that communicates the overall message, values, and promise of your brand through anything that is visual.
What Is Branding?
As mentioned before, there are lots of different definitions of branding out there. All of which are efforts to capture the complexity of the subject all in one statement. Well-known author Seth Godin says,
“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. If the consumer (whether it’s a business, a buyer, a voter or a donor) doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer.”
Your brand is made up of everything tangible and intangible that create the overall experience that someone has when they hear about or interact with your brand.
This includes your visual identity, tone of voice, your brand promise, and the overall essence of your brand. The goal is to evoke the emotions that you want your brand to be associated with. When you think of Nike, you think of inspiration and innovation for athletes. (not just the swoosh!) When you think of Apple, you sense creativity and “thinking different” Your brand lives in the minds of the consumer and it is your job to communicate who you are and what you are all about through all aspects of your brand.
Creating a brand for your business is much more than just creating a logo. It involves everything from creating a visual identity, creating your brand’s personality and finding your voice as a business. Your branding has a great emotional impact on consumer decision making. People often to buy a product because of brand awareness and simply because they have created an emotional connection with a certain brand.
If you haven’t fully developed your brand, you may not be evoking the emotions that you wish to with your branding. In the end, it is often beneficial for business owners to hire a branding company to develop all of the different aspects in a complete branding process.