The name of the marketing game is brand awareness.

If your brand (product or service) doesn’t achieve a strong brand awareness among your intended audience, it’ll probably end up in the proverbial big black hole in the marketplace universe. Ensuring your brand doesn’t get there is really about it’s brand identity and brand image.

Brand Image versus Brand Identity

Many often mistake brand image for brand identity, so let’s differentiate them here. When you begin developing a brand, you focus on setting it apart from competitors, or better yet, creating your own place in a cluttered market place. This process sparks the creation of a genuine brand identity, encompassing the distinct voice and visual style that convey your brand’s message to your audience.

A brand’s identity is completely controlled by the brand’s marketing custodians. It reflects their perception of what the brand should represent. A brand’s identity encompasses its character, personality, and essence. The visual elements include the logo, colors, and typography. The verbal elements cover the tagline, slogans, and messaging. Behavioural elements such as tone, brand values, and mission are also crucial. These brand assets form the foundation of how a brand presents itself. They appear in every marketing communication touchpoint.

A brand’s image is completely out of the brand’s marketing team control. Brand image is what your audience says and tells one another about the brand when you are not in the room! Of course the hope is that the brand identity that brand marketers have put forth is the way that the audience views the brand. But that is not always the case.Sometimes, the gap between brand identity and brand image can vary widely…and that’s not a good thing.

Brand identity and image are a dynamic symbiotic relationship.

Brand image is shaped by a brand’s audience experience. This includes word of mouth and one on one interactions with the brand through customer care and social media and product experience. Once a brand identity is established, it’s not one and done.

Brand awareness needs to be a priority to bridge any gap between brand identity and brand image.

The need for continuous evaluation of a brand’s strategy is imperative to maintain awareness and build positive consumer perception. Brand custodians must maintain authenticity and consistency in all brand communications and actions. The need to be responsive and true to the brand’s purpose is paramount.

How well does your brand identity align with the brand image held by consumers? Would love to hear your thoughts.