Brand Identity: Walk Your Talk

shutterstock_13586188Never confuse your logo with your identity.

A brand is the “name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s goods or service as distinct from those of other sellers,” according to the American Marketing Association.

A brand’s identity, however, is the sum of attributes, values, purpose, strengths, and passions. A brand’s reputation forms in how and where it communicates, and in the emotions customers feel when they interact with it.

Over the course of a brand’s existence, the marketer’s challenge is not to maintain a consistent message, logo, or artifact – but to offer a consistent experience through a dynamic, evolving identity.

Brands are not what they say they are. They are what a consumer experiences.

Companies must exist with a purpose. The same way we observe, reflect on, and come to know people, we come to know brands. Brand nature is an analog of human nature. Brand is as brand does.

Identity is how your brand walks its talk. A great ad campaign increases sales and awareness, but a great brand identity underwrites endurance. As Jeff Bezos says, “Branding is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”

Volvo is a caregiver. Disney is a magician. Apple is a revolutionary. Nike is a hero. Uber is an explorer. Amazon appears to be all of these archetypes at once (that’s a separate blog!).

“Just Do It” is a tagline, not an identity. The feeling of your performance in Nike shoes is the culmination of the Nike identity.

Uber’s identity is not its app’s design or back-end programming, but rather the adventure a passenger takes on each ride.

Brand identity is brand power. The moment you cease to walk how you talk, people know it, sense it, and tell everyone they know. A failed ad campaign can be swept away, forgotten, and renewed with relative ease. A failed identity, however, breaks trust, and everything you’ve worked for can come crashing to the ground.

No pressure!