Understanding Your Brand: Brand Identity


A brand is much more than a simple logo. A brand encompasses every interaction of your business both internally and with the outside world. If this sounds confusing, you might want to take a moment to read through our Branding Basics: Branding 101. It walks you step-by-step through the fundamentals of branding and can really help you strengthen the brand of your business.

Even though a brand is much more than a logo, the brand identity of a business (which includes the logo) is very important. In many cases, the brand identity of your business is the first thing that potential clients or customers see. In some ways it is the face of your business. A strong brand identity can help make it easier for customers and clients to understand your business or get a feeling for its personality. Taking the time to understand the personality of your business, your competitive environment, and the wants and needs of your clients/customers is essential for creating an effective brand identity.

The Elements

Some of the most important elements of a brand identity include:

  • Your company's name
  • Your company's logo
  • Your company's tagline
  • Imagery or graphic elements that define your brand
  • Your company's brand identity system

Let's look at each of these a little more closely.

Your company's name

Does the name of your business tell people what your business is or does? Is the name distinct from your competition? Does it have a personality? Is it easy to remember or pronounce?

Your company's logo

A logo is more than just a distinguishing graphic mark. It is the face of your business. A logo is a mark or symbol that helps people recognize and remember your business. It can be abstract or descriptive. It can convey a feeling, an action, or a purpose. Logos that include the name of the company are called "wordmarks".

Your company's tagline

A tagline is a short phrase that defines your business by conveying a feeling, creating an emotional bond. It is often used to communicate a brand's essence, that which makes the company distinct or the central promise the company makes to clients or customers. Often a tagline is used to give a company's brand a more distinct or memorable personality.

Imagery or graphic elements that define your brand

The brand of your business is also defined by the types of imagery you use as well as graphic elements such as a typeface, a color palette, and the "look and feel" of your website or printed pieces. The more consistently your business uses these elements, the easier it is for people to recognize your brand.

Your company's brand identity system

A brand identity system is a set of visual components and style guidelines that create a framework for a coherent corporate image. These elements are applied across the things your business uses to communicate, such as: stationery, website, signage, business cards, marketing collateral, invitations to fundraisers, digital projects, etc.

Understanding these terms and how to apply them is an important step in creating a strong, recognizable brand personality and can really help you to build your business. We've put together a couple of worksheets to help you understand brand identity and to review your own company's brand. These worksheets can help you improve your brand identity or develop a newer and stronger one.

Beyond the brand identity, there are many brand considerations that can help you build your business. If you want to learn more about what a brand can do for you, be sure to check out our tips for building a stronger brand. And be sure to check back here for more tools, tips and templates that can help you work smarter. If you want to hear from us when we post new ideas, please join our mailing list!

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Understanding Your Brand: Brand Identity