BRANDING VS BRAND IDENTITY

Branding is an essential pillar of any successful business.  Branding and brand identity are often used interchangeably, which can result in a lack of brand consistency.  Differentiating between these terms will ensure that you are presenting your brand more effectively.  You should carefully review your brand before launching it: businesses that neglect to create a brand identity run the risk of going unnoticed.

If you have already established your brand, but have experienced a decline in sales, it may be time to consider a new brand identity.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BRANDING AND BRAND IDENTITY?

Branding refers to the core values of your business: who you are, what you stand for, and where you want to go.  It incorporates your mission statement, aspirations, values, audience, and tone of voice.

Brand identity is commonly referred to as "visual identity" or "brand design".  It consists of all the visual components that make up your brand. Some of these components include:

  • Colors
  • Typographies
  • Your logo
  • Variations of your logo
  • Images/photography
  • Packaging

When these visual components align with your mission statement, you will improve your user experience and differentiate yourself from your competitors.  Your brand and your brand identity must be consistent.  A trustworthy and consistent brand is much more compelling to potential customers.

HOW TO CREATE BRAND IDENTITY

Before designing the components that make up your brand identity, establish exactly who you are and what you want by answering the following questions:

  • What is your mission?
  • What are your values?
  • What is your tone of voice?
  • What makes you different from others?

Communicating with other members of your team is a useful way to position and define your brand.  Once the answers are clear in your head, you're ready to build an identity that will bring your business to life and ultimately attract customers.

HOW DO BRANDING AND BRAND IDENTITY WORK TOGETHER?

Once you've established a clear purpose, it's time to translate your mission statement into your brand identity and make sure your values are incorporated into every visual component of your business.  For example, if sustainability and helping the environment are core values for your business, it would make no sense to design excessive, non-recyclable packaging.  The clearer your brand image is in your head, the easier it will be to translate visually.

Brand identity determines how your brand will be perceived.  As your business grows and more elements are introduced, every aspect needs to be carefully "branded" - your web design, social media graphics, packaging, business cards, event displays, uniforms, etc.  All of these small tokens will create brand recognition.  You want the fundamental pillars of your brand identity to stand the test of time and become an inseparable part of your organization's personality. 

Here are some important features to consider:

Typography is the layout of the text on your site.  The three main styles of typography are:

  • Serif fonts (e.g. Times New Roman) have what look like small lines or borders at the end of each letter.
  • Sans Serif fonts (e.g. Helvetica). "Sans" means without; therefore, this font style has no small lines/borders.
  • The script typography (e.g., Pacific) refers to italics. The use of a "handwritten" font can be a great way to convey your brand as something personal.

Screen fonts show distinctive features such as shadows, contours, and shapes.  Generally, this style of typography will not appear throughout the site, but it can help your customers stay alert and your website stands out from the competition. 

Color is one of the most essential components of any company's visual identity.  Think of some of the world's most successful and global businesses, and often color is the first thing that comes to mind.  This is because color is one of the most memorable characteristics of building brand recognition. 

When choosing colors, be aware of aesthetics and what customers will find attractive.  Customers should really enjoy interacting with your business when they browse your website or receive your package, so make sure your color choice is visually appealing.

Logo - your logo is the basis of your brand identity.  You want to create a clear logo that represents who you are.  Your logo must be relevant to your brand, not random.  You are looking for something that will stand the test of time, that will remain an integral part of your brand.

Once you've designed your logo, ask to receive multiple sizes, in both black and white and color (you'll appreciate options for a variety of uses later).  You may also want to think of alternative logos for other purposes, such as website icons, application interfaces, etc. Your brand must be translated into every design feature on your Shopify store.

What are you currently implementing to increase brand image, identity, and awareness in your Shopify stores?  Comment below and let us know!

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