BUSINESS IDENTITY VS. BRAND IDENTITY: HOW TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE
What is it that makes a business successful? Is it a noteworthy product? Great customer service? Or effective marketing? No, successful businesses are built upon something deeper - their identity.
Every successful company has a strong Business Identity. Without clarity on what makes your company unique, consistency in your messaging, and confidence in your delivery, it is impossible to reach your full potential. However, when most people think of a business’s identity, they turn straight to logos and colors. There are many differences between an organization’s Business Identity and brand identity. We’ve outlined some of the differences below to help you better understand how we can help your business thrive:
We define Business Identity as a statement of your company’s unique innovation, service, and/or product offering that makes it the best choice for potential customers. A Business Identity is what fuels your business—it’s the key differentiator that sets you apart from competitors in the market.
A Business Identity is the foundational element of your strategy and touches all aspects of your company’s operations. With it, you are able to answer many critical questions about the direction your business should go. Thus, a Business Identity is not only the reason behind your business, but it also answers the question: “What makes you unique?”
For example, while many people might recognize McDonald's by its signature golden arches, the company certainly wouldn’t name these arches as the key to their business success. Rather, they would cite offering affordable food options and convenience to their customers as the main reason behind their success. Similarly, Coke would not describe what’s wrapped around the outside of their cans as what differentiates them from Pepsi. Instead, they would highlight the difference to the ingredients that go into their formula.
Business Identity is what makes you different from others and why it matters. Your Business Identity should inform which customers you target, how you engage them, and the type of marketing language you use.
Much different from your Business Identity, a brand identity consists of the visual elements that represent your company to your clients and customers. A brand identity is all about your current perceived position in the market and not necessarily how it will develop in the future. The brand identity is derived solely from your product or service’s interaction with the minds of your clients or customers.
For instance, brand identity focuses on which colors will best convey your business’s value proposition to the market - i.e. how to best exemplify your Business Identity in a visual way. A brand consists of elements like fonts, logos, and commercials that can help represent your company to the masses.
A good way to think about this is by examining the popular fast-food chain, Wendy’s. Wendy’s brand identity is fun and young, using the image of a freckled, redhead to convey freshness, youth, and vibrancy. These elements are how the public differentiates Wendy’s from McDonald’s or Burger King, but they are also fueled by Wendy’s Business Identity, which states that the company’s main value is that they always serve “fresh and never frozen beef.”
Ultimately, a brand identity includes various visual elements, such as logos, colors, and fonts that convey your Business Identity. Yet, these elements only encompass a small part of your actual business, focusing solely on the characteristics that your customers can perceive.
Together, Business Identity and brand identity are the perfect formula for success. By using your Business Identity to inform your brand identity, you are able to convey your unique value to customers as well as specify who those customers are.
If you’re interested in considering what makes your business unique, why it matters to customers, and how you should leverage your uniqueness for success, we offer free worksheets that can provide the guidance you need to think critically about your Business Identity. You can access these free resources here or speak with our team directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.