Brand Identity vs Brand Strategy

Knowing exactly what a “brand” is used to be easy. The word had just one meaning. It was the mark that determined how one farmer knew his cattle from that of the farmer down the road. Now the term has come to mean so much more, and with that expanded definition has come a slew of ways to misunderstand it. 

We use the term to reference brand identity sometimes, brand strategy other times, and every so often we use it to discuss a whole brand experience. 

The contrast between brand identity and brand strategy is one that seems to need the most distinction. It’s a frequent source of confusion with clients and something we try to get nailed down early on in our relationship with them. This is the fundamental question that will guide any brand planning research: Do we need to define or refine brand strategy, brand identity, or both?

Which of course forces the obvious next question…

How do you tell them apart? 

At Campos, we define branding as “the discipline that guides the way an organization thinks, acts, and communicates.” 

We see the brand identity in the expression of the vision, values, and voice of the organization. We believe in inside-out branding, based on the fundamental idea that, if the brand does not live and breathe on the inside of the organization, few on the outside are going to believe in it.

We see brand strategy as finding ways to express the brand so that it can attain an aspirational place in the minds of consumers. The strategy is intended to explain these plans to the advertisers, communicators, and representatives who all work to pass the brand identity to outside groups. 

Each of these aspects are important, both to dissect and define, in order to build a strong brand. Clarity in understanding which of the two you are working with will make finding the right solutions for the brand much easier. Need some guidance? We can help!

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