Brand, brand identity or branding? It’s easy to get these confused – what do they all mean? Why should you care about them? As a startup it’s crucial you build trust and create an emotional connection with your customers to start spawning those precious brand advocates. Drawing precise lines between each buzzword will help your team better understand the process.

Brand

Brand is one of those words that can be described in many different ways but in essence  Marty Neumeier, the author of The Brand Gap says it best:

“ A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or company. It’s not what YOU say it is. It’s what THEY say it is.”

There you have it, plain and simple. We cannot control how people feel about anything, let alone your company – but we can do our best to influence our customers. We do that with branding.
Branding

Branding is the deliberate attempt to shape and influence customers perception.

This is where we try to influence customers into a positive experience with your company. It’s the act of creating a brand. Everything from the user interface to the customer service – all need to pull in the same direction to paint a consistent and positive image of your company.

The tools we use within these experiences is what sets brands apart. We need something that’s going to add credibility to your brand. Something that will help customers connect with your brand on more emotional level than just a feature list. That tool is brand identity.

 

 

Brand Identity

Brand Identity is the look and feel of your brand. It’s how people identify you.

This consists of your logo, colour palette, typography, art direction, tone of voice, illustration style (if any), textures, UX, animation style (if any), website, interior design, the way you talk to customers and so on. It’s all your brand touchpoints. All these pieces, when considered, work together to create a company that customers can relate with on a deeper level.

The consistent use of your brand identity at every touch point helps build a trustworthy  relationship with your customers that should equate to a positive experience and in return them becoming a regular customer and hopefully a brand advocate.

Conclusion

Your brand is what your customers say it is. We can influence how they get to that opinion by creating a brand identity that they can relate to and connect with on a emotional level. That identity is used on all of your brand touchpoints to help strengthen your message and personality. A positive, consistent experience helps create brand advocates and therefore growth.

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About the Author

This article was produced by The Path Forward. The Path Forward was developed by Forward Partners, a VC platform that invests in the best ideas and brilliant people. Forward Partners devised The Path Forward to help their founders validate their ideas, build a product, achieve traction, hire a team and raise follow on funding all in the space of 12 months. The Path Forward is a fantastic startup framework for you to utilise as an early stage founder or operator. The framework clearly defines startup creation as being comprised of three steps. The first step of this framework involves understanding customer’s needs.Nic is Head of PR & communications at Forward Partners. Over the course of a 10 year career in communications, he has working with global brands including Orange, Warner Bros., BBC, and amazon.co.uk.