It’s easy to confuse the different aspects of branding. Most small businesses don’t really spend much time thinking about it. When you’re busy attending to customers or trying to find new ones, you probably don’t have much time to think about these type of things so let’s lay it out quickly.
To truly know someone, you need to understand their motivations, their desires, interests, hobbies, tastes
Let’s take a moment to talk about two aspects of your brand; Brand image and brand identity.
You can think of your brand image as the impression people have of your business. Pretty simple. It’s that image a consumer forms even when they have never used your product or service. It’s mostly a factor of how you present your business.
This one requires a little more explanation. If brand image is what people perceive your business is, brand identity would be the who. Like a person, there are a number of things you can tell about a person from afar without really knowing them. You can tell their gender, race, height, etc.
As most people would agree, those factors are mostly surface things when trying to get to know someone. To truly know someone, you need to understand their motivations, their desires, interests, hobbies, tastes, etc. Building a business identity is akin to building these types of characteristics.
Cultivating and achieving both of these aspects of branding will set up your business for success. It’s part of the bedrock that builds brand loyalty. It makes it extremely difficult for others to replicate your business just the same way it’s difficult to replicate a person.
So if you find yourself in a situation where you need to differentiate your business from others in your field or have low loyalty from your customers, ask yourself if you’ve cultivated a brand identity that aligns properly with your brand image :).