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I bet you have heard these terms being used interchangeably ‘brand’, ‘brand identity’, ‘branding’ and ‘logo’. In most instances, these might gets you to wonder what is their meaning.

Brand, branding, and brand identity all have different roles, that together, form a perceived image for a business, service or product.

For the growth of your company, you probably identify that creating a mark on your customers? minds is your high priority.

By prospects or customers being able to recognize, develop trust and have a consistent image of your company, then you?ll able to win on their attention and loyalty.

In creating this perception what come first your logo, brand identity or branding? This post will help create the distinction to avoid customers heading to your competitors due to misrepresentation.

Brands are built with these key terms in mind:

  • Brand ? how people perceive your company.
  • Brand identity ? the collection of tangible brand elements that together create one brand image
  • Branding ? the actions you take to build a certain image of your company.

Let?s jump into these concepts.


A Brand

A brand is an overall perception, idea and experience of a customer that distinguishes your company or product from its alternatives in the eyes of the customer.

Think of a brand such as Apple or Coca-Cola ? what customers think about them is what we define as a brand.

So, for example, the Apple brand from its computers and phones and other products they produce, what people think of its slick ads or dramatically staged presentations or chicly minimalist storefronts is what constitute Apple brand.

The fundamental elements of a brand would include:

  • Identity
  • Name and tagline
  • Voice and messaging
  • Website
  • Brand architecture
  • Brand compass
  • Company culture


Brand Identity

To define what brand identity is the message the consumer receives from the product, person, or thing.

So, your brand?s identity is more than just its logo. However its part of the collection of the visual that define your brand identity. Other elements would include the colour palette, typography and brand voice.

An effective identity will include all of the defining characteristics of your brand, such as its personality, promise, and purpose.

In developing a brand identity strive for a more distinct, specific and cohesive element, as they will define a differentiated brand that is recognized and admired to your customers.

Your brand?s identity is its stamp on the world?an aesthetic symbol full of meaning that has the power to communicate your brand?s essence in a visual instant to all who experience it.

FedEx?s logo, for example, changed quite a bit in the first couple of its iterations but remained fairly consistent since 2000: changing only colours and preserving shape and font.

The negative space arrow and the purple and orange colour has also served to represent FedEx brand identity: the simple white space arrow between the letters ?E? and ?X?.

The FedEx logo has been known as one of the most commercially successful examples of the use of negative space with, the ultimate embodiment of FedEx?s brand identity is the actual service and products they sell, which seamlessly combine efficiency, style and affordability.

As these elements of FedEx brand identity strengthen each-other and compose the image of aiming for milestone, user-centric and economical brand.

Your company?s brand identity also should be deliberate and check that each element is actually contributing to the overall perception you want to imprint in your prospects and customers.

Some of the most important elements of your brand identity:

  • A logo ? The most outward visual representation of your brand and company identity
  • Branding materials ? This includes letterheads, business presentations, business cards, and materials you share with corporate partners or clients
  • Marketing materials ? Your marketing strategy will include visual materials such as your website, brochures, and flyers
  • Messaging ? The more direct ways you communicate with your audience, either directly or indirectly
  • Product packaging ? When someone buys your products, it?s important to consider how the packaging and design to fit with your brand image
  • Signage ? This refers to both interior and exterior design of your company?s look and physical locations

Brand identities encompass a variety of items each serving a unique purpose.



Branding, on the other hand, is the active process of shaping the perceptions that consumers have about your company, product or service. This would encompass all the steps that you take in building your brand awareness and reputation.

Point to note, your branding efforts may not always over an instant translate into your customers? minds, but the more deliberate and cohesive they are, the higher the chance of success.

So, before making any branding decisions you may want to reflect on this high-level strategy to help guide you:

  • What is the perception you want to impress on your customers?
  • What?s your brand end goal?
  • Be authentic and get down to the core of your company (Why).

In conclusion, now as most people think of a brand and the first thing that comes to mind is a logo. You must be able to define it as a key brand element, and typically the most immediate visual association with a company.


Paul Simiyu

Founder and Team Lead of Simpaul Design, a brand strategy and design agency in Nairobi, Kenya. Here at Simpaul Design, we work with brands across various categories with a focus on connecting with consumers and building brands that people want to be a part of. We specialize in brand identity and strategy, UX/UI, and brand transformation.