What is Brand Identity? And How to Create a Strong One


Let’s be honest, all these terms “brand,” “branding,” and “brand identity” all sound exactly the same, amirite? There’s a lot of confusion around these terms, and much of the mix up comes from their widespread incorrect usage. 

I want to clear up the confusion by using a lesser-known Coca-Cola story. In 1985, the Coca-Cola Company discontinued their 99-year-old classic recipe and announced a new formula. Loyal fans of the drink were distraught. Consumers staged protests, poured New Coke down sewer drains, and a psychiatrist Coke hired to listen in on calls told executives people sounded as if they were discussing the death of a family member. 

That is the power of a strong brand identity. 

Consumers wanted the brand they’ve remained loyal to for years to deliver on the classic product they’ve come to love. Ultimately, Coca-Cola underestimated their loyal drinkers’ emotional attachment to their brand. 

In other words, to build a brand you’ll need to begin the process of branding. The act of branding helps customers identify your products or services, distinguish you from competitors, and create a persona that your target audience can connect with. (If you want to learn more, I recommend you read more about branding here). 

Your brand is the culmination of branding. A brand is the set of emotions and perceptions that you intentionally cultivate around your business, which you constantly communicate to your customers through visual and verbal cues. 

Brand identity is the consistent message of your business that is communicated over and over again, which ultimately becomes the face of your brand shown to the world. A brand identity consists of 7 components: Business name, logo, tagline, color palette, typography, imagery, and voice. Those specific elements shape a brand that is instantly recognized and liked. 

Think about McDonald’s for a second. The fast-food restaurant chain dominates the world of fast food. It is worth $106.4 billion and is the world’s 9th most valuable global brand as of 2020. 

But, as good as that burger might be, it’s still just a hamburger. So how did McDonald’s reach the top of the fast food chain? 

No, it’s not their Big Mac Special Sauce! It’s their branding. 

To distinguish their burger from all others, McDonald’s focuses on creating memories for the customers. From Happy Meals, the iconic figure of Ronald McDonald, to their memorable tagline “I’m lovin’ it,” McDonald’s executes their brand identity flawlessly and consistently.