Brand Identity

Updated on March 19, 2024
Article byJyotsna Suthar
Edited byJyotsna Suthar
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

Brand Identity Meaning

Brand Identity refers to a company’s identity visible to the consumers through its elements like name, logo, design, colors, and initials. Its main purpose is to create an easily recognizable and memorable identity for a product or a service in the minds of the consumers.

Brand Identity

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This identity helps companies in building loyal customers. In addition, companies get clarity and recognition that helps in connecting with the audience easily. In the end, corporate identity is what develops a brand image, yet both differ from each other.

Key Takeaways

  • Brand Identity is the brand’s perspective on the outside world. Companies develop the product identity, and the customers reflect it as a brand image.  
  • Logos, shapes, colors, initials, slogans, and experiences are all elements of brand identity. 
  • Six characteristics of Kapferer’s product identity prism include physique, brand personality, culture, relationship, customer reflection, and self-image. 
  • Building a corporate identity involves analyzing the company, adding visual elements, and tracking its progress. Marketing and messaging also improve the company identity and may boost sales.

Brand Identity Explained

Brand Identity is how companies depict their brand in terms of its outer appearance. It can be in the form of a logo, slogan, or symbol. Through this, customers can distinguish brands from others. As a result, companies develop a positive visual brand identity that generates extra sales and loyal customers. Studying the market and the company’s goals and objectives helps build a positive image.

Companies improve their company identity through constant marketing and messaging, which in turn increase their sales. The outer appearance, looks, and accessories distinguish one individual from others. And that is how customers also identify different brands. Companies use different elements like logos, shapes, and slogans to build their corporate identity.

Every color, font, and image has a corresponding psychological effect on the customer, like every writing font and color depicts the company’s personality. For example, the soft drink company Coca-Cola uses red and white colors to represent youthfulness, passion, and desire to buy. However, incorrect usage of these elements can negatively impact the brand. 

Logos have been a part of corporate identity design since 1600 AD. Many shops and pubs developed logos in the Middle Ages to enhance their corporate identity. However, the massive development of logos and printing started in the late 1900s. Bass Brewery, a beer-making company, was the first brand to register its identity logo in 1876. The triangle in their logo signifies the rise of this ever-growing beer brand. 

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Brand Identity Prism

The corporate identity concept was popular in the 1990s. J. Kapferer, a French brand marketing professor, gave the six corporate identity features in 1986. These six elements, when combined, will create a solid corporate identity. They represent the brand’s core message to the audience. Let us look at Kapferer’s brand identity prism model to comprehend it better:

Brand Identity Prism

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  1. Physique – The product’s outer appearance depicts the brand’s physique. It can be in the form of tangible elements like shapes, designs, names, slogans, and other brand assets. A strong visual image links the brand easily.
  2. Brand PersonalityBrand personality is how a brand represents itself regarding attitude. It conveys the brand’s core message to the audience. For example, Nike’s sports accessories and apparel company refer to its personality as cool, spirited, exciting, and aggressive. A brand is a company’s prime valuable asset.
  3. Culture – A company’s working culture also represents a vital characteristic of corporate identity. Global search engines and social media giants like Google, Twitter, and Facebook are famous for their ever-positive work culture. 
  4. Relationship – The relationship between the product and the customers is extremely vital. Providing good customer service and discounts can enhance this bond with the audience. 
  5. Customer Reflection – It defines how corporate identity reflects on the customers. And this reflection is only possible when companies reach out to their target audience. In return, it will generate loyal customers that will stick with the brand.
  6. Customer Self-Image – A self-image represents how customers connect to the products. And this is possible when there is an emotional connection with the product. For example, people using Dove soaps consider their skin ultra-bouncy and soft. 

How To Create Brand Identity?

Various elements of brand identity include name, style, logo, and shapes. A strong corporate identity helps to strengthen these elements and achieve a company’s long-term goals. Let us look at the steps to create a strong product identity:

#1. Know and Research the Company Thoroughly

Developing a strong corporate identity requires deep knowledge of the company. It will help in conveying core values and mission to the customers. First, analyze the company to find its unique selling points (USP). Also, define the product standards and guidelines so that it’s easy to achieve them. For example, Lamborghini’s luxury car’s emblem matches its brand values like grace, power, and great performance.

#2. Include Unique Visual Elements in the Brand’s Identity

Having visual elements signifies a lot about the brand. Besides that, having a unique interface, chatbots, posters, and flyers can strongly impact consumers. As people try to remember unique things faster, there are chances of huge popularity. For example, Cartier, a French jewelry company, provides attractive leather boxes.

#3. Avoid Negative Practices

Companies should avoid communicating mixed messages to customers. Instead, they must stay true to their core values and convey them through their branding. A slight change in the product’s logo can create huge criticism in the market. Thus, selecting the right elements to convey the right message is important.

#4. Study the Consumers

A company can identify and study its consumers by conducting surveys and personal interviews.

#5. Track the Progress

The final step involves monitoring the process through different metrics. Companies can do it through surveys, customer feedback, reviews, and other such practices.


Let us look at some brand identity examples that have created a strong customer base:

Example #1

In recent years, the corporate identity of Airbnb, a company that operates online marketplaces for lodging, has evolved the way of branding. From a backbencher, today, it is one of the top leading travel agencies in the United States. However, this notable shift was possible when the company changed its corporate identity in 2014. They redesigned the brand logo and initials with ‘A,’ running parallel with the slogan ‘belong anywhere.’

The letter A crossed the language barrier and created a strong community. Since then, the corporate identity of Airbnb has boosted its sales aggressively. Alex Schleifer, the chief designer officer of Airbnb, states how design principles still guide them daily. However, it has created a positive, warm, exploring identity for Airbnb.

Example #2

The Commonwealth Serum Laboratories (CSL), an Australian biotech company, announced the launch of a parent brand on August 10, 2022. As per the reports, the company will club all the operations of CSL Plasma, CSL Seqirus, CSL Behring, and CSL Vifor under one global corporate identity. However, they have made no changes in the visual brand identity design. 

Brand Identity vs Brand Image

While corporate identity and brand image are almost similar, both are distinct from each other. For example, the former discusses the brand’s reality, whereas the latter discusses the customer’s outlook.

As customers cannot see the latter, they can see the former. Brand image is the result of brand identity. Likewise, they can develop the brand image once they are familiar with the corporate identity.

 Brand IdentityBrand Image
MeaningIt talks about the brand’s visual elements.It depicts how customers see a particular brand.  
PlayersCompanies develop a corporate identity.Customers perceive the brand image.
AttitudeIt symbolizes the brand’s reality.It symbolizes the perspective of customers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How to design brand identity?

Following is the process of designing the corporate identity:
– Analyzing the competition
– Knowing the company’s core values
– Developing brand guidelines and sticking to them
– Designing the brand logo
– Adding some visual elements representing the brand

2. How much does brand identity cost?

The cost of corporate identity differs for every firm. While some agencies charge $350,00 to $250,000, it might not be the same for all. However, for small companies, the average cost can be $1000-$6000.

3. How is brand identity developed?

To develop product identity, companies need consistency, vision, and a clear understanding of their brand. Once they are familiar, they can align the brand’s values with the identity. 

4. What makes a good brand identity?

The corporate identity should be simple, unique, and memorable. Among all, it should deliver the company’s message to the consumers. If it does so, it will be a good corporate identity.

This article is a guide to Brand Identity and its definition. We explain how to create it, brand identity prism, examples, and compare it with brand image. You can also go through our recommended articles on corporate finance-

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