Brand Perception | Difference Between Brand Identity and Brand Image

The importance of branding has been emphasized many times, and studies have established a link between the success of a brand and the company. Branding is a business and marketing process that has been around for many, many years. Brands are commonly understood as an identifier –  to differentiate goods and services from one company to another. Brands play a  role for consumers and companies in different ways.

The Role and Advantages Of Brands For Business

  • Used for identification for simplified handling and tracing
  • Legally protect the unique features of a product
  • Symbol of quality and standard
  • Used to endow products their unique associations and high status
  • Represents the company’s competitive advantage
  • Source of financial gain and returns

The Role and Benefits Of Brands For Customers

  • Helps identify product or service
  • Assigns responsibility to the company
  • Reduced risk for consumers
  • Symbol of quality and standard
  • Symbol of status and association
  • Represents a promise from the company

The Process of Brand Building

The  guidelines  to  building  a  strong  brand,  according  to David  Aaker,  who  is considered the “Father of Modern Branding”, is the following:

  1. Brand Identity: your brand requires an identity
  2. Value Proposition: your   brand   should   have   functional,   symbolic   and emotional benefits
  3. Brand positioning: your brand should be properly positioned in the market
  4. Execution: properly execute brand plans and strategies
  5. Consistency over Time: retain consistency in brand identity, positioning, and execution
  6. Brand System: exploit and maximize brand features
  7. Brand Leverage: utilize brand and co-brands
  8. Tracking Brand Equity: monitor brand awareness and perception, brand loyalty and brand associations
  9. Brand Responsibility: assigning someone to be in charge or responsible for the brand
  10. Invest in Brands:   continuous investment and building of the brand. A brand is more than just a product.  A brand can be differentiated using the different dimensions of its brand identity. There are four brand identity dimensions, namely, product, organization, person, and symbol. Brand-as-product:  refers to the product’s scope and attributes, quality, and value, its uses and users, as well as country of origin.

Brand-as-organization refers to the brand’s organizational attributes, whether it is a local or global organization.

Brand-as-person refers to the personality of the brand, and the relationship between the brand and the customer.

Brand-as-symbol refers to the imagery,   visual components,   metaphors and heritage of the brand. One of the most valuable assets of a  company is its brand.  A  brand  is  not  just  a physical  product  (Coca-Cola,  Toyota,  Nescafe,  Sony)  but  it can  also  refer  to services  (United  Airlines,  FedEx),  retail  stores  (Wal-Mart,  Target),  online  businesses (Google,  eBay),  People  (Barack  Obama,  Oprah  Winfrey),  organizations  (Red Cross, IBM), places and geographic locations (Las Vegas, Paris), and even causes and   ideas   (World   Wild   Life   Fund,   pink   ribbon   branding   for   breast   cancer awareness).

Brand Identity Vs. Brand Image

We now know that brand identity is an important aspect of the branding process. Brand identity is, however, different from the brand image.  It is important for every business owner and entrepreneur to know the difference between image and identity when it comes to their brand.

Brand Identity

  • stems from or developed by the company
  • is tied together with the brand message
  • symbolizes the company’s perception of their brand
  • represents the desires and goals of the company
  • is the company’s promise to its costumers

Brand Image

  • perceived by the consumer or the receiver
  • is the result of the brand message untied by the customer
  • symbolizes the customer’s perception of the brand
  • represents the view and feedback of others
  • is the customers’ perception of the brand and the company


Despite being two different ideas, brand identity and the brand image does not work against each other but are rather complementary of one another.  As a  start-up entrepreneur or a  business owner,  it is important to focus on shaping your brand identity first. Your brand image is the result of how you properly and effectively built your brand through a strong brand identity and effective brand strategies.

Your company will use brand identity to positively influence the image your stakeholders or customers hold. When building your brand, ask “how do I want to be perceived by my customers?”  In order to cultivate the right brand identity.  Brand identity is not just about the product –  it also reflects the personality,  culture, and values of an organization which also presents a  strong selling point to consumers. Customer perception shapes the image of the brand thus it is crucial to truly consider the vision,  mission,  values, and personality that your brand stands for. Customers that can relate or share a company’s values and beliefs are most likely to support and stay loyal to them.

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