Three apples depicting visual identity, brand identity, and brand image

These three titles are often confused with one another when, in fact, they are quite different. Does every business have all three? Is one superior to the others? Differences dictate how each should fit into your marketing effort.

Visual identity is comprised of the visual aspects of a business’s presence and it includes your logo, web site, imagery, colors, and marketing collateral. When you establish a visual identity, you are trying to achieve an image that can be associated with your business to make it easy to remember you. A visual representation of your business makes it more memorable.

Brand identity is the entire value proposition that a business makes to consumers. It may consist of benefits, features and attributes, performance, service, quality, support, and the values that make up the brand core. The brand identity can be described as a positioning statement with a personality and a set of values. Brand identity is everything the business wants to be perceived as and the position it occupies in people’s minds.

Brand image expresses the way the audience thinks about the brand and the feelings the brand emotes when the consumer thinks about it. Your brand image is generated based on the experience a customer may have with your brand. A negative experience requires work hard to change the perception of your brand in the mind of the customer, but if the characteristics being placed on your brand are positive, you can build customer loyalty and a powerful competitive advantage for your brand.

For your business, the most important task ensuring that your brand image, or how you are perceived, is aligned with brand identity, or how you want to be viewed. Customer perceptions of service, quality, and the intangible connections that come to mind when your brand is seen or heard are some of the most valuable assets a business can have.