Business activities are aligning elements and direct manifestations of the brand, hence the brand being the “face” of the business. Brand identity, however, is what is being interpreted from underneath. Merriam Webster defines identity as “oneness”, and “sameness of essential or generic character in different instances”. The identity is the objective reality of the brand. It is the foundation that is built on a variety of variables, such as quality, symbols, emotional benefits, organizational associations, country of origin, and brand-consumer relationship.
The brand, itself, represents values that can be interpreted in an infinite amount of ways, but the more latent values are the ones that actually shape the reputation. To take control of that outcome, there needs to be clear definitions of the underlying values in ways that are expressive and obvious to the target audience.
Semiotic tools are used to rationalize and manage the brand, which creates the aligning elements of the business activities. The elements individualizes the brand to be recognized as something unique over time, and it is mainly the creative functions that bear the weight to visualize it into a strategy that is consistent throughout the business. However, the brand is also communicated in production, logistics, human resources management, and several other departments. Identity is the substance of the brand and it is expressed in all methods of communication.
Sculpting the brand identity serves to verify the strategic market positioning in relation to competitors and target customers. It helps to guide market communication and creates guidelines for collective manifestations. Whether the brand tilts towards values that are utopian, practical, diversionary, or critical, is depending on the core value of the product and the benefits that are associated with it.
Brand personality traits exist on a spectrum between two counterparts, where each individual brand fits in perfectly with the rest of the market. This requires a lot of research, but this leads to identifying holes in the market through branding, and it can lead to a substantial gain in market shares for the company. Brand equity, in itself, accounts for 60-80% of a company’s total value in the cases of great success. However, that equity is not building itself, and neither does the brand maintain or renew itself. There needs to be defined strategies and on-point manifestations that are consistent, but evolutionary, and this boils down to brand identification and brand management. The ultimate goal is to have such distinguishing characteristics that the brand simply cannot be forgotten.