What is a brand identity?

Every brand is unique – just like the people who create them. That means each one has its own unique brand identity.

Brand identity refers to the intent behind the visual aspects of branding design, such as your logo, design, or colours. It encompasses the mission and values that influence your website design, your brand voice, and even how you train your staff.

Capitalizing on what sets you apart and creating an identity is crucial for any business. After all, being unique isn’t always enough to stand out or be remembered. Consumers will be much more likely to remember (or even relate to) you if you have a strong brand identity.

Consider Patagonia, The North Face, and Columbia. These outdoors companies all sell similar products, yet each is distinct in its own way – and not just because they have different logos or even quality.

It’s their brand identity that sets them apart. For example:

  • Patagonia associates itself as an environmentally-conscious brand that “prides itself on an inventive spirit.”
  • The North Face built its reputation on “ruggedness” and “competence” in addition to high-quality products.
  • Columbia positioned itself as a manufacturer of high-quality products at a lower price point.

Let’s look at it another way:

Your brand identity is the “something different” you bring to the table. It’s what you offer that the other dozen brands in your niche don’t – and people recognize you for it.

So even if you’re competing in an oversaturated market (like sportswear), you can still outpace other companies simply by establishing a solid identity that resonates with consumers.

What Is The Purpose Of Brand Identity?

The purpose of brand identity is to create consistency for consumers. This way, they know what to expect from you, which builds trust and gets you more sales.

Take Starbucks, for example. This global consumer favourite rose to the top when it successfully established itself as a lifestyle brand and a specialty beverage and food provider.

In addition, Starbucks created the perception of its products as status symbols while still being accessible to anyone willing to splurge a few extra dollars on coffee.

Social media has made it even easier for Starbucks to maintain this image. Thousands of people post pictures of their food and drinks and engage with the company every day.

Starbucks is a prime example of how consistency can not only drive sales but cultivate a following. But it also models what happens when companies make moves that don’t align with their brand identity.

During the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests, Starbucks banned employees from wearing BLM apparel to support the movement. This decision sparked a backlash, with many denouncing the company as hypocritical given its open support for BLM on social media.

Starbucks was quick to roll back this decision, but even so, the damage was done, as 45% of customers said they would be less likely to purchase from Starbucks in the future.

Although the public has primarily forgiven Starbucks, this incident is a prime example of when brand image and identity don’t align.

How To Develop Your Brand Identity

While you can’t put a price tag on brand value, there is no doubt that strong branding is a company’s biggest asset. If you play your cards right, your identity can go a long way toward your overall success.

There’s quite a bit that goes into building an identity, so we’ll be posting a separate, more in-depth guide down the line. Until then, here are the basics to developing your brand identity.

Understand Your Brand

Before you hire a graphic design agency to design your logo or build your website, you need to understand your brand inside and out. Because while visual elements are crucial, they should be influenced by who you are as a company – not the other way around.

So as you reflect, ask yourself these questions:

  • What is your mission? (Better yet, why did you start your brand?)
  • What beliefs and values guide your brand?
  • What makes you unique from (or better than) other brands in your niche? Why are you unique, and why should people care?
  • What personality would your brand have if it were a person?
  • What is your brand voice?

These five points build the foundation for your brand and can distinguish you from everyone else, so it’s crucial that you have a conclusive answer for each.

Another way to understand your brand is to list three words that best describe your company. Then, list three more that you would want your customers to use about you.

Make Yourself Recognizable

Once you know who your brand is and what it stands for, you can convey these foundational elements to your customers in the form of your:

  • Name
  • Logo
  • Slogan
  • Aesthetic
  • Colour palate
  • Typography
  • Voice

Brands that can’t communicate their unique value offering (what their product or service brings to the table) will struggle (if not fail) to grow.

Having the ability to convey your image clearly and efficiently to customers through the foundational elements we mentioned above is becoming even more crucial because of short attention spans and advertisement overload.

Brand identity gives consumers a rapid overview of your business or service offering (AKA, first impression). Generally, the crisper and more defined the message, the more your brand identity will appeal to people.

It’s a tall order, which is why many brands choose to work with brand identity agencies or design firms.

Know Your Base 

Your brand identity won’t resonate with everyone. Depending on your market or niche, you may have a small target audience, so you want to make sure you appeal to as many as possible.

If you’re still in the early stages of starting your company, some ways to pinpoint your target audience include conducting:

  • Individual interviews
  • Focus groups
  • Surveys and polls
  • Social listening analyses

When you know your base, you’ll have an easier time clarifying your brand’s personality and messaging. This helps you create a consistent perception and creates alignment between your brand, copy, visuals, aesthetic, and more.

Bottom Line

Brand identity is a visualization of your company’s values and voice. Its purpose is to create consistency, which appeals to customers because they come to know what to expect from you.

When developing a brand identity, you must define who you are as a brand and what you stand for before creating a logo, slogan, or anything else. This promotes cohesion between your identity and image, which further facilitates consistency. If you’re ready to grow your business further, we can help. Reach out to book a consultation call, and we’ll bring your brand identity to life!


  • deBara, Deanna. “What Is Brand Identity? And How to Design and Develop a Great One.” 99designs, 99designs, 99designs.com/blog/tips/brand-identity/.

  • Lake, Laura. “How Brand Identity Is Defined and the Role It Plays in Marketing.” The Balance Small Business, 23 Nov. 2019, www.thebalancesmb.com/brand-identity-and-marketing-2295442.

  • Rukosuev, Dennis. “What Is Brand Identity?” Professional Academy, www.professionalacademy.com/blogs-and-advice/what-is-brand-identity.

  • Tarver, Evan. “Create a Strong Brand to Grow Your Business.” Investopedia, Investopedia, 19 May 2021, www.investopedia.com/terms/b/brand-identity.asp.