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Brand Identity & Brand Image-What is the difference?

How do you differentiate between brand image and brand identity? If you work in the marketing function of your organisation, it is imperative for you to understand the actual difference that a Brand Identity holds from a Brand Image. So let's deep dive in

Brand identity refers to the visual and verbal elements that make up a brand, such as its name, logo, colours, and messaging. It is the foundation of a brand and represents the company's values and mission.

Brand image, on the other hand, is the perception of the brand in the minds of consumers. It is shaped by their experiences and interactions with the brand and can include things like reputation, customer service, and advertising.

Both brand identity and brand image are important for a company, but they serve different purposes. Brand identity helps a company establish its unique identity and communicate it to consumers, while brand image helps a company understand how it is perceived by consumers and make adjustments as needed.

Difference between Brand Image and Brand Identity- through an example

An example of the difference between brand image and brand identity can be seen in the fast food industry. A fast food chain like McDonald's has a strong brand identity, with a recognizable golden arches logo, red and yellow colour scheme, and a consistent message of "I'm Lovin' It."

These elements make up the foundation of the brand and are used consistently across all of the company's locations and marketing materials.

However, the brand image of McDonald's may vary depending on the consumer's perception. Some may view McDonald's as a quick and convenient option for fast food, while others may view it as a lower-quality option with unhealthy food. This image may be shaped by personal experiences, advertising, and media coverage. McDonald's may use various marketing strategies and campaigns to improve their brand image and to change public opinion.

In summary, Brand identity is the company's self-representation and the way it wants to be perceived by the public, while a brand image is how the public actually perceives the company.

How did Kodak fail to identify the difference?

Kodak Company is one illustration of how strategic mistakes may be made when the difference between image and identity is not properly understood. As you probably remember, Kodak dominated its industry for practically the entire 20th century. Their brand promise was that their cameras would make it simple to record priceless experiences. To cement this promise in customers' minds, they came up with the term "Kodak moment."

Unfortunately for Kodak, the arrival of a radical breakthrough was eroding the relevance of its brand promise. By doing away with the need for film, digital cameras have simplified the process of "recording treasured moments" simpler.

The fact that Kodak officials were knowledgeable about digital camera technology may surprise you. The first digital camera was created in 1975 by Steven Sasson, a Kodak engineer. But these same Kodak officials refused to give up the substantial earnings stream brought in by film sales, and as a result, they shunned spending money to make the Kodak brand promise more relevant (and eventually competitive).

Kodak launched an intensive marketing drive to increase sales of film and non-digital cameras in an effort to address an issue with its brand identity (a fall in promise relevance). Fast-forwarding to 2012, it was simple to observe the bad effects Kodak endured as a result of treating an identity issue as an image issue. Kodak filed for bankruptcy that year.

Undoubtedly, there are many lessons to be learned from this Kodak case study, one of which is the expense of managerial arrogance. The most crucial lesson, though, is the preventable cost associated with neglecting to actively manage your brand.

Though it doesn't always end in the severe consequences as Kodak did. Mistaking a problem with a brand's identity for a problem with its image almost always wastes time, and money, and undermines leadership confidence. In actuality, a lot of businesses can bounce back using a pricey crash program on spending to boost the competitiveness and/or relevancy of their brand promise.

How to improve your Brand Image and Brand Identity?

There are several ways to improve both brand image and brand identity. Some strategies include:

1. Define your brand: Clearly define your brand's mission, values, and unique selling points. This will help you establish a strong brand identity that sets you apart from your competitors.

2. Consistency: Maintain consistency across all branding elements, such as your logo, colours, and messaging. This will help build recognition and trust with consumers.

3. Authenticity: Be genuine and transparent in your branding efforts. Consumers are more likely to trust and connect with a brand that is authentic and true to its values.

4. Listen to your customers: Monitor and respond to customer feedback and make adjustments as needed. This will help you understand how your brand is perceived by consumers and make improvements.

5. Invest in marketing: Use various marketing channels such as social media, content marketing, and influencer marketing to reach your target audience and improve brand awareness.

6. Deliver a great customer experience: Provide exceptional customer service and consistently deliver a high-quality product or service. This will help build a positive brand image and foster customer loyalty.

7. Evaluation and adaptation: Regularly evaluate your branding efforts and make adjustments as needed. Continuously adapt to new trends, customer needs and demands, and market changes.

It's important to keep in mind that improving brand image and identity takes time and effort, but with a well-defined strategy, consistency and authenticity in your branding, and a focus on customer satisfaction, you can effectively build a strong and positive brand that resonates with your target audience.

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