Corporate branding vs Brand identity: is there a difference?

Insights ○ 0 min read

In the 70s, many major brands shifted their focus from product branding to corporate branding, additionally their branding identity became a more thoroughly researched and better defined way of strategizing. Back then, it was revolutionary. Today corporate branding, and branding identity are terms that you hear and read about everywhere. But though they sound similar, there are major differences between them that you should be aware of. That’s why we’ve gathered the need-to-know information on the meaning, importance, differences, and reason to use them below. That way, you know exactly what everyone is talking about.

What is corporate branding?

A popular jingle, a specific shade of blue, or the simple swoosh on a piece of clothing: there are brands that you immediately recognize from small details. All these components are a part of a strong corporate branding identity, which can be reached through corporate branding. This includes visual representation, like your logo, fonts, business cards, color palette, employee uniforms, and promotional gifts. Advertising is also a part of this, as well as your websites, social media accounts, and other representations of your brand across all forms of media. By building a strong corporate identity through corporate branding, your customers will be able to recognize your brand anywhere. This also contributes to the increase of customer retention and loyalty, as your brand is recognized, customers tend to perceive it as a better choice for them rather than a brand they aren’t as familiar with. 

But what’s the difference?

All elements that you express in order to fulfil the corporate identity form the branding identity. Think of a brand that you specifically like or look up to. Do you know why you like this brand so much? The products and services are undoubtedly great, but there are more competitors that offer similar products and services. So how come you prefer this brand over another? Usually, this has to do with values; things the brand stands for, their voice, the way in which they differentiate themselves from the competition, the way they deal with successes and setbacks. 

This is all a part of the brand identity. It consists of what you want the world to know about your brand, and is based on what you want the world to think of when they are asked about your brand. It’s as Marty Neumeier stated in his seminal marketing bestseller The Brand Gap: brand is not what you say it is, it’s what they say it is.The ways in which you are different and distinctive from your competition is generally incorporated into the foundation of your branding identity, this ill provide structure to your brand.

Stronger together 

You can say your brand identity is who your brand is; what is lives and breathes, whilst the corporate branding identity is the visual representation that your company is recognized for. Even though a strong brand identity can get a brand far and corporate branding alone can be worth millions of dollars, the combination of the two makes for a winning brand design. It is therefore important that both are researched and formulated correctly, using all the information, resources, and development available to a brand. The two should not be standalone statements, as they can either strengthen or weaken the other. 

The importance of consistency

When corporate branding and the brand identity are established, they should be implemented consistently. One of the fundamental flaws made by brand is not consistently applying their brand identity or corporate branding to the actions they take. An easy way to assure they are implemented correctly is by providing your employees and partners with a brand guide and a mission statement. By developing these, all the necessary information is gathered in a single document, enabling all stakeholders to work in a way consistent with the corporate branding and brand identity. Consistency also means that your brands looks and feels the same on each and every touch points. The video of The Org illustrates this very well. In our case you will find a more in depth analysis of how we approached the creation of their visual identity.

Why are corporate branding and brand identities so important?

If these two weren’t as influential for a brand as they are, a corporate branding agency  would be out of business in seconds. Taking into consideration that there are hundreds of successful corporate branding agencies around the world, we can agree that the two are indeed essential. The corporate branding and brand identity of a brand invoke trust, loyalty, and a feeling of belonging. Customers are drawn to the brand as they feel like their ideals are reflected by it, whilst employees work harder for a brand that inspires them and meets their goals and aspirations. 

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