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What's the Difference Between an Identity and a Brand Anyway?

Small business owners are always asking me for marketing ideas. I've found that often, they hear a new buzz word but don't know what that marketing term really means to their small business. Two of my favorites to define that I feel are the most important for EVERY small business owner to understand are identity and brand. Let me give you an analogy to which you can relate.

Your logo is the face of your business. It is how people recognize you. I see so many small businesses changing their logo often or setting their company name in a new and trendy font. If you want to use trendy fonts, you can do that in your promotional materials that have a shorter shelf life. Think of your promotional materials as your clothing, hair and makeup. Those will always be changed to keep with current styles. But your face needs to stay the same, year after year. If you want to create a strong business your logo must be consistent and not change.

So your identity is how you look and you brand is how people FEEL about you. So, if your face (aka your logo) is constantly changing, people can not fall in love with you. We all have that client who loves us. The client who thinks we are the most talented person on this planet (okay, for some of us it is our Mom). To that person, we are a brand. What we want to do in business is to become a brand to everyone both existing and potential clients alike. And let's face it, the main reason we want to become a brand is because otherwise, we are a commodity like flour, milk or gasoline and we're forced to compete on price.

My challenge to you is to look in the mirror. Is your logo consistent so that people can recognize you? If not, start by working with a professional graphic designer and make the decisions that will help you become the brand you want to become.