Contributed to Branding Strategy Insider by: Carol Phillips and Judy Hopelain of Brand Amplitude
In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald writes, “Personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures.” Similarly, a brand is the result of an unbroken series of consistent gestures, encompassing both what it does and how it does it. Brand Identity is the tool marketers use to articulate the rules for brand gestures. It explains how the brand will support the organization’s overall mission and objectives, and forms a bridge to making decisions about more than just marketing. Successful companies use the brand as a filter for determining whom to hire, which businesses to participate in, what partnerships to pursue and more. As a result, creating a brand identity is one of the most important steps a company can take to ensure a consistent, enduring brand.
Brand Identity is meant for internal consumption. Once developed, the best practice is to internalize it up and down the organization, so that everyone making decisions that impact the brand is working from the same understanding. Strong brands have well-defined ‘edges’ – everyone in the organization knows where the edges lie and how to respect them. Disney Cruise Lines does not have a casino and never will, despite the potential for generating revenue. Ronald McDonald will never march in a gay pride parade. These are extreme examples, but the difference between a clearly defined brand and a fuzzy one often rests on the ability to discern boundaries.
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