Branding, corporate identity, marketing…are 3 key focus points of a successful organisation. The industry is full of these buzzwords, brand this, brand that, identity this and identity that, but what does it mean and why is it so important?

It is fitting to start this article with a poignant quote, just like Adrion Porter did in his article on 5 key elements of a brand.

” Your brand is what people say about you when you leave the room.” – Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon.com.

Your company brand is important because it represents your values, services, culture and legacy in the visual and linguistic codes without having to be present. An easy way of grasping the concept of brand is knowing what a “brand” is.

In simple: A brand is a series of visual representations using logos, company colour, style of text and communication messages used to convey your company’s services/purpose/personality.

Think about your favourite brands, off the top of your head you can talk about aspects of their brand. Two good examples of this is Coke and Nike. Are your consumers able to do this if we showed them your logo and company colours? Your brand speaks for you without you having to be present.

Your company brand sets you apart from your competitors – it defines you. Your brand, and brand reputation supersedes time.

Reading through a few articles on brand importance, almost all of them referred to the fact that you need to have clearly identified who you are, what you do and ensure that your visual and textual references are aligned. “Legal protection given to a brand name is called a trademark” http://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/brand.asp#ixzz4iTV5RkA1 (There is a list of links at the end of the article with more detailed points.)

Brand and brand identity go hand in hand.

Your brand is who you are and what you do, your brand identity is how internal and external stakeholder identifies with your brand. The examples below will help you distinguish the two easily.

Eg – Brand: Coke, the popular soft drink

Brand identity, the colour red, the phrase:” Enjoy the feeling”

Brand identity, the colour red, the phrase:” Enjoy the feeling”

Paul Stewart sums up the importance of brand identity in an article he wrote for @bizcommnity by saying:

A brand is more than a logo – a brand is the sum of your organisation’s awareness and reputation in the market, as well as a customer’s experience. A brand has both functional and emotional elements which create a relationship between your clients (in this case shoppers), staff, community, and the organisations offering.http://www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/82/147647.html

Your brand will evolve as your company grows, that is why it is integral to take the time to plan your brand identity. It is a popular trend nowadays to have employees actively contribute because they work with the brand daily and can see where improvements can be made. Team building weekends, where colleagues come together and share their ideas, is a good idea for start-up brands.