Perhaps one of the few words that feel interchangeable in the design industry by definition are brand vs branding vs brand identity.
They all have different definitions.
A Brand is how a customer perceives an organization or company. It’s intangible.
Branding is the process of building awareness. It can be course-corrected.
Brand Identity is designing the visual assets. It’s tangible.
That said, going straight into BRAND IDENTITY without understanding your customers/clients or problems is disastrous. It is rarely successful.
So, how does one makes sure that their brand efforts are successful?
Remember the definition I gave for BRAND?
A BRAND is a person’s gut feeling of an organization or company (Marty Neumeier’s definition). This alone has nothing to do with logos or websites. You can think of this as a heartbeat or foundation of a company.
Without understanding who the customer is, the heartbeat, or what the BRAND is, how will one begin to hash out a process (BRANDING) to create a BRAND IDENTITY for the right customers to begin with?
How will a customer begin to answer “why should I care” and what’s in it for me?
When strategic BRANDING is in play, one can hope to get more business and customers because all the pieces of the puzzles are in play.