What's the difference between a brand and an identity?

By: David Leatt

Date: 21 July 2011

A prospective client recently asked me - what is the difference between their brand and their identity. When we asked them why the need for clarification, they replied that the agency that had up until recently produced all their marketing collateral, had always dismissed the two as being one and the same.

So I felt I would share my own views on this matter, in the hope it will help businesses identify the value of having both.

To me, the brand is the emotional relationship that instils reliability and trust between a business and its customers, whereas the identity reflects the look and feel of a business or organisation.

Understating the difference should be ignored at one's peril. After all, it's not really the client's responsibility to know the answer, but the duty of the agency to impart their knowledge and experience and deliver both.

The marketing sector needs to smarten up its act and take more responsibility for the brands that are being entrusted into its care, as fundamental mistakes and bad advice can have a detrimental impact on any business.

David Leatt is the managing director of Origination.