Brand, branding and brand identity….what’s the difference?

As a visibility strategist, mentor and personal brand photographer, it’s the one thing that I see most entrepreneurs struggle with at some point in their business, whether this is at the start of their journey or as they go to grow and up level their business. Why, because there is so much confusion out there as to what creating your brand actually entails beyond the physical visuals of logos, fonts and colour pallets.

So, first off let’s clarify the differences. Between Brand, Branding and Brand identity.

Brand is a set of intangible assets, the way a person feels about a company. People fall in love with brands, trust them and become loyal to them…. think Apple! A brand is a promise to customers. It’s what people say about you to their friends. Seth Godin, sums it up nicely: “A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”

Brand identity are the tangible things, think of it as the face of your brand. It’s the visual side of things and it creates recognition, differentiation and makes you stand out.

Branding is the process of giving a meaning to your company, products or services by creating and shaping your BRAND in your customers minds. it is the consistent use of brand identity and the brand strategy underlying it.

Today I want to talk about the key components to brand identity. There are 4 components to creating a brand identity and I wanted to share what those are and what they mean in relation to your visibility online.

  1. Visual identity

This is often is often confused with Branding. But they are in fact different. If you ask someone what their brand is or if they have a clear brand identity, most will start by sharing their colour palettes, logos, fonts and website design. But Brand identity is ALL the elements that I’ll cover here that create your overall brand, whereas visual identity is the physical elements, logos, colour pallets and so on.


2. Brand Voice

This is what you say and how you sound. They way you communicate to your audience and customers. It can and should have a style, as long as it feels true to your brand values and persona—be it authoritative, playful, intellectual, ominous, kind or fun. This applies to all your written communication. In addition to this is your brand tone, which is the way you sound e.g. fun, serious and so on.


lady in purple top taking a selfie lady smiling with ok hand symbol

3. Brand Values

Brand Values are the fundamental beliefs upon which your business and its behaviour are based. They are the guiding principles of your business and your ideal client will usually share some or all of your values.


4. Brand personality

Is who you are. One of my favourite elements. Commonly expressed as adjectives that convey how you want people to perceive you and your brand. Let’s look at the hugely successful Nike, which is known for being durable, outdoorsy, and capable of handling almost anything.

Headshot photography lady in green jumper doing a smiley selfie Lady with red hair laughing against a blue background northern brand photography lady doing hair

If you think about your brand identity as a person with unique personality traits, you can begin to show up in a way that allows you to connect with your audience and ideal clients on an emotional level.

Remember, we buy for emotional reasons first and justify the decision we make with logic.

With all the competition out there humanising our brands is one way for us to distinguish ourselves from our competitors as something more special and valuable than what others are offering.

As a personal brand photographer, metor and visibility strategist, I am all about helping clients find their brand identity. Within my photography, it’s so crucial to really nail this so that I can capture and communicate that within their images, meaning their BRANDING is consistent and working to create a clear Brand!