The difference between brand identity, image and positioning


Brand identity, image and positioning are terms that are often used interchangeably, but they shouldn’t be.

Brand identity is how you want your brand to be perceived and it includes everything – from the language you use, through to your colour palette, from your organisational values through to your user imagery. It’s the thing that you stand for, the word that you’re determined to own in your market, and all the secondary associations that people have with your business. It’s the way you intend for your consumer to view you through every moment of their experience, both online and offline.

Your brand image is essentially the same. The only difference is that while your identity is how you want to be perceived, your image is the reality today. Needless to say that there is often something of a gap.

Then we have positioning. Your positioning takes your identity and positions it to a particular audience in a way that magnifies certain attributes of the brand while downplaying others. You’ll notice I say downplay; it must never contradict them.

So when Apple, for example, sell to businesses, they position themselves a little differently from when they’re selling to consumers. Sure, the products are still beautiful and easy to use, but Apple know they need to give a little more detail to assist in what is a more rational decision process. They will talk about how apple products aid collaboration, improve efficiency, and increase security.

Another example would be me on a night out. My intended brand identity would be a mature, sophisticated Ryan Gosling lookalike, and I’d likely be trying to position myself for the evening as still fun and cool and generally down with the kids, while the reality of my brand image would be that a short, greying man entering middle age who probably shouldn’t be hanging around student nights any more.

Hope that helps!

See you next time.


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