More than ever, brand identity is created in dialogue with consumers and brand image is influenced by functional alongside emotional needs. Brands must ensure that their values are reflected in more than imagery – modern branding extends to customer service and company culture, which alongside design mediate the brand experience.

Definition

Brand identity and image are terms that reflect the values and purpose a company wishes to portray on the one hand (brand identity) against its actual set of perceptions and opinions that consumers have in mind – what the brand stands for (brand image). Symbols and signs such as logos are graphical representations of brand identity. A brand name and logo are key to building a brand image.

Key insights

1. With audio environment growth, sonic brand identity is increasingly important

As voice-activated interfaces and streaming digital audio and podcasts have become more popular, the need for defining the sound of a brand has become increasingly important. Marketers should be tapping into people’s instinctive and emotional responses to audio to create powerful brand connections with short ‘audio logos’ that create recognition and consistency across touchpoints. Melodic logos and alignment with the brand’s visual identifiers are effective choices. Several financial services brands (Mastercard, Visa and HSBC) have been working hard in creating an ‘audio logo’ and other sonic assets, which can also be used at mobile point of sale. National Public Radio (NPR), the broadcasting organization, also faced a branding challenge as its content becomes available on a wider range of platforms. It is examining different audio elements that will help consumers associate content with its brand wherever they find it.