Brand identity or brand image? Are they the same? Is it possible to have one without the other? What should I work on first? Back to the business books.

Before going any further, just a quick reminder: this is not some sort of theoretical, academic writing exercise. It’s, on the contrary, a real life exercise on building MLC1948 brand identity and image.

Yes, the struggle is real.

To get some more context and see the previous episodes of the journey, go to The MLC1948 Journey and have a quick read.

Here’s how Marty Neumeier, the author of The Dictionary of Brand defines the two terms:

Brand Identity: all the elements that allow a brand to express itself –
name, trademark, communications, and visual appearance.

Brand Image: the consumer’s mental picture of a brand.

I love it when people talk in codes. Not.

So, what does this mean for my brand?

I think I’ll start from the market segments and the differentiating elements I have identified at the previous step Target Market Segmentation – Who Will Buy What I Sell?

  • the craftsmanship
  • the attention to detail
  • the modern minimalist design
  • the use of high quality materials (fine leather and semi-precious stones)
  • Swiss made
  • limited editions and unique pieces vs mass production

All this elements should be reflected in all the communication channels: the logo, the whole look and feel of the website and the online boutique, the presence via the content shared on the social media networks, the packaging, and all the other digital and non-digital communication channels.

A very interesting moment when I really understood the difference between brand identity and brand image was when I started designing the packaging.

There were a lot of constraints related to the type of packaging one can get when ordering small amounts. The big majority of packaging suppliers consider your order from 5,000 units upwards. I was nowhere near that amount. So I had to be creative.

MLC1948 - Leather Bracelets Packaging

I was very happy (for a short while) when I finally found a couple of suppliers that could take my small order. I asked for samples and when I received them I understood where I was making a mistake: I was thinking packaging design from my perspective and not from the perspective of the final customer.

That was the moment when I turned the tables and instead of thinking about packaging I started thinking about unboxing (Out of curiosity, go on Youtube, search for unboxing and look at the number of views some of these video have. That’s how I understood why it’s important to create an experience for the customer opening the package).

With all the information collected up until now, it was the moment for the product (re) design. Quite an interesting experience in retrospect, and, without unveiling too much of the content of the next episode, it took me quite a distance away from the initial product design.