The terms corporate identity, brand identity and brand image are often interchanged even though they are actually distinct from each other.

Corporate identity identifies all the tangible elements that differentiate one company from another. Brand identity is based on the previous definition and incorporates the intangible elements necessary to construct a meaning attributed to a given offer. Brand image defines the set of external perceptions that the audience has about a brand. The three are intertwined, but each should be considered separately in the brand-building process.

In the construction of a corporate identity, design plays a fundamental role. It must be considered according to the previous identification of the brand’s DNA. A good execution will contemplate two aspects:

  • Strategic: as a representation of the essence and personality in a given environment.
  • Creative: to achieve differentiation through graphic representation that includes logo, fonts, colors, visual universe.

In recent decades, different points of view have emerged to frame the brand identity and guide a homogeneous process in its construction. Without pretending to be exhaustive, here I highlight the most relevant ones.

Main Definitions of Corporate Brand Identity

David A. Aaker (1996)

Corporate brand identity is a unique set of brand associations that brand strategists aspire to create and maintain.

Its main dimensions are organized according to 4 perspectives:

  • Branding as a product (attributes, quality, value, uses, users, origin)
  • The brand as a person (personality, relationships)
  • Brand as Organization (Organizational, Local vs. Global Attributes)
  • The Brand as a Symbol (Visual Images, Metaphors, Heritage)

Jean-Noël Kapferer (2004)

Corporate brand identity represents the meaning of a brand as proposed by the company.

It is configured from a set of key elements that relate to each other:

  • Physical: tangible characteristics
  • Relational: between the brand and the consumer
  • Reflections: according to the main use made of the trademark
  • Self-projected: based on how consumers perceive themselves when they consume the product
  • Cultural: collected by values as a source of inspiration
  • Personality: reflected by the set of characteristics associated with the brand

Leslie from Chernatony (2010)

Corporate brand identity is the central idea that distinguishes one brand from another and how it is communicated to different stakeholders.

It is composed of five elements:

  • Vision: Provides a clear sense of direction
  • Culture: A Determining Factor in Achieving the Vision
  • Positioning: manifestation of the brand’s values
  • Personality: conveys the emotional values of the brand
  • Relationships: between the different stakeholders and the brand

Mats Urde (2013)

Corporate brand identity is the result of a process of encoding signals that convey specific meanings.

Its Corporate Identity Matrix is structured around nine elements:

  • Mission & Vision
  • Promise & Values
  • Value proposition
  • Positioning
  • Personality
  • Culture
  • Competences
  • Relations
  • Expression

Whichever model we feel most comfortable with, even with the combination of several of them, all these conventions are clearly oriented towards a multidimensional conception in the construction of a corporate brand identity, highlighting the great strategic importance it must have for the Organization.

The current market situation that demands transparency and authenticity has brought to the surface many corporate brands that were hidden behind well-known product brands. But beyond its aesthetic aspect, it is important to highlight its strategic component for the business. For many of them, there is still a long way to go if they want to build a real meaning for citizens, improve their perception and achieve their preference.



Carlos Puig Falcó

President of Branward®

Photos: Shutterstock

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