Branding 101: Strategy vs. Identity

by | Jan 11, 2023 | Let’s Talk Marketing Podcast

I had the opportunity to bring on Nicole B. Schmidt from Sprout Partners. They’ve been an awesome partner in the local area and I’m glad she had a chance to come on the show.

Here are some highlights from the Let’s Talk Marketing with NDUB podcast. This is episode 101 – Branding 101: Brand Strategy and Identity.

Nathan Webster 
So can you tell the folks a little bit about your background?

Nicole B. Schmidt
Sure. Yeah. I’ve been a visual communication specialist for over 20 years.

I started really loving visual communications art in high school. And you know, the sad story, which my dad also shutters when I remind him of it. I think I was a junior in high school and he goes, so what do you want to do with your life?

You know, I was like, I want to be an artist, dad.

And he goes, no, what do you want to do for a real job? And so that, that was my… You know… I can’t be an artist kind of moment as a young adult.

Then I thought, what can I do that still feeds that creativity, but it’s useful in the world and I’ll get paid for. And so that’s when I got into graphic design. And I actually worked in industry. A couple years before I said, yeah, I’m going to go to college for this because of the time it was, you could not really make it. Unless you had a degree. So I went to an arts college so that I could maximize my dollar. And not pay for things that, you know, I didn’t really need, like. A physical education class or something.

Strategy vs. Identity

Nathan Webster 
So, Nicole, you wanted to talk about brand strategy and identity. And I even say y’all before the call, I’m going to work really hard, not to talk because this is my jam.

Nicole B. Schmidt 
Sure. And, you know, interject, if you cannot contain yourself. I know you are full of knowledge in this area, so I welcome it. Yeah, I think there’s a real disconnect and maybe a lack of understanding of what a brand is.

A lot of people might have thought they know what a brand is. Right in line with just a trademark, but that’s just a logo.

That’s just a mark. Right? So that’s the non-generic name?

Let’s just say, tissue, what comes to mind? Kleenex. You know, it’s become the object. Can you give me a Kleenex? People will say that as opposed to, can you give me a tissue?

It’s a brand name, right? So that’s become synonymous with tissue.

If you go way back into the advertising time machine, David Ogilvy, is considered the father of advertising. He said a brand is the intangible sum of a product’s attributes.

Nathan Webster
What is the difference between strategy and identity, as you mentioned in having the touchpoints within the funnel or the flywheel? What would be the first step besides calling you?

Nicole B. Schmidt 
Right. [Laughs] … I understand, you know, we can do consulting calls. I don’t have to do your full brand design or anything like that. If you can’t afford it. I understand. But I will ask you questions. You know, plan. Do your research.

So the brand strategy, what’s your plan?

You’re trying to find out your brand objectives. Your target audience, your brand positioning. This marketing strategy is what you will go with, right? Like that’s the execution. But that’s all part of planning, right? Like how are you going to do this?

The brand identity is the visual identity. So all the things that you can see, your logo, your color or logos. If you’re a suite of products, color, font choices, illustration, photography, verbal identity. That’s how you communicate with words and speech, your tone and voice. Even your customer support. How you will do your storytelling, your tagline. That can even include music, right? Cause that’s setting. Tone and mood.

Nicole B. Schmidt
User experience is also part of brand identity. And also do you have a responsive identity? So, your verbal and visual identities respond to the variety of communications platforms that are out there. Can you ensure your brand consistency across all different mediums? Those are the two major parts I see people glossing over or skipping or not thoroughly doing both of them. Their whole it’s holistic. You need both.

Make sure you listen to the whole podcast.


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