Brand identity

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Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

11 January 2021

Brand identity: How it actually works

Last week, I presented two examples of new logos that simply didn’t have a reason to exist. On the flip side, I now present an example of brand identity that does. The new GM logo.

Pfizer and Kia unveiled new logos last week. And my general reaction was, “Why?” Neither revamped logo created more meaning nor did they leverage any brand equity. The efforts seem useless. And there was no identifiable reason for the revamps.

But GM, knowing its industry’s future is in electronic cars, re-stylized its old logo into something that looks modern, even futuristic. With a theme of “Everybody In.”

Brand identityLet’s examine this from a few angles. Just to give you a sense of how brand identity works.

For one thing, the new logo owns a purpose. To position GM – and, by proxy, GM customers – as both realists and futurists. General Motors is one of the oldest-feeling car brands. It feels like old Detroit, with big cars and trucks running on fossil fuels. To gain brand permission for manufacturing electronic cars, it had to change its brand.

Which means changing its brand identity.

“Brand identity is simply a representation of your brand. Your brand is the face of the customer. With an emotionally powerful idea that gives audiences a reason to choose you. Because they see themselves in you.”

Brand identity answers the question

And those two things are not the same. Brand identity is simply a representation of your brand. Your brand is the face of the customer. With an emotionally powerful idea that gives audiences a reason to choose you. Because they see themselves in you.

A logo and theme simply state what that brand is. GM then must work to fulfill that brand promise.

All that meaning needs a powerful symbol. Because symbols are persuasive. They matter.

But that’s all they are. And for them to work they have to answer the question “Why do you do what you do?” Pfizer and Kia’s new logos (representation of their brands) don’t answer that question. Especially in any differentiating way.

But GM’s does. If you feel you need a new brand position, then you must conduct research to find the most persuasive thing you can say to sway the market.

THEN, you develop symbols like brand identity to reflect that message in the most powerful terms imaginable. GM needed a new brand to be relevant in the coming years. And “Everybody In” is not only a statement of it. It’s a call to action.

See, there is a right way to do things.

Brand Identity Web Story

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