Brand identity and brand positioning are not the same thing. Even the most compelling brand identity is not a substitute for brand positioning based on performance.

Your brand identity is a type of visual shorthand that uses logos, design, colors and slogans to quickly communicate your organization’s presence, character and personality. A compelling brand identity helps audiences recognize the source of any communication product in any medium.

Your brand positioning is based on a set of promises you make to your stakeholders. A brand represents what an organization does for its customers and how it makes them feel. It is an intangible asset that must be sustained by delivering consistent value. Your brand is your reputation.

Thus, brand positioning is an ongoing effort to define and communicate the value promises on which your brand is based. You can use brand positioning to create and reinforce a cycle of differentiated promises to your target audiences:

Define. Promise. Deliver. Remind.

Your organization’s reputation is not something that can be—or should be—manipulated through communications. Your brand positioning should be based on written communication strategies that include promises for creating and delivering real value for stakeholders. Use external communications to share the promises with customers, and use internal communications to share the promises with team members.

Your brand will be enhanced over time, based on 1) how well your organization performs, 2) how well it delivers on its value promises, and 3) how well it uses communications to remind customers of the value created and delivered.