Branding identity is a combination of understanding the company objective and the user of the product or services. While it is important to design a look that meets the objective and style of the company, consideration for how the user will engage with the brand has to be considered. Stake holders may love the identity, but if it doesn't resonate with the individuals using their product or services, it defeats the purpose.
Researching who the target audience will be is a critical step it formulating an identity. What message will the identity communicate to the user? Is it the desired message? Once the message has been defined, conceptualization through sketches can be roughed out to explore possibilities.
When the conceptualization design has incorporated strategy and touchpoints, designing the identity can begin.