I have always maintained that there is a profound difference between ‘planning’ a space and ‘designing’ a space. A good design trancends a good plan, but a good design must be based on a good plan.
Part of what makes a design a good design is its uniqueness or as you call it, its identity.
In my opinion the first person to whom you need to sell a concept is yourself, and once you are convinced of the merits of your concept, only then you will then be ready to ‘stress test ‘ it on your clients.
If you have a passion for design, both in the general and specific to each project, then you will find the words to sway your clients.
Visual aids presented to the highest possible standards will always need to be backed up by firey and passionate words.