This article will discuss how to build a brand identity. What is a brand identity? Is it your logo? Your colour palette? Your infographic style? It is all of that and so much more. Marty Neumeier is an American author who writes about brands. He defines brand identity as “the outward expression of a brand, including its trademark, name, communications and visual appearance”. To us, a brand identity is how the brand looks, feels and speaks to people.
Ultimately, a brand identity is a way to communicate with the world. It can help you to differentiate yourself from your competition. Not to mention, it helps you to create a brand experience that encourages people to engage with you. Some brands have elevated brand identity to an art such as Apple, Lego and Levi’s. Others have made it their entry into the playing field. These brand stars succeed because they know exactly who they are and why they exist.
In addition, they use every aspect of their branding to ensure we know it. Brands with weak identities often struggle due to not knowing who they are or not communicating it well. You want your brand to succeed and thrive in the future. Therefore, you must build a brand identity that accurately conveys your essence. Not to mention, it needs to be flexible enough to evolve with you. However, that does not happen overnight. It requires deep thinking, a team with strong communication and design skills and an intimate understanding of your brand.
However it can be done well and with excellent results, as long as you have the right guidance. This will be your guide to building your brand identity correctly.
1. Research Your Audience, Value Proposition and Competition to Build Brand Identity
The initial step to build brand identity is to complete market research. You should clarify and understand these five things: audience, value proposition and competition, mission and personality. Learning what your audience wants from a business in your industry is crucial to creating a brand people will love.
Knowing the difference between you and your competition is imperative to developing a successful brand. You need to keep an eye on your competitors. This will educate you on what branding techniques work well and what doesn’t. Be sure to have a clear and direct mission statement. One that describes your vision and goals.
In order words, know your business’s purpose because you cannot create a personality for it otherwise. You should be personable when coming up with your brand image. Use your type, colours and imagery to represent who the brand is.
Then enhance that visual representation with your tone of voice. Develop your brand as a way to represent your business. A SWOT analysis may also come in handy. Particularly when considering the characteristics of the brand. This will help you to find characteristics you want to portray in the brand.
SWOT Stands For:
-Strengths: Positive characteristics of your business that provide an advantage over your competition.
-Weaknesses: Characteristics that prove to be a disadvantage to your business.
-Opportunities: Changes and trends in your industry that offer opportunities for your business.
-Threats: Elements in the environment or industry that may cause problems for your business.
2. Design and Create a Logo for It to Build Brand Identity
Now the next step to build brand identity is to know your business inside and out, it is time to get visual.
Logo to Build Brand Identity
Although the logo is not the entirety of the brand identity, it is a crucial element in the branding process. Why? Because it is the most recognizable part of your brand. It is on everything from your website to your business cards to your online ads. With your logo on all of these elements, your branding should look cohesive.
As imperative as your logo is to branding, it is not the only element that makes a brand identity strong. Your product(s), the packaging and the way you present your services all play a role in brand identity. Visually representing your business in everything you do will create consistency and help create a familiarity with your consumers.
Colour & Type
Creating a colour palette is a way to enhance your identity. It provides you with variety. Therefore, you can create unique designs for your business whilst remaining faithful to the brand identity. Type can also be a double-edged sword if not utilised properly. Mix and match type design has become quite the trend. However, that does not mean mixing a handful of fonts is necessarily a good idea for your business. There should be consistent use of typography.
You probably send out emails, type up letters or hand out business cars to potential customers on a daily basis. Creating templates will give your business a more unified, credible and professional look and feel.
Consistency makes or breaks a brand identity. Use the aforementioned templates. Then, follow the design choices you have decided upon for your brand throughout all areas of your business. This will help you to create a harmonious brand identity.
Consistency is vital. However, remaining flexible in a society that is always looking for the next best thing is just as important. Flexibility allows for adjustments in ad campaigns, taglines. It even allows for some modernising to your overall brand identity. Therefore, you can continuously keep your audience interested. The key is to keep all changes consistent throughout your entire brand.
Want to ensure your business sticks to the branding rules? Then, create a set of brand guidelines. They will document all of the do’s and don’t of your brand.
3. Integrate Language You Can Use to Connect, Advertise and Embody on Social Media to Build Brand Identity
You have established your brand within your company. You have taken the necessary steps to develop it. Now, the next step to build brand identity is to integrate your brand within the community.
Use language that matches that personality of your brand. If your brand identity is high-end, use professional language whereas if your brand is laid-back, be more conversational. The language you pick as a brand will be integrated throughout the entire business. Therefore, it is crucial to carefully craft your tone to match your brand’s personality.
Connection & Emotion
People love stories, particularly if they move them emotionally. A strong brand identity can establish an emotional connection with consumers. This can be a solid foundation for building a lasting relationship with a brand.
Designing ads, whether traditional or digital is the most efficient way of introducing your brand to the world. It is a way to get the message of your brand seen and heard by your target audience.
Another great way to establish a connection with your consumers is via social media. The plethora of platforms on the internet offers up a ton of digital real estate. You can use them to establish your brand identity. Social media is also important when it comes to conversing directly with your customers and creating affinity for your brand.
4. Know What to Avoid to Build Brand Identity
Don’t Give Your Customers Mixed Messages
Know what you want to say and use the appropriate language and visuals to say it. Just because it makes sense to you does not mean it will to your customers.
Don’t Copy Your Competitors
Your competition may have exemplary branding. Since you are selling the same products, you may want to do what you know works. However, it is not a good idea. Take what they do into account and put your own twist on it. This will help to ensure your business stands out in the industry even more.
Don’t Lose Consistency Between Online and Offline
Remain consistent with your colours, type, themes and brand message online and offline.
5. Monitor Your Brand to Build Brand Identity
The next step to build brand identity is to monitor your brand. It is hard to know what you are doing right. It is also hard to identify what is not working without tracking key metrics. Therefore, use Google Analytics, surveys, comments and social media discussions to monitor your brand. This will help you to get a sense of how people talk about and interact with you. This will allow you to make changes to your brand as needed. Whether it is to correct a mistake or to improve brand identity.
Creating a memorable brand requires consistent use of type, color, images and languages. However, it is 100% worth it. Consumers quickly know who you are and what you stand for all based on a logo. Therefore, you have become more than just a name. As a result, get started with building your brand identity, enjoy the journey and what you get in return.