You’ve probably heard the buzz about brand identity — and, like so many other things, it’s an exciting idea that has yet to hit the mainstream.
Yet, the topic of brand identity is a huge one, one that impacts everything from marketing campaigns to web design to corporate culture.
If you want your brand to be more visible, recognizable, and easily wanted, then it's time to think about your brand identity.
Believe it or not, but a good brand image directly correlates to the types of customers you attract.
For this reason, you need to start thinking about how your brand’s image will look in the future. This is especially true if you want to reach out to a new customer base.
What is brand identity?
Brand identity (originally coined by British sociologist Michael J) is the differentiating element that sets your brand apart from every other business. Brand identity is visible elements, such as color palette, design, and a brand's logo. Brand identity defines how a business presents itself to the public and can distinguish the business in customers' minds.
Why is brand identity important?
In an industry laden with copycats, there are three main reasons why having a powerful brand identity is so important:
1. Build trust and familiarity among your target audience.
Over half or 59% of consumers prefer to buy from brands they’re familiar with. In this age of shopping, you should know what consumers want – and give it to them.
Before making a product decision, consumers have a much better idea of where they can purchase it from or the brand they trust.
It's critical for marketers to know that consumers want to do business with someone they already know and trust.
Your personality is your brand.
By having a distinct brand voice, you'll gain recognition from potential customers across marketing channels, such as social media and email. One way to do this is by incorporating a consistent tone of voice on all your marketing, writing, and speaking engagements.
2. Stand out in a sea of competitors.
You’ve reached out to a number of online clothing retailers, but which one stands out?
A brand that has exceptional customer service is more likely to be the one you end up buying from, whether you’re about to shop or not. Whether you’re browsing their site or not, one big part of your experience is how well they treat shoppers.
A website with a strong brand identity will respond quickly to emails and questions.
Your brand image is on full display in the way you communicate with your potential customers. The colors used and your website’s visual identities, products, services, and social media accounts are all a part of how people come to know your brand.
3. Plant seeds of customer loyalty.
Just as you’re loyal to your brand because of their deep-rooted values, so too will your customers become loyal to you by embracing a consistent brand.
It’s what customers have come to expect from you. By keeping the visual identity constant and ensuring customer service is always top-notch, you’ll be their favorite each time they come back.
Because people want consistency and an experience that they know, before long, will live up to their expectations.
Once you establish a sustainable product line, investing in a happy customer base will pay off. Happy customers will definitely talk about your brand, but most importantly, they will be quick to recommend it to others.
The customers that love your company’s products are usually very loyal and will spread the word about your company. Also, the way in which they talk about your brand makes a difference.
If they praise your product or service on social media, you can count on them for recommendations and new customers.
How do you create a brand identity?
It’s hard to think of a time when the idea of brand identity wasn’t on my mind.
Marketers have thought of it, product-makers have thought of it, and everyone has thought of it. In fact, brands are now the most essential aspect of a business.
The problem is that it can be challenging to define a brand identity or how to develop one.
Today, it’s not enough to have a logo and a color scheme. A strong brand identity is a critical part of branding. A brand doesn’t just tell potential customers about who you are, but how you’re different from the competition.
1. Clear brand purpose and positioning
Having a clear brand purpose is one of the most important things you can do to create a meaningful brand identity.
For a while now, marketers across the board have been using buzz words such as “modern,” “exciting,” and “innovative” to describe different brands.
But even if you use these buzz words or otherwise get some attention for your brand, they will not give you a meaningful identity unless you have a clear purpose behind your brand.
Brand purpose should be clear, and it should be written in a meaningful way to your customers. Positioning is vital in order to inform your customers about what is unique about your brand.
A brand that doesn’t have a clear purpose is like a driver with no destination in mind. It may be headed in the right direction, but that doesn’t mean it’s going in the right direction for your business.
Here are some excellent starting questions you should ask when creating your purpose:
- Why is your business currently in business
- What makes you are so unique to the market?
- Why should the people you want to serve care about you?
2. Thorough market research
The mark of a brand is often shaped by the culture of the times. Market research is a great way to take stock of these cultural shifts and better grip your audience’s wants.
Newbies can begin with plenty of free resources online.
Brands should also consider getting their hands on surveys, focus groups, and participatory designs to get a clear picture of what customers feel about their favorite brands.
3. Audience Research
When you are doing some research on your own, ask yourself the following questions:
- Who is the ideal client you want to serve, and what is it that they do?
- What pain are they experiencing, what motivates them, what goals do they want to accomplish?
- Where is it that your audience likes to spend their time online or offline?
- Why are they in the market to buy?
- What's the budget they are working with?
Here are some questions to ask your audience directly:
- Would you recommend our services or products to other people?
- What do you think makes us different from our competition?
- What were your other choices before choosing us?
- What was the experience you had with us?
- If there was one thing you could change about our business, what would it be?
4. Competitive Research
Why do customers buy from your competitors? Are you aware of what makes your competitors successful?
Do you know what factors make them stand out in the market?
Be wary of the fact that you have a lot more to learn than others. Your work here is to gain an understanding of what it is that makes your competitors successful.
- Their tagline, slogan, brand mission, and value proposition.
- The marketing channels they use.
- What their customers say about them.
- Their voice and tone when they communicate.
- The visuals they use and whether their visual identity is consistent.
The beauty of competitive comparison research is that you don’t need to copy your competitors.
It’s a great way to understand how other companies have leveraged social media to build customers and profitably.
5. Know your personas
Being clear about who you are is critical for establishing the foundation of your brand. It’s not enough to be something that you want people to think of.
In order to establish a brand, you’ve got to communicate who that is. Your brand identity is the “face” that communicates with the entire world.
Don’t neglect this piece of building your brand. Knowing the needs, wants, and values of your target customers are essential to effective design.
Your company’s identity should be designed with your target audience in mind. This requires a deep dive into their demographics and interests to draw from their emotional connections.
Utilize technology to gain an in-depth understanding of the individual that will ensure your brand resonates with them.
Your primary group is important: after all, they are the ones who will buy your products. But don't forget about secondary and tertiary groups.
While they may not be frequent buyers of your products, they can influence your company's design, and you should consider them regardless of how infrequently they buy from you.
6. Develop your brand voice and messaging.
An essential part of creating a brand is learning about its voice. A brand must express its personality through tone of voice while conveying expertise and professionalism.
Though it can be challenging to make a brand’s voice consistent, the overall impression it makes on customers will be more potent than any individual message.
When sending out communication, you need to convey the same tone and personality in each piece.
Because of this, voice is key!
It’s the foundation for your brand’s personality, and it sets the tone throughout your messaging.
The tone of voice is critical to convey to your targeted audience, whether you’re emailing a new customer or creating a social media caption. Use your voice to set the tone from the second sentence forward.
7. Create a creative brief
While the process of visual identity creation is essential, you shouldn’t jump right into designing a brand or graphic identity.
You’ll want your team to collaborate on a creative brief that outlines pertinent information about your brand’s goals.
From there, have them create a visual identity that aligns with your company’s objectives.
8. Likable brand personality
Think about your brand's personality.
- How would their personality be like?
- How do they make you feel?
Think about your personal experience with the brand.
- What do you know about them?
- What kind of person is this brand?
- Can it be easily misunderstood?
- Can they be perceived as snobby?
Personalities can also be enhanced by working with the right influencers. Measuring trust and influencer reach will provide long-lasting visibility and boost the awareness of a product or service.
9. Memorable logo
You may have heard the saying, "before a logo, there is a brand.” That's true, but it isn't the only truth.
Just as a logo isn't created in a vacuum, a brand isn't formed without the logo representing it.
A logo should be developed after a brand has been defined, not before.
And that's the other half of this equation: a logo is literally just a representation of your brand—nothing more, nothing less.
Your logo is the most recognizable piece of your marketing campaigns. It needs to line up with all the other pieces of your brand identity and your overall brand’s emotion and appeal.
A simple logo has enormous benefits. It's a blank canvas for customers to project their experiences with the brand. Also, the smaller and more simplified the logo, the easier it is to use in a variety of mediums such as digital advertising and printed advertisements.
10. Audit your brand identity design.
Customers and competitors will be evaluating your brand. Your brand identity must convey your core values and brand purpose. Identifying your core values is a critical first step, as it helps determine what makes you unique from your competitors.
However, before you can establish your brand identity, you must understand your existing one.
To start the audit of your brand, you should ask yourself these questions:
- Do you have a consistent message online and offline?
- Does your brand vibe with the audience you're trying?
- Do you have a consistent brand image?
You can also do a SWOT analysis which helps you evaluate your industry, customers, products, and the competition. It can highlight weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for your company.
What is the difference between brand identity and brand image?
The brand identity is the perception of the company's products in the market.
The authenticity and perfection of your brand identity are a choice. It's in your power to establish and understand it.
A Brand identity is the reality of your band.
A brand’s brand identity depends on how well its employees and business associates represent the company.
Your brand identity is focused on your brand’s history.
The brand, or image, of a firm is a way that consumers perceive the firm and their perception of it.
When it comes to your brand image, it is more passive than active; it’s not in your control to establish.
The brand image is the customer’s experience of your brand and includes both your branding and the idea the customer gets from interacting with it.
The image that customers have of your brand and your business is known to be a factor in both present and potential customers' decisions on whether they will buy from you or not.
Brand experience plays a preeminent role in the brand image.
Brand image is to look ahead.
Design the foundation of your brand identity
Your assets are the things that separate your company from everyone else, whether it's your logo, packaging, or social media graphics.
Thinking about your brand assets as the tangible things you'll use to define your business is essential. Incorporating some prominent visual elements into business cards and uniforms can help cement your brand identity in customers' minds.
Your corporate design should reflect this, of course, though we don't recommend overdoing it.
A strong brand identity is about being authentic and consistent with the look of your company, product, or service. It means that you know who you are, what you stand for, and what makes you different from your competitors.
The best way to nail your brand is to set it up with a solid point of difference — be it a unique style, a distinctive logo, or simply a standout color.
Developing your brand design
It's crucial to lock in the basics before you start creating design assets. Your brand identity must be a well-defined system of visual elements that communicates your business values and principles.
What is Typography?
Typography is the art and technique of arranging type as an effective form of communication. Choose your typefaces wisely, as you can sometimes sacrifice readability for looks.
When choosing the right font, keep in mind your audience and the message you want to deliver. If you’re a designer, consider using a font that is legible to all readers.
How can Typography help with your brand?
Typography plays a part in many of the ways we communicate, including branding and marketing. It can help differentiate your brand, create emphasis on your message, and set the tone of your website.
Take the time to select fonts that work well together, are easy to read, and convey your brand’s personality.
2. Color Palette
What is Color Palette?
A color palette is the pre-established set of colors that a graphic designer uses to enhance a design. It’s a fundamental tool used in graphic design, implying the importance of color in the visual world.
Color is a crucial element in all visual communication types, whether printed or digital and is one of the most powerful graphic designers’ tools.
How can Color Palette help with your brand?
Color palette is a signature element of branding. It reflects who you are and how you want others to perceive you. It’s not just your colors but the combination of them that makes your brand stand out.
And, when it comes to branding, colors are just as crucial as fonts. A well-chosen color palette can be the difference between a good design and an amazing one.
When you’re creating a design, part of the process is to think about how it will look in various mediums. But one of the most significant factors to consider is how it will be viewed.
For instance, you must consider how it will look on a mobile, tablet, laptop, and even desktop when designing a form.
If you’re creating a splash page or landing page for a new product, you need to consider how it will look large on a small screen.
Designing your brand identity
When designing a logo or mission statement, it’s important to get it right from the start. Once you have a solid understanding of what your brand stands for, it’s time to work with a designer to bring your ideas to life. The elements that represent your brand can vary in importance: some may be more important than others.
Your logo is your brand's representation and personality. You want to look for your logo design to have the following qualities:
- Inspire an emotional connection with the brand and build trust;
- Depending on your business, your logo can be an important visual cue that entices customers to buy. Unfortunately, many of the current logo designs are cluttered and difficult to read. Slickster strives to create aesthetically pleasing logos with clean, straightforward typography and color combinations, making their work stand out in a sea of dynamic imagery.
- Is your logo classic, or is it’s trendy: I'm sure you would rather not have your brand lose its presence in the market.
- Learn to resonate with your audience, make an impression.
If you're running an e-commerce site, your customer's first impression is your website. In this new era, retailers must convey their kindness and support digitally.
What else will a consumer see when they arrive at your site? It should be one of the most representative aspects of your brand identity.
3. Product Packaging
Good packaging can make a massive difference to the experience of buying and getting your products home. Think about how much more you’ll be able to sell if your packaging really stands out from the crowd, has an excellent clear design and is simple to use.
Your brand will be rewarded with increased sales and loyalty — and so will your customer.
4. Business cards
When it comes to business cards, you want to make an impression. If you’re starting a new business or otherwise building your professional presence, it’s wise to have a business card handy. If you’re building a business, print up cards with crucial information about your company — your logo on one side and contact info on the other side.
5. Email design
No matter how great your products are or how friendly you are, customers will make their first impression via email. An incredibly useful tool for brands to use is instant email communication so they can welcome new customers and engage them further.
The standard promotional email is a pain.
Go with something that will create excitement and grab people’s attention: a welcome email.
Welcome emails score the highest conversion rates (57.8% of all opened emails) compared to standard promotional emails, which only have an open rate of 14.4%. Not to mention welcome emails bring in a reported 320% more revenue than the typical email.
These emails create excitement and instill brand loyalty. They also provide helpful information and set a tone for future communications.
You want your marketing materials to look professional and attractive. You would also like to convey a sense of warmth and friendliness, and they help you appear approachable and trustworthy to your consumers.
Your illustrations enhance your brand identity and communicate a message more naturally. They can help your business project a friendly appearance, and they influence your customers and prospects.
How to Keep Your Brand Identity Strong
It takes a lot of work to create a successful brand. Ensuring that your team is on the same page and empowered to do their best job possible will produce lasting results.
Empowering your team with the tools and materials, they need to bring your ideas to life will ensure they are successful at all levels.
Educated: Discover what branding mistakes to avoid at all stages.
Inspired: Take a look at these 15 examples for some motivation.
Equipped: Check out these 75 tips and tools and help grow your brand identity.
8 Common branding mistakes
Good branding is one of the most important parts of any startup's success. A reasonable branding mistake can hurt a company beyond its control, especially if the event distracts from the product.
Suppose you want to create an image for your startup that helps it stand out in a crowded marketplace. In that case, your rebranding must be well-thought-out and meticulously executed to make sure it's memorable, transformational, and memorable again.
1. Not defining your brand strategy first
Once you've found your category and defined your target customers, think about what those customers want most. For instance, a customer who loves to shop for men's clothing probably wants well-made clothes that fit like a glove.
A customer shopping for kids' apparel probably wants fashionable clothes that are easy to care for against everyday wear and tear.
Brand strategy is an integral part of the creative process. The client must allow the designer time to explore ideas, test out concepts, and engage the customer.
Utilizing data-driven insights and creative strategies, the brand strategist then produces a compelling vision to communicate with customers.
2. Starting with a cheap brand identity
Don't cut corners when it comes to quality work. Use a logo design service with the expertise and experience to create a logo that will last for years before you need to change it again.
With this in mind, regularly implementing logos into your marketing efforts helps you build a brand identity, which is something you can rely on, especially as your business grows.
3. Failing to differentiate your brand
There are several branding mistakes that can lead to a failure to differentiate your brand.
It’s not enough to create a good product; you need to make sure you’re communicating it in a compelling way.
As long as your messaging is consistent with what you’ve previously communicated to your target audience, they won’t have any trouble adjusting.
4. Not connecting with the right audience
The purpose of marketing is to connect with the right audience using the right message in the right channel.
Building a community of brand advocates is essential to a successful marketing strategy. As you build your community, you’ll need to think about what’s working and what isn’t.
It's important to develop robust strategies for connecting with your ideal audience, all of whom are looking for exactly what you’ve got to offer.
5. Stretching your brand too far
It’s critical to define where your brand is going if you want to be successful, but it can be difficult to know what direction you want to go in.
Before you can start thinking about making your brand move, you need to know where the current brand is.
6. Not providing a great brand experience
A brand experience is defined as the totality of a brand’s interaction with the customer and how a customer feels about interacting with it.
But what does this mean in practice?
To answer this, it’s important to take a step back and consider what kind of brand experience’ we want our customers to have.
The world is becoming more global each year, and the brands that are capable of building trust with their customers will be the ones to thrive.
Three critical points in the brand experience will significantly influence a company’s success: customer retention, customer acquisition, and loyalty.
7. Ignoring the brand aging signs
New research from CMO Today has found that nearly half of all marketers (48%) think they can ignore the signs of aging in brands, and over a third (35%) think they’ll be able to keep their brand relevant for the next five years.
But with the average brand life expectancy up to 10 years these days, that thinking may not be too clever.
Just like your car needs to be serviced every now and then, your brand needs to be checked regularly to ensure it's running smoothly and that you're doing things right.
8. Not living up to your brand promise
Consumers today are more discerning than ever. They research companies to find brands that will deliver an accurate image and pay attention to customer complaints.
Brands that are authentic, honest, and do what they say they will do are the ones that survive in this new e-commerce world.
Who Are You
A solid brand identity is crucial to beating the competition. Whether you're new or you've been in business for years, your brand identity will make or break your success.
It's time to begin the process of building your company's brand identity so that it'll be recognized and valued by the market.
For consulting help with your brand, GINI Brand Building Services can help with your business’s vision.