A brand identity consists of several factors and is best described as the outward expression of your company’s purpose and style. Your brand identity reflects your company’s personality and should demonstrate it in all aspects of how your company looks and speaks to customers.
Your brand identity will consist of many aspects that are usually outlined in a branding guide. A few of these items are:
Colors (Usually one to two primary colors with three to five complementary colors)
Design system (This includes the structure for headers, body text, links, etc.)
Photography + video
Your brand identity is extremely important in developing your business and presenting your company to the world. When done correctly, it should:
Communicate who you are.
Your brand is the face of your business and allows you to communicate who you are in order to reach your audience. A brand identity demonstrates your company’s purpose and dedication to quality and detail, and tells your company’s story in a way that should create brand loyalty.
Create trust and reliability.
Consistent branding creates trust and the opportunity for increased brand awareness. A company with a strong brand identity is more likely to draw customers in and catch their interest. If your company is inconsistent and lacks a dependable style, customers may head to your competitors with more well-rounded branding. Would you rather work with a professional who is always on time, tidy in appearance and organized, or one who rushes in at the last minute in a clashing outfit, waving a fistfull of crumpled paperwork? Remember, a big part of your brand identity is your reputation!
Develop a community.
While your logo can act as a draw to potential customers and help them associate with your brand, it can also create a community for your long-term customers. When a customer has a positive experience, you want them to remember it was with your brand! Happy customers are more likely to recommend your company to friends, but that doesn’t do much good if they can’t remember the brand of the product! Developing a memorable brand allows you to build a community of happy, loyal customers.
While many companies choose to hire a branding specialist to develop a strategy for their identity, it is possible to get started on your own! Researching a few key items is the best place to start when creating your brand.
Know your audience.
Before you can establish your new brand, you need to understand where you currently are in the marketplace. Create personas of your audience and dig into the demographics of your current customers versus who you’d like to target for the future.
Define your core identity.
What is your company’s mission statement and purpose? If you don’t have one – now’s the time to establish it! A company without a mission or goal is like a hiker heading into the woods with no map, compass or destination – you’re just going to be wandering around lost. Evaluate what makes your company special, why you do what you do, and what goals you’d like to aim for in the long term.
Research your competition.
Complete a competitor audit of the top three to five companies with similar products in your market. Review their websites and social media. Make a list of things you both like and dislike about their branding. While you can’t copy competitor brands, you can learn a lot about what does and doesn’t work for them to begin creating your own strategy.
Leave an impression.
What sort of impression do you want to leave on your customers? Does your company have a personality that you’d like to display in your branding? Ask your team to brainstorm words and visuals that remind them of your brand and see if you can use this information in your brand strategy.
Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to begin designing. Initially, it’s easiest to focus on your logo and color palette. Once these are established, you can fill in the other sections of your brand identity using your research and ideas from your team. A branding guide creates a rulebook that can be followed by everyone on your team to ensure consistency across all marketing platforms.
Once you’ve developed your brand design, it’s important for you to share your brand with the world using language that is representative of the company. If your brand uses soft colors and images, you don’t want your social media to be full of all-caps copy with only exclamation points. Language is just as important in branding as the design elements. Monitor your marketing to ensure that it’s consistent with the brand guidelines across all mediums.
It’s important to note that your brand identity can evolve as your company grows. You may need to revisit your brand to make tweaks over the years, however constantly rebranding your company is a good way to lose customers and is a good indication that you need to reassess your brand strategy.