A brand identity is a core pillar of a company’s existence. It speaks to who they are and what they stand for i.e. their brand values. It is much more than a logo, brand guidelines or a color palette. It encompasses an entire range of communication tools that includes everything from voice, tone and messaging to visual brand design.
To be effective, your brand identity design and brand strategy need consistent use to be cohesive across all channels which can often be challenging when working with multiple teams in different departments or countries.
“Your brand identity is much more than a logo, brand guidelines or a color palette. It encompasses an entire range of communication tools that includes everything from voice, tone and messaging to visual brand design.”
First – What is branding?
A brand is an image a company presents to the public. It is what a customer associates with a company or product. A company’s brand is a solid foundation for what defines them in the marketplace and helps them stand out from the crowd.
A company’s brand is reflected in its products, service, and even its website. This brand identity is so important that companies see it as a separate category of their growth and spend thousands, hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars creating brand identities and protecting them.
This pursuit to brand their products creates a distinct market position for the product, something that differentiates the company from its competitors. By branding products, customers will associate several factors with the brand name including quality of goods or services, product availability, price range and even the culture of the brand.
Additionally, a brand helps create a positive image in consumers’ minds that is easier to remember than features such as “good customer service” or “well priced products”. Consumers may not always trust advertisements from companies with a weak or unknown brand but they are much more likely to trust brands they are familiar with.
What do a strong brand identity and brand image consist of?
A brand identity typically includes a brand’s name and logo, as well as the brand color palette and fonts. A brand will often have a slogan or catchphrase that represents their brand or what they do.
This also ties in with their brand voice and brand personality. For example, one brand is McDonald’s that has “I’m lovin’ it” as their slogan, which is reflected in the brand’s vocal tone on social media. The brand’s voice can be determined by looking at how the brand interacts with customers, what they talk about and how they say things. In McDonald’s’ case, their brand is friendly – a person you would want to interact with.
Branding also includes the look and brand feel of not only product packaging but of the brand as a whole. A brand will have brand guidelines that include a color palette, logos, fonts, even down to specific details such as signature colors for marketing collateral and clothes.
Branding creates consistency in all aspects of the brand including print materials and web design. Keeping your brand identity consistent encourages brand recognition and brand loyalty. This consistency, when building a strong brand identity, makes it easier for a customer to remember the brand because of the familiarity with their brand image. A brand name, logo or slogan should be recognizable within 5-10 seconds of being viewed by consumers.
A brand identity is the first point of contact that triggers how customers feel about a company or product, what they want from it and what they believe about it. Branding is not just about visual design but emotional too; logos are often designed to evoke an emotional response such as pride in ownership or brand loyalty.
This emotion plays a large part in creating long-term and successful brand loyalty between customers and companies or products if done correctly and is referred to as branding strategy.
An example of this would be Apple’s “Think different” brand slogan. They have created brand loyalty by using this brand voice and sense of emotion to create brand awareness, a particular brand image and successful brand recognition.
“A brand identity is the first point of contact that triggers how customers feel about a company or product, what they want from it and what they believe about it.”
What is the importance of brand identity design?
It is important to brand a company, product or service for multiple reasons. A brand identity builds customer loyalty which in turn builds brand equity. Building brand equity will allow customers to associate a brand with positive feelings like familiarity or trustworthiness. Once established, this is often difficult to have with other companies.
When consumers feel more loyal towards a new brand that they are buying from, they are more likely to buy products from that company rather than a competitor’s company. If a brand is trying to gain market share, its identity is a powerful tool and its strategy needs to be based on a strong brand equity plan.
Another reason your brand identity is important is brand recognition. Branding plays a huge role in allowing consumers to recognize a new brand from the brand name or logo, without needing to see any other information about the brand. It is one of the best tools for achieving this as it leverages a great deal of emphasis on the power of a visual language.
At the same time, this brand or logo recognition encourages customers to seek out that brand and buy products from it because they are familiar with components of the brand identity, such as the logo. If a customer likes a product they will seek out strong brand name products from a brand they trust.
When a brand identity is well-established, brand recognition can lead to even more brand loyalty, where customers are more likely to come back and continue buying your brand’s products because they trust the brand and feel a part-ownership to the visual identity.
Ultimately, a brand identity allows people to recognize a brand from only a visual cue in the same way that they would recognize someone else by their voice.
A strong brand identity also creates elements of a brand image. It can brand or position the company as professional or unprofessional, friendly or unfriendly and many other brand characteristics that are conceived when you build a brand.
How do you create a strong brand identity?
There are many different brand identity strategies that include brand management, brand awareness and brand equity. Branding can then be applied in many ways such as through product packaging, websites or promotional materials.
A brand will also have a brand personality and brand voice which is represented through the logo, brand slogan or colors to create familiarity between customers and the brand name.
One of the first components of building a brand identity is deciding on a brand voice. Are you going to be formal and professional? Casual and friendly? Or something else entirely? Once you decide on the tone of voice, it will guide all other decisions about your brand identity.
Additional Key Points To Building A Strong Brand Identity:
1. Define your target audience
2. Brainstorm a list of words that describe you and your company
3. Create a logo or symbol that will represent you and your values
4. Develop an overall design strategy for marketing materials, including business cards, letterhead, email signature, etc.
5. Use social media to promote yourself and connect with potential customers
6. Stay consistent in all the branding materials – use the same color palette or brand colors, fonts, layout style on all materials
7. Update your website regularly so it reflects current messaging / products / services offered by your company
8. Identify your brand’s personality
9. What are the values and beliefs of your company or organization that you want to share with consumers, clients, and partners
10. Research popular brands in your industry to see what they are doing well
11. Figure out who is your target audience (i.e., millennials) and why they would be interested in engaging with your company
12. Write down three adjectives that describe how people feel when they interact with you or use your product/service
Remember, it’s not an easy task to create a brand identity. A lot of companies spend years and millions of dollars trying to figure out how they want their company’s name, logo, and messaging to be perceived by the public.
“One of the first components of building a brand identity is deciding on a brand voice. Are you going to be formal and professional? Casual and friendly? Or something else entirely?”
How to manage your brand’s identity and brand strategy
In today’s world of social media and online reviews, it is crucial for companies to maintain a consistent brand identity with a memorable logo. However, this can be difficult if the company has multiple locations or is in many different industries.
Support brand consistency by doing the following:
– Keep your brand style guide updated and available for employees to access (i.e. in the marketing department for use in areas such as social media graphics, variations of your logo etc.).
– Start your brand identity at the top. If leadership doesn’t support it, it won’t happen.
– Create brand standards (i.e., company logo sizes, colors) and make sure everyone is in compliance with them (i.e. for your online presence, web design and use in other visual elements).
– Have a brand identity presentation guide that is easily accessible and updated.
One of the major mistakes established companies and startups make is they neglect brand consistency. That’s why it’s so important focus on and to have brand standards in place to make sure your brand messaging, logo, colors and fonts are clear and consistent across all media channels including social media, print ads, etc.
And remember, a brand style guide is rarely set in stone. It should be updated every few years or so to reflect changes in a brand or company.
“One of the major mistakes established companies and startups make with their brand identity application is that they neglect brand consistency. ”
Key Takeaways For The Fundamentals Of A Brand Identity
If you want to build a brand, the importance of a cohesive brand identity cannot be overstated. If you want to take your business from good to great, there’s no better way than by investing in your brand identity and how it communicates with customers across all channels.
To be effective, it needs to be a part of your company culture and shared across all departments within your organization. It’s important that this process starts at the top with executive leadership who sets an example for employees by embodying the values they want their customers or clients to see in them.
Successful companies and startups have learned how to manage their brand through using consistent language throughout every channel while still being creative enough to keep up with current trends in marketing communications.
With so many different departments or countries involved in the creation process, this can often be difficult without an expert on board who understands how to bridge those gaps for maximum impact.
If you’re struggling with how to make sure your branding is consistent throughout every aspect of what you do, reach out today. We can help you get started on creating a cohesive brand story that will resonate authentically and create real connections between people and brands.