It may not be realistic to expect your company to come up with a brand identity overnight, but you can get a headstart on making it happen. In this blog post, we don’t just provide you with instructions on building a brand. We‘ve gathered everything you need in one place to ensure that you’re good to go by the time you finish.
What is a Brand Identity?
Experts define a brand identity as the expression that a brand projects, which includes but is not limited to the following:
- - Names
- - Trademarks
- - Visual presentation
- - Communications
- - And even emotions
As such, a brand’s identity isn’t just about the logo, colour palette, or font style — it is the sum of how your brand feels, looks, and speaks to your audience. But you can’t just throw colours together and slap a logo onto your brand however you like — you need a strategic approach to building your identity to truly reflect your brand. Ideally, you’ll need a team with strong design and communication skills, along with an intimate understanding of you and your brand.
What this Blog Will Cover
In this article, we’ve broken down everything into an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide, where we talk in-depth about topics such as:
- - Branded content
- - Building a brand
- - The importance of brand identity
- - Brand identity examples
- - And more
Why it’s Important to Develop a Brand Identity
Believe it or not, around 95% of the purchasing decisions made by customers are subconscious, where most people rely on visual cues. A customer will know in just a few seconds whether or not they want to buy from a particular website. However, their decision is made mostly because of the site’s visual identity and brand.
A brand identity is how people see a company and how they remember a business. It represents a business’ visual personality and is what customers will use to judge whether or not buying from you will be worth it. Some of the most common elements of brand identity include:
- - Logo design
- - Typography
- - Colour palette
- - Photography or illustration
- - Web design
- - Social media identity
Having a strong brand identity will entice audiences, and customers — it can pull people in and becomes desirable. It will also connect you to the right buyers, create advertising through word-of-mouth, and will separate you from your competitors. Furthermore, visual identity will also show customers if your brand can be trusted.
Examples of Iconic Brand Identities
Now you know what a brand identity is, it’s time to look at some of the most famous and easily recognized brands along with their brand identity.
Whenever you hear the name Coca-Cola, there’s no doubt that their signature red logo and ribbon pop into your head straight away. It also probably triggers emotions of family and friends, gatherings, togetherness, and happiness — this shows just how strong their brand identity is. If you’re wondering why this happens, the answer is clear: It’s what Coca-Cola’s identity is.
They use this brand strategy to market on all their platforms, such as social ads, billboards, and their ‘Share a Coke’ campaign. Because of their distinct identity created through a unique script logotype, they have remained the go-to beverage throughout their lifetime. As such, Coca-Cola is a shining example of continuous evolution and is one of the most recognizable brands today.
Apple is another powerhouse when it comes to creating a strong brand image — it’s impossible not to think about their logo whenever they’re mentioned. The logo is famous for its sense of minimalism and is known for its products that provide a sense of high status and a better lifestyle. They’re also known for their secrecy because they don’t want their latest products being leaked ahead of time.
As a result, Apple’s logo is instantly recognizable even without its name. Many people immediately know that the logo perfectly embodies the company’s principles. As a result, the logo has become synonymous with outstanding design and innovation, where its brand identity is seen through everything they do, including:
- - Product designs
- - Packaging materials
- - Retail stores
- - Their apps
We see it every day when we open our browsers, which is probably why Google is also among the most recognizable brands today. Its visual identity can be seen through the use of signature colours (which may change depending on various events) and their witty ‘Doodles.’ While the usual logo that Google uses may not be a work of art — the official logo used since 2015 uses an old-style serif typeface and uses the colours blue, red, yellow, and green — it is still one of the easiest logos to remember.
According to experts, Google’s brand doesn’t live in the logo, but in the products they consistently provide. Furthermore, Google can be found in its culture, environment, advertising, and visual identity. As such, people have always linked to their famous job interviews as well as their beautiful and creative offices.
Most recently, Adidas has been known for its loud and proud Olympics ads but they aren’t too attention-grabbing. Throughout history, Adidas has been known to change its logo as well, but it has stayed true to its origins. Whether you see the three stripes logo or the trefoil logo, both carry everything that Adidas stands for.
Their logos are also known for consistency, which allows people to recognize the logo in all four of their variations. The success behind this lies in the brand’s main principles:
- - Simplicity - All their logos are concise and minimalist, making it easy to see both text and images.
- - Versatility - While their primary colour is black, they allow for variations in colour throughout different products.
- - Awareness - This brand is trusted by numerous celebrities and athletes, who can advertise the brand’s products whenever going to public events.
- - Strong message - Adidas uses its logo to communicate its values to everyone, and those who purchase its products can expect strength, quality, and durability.
Throughout the years that we’ve known and loved Mcdonald’s, the golden arches that create the “M” became the definition of convenience and fast food. This logo could be spotted from a mile away even on a sign-cluttered boulevard, and their restaurants feed more than 60 million people every day. While Mcdonald’s has undergone a few redesigns since it first opened in 1940, they’ve managed to find a design they can stick to in 2003.
How to Start Creating Your Brand Identity
You’ve seen what brands have done to create a successful brand identity — now it’s time to make your own. Here are the steps you need to take to build one from scratch.
Know Your Audience
When you’re first building your brand, it’s important to know who you need to reach — think about the kind of products that you will sell and who they will serve. At this point, you need to target a particular group; choosing a specific niche will mean that you’ll have less competition for your customers. Identifying who your audience is will allow you to choose the design, voice, and even the marketing strategy you should use to attract potential buyers.
At the beginning stage of creating your brand identity, you will have many opportunities to learn about your audience. Ensure that you are always adding on to your customer database to help them maintain accuracy. As such, be sure that you consider the following as you go:
- - Reviewing your existing customers and getting important details from them
- - Observe your competition and what kind of customers they target.
- - Create buyer personas that outline their likes, dislikes, and how they shop online
Build Your Brand Position
To give you an idea about your brand position, you will need to develop a depth of knowledge about your potential customers. It doesn’t make sense to offer high-end luxury items when your key demographic is looking for affordable, yet quality items. You need to decide where you will fit in the market.
The best way to do this is through a positioning statement — just one to two lines that can help you establish what you’re doing and who you are. An example of a brand statement is:
“We are an office furniture company selling affordable quality products to customers in [city].”
When trying to establish your brand position, consider how your business can be different from the others. Once you learn of your selling points and position in the market, you’ll be able to start developing marketing campaigns, along with branded content.
Choose a Name for Your Business
While it might sound trivial, choosing a name for your brand is one of the most important features that will define your brand. When you pick the right business name, it will let your customers know everything they need to know about you and your brand. For instance, if you have a clothing business that wants to keep designing new looks for your customers, you might think of a name, like “Innov8 Clothing.”
The key to picking out a good name is dependent on words and sounds that evoke the right idea or emotion in your audience. Here are a few name ideas to get you started.
- - Emotive names: These are names that aim for an emotional response, like “Hungry Birds.”
- - Descriptive names: These are titles that describe the business, like “Veterinary.”
- - Compound names: These are titles that combine words, such as “FedEx” or “Facebook.”
- - Initials and acronyms: These are names that can be easier to remember compared to the full name of the business, like “BMW.”
- - Origin names: Names chosen for who made it or where it began, like “Jordan.”
Whenever choosing a name, remember that you will eventually need to create an online store, so be sure to research to ensure that the name you pick is still available.
Create Your Brand’s Story
The story behind your brand will essentially be the reason why you’re building it in the first place. Beyond making money, your business will need to have a deeper purpose, so think about why you started your business and how your products can serve your customers. For example, Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook as a way to connect people from all over the world, no matter where they are.
While he made a hefty profit from his products and services, he was still able to provide people with a service that they enjoy and use every day. Your company’s story will be told on your website and will discuss how you can find ways to serve customers or how your products can provide a positive impact. A good company story will make customers care for your business and get your brand some respect.
Establish a Look for Your Brand
Creating a look for your brand means you need to decide how you will get customers to identify with your company with just one look. For example, think about the kind of packaging you can use for your products. Think about how your customers will notice your parcel whenever they order from your online store?
Think about what they will see every time they visit your website to look for items. Here are some of the most crucial parts to creating a winning look for your brand:
- - Fonts - The font you choose for your brand will have a huge impact on how your audience will see your brand. For example, serif fonts tend to be authoritative and traditional, while sans-serif fonts are seen as more friendly and modern.
- - Colours - Brand colours will be present on all branded assets, such as emails, products, packaging, and your website. Colours can bring a psychological response to your customers. For example, blue is a calming and trustworthy colour, while red symbolizes passion and boldness.
- - Imagery - Don’t forget that you can use illustrations, images, and pictures on your website, products, and advertisements to make an even bigger impact on your audience.
Design Your Brand Logo
Another major element that will go into starting your brand is your logo, which will appear alongside your brand name. A great logo will be easy to understand but meaningful and won’t need any kind of explanation. To truly capture your brand’s essence, it’s best to work with a professional designer.
An expert will be able to discuss the different kinds of logos available to you, such as:
- - Mascot logos
- - Brand emblems
- - Letter marks
- - Wordmarks
- - Icons
- - Combination marks
- - And more
Place Your Brand Everywhere
Now that you have everything you need for your brand, it’s time to spread it. Businesses need to put their brand on everything they can to make sure that it sticks in their audiences’ memory. The easiest and fastest way to do this is to make a brand style guide for all your employees and contractors.
Make that everyone is on the same page about what your brand should look and feel like. The next thing you need to do is to get attention on all the channels available to you, such as:
- - Your online store
- - Your social media pages
- - All your marketing campaigns
- - All your ads
When it comes to developing a strong brand, remember that consistency is key. The more consistent you are with your brand both online and offline, the more people will be able to remember what your company looks and feels like. Being consistent will also help your brand gain more stability and become a reliable source for your audiences’ needs.
What to Avoid when Creating a Brand Identity
Now that you know everything you need to do to get started with your brand identity, here is a list of things that you shouldn’t do during this process:
- - Starting without knowing who your audience is
- - Creating a logo without meaning or making one just for the sake of it
- - Having limited ideas for your visual brand identity
- - Implementing an awkward website design
- - Having inconsistent elements in your brand identity
- - Having no diversity in your imagery
- - Choosing poor typography for your logo and other elements
- - Having no cohesion in your designs
- - Using too many colours on your logo
- - Creating icons that no one can understand
- - Keeping an inaccurate record of your customers and prospects
- - Not providing a brand style guide for your team
Your Next Steps
Now that you’ve successfully created your brand’s identity, it’s time to move on to the next part, which is managing what you’ve started. Just like every other aspect of your business, you won’t know if you’re doing the right thing if you’re not tracking your performance. Be sure to use the tools available to you, such as:
- - Google analytics
- - Comments on social media
- - Surveys for customers
- - Discussions on forums
- - Direct feedback
These can provide you with the opportunity to implement changes if necessary to help build trust between you and your customers. Be sure that as you test the waters, you also learn from your mistakes and optimize whenever possible. This is also a good time to get started on creating branded content — read our full guide here.
Creating a brand that stays with people can be a difficult task at first but knowing what to do and how to do it will provide you with a brand identity that speaks to your audiences and attracts customers. There are many steps to do before you can set up your brand, but it will be worth it. From the moment that customers can look at your brand and recognize you in an instant, that’s when you know your brand is more than just a symbol or a name.