Developing a strong brand identity could be the key to business success. Having a brand identity that people can recognise can help you take your place at the forefront of your field, build and keep a valued customer base and help you to stand out against your competitors. So putting the time in to develop yours seems like a no brainer!
What is brand identity?
Brand identity is all about how your brand portrays itself to its audience. Every brand should have a way of defining and identifying itself, making it instantly recognisable to its customer base. A brand identity covers everything from a name and tagline, logo, colours, tone of voice and personality.
If you think about some of your favourite brands and household names, they are often instantly recognisable just from a logo, colours, specific fonts and famous taglines. By creating a strong brand identity, these brands have been able to infiltrate the consciousness of the consumer allowing them to stand out from the crowd of their competitors.
A brand identity is just like a personal one. We all have a personal style when it comes to fashion, our likes and dislikes, our personality, mannerisms and how we engage with people. A brand identity is no different. A brand identity is how you communicate with your audience on a daily basis and it should evolve as your company evolves.
Why do you need a strong brand identity?
If you want people to instantly recognise your brand and be able to pick it out as their top choice from potentially hundreds of competitors then a brand identity is essential. For many people when they’re choosing their preferred washing up liquid or favourite bottle of wine for a Friday night they know instantly which one to pick off the shelf just from the colour, logo and even the shape of the bottle.
Imagine walking into the shop to buy your favourite chocolate bar but when you get to the shelf you can’t find it anywhere. You look again and suddenly realise that it is there, it’s just in a brand new wrapper- it’s changed from blue to red, the logo has changed and the whole thing looks completely different. Whilst the chocolate inside will still taste the same, chances are you’ll feel like you’re eating a whole new bar and it will take some time before you get used to picking up the red chocolate bar from the shelf. A strong brand identity allows your consumers to recognise your brand and products instantly and avoids confusion.
A brand identity will also form the basis of all of your marketing. Your chosen fonts and colours, tone of voice and key messages will run through every aspect from a website to adverts, social media and printed documents. Whether you do your marketing in-house yourself or if you employ an agency to do it for you, your brand identity should be decided on and clear before you begin any other marketing.
How to create a brand identity
Before you create your brand identity you need to make sure you’ve got a clear brand strategy in place. You need to understand exactly where it is that you want your brand to go in the future, what your goals are and what steps you intend to intend to take to get there. Your brand identity will be with you every step of the way.
The next step is to do your research. Take a look at what your competitors are doing and get an idea of how they are presenting themselves to the world. You’ll often find that similar brands have similar styles and identities so it’s up to you to decide if you want to follow the crowd or do something completely different, making yourself stand out. No guesses which option you would rather…
Another step to help you achieve the perfect identity for your brand is to create audience personas. Think about the type of people who make up your target audience. Are they young, old, male, female? Take some time to research exactly what it is that your audience likes and dislikes, if your brand is already up and running then a great way to do this is via surveys. By discovering exactly what your target audience looks for in a brand, you can ensure that these are key features of your brand identity.
Once you’ve done your research into exactly how you want your brand to look and feel all that’s left to do is create the various elements. From a logo to brand colours, photography and image style, tone of voice and key messages, there’s a lot to think about and tick off the list. What you’re likely to find however is that each element influences the next. So choose your colours first, stick to 2-4 and be specific. Don’t just say ‘pink’ but instead pick an exact pantone colour…you’ll be surprised by just how many pinks there are!
Once you’ve chosen your colours it will be ten times easier to start designing your logo which will in turn help you decide if you’ll use photography or illustrations across your marketing and the style they’ll be in.
Creating a brand identity is trial and error, you’re unlikely to go with the very first logo you design in fact, chances are, your end product will be a million miles away from the one you decide on, but taking the time to research and create an identity that’s right for your brand will prove invaluable.