Creating a brand identity is a powerful step to make the right customers connect with your local business or brand. Most especially, when you are entering a highly competitive industry, this is the strategy to make your brand standout.
You can’t just enter an industry and expect people to start patronizing you.
There are existing businesses which the customers already trust.
As you are just joining the race, customers want to know what makes your brand better before they can patronize you.
They want to know:
- Who are you?
- What products or service do you offer?
- What values do you have?
- Who do you target?
- Why should they patronize you?
This can be achieved by learning how to create a brand identity.
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It will help you spelling out your purposes in the manner that consumers can understand what your brand entails and become fascinated with it.
TABLE OF CONTENT
- 1 What is a brand identity?
- 2 Elements of a brand identity
- 3 Examples of a brand identity
- 4 Creating a brand identity in 14 super steps
- 4.1 Give your brand a good name
- 4.2 Define your vision
- 4.3 Clarify your mission
- 4.4 Determine your promise of value and competition
- 4.5 Determine your target customers
- 4.6 Position your brand in a niche
- 4.7 Employ the right personnel
- 4.8 Use visual representation
- 4.9 Choose your brand colors
- 4.10 Design your brand logo
- 4.11 Select your font types
- 4.12 Create a design guide
- 4.13 Create an online presence
- 4.14 Carry out a survey on your brand
- 4.15 Conclusion
What is a brand identity?
Is your brand identity your logo, color pallets, name or the combination of all?
Well, they are all part of it.
Marty Neumeier, in the dictionary of brand, defined a brand identity as the combination of your logo, colors, fonts and some few others things, which include your values and culture.
That is, a brand identity is…
If your business is for a specific class of people, it must be indicated in its brand identity.
Between a high-class lounge and a roadside bar, customers can perceive two different brand identities and choose which to patronize.
Both might sell the same product, but their culture and values can’t be the same.
VIPs will be careful not go to the roadside bar because it is not befitting. And at the same time, an ordinary customer too wouldn’t want to be at the VIP lounge because of cost.
Creating a brand identity is making the customers realize exactly what you are – what value to get from you and emerge a distinct position in their minds.
When you combine your objectives and values and reveal what you have got, you brand identity will manifest.
A brand identity, however, comprises all the tangible and intangible details the consumers perceive to characterize a business and compel their patronages.
When a customer sees a new brand and asks,
“Which new brand is this?”
He wants to know what the brand depicts in reality – how determined is it to make life better for him?
Your answers to all the questions that pop up in the minds of customers must reflect in your identity before your brand can convert.
Otherwise, the customers might consider other choices, which is not good for you.
If you want to win them to your side, all you have to do is to present your business in a way that can make the consumers have a special affinity with your brand.
Elements of a brand identity
If a customer wants to buy a product and sees different brands, how can he make a choice?
Whatever choice he is going to make will be determined by the elements of each brand identity and the messages they convey.
So, through the following elements you can communicate the unique values of your brand to attract prospects.
Brand culture and values
Brand culture and values are intangible elements of a brand identity. They are a practice which a company is committed to demonstrate and make customers have confidence in its brand. This includes values, culture, quality assurance, great customer experience, personnel and so on.
For example, the way the personnel behave (among themselves and customers) portraits what customers perceive of your brand. If their behaviors do not promote the company’s objectives, customers will have bad perceptions about the company.
Price too can shape customers’ perception about a brand.
When customers find out about how much a product is sold, they conclude immediately if it is for their category.
Some customers prefer Apple to Microsoft products because of its uniqueness. Apple products might be expensive, but because the brand focuses on consumer experience, it is a dream brand of every lover of revolutionary technologies.
Market position is another intangible component of a brand identity. It is the position a brand occupies in the minds of the consumers.
It can be used to help customers develop a perception about a brand. Hence, it is what makes two brands that produce similar products or services different in the minds of the consumers.
Brand visual representation
Unlike the first-two elements, brand visual designs are the tangible components of a brand identity. They include shape, logo, font styles, colors, packaging designs, souvenirs, signage, uniforms, letterhead, website, social media platforms, and so on.
Having your brand visuals on all your marketing platforms must resonate with your target customers. And this can make them learn how to differentiate your brand from the others. All your visuals must be consistent to avoid competing against yourself.
Most companies overlook the first-two elements and pay more on visuals which is not everything.
This doesn’t mean visual elements don’t work. But with a good brand culture, values and market position, you will create a very powerful brand identity.
If you combine all these elements and pass the right message through them, it will be easy for customers to find and connect with your brand.
Examples of a brand identity
There is no successful business that doesn’t have a unique brand identity. In this section, we want to see how consistency matters in creating a brand identity.
Microsoft is tied to a window surface with four panes – orange, green, blue and yellow. While the colors depict values in Microsoft products, the panes signify Windows. You can see consistency in the logo, colors and font everywhere you see the brand.
Microsoft primary color is light blue. It is the major color in all Microsoft products. All devices have light blue in background.
Microsoft Packaging Boxes
The logo and the font remain the same on the packaging boxes even if they are not in a colored design.
Microsoft places importance to all its brand colors. This can be seen in the staff uniforms. Each comes in all the brand’s four major colors.
With the help of the visual components, customers can identify a fake product and never mistakenly cart an iOS for a Windows OS.
Creating a brand identity in 14 super steps
The more you work towards achieving your goals and meet the needs and expectations of your target customers, the more recognition your brand gains.
That is, creating a very strong brand identity is to ensure that the right message about your business and prospects is conveyed.
Give your brand a good name
The name of your brand is an important component of your brand. You can brand your business with the name of a person, animal, place, or thing.
That does not matter.
What matters is to ensure that the brand name is coined in a way to pass a message across to the customers about your business.
In Google for example, the two ‘Os’ look like a ‘goggle’ – a pair of tight-fitting eyeglasses.
When you pronounce the brand name ‘Google’, it sounds as almost as ‘goggle’. If Google is recognized as a search engine, you can see that the brand name is absolutely relevant to the business.
So, when you’re naming your brand, take your time to consider the relevance of the brand name to the business. You should also be wary of using a name that can easily be read, pronounced and remembered.
Define your vision
Creating a brand identity begins with defining your vision – what you intend to achieve with your brand, both at the short and long run.
Look into the future, and draw a timeline.
Within the first five years, where do you want your brand to be? And in the second five years, what changes do you expect?
And on and on.
Let’s say you want your brand to be known as a life-changing business, your vision is to see your brand achieving that goal – transforming from an unknown to a known brand. Then over a period of time, begin to see it as a leader or one of the major companies championing in an industry.
Clarify your mission
Your mission is your ability to stay in course of the things you intend to achieve with your business.
Let’s say your vision is to be the leader in manufacturing of malaria drugs, then your mission will be to produce products that are potentially the best in the market.
Your mission addresses the reasons why customers should buy from you not your competitors.
As a result of this, the values your products have, which others don’t, can be a source of inspiration for your customers.
Determine your promise of value and competition
As the customers are eager to know “why buying from you”, or “what is in it to buy from you?”, your brand must make a unique promise of value.
Your value proposition or promise of value can be what you think is missing in the industry. If your brand can offer what is missing to the customers, then it will be easy to outshine your competitors.
It takes a little research to know what is missing in the market and that can be boring.
The point is your business must offer what the consumers need most to stay on top of the market. Irrespective of what the consumers need, you must be revolutionary in offering your solutions.
Determine your target customers
To create a powerful brand identity for your business, you need to ask yourself,
Who do I want to help – what sort of people will benefit from my brand the most?
You can achieve this by analyzing the market demographic and psychographic factors of the consumers.
Identifying the type of people that need your business can help you offer the right products or services to the right customers.
If you notice, Microsoft targets most of its products to business managers. That is why the brand is popular at offering business solutions than luxury.
In an earlier example, I cited the case of a roadside bar and VIP lounge, which shows how the consumers make their preferences based on the values and culture of a company. The VIP want special treatments while “anything goes” for the regular.?
Assuming you are going into fashion, which is a very large industry, you can’t target both adults and children with the same products or services. You have to target one at least.
If you decide to focus on children’s fashion, that means your target customers are kids. Once your brand is identified with kids, customers that need kids’ stuff can always have you on their minds.
This implies that every category of people can’t be your target customers. So, identifying what your target customers need can help you develop a brand the customers desire.
Those that belong to the group you target will have a very strong affinity with your brand.
Position your brand in a niche
Know which market segment you’re to cover, what problems you intend to solve and stick to it.
Since you’re not the only one in your industry, you should claim a position that can make you stand out among the others. Your brand’s position statement contains why your business exists, what difference you intend to make with your brand.
However, your position can be used to define your niche.
Employ the right personnel
You can create a perfect brand identity by creating a business culture that is relevant to your brand.
Since the workers represent your brand, ensure you employ people that have nothing against your business. Create a structure and policy that can make all the workers behave in a way you want your brand to be represented. This includes employing people that have have passion for your ideas.
Use visual representation
Your visual designs for creating a brand identity should go well with your personal tone of voice. This includes using the colors, logo, icons, fonts, and characters that can trigger emotional connections with the relevant customers.
Choose your brand colors
Colors plays important roles in building a strong brand identity. Each has different meanings that can catch the attention of the customers.
According to David Gaudreault, a brand specialist, you can choose up to three or four colors to brand your business. This may be perfectly done by using any color scheme of your choice.
What are the color Schemes?
Color schemes include:
Analogous color Scheme – 3 colors
These are colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. They usually match well and creates serene and comfortable brand designs.
Triad color Scheme – 3 colors
These are any three colors which are equidistant on the color wheel. Their harmonies are tend to be very vibrant. To use this successfully, balance the colors by using one color to dominate and others for accent.
Split-complementary color scheme – 3 colors
This is a variation of the triad colors. It has the same very strong visual contrast as the complementary color scheme, but has less tension.
Tetrad color scheme – 4 colors
These are any four colors which are equidistant on the color wheel. They uses four colors as arranged in two complementary pairs.
Categories of brand colors
|Red||Passion, Importance, Attention, Intense, Energy, Strong||Warm Color|
|Orange||Playfulness, Friendly, Vitality, Warm, Stimulating, Enthusiasm, Happiness, Success, Creative||Warm Color|
|Yellow||Happiness, Optimism, Warning, Joy||Warm Color|
|Green||Nature, Stability, Prosperity, (Growth), Fertility, Freshness, Healing, Safety, Money||Cool Color|
|Light Blue||Tranquility, Trust, Openness||Cool Color|
|Dark Blue||Professionalism, Security, Formality, Stability, Masculinity||Cool Color|
|Purple||Royalty, Creativity, Luxury, Power, Nobility, Wealth, Ambition, Dignify, Mysterious||Cool Color|
|Pink||Femininity, Youth, Innocence, Cheerfulness, Intellect, Energy, Attention||Cool Color|
|Brown||Rugged, Earthy, Old-fashioned||Neutral Color|
|White||Clean, Virtuous, Healthy||Neutral Color|
|Grey||Neutrality, Gloom, Subdued||Neutral Color|
|Black||Powerful, Sophisticated, Edgy||Neutral Color|
Whatever colors you decide to use, ensure they communicates your vision, values, culture, story and personality. The colors should reflect in your logo, letterhead, business card, packaging, building, souvenir, uniform, website, social media pages and so on.
Design your brand logo
Your brand logo is not a totality of your brand identity. But because customers can easily perceive it, it is the most recognizable component of your brand.
Meanwhile, David Gaudreault suggested that a good brand logo must have the following characteristics:
- Versatile (made for light & dark backgrounds)
- Colored with your brand colors
- Made of plain colors (you may use a gradient, but very subtle)
- Made with a clean Font (e.g. Helvetica)
To have a perfect brand logo, your logo must be made in vectors. Logos built of vectors mathematically have no sizing limits. To get this type of logo, you need to use Adobe Illustrator.
Logos built with Photoshop are pixelated, thereby have sizes limited to their resolution. This can affect the quality of the logos when used on different interfaces.
Select your font types
Font styles play a major role in creating a powerful brand identity. You must have a consistent font type on all your communications.
According to Column Five Media,
“To make a choice of font is not a simple task. Since it can also trigger emotional connection with customers, you must select what will communicate the brand persona effectively.“
The best practice is to limit your desired fonts to 2 or 3. This includes what to be your primary brand typeface and secondary typefaces(s) to appear on specific areas.
Create a design guide
If you are outsourcing your brand identity designs to a professional, you need to guide him.
Your brand designer needs some practical information to know how your brand identity design should look. Take your time to study the industry and your target customers to create a brand style guide for your designer.
He needs to know what concept, shape, color and fonts matter to you. And this must resonate with your target customers.
Create an online presence
Creating an online presence for your business is part of your tricks to intensify your brand identity. The benefit is much if you can try it.
You can create a website or blog and open a business profile on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram with your brand name. All this can help you connect with your customers and boost their affinity in real-time.
Read guide to create an attention-grabbing brand on Instagram. There is another guide which I want you read, it contains steps to launch your brand on Facebook.
Carry out a survey on your brand
Present your brand to your family and trusted friends to get their feedback on how they perceive your brand.
Whatever answer they give you will tell you if your brand identity actually reveals exactly what your business entails. That can help you to review your communications and add or subtract what is necessary.
Creating a brand identity for your business is no doubt a strategy to make customers perceive the value in your business. Since this will inform the consumers that there is a brand in town, which can solve their problems, your brand must be able to reflect three things.
These include “who you’re”, “what you do”, and “what makes you different”?
And your answers to these questions can help you re-position your business and attain a marketing success. When you use your brand identity to target your customers’ concerns, you get their loyalty in return.