3 Tips on How to Create Your Brand's Identity!
March 4, 2020
3 Tips on How to Create Your Brand's Identity!
A short video summarising our 3 tips on creating your brand's identity!
If you’ve been following our blog for a while now, you probably know that we can’t get enough of branding. There’s nothing more important when creating a sustainable marketing strategy than building a brand. It’s the only thing that will set you apart in a time where competition is fierce, and it can result in more customer loyalty and can dramatically increase your turnover over time.
Your brand identity is an important part of your overall brand, and it’s one of the first things people noticed when coming into contact with your business.
In this article, you’ll learn how to create your brand identity as well as why it’s so important for the success of your marketing campaigns!
If while reading this post you feel there is anything our team can help your business with, then feel free to get in touch with us!
What is Brand Identity?
Your brand identity consists of all visual elements of your brand, like logos, fonts, colours, design, and even things like uniforms or the colour of your vehicles. Your brand identity is the way that your company’s core message is portrayed through all visual elements of your brand. It’s important that your brand identity is in line with your company’s message in order to be as effective as possible. Consistency is also vital, as mixed signals can cause a lot of confusion.
Take Apple as an example. It’s listed as the second most valuable brand according to CNBC at 309.5 billion USD! Apple’s brand identity consists of minimalist designs that look intuitive and simple. In part through its brand identity, it has managed to be seen as a status symbol by consumers, as well as being known as a high-tech & extremely user-friendly brand. You either love it or you hate it!
Now take Harrods as another example. They target high-end consumers and developed their brand identity to reflect this. Their logo is minimalistic but still expresses a higher-end branding, and their website is very easy on the eye. When you visit one of their stores, there’s not a shadow of a doubt that you’re in a luxury store and not your local supermarket!
Don’t understand the difference between your brand and brand positioning? – We’ve just published a fantastic article detailing the difference between these two concepts!
Why is it so Important?
Your brand identity is a part of your overall branding, which is one of the most important parts of any marketing strategy. So, to properly understand why creating a strong brand identity is so important, it’s important to first understand why branding is so important to the success of your business.
Why is Creating a Brand so Important
Your brand is what your business stand for, the core messages and beliefs of what represents your company. It starts with your core company message and how you want your company to be seen in the eyes of others. Your brand is what is going to set your company apart from other companies in the industry. It’s what makes you unique, and ultimately, is why people will (or won’t) choose your company over one of your competitors.
Without a solid brand, you fall into the worst category there is. We call this the “meh” category, since no one really feels anything for your business. There’s no reason for people to go to you over your competition, so the only way you can really compete is by lowering the price. This isn’t a route you want to go down.
A comparison we often use is the comparison of Primark vs Harrods. They both sell clothes online and in physical stores direct to consumers. Both these stores can not only survive but they thrive on the same street regardless of the fact that they both have almost identical business models. This is what great branding can can do for your business!
For this example, let’s take Bob and Bridget. Bob is a wealthy individual that loves to show off, whereas Bridget is a middle-class housewife that loves wearing new clothes regularly, but doesn’t like to spend too much. When both given the choice, Bob will go to Harrods and avoid Primark at all costs, and Bridget will avoid Harrods at all costs and visit Primark.
Their branding doesn’t just help them in attracting the kinds of customers they want, but it also keeps the wrong kind of customer at bay. Bob will stay loyal to stores like Harrods, whereas Bridget will stick to stores like Primark. This doesn’t mean they won’t visit the other stores for other reasons though…
In situations where luxury goods are needed, Harrods is going to be the first store that pops up in the mind of consumers. Looking for a high-end watch? – You probably thought of Rolex before any other brand.
Not only does branding create loyalty with certain demographics which can result in more sales, higher value sales and a higher lifetime customer value, but it also establishes your brands as “the brand for______”.
Once you reach this stage, you’ll not only benefit from customer loyalty and higher margins, but you’ll also benefit from being top of mind in your chosen market segment. Top of mind is tip of tongue, so you’ll enjoy referrals and word-of-mouth marketing too!
Our top 3 tips:
1: Defining your Brand’s Position
The first step to creating a solid brand identity is to establish your brand position. Without knowing what your brand stand for and who you are targeting, there’s no way of developing an effective identity. That would be like trying to aim at a target when you don’t know where it is!
The first thing to do when defining your brand’s position is figuring out what your company’s core message is and who you want to aim your business at.
Do you want to target high-end consumers? Low-end consumers? Men, women or both? Older or younger customers? Are there certain character traits that your target audience has? Can these be replicated throughout your business?
It’s questions like this that will ultimately allow you to effectively position your brand in the market.
Tip: Take the time to really think about this, or even go a step further and do some research. By sending out a survey to your (potential) clients, you can get amazing insights into how they think! Various reviews, like those of your own business or competitors are also great ways of researching your target audience. Pay especially close attention to what is being said. Are there a lot of bad reviews? What are the reasons they give? What do the people that like the reviews say about the company/product?
You can also do a search on a few of your favourite social media channels to see what people are saying about your brand. Check the comments people are leaving on your posts or your competitors posts. The more you can get inside your target audiences head, the better you’ll be able to position your brand and the more effective your brand identity will be.
Once you have established your position in the market and learned about the kinds of customers you’ll be targeting, you can ask yourself what visual elements are in line with this. Ask yourself what the do’s and don’ts are, and what emotions you are trying to target. This then allows you to tailor your brand’s identity to your positioning in the market in the best way possible.
What visual elements will stimulate your target audience? Which colours match your core company message? What style elements will speak to the emotional selling point you are targeting in your target audience?
If you work in the professional services industry, like accounting or consulting, then it’s not going to be a good idea to use Comic Sands as a font. It looks childish and certainly doesn’t scream “professional” to the people reading it. When you’ve got a pet store, you’re probably not going to want to use Times New Roman on the signs outside either. Are you a toy store, and thus targeting the younger generation? – Then go with something fun and easy on the eye. Fancy fonts and dark colours generally won’t be very effective, and also won’t portray the right vibe to children or their parents.
Imagine your dental clinic using black and red as their main colour… It’s difficult enough for some people to visit the dentist, let alone if the room looked like the first scene of your favourite horror movie!
Luckily, most of the largest mistakes can be avoided using common sense, but the better you get to know your target audience, the better your brand identity will be.
This allows you to get your brand identity down to a science and make it as effective and accurate as possible. The more time you put into your brand positioning, the easier it will be to establish an effective identity for your brand.
For more information, check out our post on our five top tips for positioning your brand!
2: Change Your Visual Identity
Once you’ve got your brand positioning down to a science, it might be necessary to change your visual identity to match it. Sometimes you’ll already be well on your way, but other times, a huge overhaul is needed. Even if you fall into the latter category, it’s still worth doing as your brand is the foundation of your marketing. By ripping the band-aid off quickly it saves having to do it further down the line, which will ultimately cost a lot more time and money, and will take longer for you to see results.
Even if you feel as though you’d be losing a lot of time/money by switching things up, it will be a lot less than it will cost in a year’s time. The sooner you can get your branding on-point the better, as it allows less time for your potential clients to get the wrong idea of your brand. It’s far easier to make a good first impression than it is to alter a bad one.
Tip: Even if your brand identity was terrible and was due a change, it’s still worth launching your new brand to the world. Spend some money getting your clients and potential clients used to the “new you”. Although the only thing that will change their opinions of you is time and a healthy dose of exposure, there’s nothing like an extra marketing campaign to hurry it along.
The re-launch can help you re-position yourself in the minds of both new and existing customers, which will make your new brand identity more effective in the long run.
3: Maintaining and Developing Your Brand Identity
After you’ve put all that time into developing your brand identity, it would be nice to see the fruits of your labour. This is where maintaining and developing your brand identity comes in as a vital aspect of your brand identity.
There is only one thing you need to focus on when it comes to maintaining your brand identity, and that’s consistency!
As you settle into your new brand identity, both you and your employees will slip up now and again. They may use your logo differently, use the wrong font, or they might create a webpage that’s off-brand. This is normal and is no cause for concern as long as you spot it and then work to prevent it.
The real issues arise when this happens too often, or for a long period of time. This can result in your brand identity becoming distorted to both you and your employees. It can even cause it to change over time, as previous mistakes may start to become the new norm, which means all that hard work goes down the drain.
Create Processes & Guidelines
The best way of preventing your brand’s identity, as well as your brand as a whole from becoming distorted is to put some processes in place to ensure consistency is maintained. Small things can make a big difference when it comes to creating consistency in your brand identity. Here are some ideas for guidelines and processes you can put in place to keep your brand identity in check:
Only Provide Employees with the Logo Variations they Need to be Using
Although you may have six mascots, two old logos and two that you are using now, it’s not the best idea to give your employees access to all of them. Create one logo and stick to it.
This may be an obvious one, but create easy-to-modify templates that your employees will use in all communication with clients, or even internally. The more templates you have, the easier it will be for you and your employees to maintain brand consistency.
Again, another obvious one. Set guidelines about the fonts, images, colours and other visual elements you and your employees are allowed to use. Make these detailed yet simple. They should be crystal clear and leave no questions unanswered, yet should fit on one side of a single piece of paper.
Developing Your Brand Identity
Businesses are always changing, and it’s important that your brand identity guidelines are flexible in order to deal with these changes. As you start offering more products, change your services or launch new marketing channels, it’s important that you add to your brand identity guidelines in order to keep your brand identity consistent throughout all aspects of your business.
Important: Just because your brand identity guidelines should be flexible in a way that allows you to accommodate for new channels or products, doesn’t mean that your brand identity should change. Your brand is something consistent, and unless you have a full rebrand planned, it should stay consistent regardless of new additions.
Whether you’re talking about a new fleet of vehicles or just a new post template on social media, it should be consistent with your overall brand identity, and overarching brand positioning.
Implementing it into Your Business
The final stage of ensuring your brand identity is effective is ensuring it is integrated into your business. There’s nothing worse than spending a lot of time on something, only to not use it. Unfortunately, this is often the case when it comes to creating a brand identity.
Make sure that all of your employees can easily access the brand identity guidelines, and that they are used.
Tip: It can be a real asset to hang your brand identity guidelines up on a wall in places your employees are often, but your customers aren’t. If you own a boutique clothing store, don’t go hanging them in the front window, but it may help if you hang them up by the computer, or in a back room where clients don’t go often.
Although easy access and use are important, nothing beats setting a good example., The more you an your employees are exposed to your brand identity and the more consistency they see, the easier it will be for them to follow your brand identity.
Branding is important in all your marketing channels and can have a huge impact on your business over the years. In this post, you learned about an important part of your brand – namely your brand identity – and how to create an effective brand identity for your business.
We hope that this post has helped you in improving your business!
If you’d like some help with your brand positioning or brand identity, feel free to get in touch to see how we can help you out. We increase the number of customers coming into your business and are known for generating a positive ROI on the marketing campaigns we run.
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