With probably billions of businesses competing with each other every day to succeed and get as many customers as possible, the one whose name and image is more recognizable and memorable to everyone will win. That is why, if you want to have your business name at the top, having a strong brand identity is crucial.
What exactly is Brand Identity?
Brand Identity is the set of all the elements that a company creates to give the right image to its consumer. It not only includes the logo of the company but the design and colors and even values that can be only identified with that brand, which people can distinguish in their minds.
It is also interesting to know that multiple terms can be confused with Brand identity or related to it somehow. Therefore, it is important to understand them as well. For example, Brand identity is different from "brand image", and "branding", although these terms are sometimes treated as interchangeable. The brand image describes the subjective perception of your brand from the outside while the Brand identity defines how the brand owner wants the brand to be perceived. On another note, brand design is the process of creating the visual assets of your Brand Identity while Branding refers to the process of marketing your brand.
Why is Brand identity important and why do you need it?
As a business owner, you might have to compete against big brands with devoted customers and big marketing budgets. Therefore, you need to research and build a solid brand process of your own to stand out from the competition. Think that there are very similar products or services out there, also probably with the same level of quality, so the consumer will choose the one he trusts the most or a memorable brand that is attractive to the eye or matches his values and ideas. For example, many of Apple’s competitors' products are technologically just as good as theirs, but their brand is so iconic that it can attract and keep customers for life.
These are the ways a strong brand identity helps your business:
- It gives your brand personality. With Brand identity design you can set the tone of your brand, which can be used to provoke certain feelings in your audience. It should be designed to give your company’s message and ideas and promote your business goals.
- Creates consistency. You can create a consistent message through all marketing assets. Everything should have the same basic styles and design elements.
- It allows customers to recognize and differentiate your business from the competition. Developing a professional, creative identity design can help you to stand out to potential customers in your market. Moreover, if you have a strong brand name and logo/image, it can help immensely to keep your business in the mind of potential customers.
- Creates Awareness. The more places your logo and your brand is featured, the easier it will be for it to make contact with customers and the more memorable it will be.
- Creates loyalty. If your brand identity is very effective, it can help you to build customer loyalty and trust in your brand. Take note that if a customer is happy with your products or services, a solid identity that resonates also with him will always make him choose your brand.
What makes a Brand identity strong?
To create a solid brand identity you have to do some research. Think that your Brand identity is also how you want others to perceive your brand, and in the end the ones that will determine that are your customers. That is why you have to pay attention not only to your preferences but also to those of your target group or audience to make a difference.
We have here the first steps that can help you start building a strong brand identity:
- Do market research and analyze your competition. The idea is not to do exactly what these other companies are doing but just identify what they have in common and why they are attracting more people, so you can use this as a foundation to build your brand.
- Identify your target audience. You can conduct surveys or even hold one-on-one interviews to help you identify your consumer group. However, you can also go to Google and search for some statistics or simply to “Facebook audience Insights” to discover more about the demographics, gender, or the group age of your target audience. That can help you define your brand identity and your message.
- Build a strong focus and personality. What your business is and what you do should always be clear to your customers. That is why it is very important to determine your focus and personality first and make sure it is in alignment with all the marketing assets. Finally, think about your brand as a person. It can help you identify the individual qualities you want it to have. For example, in Nike’s case, we could say that Nike is “Athletic”, and they represent it in every marketing asset they have. This step in brand development will help with your tone and voice in social media and all your marketing assets, visual and written.
How to build your brand identity design
When you have already done some research about your market and your audience, you have to start actively presenting your brand. Even though as stated before a brand is not only the logo or the design, it clearly has the biggest impact on how your brand will be recognized and remembered. This is also one of the major steps in building a strong brand identity. We have to remember that we live in a visual world and there are aesthetic indicators that influence our feelings to make us take different actions, and we do not even realize it.
Let’s start first with your Brand identity colors. Think that colors do not just define how your brand looks, they will evoke the feeling that you want to communicate. You should investigate a bit about “Color Psychology”. This is the study of how colors affect human behavior.
For example, the color red can stand for passion, excitement, and strength. Coca-cola uses it to provoke appetite. It also conveys energy and confidence to the brand and it’s a color that attracts a lot of attention, hence why it is always so vibrant in its branding. It is not the only brand that includes this color: Pizza hut, McDonald’s, KFC, and Burger King are also some examples.
Brands that offer outdoor products, like The North Face, offer a palette of earthy colors which makes you want to have an outdoorsy experience. Think also that studies say that different colors affect people of different age groups or gender in different ways, so it’s important to investigate what resonates or will attract your specific audience the most.
When choosing your colors, keep it simple: choose 1-2 primary colors and secondary colors to support them. If you need some help or inspiration, there are some free tools that can guide you, like for instance Coolors, which can help you see which colors go together and complement the first color you chose.
As stated before, the logo is not the entirety of the Brand identity, but it’s definitely a vital element in the branding process, because it is, in the end, the most recognizable part of your brand. It should be everywhere in all your branding materials from your website, emails, business cards to your social media.
Think that the logo will be the first impression anybody will have of your business and has to define the personality of your brand. Is what will make people curious and stay, or just walk away. Therefore you should take your time to create the perfect logo for your brand.
Here we have some tips for you to keep in mind when designing your logo:
- It has to be unique and distinctive to set you apart from your competitors.
- It should be simple and memorable and make a lasting impression on your audience.
- It has to work at any size and anywhere.
- It has to reflect your Brand identity and appeals to your target audience.
- And it should be timeless, you don’t want to do a redesign in a couple of years.
- Don’t do a cliché of your industry. You don’t have to put a tooth in your logo if you’re a dentist. Be creative.
- Don’t make it complicated. Simplicity is key.
- It’s better to not be too trendy so your logo won’t be out of date in a few years.
- Don’t settle for a low-quality logo just to save money. When it comes to the logo, you get what you pay for (and your future self will be grateful).
If you don’t happen to be a designer and also have nobody working for you with those skills, Fiverr, for example, is a database of freelancers who are happy to do the thinking and design for you. Whoever is the designer or agency you pick, don’t settle for the first logo they give you; you need to make sure they give you every possible version of the logo, and that it meets your needs and aligns with your brand identity.
The typography is the font or fonts you will use in your branding materials (be it website, emails, or business cards). It is important to think about it since every font has its own personality. It also gives personality to your brand and it will communicate it through its style.
Here are some tips about how to choose the right font for your brand:
- Is better to avoid the type of fonts you would use in school (Like comic sans, for example), since they tend to be an inappropriate choice and they don’t look serious enough.
- Stick to two or three font families for a cohesive look: one for your display font, and one or two for the body. If you need help knowing which fonts go well together, there’s a free tool that can help you with that: https://www.fontpair.co/.
- Make sure it’s readable. For example, fonts like Helvetica (sans-serif font) are generally used online while Times New Roman (serif font) is used in print and books. You have to make sure to give the user the best possible impression and experience through good typography.
- Your font has to match also your audience. As stated before, a business manual written in Comic Sans won’t be taken seriously.
- Don’t use trendy typography. Like the logo, you need the overall look to be more timeless so stick to classic, clean, and timeless fonts.
Remember that when it comes to your brand development, consistency is key, so well-chosen typography is a major part of cohesive communication across all branding materials, and it will also take part in people recognizing your brand.
You’re ready to do some branding!
That’s it, you've established your brand personality and you’ve created the ideal basis for all the branding materials your business needs—whether it’s business cards, packaging design, or web design. By setting the tone for your style, color palette, font, and overall look and logo, you’re more than ready to start showing the world your brand new face!