Investopedia explains brand identity as “Brand identity is how a business presents itself to and wants to be perceived by, its consumers” Similar to personal identity, a brand too need to have a distinct and recognizable identity that makes it unique and distinguishes it from its competition.
In plain and simple words, brand identity is the secret sauce that makes a name or business into a brand and sets you apart from your competition.
To understand better what brand identity refers to let us dig a little deeper and first understand what a brand is and why is it important.
“The intangible sum of a product’s attributes.”, any guesses as to who may have defined brand in this manner? David Ogilvy, the father of advertising.
It’s not really clear from this what a brand is, let’s take a look at what brand is not, “A brand is not a logo. A brand is not an identity.
A brand is not a product.” says Marty Neumeier, furthermore, “A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or organization.” claims Neumeier and he couldn’t have phrased it any better.
Now that we understand what a brand is, why don’t we dive into understanding why it is important.
- Having a brand helps to improve recognition
- Having strong brand value helps create trust
- Helps with advertising
- Having a brand helps increase the financial value
- A strong brand helps increase referrals
Now that we understand what a brand is and why it is important to let us try to uncover what brand identity is. Brand Identity or corporate identity as it is also known as refers to the collection of designs that represent an organization to customers.
These designs include Logos, typeface, color pallet, website design, business cards, email signature, product packaging, and many more such elements. Your brand identity is what helps you customize recognize your business, product, or service instantaneously.
Creating a Brand Identity
Now that we understand what brand identity is, let us jump into understanding how to create a strong brand identity and how to differentiate your brand from your competition.
Have Clarity and Know Yourself
What do I mean by this? Well, before your customer can understand you or get to know you as a brand, you have to know yourself in and out. This means knowing things down to the core like
- What your mission is
- Where you see yourself – Your vision
- What you stand for – The values you have and believe in,
- Your unique positioning in the market – What makes you stand out
- Your personality as a brand – if you were a person, how would you be perceived
- Your brand voice
Once you have clarity on these then only then can you move on to create a strong brand with immense brand value.
Utilize Design That Works
A very vague statement with absolute substance supporting it, what I mean by using a design that works is that every brand needs to great design because the design is a silent brand ambassador for your brand and design is what will build the brand identity of the company and once you nail down the design you nail down the brand identity.
Your individual design assets like logos, packaging, store design, color pallets, business cards et cetera are all part of your brand identity and all of these should be designed with the utmost care.
Involving a DesignOps team could make all the difference given the growing number of focus areas. Design operations will create a clear roadmap for the design team, define goals for their work, map out the processes and frameworks and determine needs in terms of human resources.
Elements necessary to develop a brand identity.
Logos are important, there are no two ways about it, they are the anchor to your brand and you absolutely must have a well-designed logo that’s easy on the eye, memorable and easily recognizable. If your logo is hard to understand and interpret it’ll be hard for your customers to clearly understand what it is that you do or stand for.
- Typography and Typeface
Your Typography will be everywhere, your business cards, your store designs, your marketing materials, essentially anywhere your customers will view it and hence it is absolutely necessary to zero in on the perfect font that is soothing and appealing to the eye, it should be fancy enough to catch the eye of the customer but not overly fancy as to turn them away. The Typography you choose gives away essentially everything about your business so choose wisely.
The colors you select to represent your brand have an immense amount of impact on your customers subconsciously, people, in general, have emotional ties to certain colors and hence prefer to purchase products from brands who resonate with them. So always choose your colors wisely and according to the situation for the highest impact possible.
- Shapes and forms
Shapes and forms are very subtle but can have an immeasurable impact on your consumers, they are very effective in reinforcing the desired reaction. A brand messaging which uses a lot of circles and soft round corners will have a very different impact from one which has sharp lines and angles.
A great website is absolutely necessary for the digital age for any good business to survive and carve a niche for itself as the go-to brand. It is one of the first things a customer notices and engages with, it is essentially your digital representation. Every entrepreneur should ensure that they have a beautiful website to lure in new customers.
The packaging of your product requires a very delicate balance as it is one of the only design elements your consumers interact with physically. Having the right packaging can be the difference between the sale of 100 thousand dollars a month and 100 thousand dollars a year. Packaging is an excellent opportunity for your design to stand out.
- Business cards
In a professional setting, the most important thing while networking after your appearance is your business card. A business card shows off your brand in one of the best physical way possible. A card that is very well designed not only creates a positive opinion of your business or your brand but also intrigues your customers and ignites their curiosity.
Key Steps in building the appropriate brand identity
- Market and Competition analysis
Before you start building your unique identity in the market you need to first identify, analyze and study your competition and the general market conditions. This helps you understand what you should not do and help you find clarity in knowing what you should do.
- Determine the Goals and KPI’s for your business
There is no point doing a thing that doesn’t in any way benefit your business and the main aim of building a brand identity is to help the marketing of the organization and that can only be measured once there are clear goals and KPI defined.
- Know thy customer
There are certain ways in which an organization can understand their customers in a better way, some of these include surveys, focus group studies, interviews etc.
Your brand identity is what sets you apart from the endless competition and tells your customers what they should be expecting when they transact with you to create and maintain a long-lasting brand image, it is absolutely necessary to nail down your brand design and brand identity.
Do let us know any stories you have about a brand that you have seen developed in front of your eyes below in the comments.