Every business is established to succeed even though, some fall on the wayside. Sometimes, businesses fail because they do things wrongly, copy blindly, and execute without a plan or purpose. The secret to greater success in your business is not rocket science. A strong brand identity is your secret ingredient.
Every brand that wants to succeed and remain relevant and competitive must have a strong brand identity. It takes your business to greater heights where it is easily differentiated and remembered. Unfortunately, a lot of people mistake brand identity for just brand logos.
A business logo is but one aspect of your brand identity. Brand identity creation transcends the logo to include a color palette, typography and even photographs, and other visual elements.
Before we go further, what is brand identity?
Investopedia defines brand identity as the visible elements of a brand such as color, design, and logo that identify and distinguish the brand in consumers’ minds. Simply put, brand identity is the total of all the elements a company employs to make itself easily recognizable, attractive, and unique to the consumers.
There are certain things that we have come to associate with some big brands over time. These brands have cultivated these identities bit by bit till they become a part of them so much so that once you come across the brand, you can easily identify it. Take Coca-cola for instance, when you see a bottle of coke from afar, you do not need to see the name to know that it is a Coca-Cola product. From the sexy shape of the bottles to the bold red color and flowing fonts, you can easily identify the product as a Coca-Cola product. That is the power of brand identity.
The brand identity elements all work in tandem to produce the desired effect on consumers. Consumers not only recognize the Coca-Cola products easily, they see the products as refreshing and the brand as exhibiting happiness. Can you think of any other brand with such a powerful brand identity? I can – Apple Inc!
These two brands are greatly successful, thanks mostly to powerful brand identity. So, you see? Brand identity is the secret to greater success in your business and you should embrace it. When you think of iPhone, you think of class, utility, and uniqueness. The brand evokes these feelings in consumers because they have been able to successfully build on their identity over the years using the branding elements. Little wonder these brands command powerful and unwavering customer loyalty.
How do you develop a strong brand identity then?
Brand identity development is not rocket science. A lot of companies and businesses are doing it and successfully too.
Let’s look at these simple steps –
Step 1 is to know your brand thoroughly
Brand identity creation can only take off on the right footing when you know your brand. Understand your brand before you go into brand identity design and all the visual aspects of branding. Consider these points while at it –
- A brand has a personality, who is your brand if it were to be a person?
- What does your brand do?
- What is its purpose/mission?
- How does it achieve those purposes?
- Who does the brand target?
- How do you relate with that target audience?
- What impression do you want to leave on your target audience?
It is only when you are armed with these fundamental questions that you can create the visual aspect of the branding – the brand identity.
Assuming you do not have these answers already, you may be wondering how to know your brand more thoroughly. Here are some clues –
- Craft the right brand name (if you do not have one already). You need not just any name but a brand name that will reflect your brand and maybe hint at what your brand is about. The brand name must be unique, easy to pronounce, and memorable. It should also be a name that can be built into your website, so you may want to check that the identity is still available as a domain name. A brand name can have a great influence on the success of your business, so tread carefully. And of course, there is little you can do about the creation of brand identity without a brand name.
- Create a relevant brand heart. We borrowed the term brand heart from Column Five Media. Before you go into brand identity proper, determine your brand heart. This will include the reason for your brand’s existence, the mission and vision statements of the brand, its unique propositions, core values, and purpose. Knowledge of these vital elements is necessary for every aspect of business branding from tagline to brand identity and personality.
- Have a brand voice, brand image, and personality. These form the bedrock of your brand and determine how you communicate and relate with your audience.
Another important aspect of knowing your brand is to know where your brand stands at the moment. What is your brand’s identity at the moment (if any)? Assess it to know if it needs to be replaced or adjusted to fit into the new brand identity you are building.
The second step is to know and assess your competition
To win any competition, you must stand out and be the best though the latter may not be quite easy to achieve; however, we can always try. To build a strong brand identity that will contribute to the success of your business, you need to be unique. Do you know how to be unique? – Audition your competitors. This venture can turn up a lot of insights that can help you build a unique brand identity.
Take note of the various important brand identity elements of your industry such as colors, logo designs, and all that. From there, you can hone in with a differentiation strategy that will lift your brand from obscurity to the limelight.
The third step is to choose the visuals
Brainstorm with your team about the visual elements that will make up your brand identity. There are bound to be divergent views at this point because we all read different meanings to visuals and aesthetics.
However, every decision, every choice must be based on the two steps above. Your brand identity must reflect your brand in every way possible. Consider what messages you want your brand visuals to communicate to your audience, and the feelings you want these messages and visuals to evoke. These will help you to determine the type of visuals that will best bring out your branding goals.
This is not a process you want to rush. Take as much time as it requires until you get it right. You can write down the information and decisions as they come then go over it with a fine-tooth comb with your team. Don’t be scared to fine-tune, edit and change.
Then enter the actual creative step of the design.
After the brainstorming sessions, it is now time to roll up your sleeves and get down to the design. At this point, you will want to begin with choosing your brand identity color palette if you do not have them already. Choose colors that will elicit the right emotions as well as represent your brand.
Then design your logo. Need I remind you how powerful a logo can be for a brand and its success? Look at the popular brands you know that have powerful logos that succinctly captures the spirit of the brand. There is Apple Inc, Nike, and the likes. One can easily identify these brands by merely looking at their logo without the brand name. Strive for a logo that is unique, easy to remember, and yet outstanding.
Choose your brand typography (font) to match all the other elements as well as your branding goals. This is also applicable when choosing additional brand elements like graphics, photographs, and even data visualization. There must be the cohesion of these elements to achieve a powerful brand identity.
All these visual elements must complement each other consistently to convey that powerful brand identity that you are gunning for.
On a final note, these factors will give your brand a strong identity and must be considered during the entire process of creating a brand identity –
- Uniqueness. The aim of the brand identity will be defeated if your brand fails to be distinct from the crowd.
- Attractive. An effective brand identity should catch the attention of your target audience and retain it.
- Outstanding. You’d remember the Mercedes or Shell logo anywhere you see them and Apple does not even bother adding their brand name to the logo on their products!
- In sync. The various visual elements must complement each other in harmony.
- Flexible. Brand identity should be adjustable as the brand grows and can be used on any platform.
Be consistent, be cohesive, and be unique while building your brand identity and you would have found the secret to greater success in your business.
If all these seem a little too daunting for you, BDYD and Co. can easily help you create a powerful brand identity for your business.
Contact us today.