Your brand identity encapsulates all of your brand’s visible elements, including your logo, design style, and colour palette, all of which combine to make you distinguishable from competitor brands in the eyes of consumers. In communicating your brand to the world, your identity should feel authentic and speak to your ideal audience in ways they find appealing and relatable.
Brands with strong identities know who they are and precisely why what they have to offer is valuable. If you want to build a brand that will survive and thrive within today’s ultra-competitive marketplaces, you need to craft a brand identity that conveys your core ethos whilst maintaining sufficient flexibility to evolve and grow with your business.
The process of building a brand identity from scratch can sometimes appear to be somewhat mysterious. Here are some tips and tricks that will help you work through this stage and shape a strong brand identity to set your business up for success.
Developing your Brand Strategy
Your brand identity is a vital asset in implementing your overall brand strategy. Your strategy should outline precisely what you want to achieve and how you plan to get there. Many elements of your brand strategy will inform your identity, including your brand voice, core values and value proposition.
Mastering the Fundamentals of Brand Identity
A brand identity is so much more than a colour palette and a logo. The strongest brand identities have been shaped using a detailed visual language that has been consistently applied to each visible element, from product packaging to key elements of a website.
Your identity will ultimately be personalised to your brand needs, but should include:
- Colour palette
- Web design
- Interactive elements
It is not enough to simply design each of these elements. They must also work for your business and your audience, with who you will need to feel engaged and excited about interacting with your brand.
Your identity should have all of the following traits.
Your brand should be able to capture attention and stand out from competitor brands.
Make sure your brand has an immediate visual impact that resonates with your ideal audience.
Flexible and scalable
Your brand needs to be able to evolve and grow with your business.
Ensure each individual element compliments your brand identity as a whole.
Easy to apply
Designers should understand your visual language and find it intuitive to apply in a variety of circumstances.
Research is Key
Every branding project needs to be driven by a detailed understanding of your brand, your marketplace, your audience and your competition. It is possible to create a powerful visual language that will help you to cut through the noise of competitive marketplaces and shape an identity with the strength to secure long-term success.
If you don’t know who you are trying to reach, you are less likely to create an identity that will resonate with the right people.
Understanding your ideal audience’s wants, values, and needs will inform your design choices and help you develop a more effective and powerful brand identity. You might also want to consider thinking about what kind of brand archetype you want to portray at this point. This will not help you determine how to develop narratives and visual elements that will appeal and resonate with how you want to project yourself.
Your brand identity needs to differentiate you from your competition, and you can’t craft a unique identity without first understanding what the leading players in your marketplace are doing.
After identifying your major competitors, it is important to analyse their strengths and weaknesses to identify gaps in the market to leverage your advantage.
Think carefully about how your competitors have chosen to present themselves by looking at how they incorporate trends, common visual elements, and themes specific to your industry.
You might, for example, find that every one of your competitor brands utilised the same colour palette. Your understanding of your marketplace can help you to decide whether using an entirely different colour palette will become a significant differentiator or whether there is a compelling reason not to stray from this established formula.
Shaping your Identity
At this point, you will have a wealth of information that can be used to create some visual concepts that will reflect your brand’s values and personality. This is a prime opportunity for you to let your creativity guide you.
Once you have worked through this exciting development process, it is important to develop a brand style guide to ensure that your identity is used correctly, providing clear guidelines that designers and team members will find easy to follow.
Remember, your brand identity should form a strong foundation upon which you can build your wider branding and proposition that will serve to make your business successful long into the future. Keen on further reading? See this article on brand identity and attracting top staff.