Brand identity is an umbrella term that covers everything from your color palette to your logo, styling, brand voice, and persona. For many brands, it starts with their brand name, a step often taken with naming consultants on board. But how do you follow on from a brand name to create a strong brand identity? Read on to find out the essential steps.
1. Complete a brand strategy
A brand strategy is a detailed plan of what you are trying to achieve and how you are going to achieve this. With a brand strategy, you have a tool in place to drive your brand forward.
Essentially, you need to create brand architecture which includes everything from brand voice to message, language, your positioning in your market, tagline, brand stories and more.
With these in place, you have the content you need for the next stage.
2. Develop a brilliant brand identity
Developing a brand identity is one thing but developing one that everyone understands and connects with is quite another. A large part of any memorable brand identity is visual cues that become iconic in their own rights, such as the Coca-Cola red or the instantly recognizable blue of the branding of Tiffany &Co.
Visual language describes the components of the face of your brand – in other words, the color palette, the typography, design system, and all interactive elements including your logo.
With strength and understanding, everyone from your internal team to your brand ambassadors and customers will connect with your brand identity but what moves it from ordinary to amazing?
Essentially, it needs to be;
- Distinctive from your competitors and eye-catching too
- Memorable by making a visual impact
- Scale able and flexible so that as your brand grows, it does too
- Cohesive in meaning so all components of your brand are connected and related
- Easy to apply and to use
3. Research: persona and competition
This stage of developing a brand identity is possibly the longest stage and one that should run alongside the other stages in various forms.
Brand persona is about developing the ‘character’ of your business, giving it the tools to become an entity.
This is a process that will see you connect with your customers. Providing you know who your customers are, you will have an understanding of what they will respond favorably to. This includes everything from color to logo. In other words, does your brand persona connect with your audience and meet their expectations?
With a deeper understanding of your customers, you also need to turn your attention to your competitors. An understanding of the competitive landscape that surrounds your business gives indications as to how you can present your brand in a way that stands out from the norm.
There have been instances of brands branching out, being the stand out the brand in an uber-competitive marketplace by opting for a color change that was the complete opposite of all their competitors.
4. Your brand ‘kit bag’
With the deeper level of understanding you now bring to your branding, you can begin the process of creating your logo, color palette, typography and more.
Your brand kit contains the visual aspects and representation of your brand so leave no stone unturned. It informs everything from the ‘this email is confidential’ signature to the tagline you have on your website and t-shirts.
5. Use it
Creating, discovering and developing a brand identity takes times, effort, resources, and money. And yet, in spite of this heavy investment, so many businesses and organizations fail to maximize every facet.
Why? Because they forgot or missed out the all-important step of communicating what their brand is to everyone within their company.
Creating a guide that clearly shows what fonts and typography are to be used, what the brand tone of voice is, and how the logo sets should be deployed are just some of the branding aspects that are key to pushing your brand to dizzying heights.