How to build a strong brand identity in 2021
At the core of every business is a brand identity that dictates how the company is viewed in the public eye. Think of a brand identity as an extension of a company’s values. Businesses that deliver a consistent and genuine brand identity will build loyalty with their target audience and stand out in a sea of competitors.
Read on to learn about building a strong brand identity and how it will help position your company as the leading expert in its niche.
The difference between brand and brand identity
Before diving into the creative process, make sure you truly understand your target audience. Ask yourself: who is your customer and why should they choose your business? How will you differentiate yourself from your competitors?
Once you have the answers, it’s time to apply them. An identifiable brand and a defined brand identity will clearly communicate your uniqueness and why your business is the best choice for your audience.
👉 A brand is how people perceive you when they interact with your business.
👉 A brand identity is the umbrella of your brand, including your logo, colors, content verbiage, and the overall look and feel that identifies you to your customers.
Let’s say that you’re attending a networking event for your business. What you have to offer is exceptional, but no one at the event will know that right away. In order to build your brand’s rapport, you have to go the extra mile to demonstrate your skills or services. If your business is product-based, you might bring a few of your own products to the event. You could also print business cards and flyers with on-brand colors, fonts, etc.
The tangible items—your products, business cards, flyers—are your brand identity and make you unique and recognizable within the networking event. The non-tangible items—the impressions and influence you leave on someone you meet at the event—are your brand.
Establishing your brand identity online
Digital marketing encompasses all of your company’s online marketing efforts and will define how your business is viewed in the virtual space. Your company should leverage its brand identity online with resources that will engage your target audience. For example, a downloadable guide or a webinar recording are great options to have available should a prospect want to learn more about your product or service.
In order to establish a successful digital brand identity, your company needs to have a strategized social media presence and relevant valuable content. In the day and age where your social presence is a deciding factor for the average consumer, a digital brand identity will play a crucial role in differentiating your business from competitors.
Creating a strong brand identity will build trust with your customers and showcase the uniqueness of your business. You will be able to stay ahead of the competition, even with a consistently evolving market.
Non-tangible elements of your brand identity
Consider this as an opportunity to build your company’s personality from scratch! Non-tangible elements showcase the purpose of your business and define what your brand stands for.
As Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, says: “Branding is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” You want your brand to leave a positive impression and truly speak to your target audience.
A few key factors to consider:
- What is the “why” for your business?
- What are your values/beliefs?
- How are you different from your competitors?
- What is the tone/voice of your brand?
The design attracts your audience, but the impression they receive from your business is what makes them stay. Before you can start creating the visual aspect of your brand identity, you must solidify the core values. A messaging framework is a great way to create a written representation of who your company is and what it stands for. If your framework is well-established, your consumer should be able to easily answer the question “What does this company do?”.
It’s vital to identify your company’s value proposition, positioning, and the story that differentiates you from the competition. Remember the reason for starting your business in the first place!
A helpful tip is to think of three words that you want someone to use when describing your business and lean into them as you continue to market your brand.
The voice and tone of your content are incredibly important factors to pay attention to. Not only will your messaging translate into how your brand is perceived, it will also represent your company’s underlying values. You can have the best visual content in the world, but messaging can still make or break your brand identity.
⇢ Consider the voice of your brand as a vocalized personality. Do you want your business to come off as fun, playful, and positive? Or maybe you prefer a more lively and professional approach?
⇢ The tone is the flavor of your brand’s voice. How do you want consumers to feel when they come across your brand? What is the vibe that you want them to receive?
Tangible elements of your brand identity
Now that the non-tangible elements are clearly defined, it’s time to dive into the design part of your brand! Tangible elements bridge the gap between your non-tangible elements and your target audience. Every visual aspect of your business should revolve around the following design trinity: typography, color palette, and a logo.
Although text design is often intertwined together, there are three distinct terms that you should be familiar with. These terms are typography, typeface, and fonts. The definition of typography encompasses the styles, design, and aesthetics of a typeface. A typeface is the collective of a font family (Times New Roman). Fonts refer to the size, width, and style of a typeface (Times New Roman Regular, Bold, Italic).
Typography plays a defining role in the experience that your consumer will have with your brand. It’s a major component that visually communicates a message to your audience.
For example, if your blog or social media posts are difficult to read, the audience will most likely have a negative experience with your content. They may even choose to not return because of this tainted first impression. This can easily be avoided by choosing the right typography for your business.
It’s important to choose typography that is distinctive, flexible, and comprehensive. As your business grows, you want to make sure that adjusting your text will be an easy and streamlined process from the very beginning.
If we asked you to name a green restaurant, which one immediately comes to mind?
The majority of people would answer ‘Starbucks’!
The Starbucks team brings cohesion to everything related to the coffeehouse chain by consistently using a palette of greens, the notable Siren logo, and overall creative expression.
Your colors should be functional and harmonized with each other. There are plenty of tools and resources that can guide you in the right direction of choosing the brand colors for your business. If you have a graphic designer on your team, be sure to work with them and create the color palette of your business dreams!
Colors play a crucial role in your business. Studies have found that 60% to 80% of a customer’s purchasing decision is actually influenced by color. As a marketer, it is vital to assess the psychology behind your brand’s colors and verify that you are delivering the right message for your consumer.
Paired with typography, your color palette will truly define how your business is portrayed to the end-user.
It’s time to bring it all together and create the emblem of your brand!
Pop quiz: How many of these companies are you able to identify just by their logos?
If you answered Twitter, McDonalds, Amazon, and Apple, you are spot on!
A logo is a memorable design element that will represent your business and will most likely last at least ten years. The goal is to have your logo do most of the heavy lifting for you. It should make a memorable first impression, spark curiosity, and encourage consumers to interact with your brand.
Much like typography, your logo should be scalable, easy to identify, and appropriate for your target audience. Brand identity is built around distinguishing your business from the competition, but a logo will take it a step further and build loyalty and trust.
When your audience is able to recognize your business just from your logo, you have created a successful stepping stone for your brand.
Whether you have a good idea of how you want to approach your brand identity or absolutely no clue, here are a few tools to make the creative process a little easier.
- A Free Visual Identity Checklist
- Brand Design Inspiration
- 10 Best Brand Identity Examples
- How To Generate Leads Through Digital Marketing
Time to design your brand identity!
Building a brand identity allows you to create a direct reflection of the vision you have for your business. It’s crucial to design your identity in a way that clearly speaks to your customers and positively influences their experience. Remember, a brand isn’t built overnight!
As you dive into the design process, remind yourself that perfection is not the end goal. As your business grows, your brand identity will fluctuate and scale with it. The important thing is to always keep your customer in mind and stay relatable to your target audience.