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Wondering how you can develop a unique and memorable brand identity?
In this guide, you’ll find everything you need when it comes to refining your brand image and improving your visual identity.
Here’s what what we’re covering:
Let’s get straight into it:
Your brand identity is how your audience sees you.
Think of it like this: when you meet someone new, you’re likely to develop an impression about them. Then, you interact with that person and your impression of them further deepens.
In a sense, you develop an idea of their personality. Admittedly, all your future interactions with this person will depend on this impression and personality assessment that you did.
Your brand identity is much the same. It’s your brand’s personality that reflects in the way your business is positioned, communicates with its audience, and its visual identity.
But a strong brand identity doesn't develop overnight. Instead, it’s carefully planned and marketed with what is known as a brand strategy. A brand strategy involves extensive competitor and audience research, and lets you differentiate yourself and better understand your brand purpose.
Below, you'll find a list of steps that you need to take as part of developing your brand strategy and, ultimately, your brand identity. But first, let’s address an important question.
There are three main reasons why having a powerful brand identity is so important. We've illustrated these in the infographic below. Keep scrolling to read more about each benefit in detail.
Over half, or 59% of consumers to be specific, prefer buying new products from brands they’re familiar with.
You too? Me too! Because why would you buy from someone you don’t know when you can buy from someone you know.
From a business lens, this is where strong brand positioning and brand messaging come into play.
A unique voice improves brand recognition by catching your audience’s attention on various marketing channels, for instance, on social media. This way, you’re likely to attract new customers by having a distinct brand identity.
There are a ton of online clothing stores, but who are you likely going to buy from? The most probable answer: the one that has a strong brand identity.
I once messaged Frank And Oak, a clothing store, inquiring about something. I wasn’t even buying from them at the time. But their instant reply to my query (read: fast customer support as part of their brand identity) knocked the socks off me.
The result? I’m their fan and I’m giving them a shoutout today!
Your brand identity tends to be on full display in the way you communicate with your potential customers, the color scheme and the rest of the visual aspects, the values you stand for, and the rest of the brand identity caboodle.
Now, if you have a unique brand identity, you’re likely going to leave a memorable impression in your target audience’s mind. By doing so, you end up beating your competition.
Just as I’m loyal to Frank And Oak because of their strong brand values, you can become your customers’ favorite by maintaining a consistent brand.
Such values, consistent visual identity, and so on can also help you give your customers a unique brand experience.
And, in case you didn’t know, people will kill for a good experience. Well, not exactly kill, but they’d pay 16% more for better customer experience.
These happy customers are quick to spread the word too, therefore, helping you get new customers. See what’s happening here? You’re building a successful brand with the help of a strong brand identity.
Ready to get to work building a memorable brand identity? Let’s hit it.
Whether you’re rebranding or building a brand identity from the scratch, the steps below will guide you through the entire process.
A lot about creating a great brand identity boils down to knowing your core values, audience and competitors. It also involves creating a visual identity and a style guide for consistency.
So, let’s give you the soup to nuts guide to develop a strong brand identity:
Why? Because knowing your purpose helps you understand your core values, mission statement, and value proposition.
You can’t tell what makes you unique or why folks should buy from you if you aren’t clear about all these things.
Hence, a good starting point is grabbing your planner and answering the following:
Use these answers to plan your tagline, brand voice, brand message, and more.
For instance, for Frank And Oak, quick customer service is a way to set themselves apart from others in their industry.
Similarly, with POP Fit, their unique value standing comes from their focus on inclusivity. Look at this poster from their website.
Their brand identity is on point so much so that you can tell it’s an inclusive brand in one look.
One important point: don’t just mentally tell yourself what’s different about your business. Write it down. You’ll need to share this information with your team and include it in your style guide to create a consistent brand voice.
In step two, you’ll need to put on your researcher’s hat and conduct two types of research:
To create a brand identity that’s memorable, you’ll want to know as much about your target audience as possible. This way, you can create a brand that resonates with them.
For instance, if you’re selling to entrepreneurs, you’ll want to know exactly who your target is: is it solopreneurs who juggle several tasks in a day or an established entrepreneur who manages teams?
Based on who your audience is, you can create a brand voice that speaks directly to them.
When researching your audience, ask the following questions:
If you aren’t new to the space, it helps to talk to your audience. Host surveys and polls, listen to their conversations on social media and talk to your community to ask what they like about you and what they like about your competitors.
Put all your findings in the survey template below so you have the info front and center as you plan your brand identity.
Here are some questions to ask your audience:
You can also ask them about their future expectations from you.
Your work here is simple: study your competitors. Find out what it is that makes them different? Why do customers buy from them?
Don’t just visit their website. Go on to analyze their social media, email marketing campaigns, events, webinars, and so on.
Study the following about your competitors:
The goal isn’t to copy them. The goal is to analyze competitors to understand how you can position your brand differently.
As with audience research, compile your findings in an easy-to-analyze competitive analysis template (like the one below) for your convenience.
Once you’ve studied your core values and brand purpose, potential customers and competitors, evaluate your present brand identity.
Feel free to skip this step if you’re new and only just creating your brand identity. For those planning a rebrand, this step is an absolute must.
You can also conduct a SWOT analysis or Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats analysis that gives you an eagle eye analysis of your internal and external factors.
Here is an example of a SWOT infographic template you can use.
Now that you’ve done market research and have all the know-how, it’s time to start creating.
Begin working on your brand voice. Is it humorous and professional? Is it friendly and expert? Or is your voice tongue-in-cheek like Gucci’s?
This is the voice you’ll use as you talk to your target audience and customers. Whether you’re emailing new customers, writing a social media caption or putting together your website copy, you need to stick to a consistent brand voice.
This consistency in voice leaves a memorable impression on your audience.
Here’s an example of a unique brand voice: Innocent Drinks. They’ve an informal and friendly voice that’s consistent across all their marketing channels, be it their web copy, social media channels, YouTube videos or product copy.
You also need to give thought to your brand message. It shows what you stand for.
Say you’re all about eco-friendly products. All your messages, therefore, should keep this to the fore. You don’t want to send mixed signals to your audience by, let’s say, supporting another brand that doesn’t care about the environment.
Oh and before we move on: no matter what your brand voice, remember to be conversational. You want to talk to your customer so they feel valued.
So, repeat after me: “My brand is not a robotic, corporate business. It’s by humans, for humans.” And, there you have it, a brand identity that resonates and talks to your audience.
Now’s the part where you’ll get to work on all the visual elements that define your brand. These include your logo, color palette, typography and so on.
Let’s address each of the design elements that will make the face of your brand:
Your logo defines your brand personality. Think of Twitter’s logo of a bird. It clearly shows what the social media platform stands for: freedom and quick messages that fly at a bird’s speed. Isn’t this what the network allows you to do?
What’s more, logos tell stories. Did you know that the arrow pointing from the A in Amazon to the Z indicates that you can get everything, from A to Z, on Amazon?
Nike’s Swoosh has a similar story. It comes from Greek mythology where Nike is the winged Goddess of Victory. The swoosh itself is the Goddess’s wing that stands for speed, motivation and power.
You can also watch this video on logo design.
Selecting brand colors is essential for maintaining a uniform visual identity. Your packaging, website colors, social media graphics and everything else will follow these brand colors. So choose wisely.
Ideally, it’s best to start working on your color scheme by diving into color psychology. Each color leaves a certain impact on your audience. Know why Facebook and Twitter have blue in their brand colors? Because the color inspires trust and loyalty.
Make sure you pick one primary color and other secondary colors that complement it. And, keep the hex codes and Pantone numbers handy for consistency in using those colors for digital and print purposes, respectively.
Will you be using circles or squares in your design? Or do you prefer illustrations like Mailchimp uses as part of their visual branding?
As with colors, there’s also a certain effect that design elements leave on your audience. Rounded design elements, for instance, are linked with life and health. Sharp shapes, however, denote danger. And angular shapes are known for triggering fear.
The fonts you use have a personality too. They reflect a mood and leave a lasting impact.
In short, fonts speak a visual language. It’s why horror movies usually make use of bleeding typography. Similarly, a cursive font is feminine.
Choose between 1-3 fonts and settle on the typeface (the formatting: bold, italic, regular and so on) as well. Here’s a handy infographic on the anatomy of typography alongside the details you’ll need before you get work.
When selecting, however, make sure your brand fonts are easy to read. After all, you don’t want potential customers to squint to try and understand your tagline.
You’re done with most of the heavy lifting by now.
Moving forward, your job is to market your brand identity. How? Share your logo. Design all marketing materials using your brand fonts, colors and design elements. In fact, the infographics you design should also be on-brand.
At the same time, make sure you stick with your core value and brand message and talk to your customers using your unique brand voice.
One good way to maintain consistency in branding is by creating a brand style guide to share with your team. You can also create templates informing your team about your ideal audience, your voice, what you stand for and your value proposition.
Here’s a brand style guide infographic template you can customize.
You can always create separate templates for each of these. Or, you can combine these into an infographic.
The best part is that it doesn’t take long to design all these templates and infographics. With the pool of infographic templates that Visme offers, it takes minutes to create branding templates.
Want another tip to stay on brand round the clock? Create a brand kit.
By using Visme as your design tool, you can create a brand kit that saves all your visual brand details, including fonts, logos, color scheme and more.
Remember what I said about a brand identity being carefully cultivated? Now this step talks about that. You don’t only need to create a brand identity and consider the work done.
Instead, building an appealing brand identity that wins customers is a constant process — one that requires listening to your audience’s thoughts about your identity.
This way, you can learn how well your brand personality resonates with your target audience and what you can do to improve your brand identity.
Some performance metrics to track include customer reviews, social media discussions, brand mentions and comments about what people are saying behind your back. If you find that there’s something that several people are constantly talking about, consider working on it.
For example, Zappos is known for its great customer service. The right move to take to further consolidate that brand identity: keep improving the customer service.
Now that you have the framework to creating a strong brand identity, let’s walk you through some more examples of brands with strong brand images:
Did Coca-Cola’s signature red logo with a ribbon just pop up in your mind?
It’s because Coca-Cola’s brand identity is this strong. Not only that, the brand also reminds of togetherness, family and friends, gatherings and happiness.
Why? Because that’s what Coca-Cola stands for, and that’s the brand strategy they market on all their marketing channels including billboards, social ads and the rad ‘Share a Coke’ campaign.
When talking about a strong brand image, it’s impossible not to talk about Apple with its ever famous focus on minimalism.
Apple is all about lifestyle, status and secrecy. No wonder they keep news on their latest products under wraps. Here’s a peek from their website.
Although this is a relatively new brand in comparison to the two giants we fan-girled over, Frank Body has made a strong image in a short time.
They’re all about natural skincare, a light-hearted, fun brand voice, and taking care of yourself. Their web copy is living proof.
And that’s all folks. With the steps to developing a unique brand identity laid out, I’m positive your overwhelm is in check now. Want to make the branding process all the more fun?
Sign up for Visme today and start visualizing findings from your research work and creating a brand kit to stay on brand.