Successful brands rely on strategic design.
A truly unique and recognizable brand identity is the key concept behind building a customer base that will remain loyal and become your advocate.
Every identity is unique. Like a fingerprint, your brand identity is built by the experiences and environment that has brought it to this point. This level of definition is what separates a good brand from a great brand.
The greatest brands entrench themselves in the consumers’ minds-eye in every facet of social interaction and around the world. Just ‘google’ it. A hallmark of the greatest brands is the ability to be recognized by everyone, even if they don’t patronize the company or truly understand the products or services. The influence of a successful brand identity allows them to influence consumer behavior.
Brand identity is the mission, vision and values of an organization brought to life through visual representation. Starting with logo, colors and typography and extending far beyond to create a vehicle for differentiation from competition, brand identity is the tool used to get inside the minds of consumers. Brand identity is not just a logo, but a guide for your business to interact with the world.
Sure, brand identity assigns styles and colors, but it also extends into customer interactions, marketing messages and sets a tone by which customers can come to build a relationship with your business. Consistency across mediums makes scaling your business possible, and generates a positive brand image both internally and externally.
Patagonia has grown their brand presence by providing a strong line of products, but moreover their brand has become synonymous with doing the right thing and giving back to causes that are universally positive. That purpose is part of their brand.
In a crowded marketplace, where consumers have unlimited choices and direct comparison is becoming increasingly difficult, the value of your brand identity increases exponentially. It is how you build relationships with your customers, turning a single purchase into repeat business. When you are looking at 5-different pairs of running shoes that are all made from the same materials, the brand that you recognize and resonate with will most likely be your choice.
Strong brand identity is the single most important way to transform a company that is indistinguishable from its competition to one that sets the standard and leads the way.
Building a brand identity to differentiate is certainly an intense effort that requires research, analysis and iteration. Smaller businesses may find the upfront investment and time associated with building a thoughtful and strategic brand as a barrier. Rather, it’s exactly this investment that will aid in laying out your strategic growth plan, confirm your brand ethos, and solidify your position in the market.
Understanding the fundamentals about the process will be key to making this activity fruitful.
Far more than hiring a designer to pick colors and create a logo, creating your brand identity requires a clear understanding of your target audience. The process establishes the way your business looks and conveys and further, provides guidelines for everyone on your team.
How to create a brand identity.
- Define company purpose
- Establish future goals
- Know the competitors
- Create a unique voice
- Find an ownable space
- Message consistently
Customers that are confident in your message and brand identity are more likely to share, return and evangelize your business. They will go above and beyond to inform their network of the value your company has added to their life.
Customers who are confident will drive further to your store, pay extra to expedite shipping and tell family and friends how amazing your company truly is.
How do you inspire confidence through your brand identity?
Start with a good name
Your business name is a beacon for your audience, it’s the beginning of your relationship with them. Simple, unique and recognizable. The name of your brand should be informed by the research about your audience
Put your audience first
Throughout all the steps of brand identity building you need to consider the audience. What colors will they resonate with? What brands do they value the most? How do they behave when they are considering a purchase?
Not only will your audience inspire design choices, but it will inform marketing strategy, inspire future partnerships and provide the information you need to scale up quickly and avoid potential pitfalls.
Your logo is universal
Typically the first interaction with your business will be with your logo, whether on a 40’ billboard or within an app on their mobile device, your logo needs to transcend formats.
For most brand identities, simple yet unique is the needle to thread; alongside the ability to stand alone as representative of your company. For example, Nike’s swoosh has become so ubiquitous that they’ve created an exclusive online community at swoosh.com.
Brand identity is consistent but not static
A memorable and intentional logo will help your business create a cohesive presence wherever you operate. However, as your business scales your audience in one geographic area may require different strategies than in your initial business phase.
A dynamic brand strategy, over time, will afford you the opportunity to define regional, sector and vertical specific brand strategies that all ladder back to your core brand identity. A true brand architecture.
Being clear about your vision and mission allows consumers to fully understand what motivates your business. To earn trust you must empathize — deeply appreciating the needs of your customers and solving for them — will best afford your business the success it deserves.
Remember, we are all humans — we want to believe the best in people — we also want to believe the best in the products or services we utilize.
A couple ways you can earn trust:
- Convey beliefs and values
Your brand identity is a promise to your customers, employees and the marketplace at large. Your core purpose and vision needs to resonate with your target audience. Your belief system may be solely focused on making the most excellent outerwear possible or focused on something more ephemeral, like taking action to make lives better.
- Be worth talking about
A dynamic brand identity extends beyond the in store purchase, the website visit or the first time somebody wears their new winter jacket. The brand identities that stay on the minds of consumers, begin a conversation and inspire action are those that lead their market.
Want to learn all the ways you can earn trust through brand identity?
Brand identity is a straightforward concept, and yet it’s not always easy to see outside our own business. A successful brand is one that conveys personality, inspires confidence, and encourages purchasing activity, often while saying very few words.
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