A company’s brand identity runs deeper than a catchy slogan or a glossy logo. At its core, brand identity is your company’s entire identity.
Think of it as your company’s personality. The way your business presents itself to the public through advertising, visual design, and marketing makes up your brand. Having a strong brand identity is crucial for any business to succeed.
Consumers value authenticity. 88% of consumers report authenticity as important when deciding which brands to support. Curating your brand’s personality and messaging will help create an authentic and appealing brand identity. It also makes you more recognizable to your customer base. In the long run, having a solid brand identity leads to more sales and a loyal customer base.
In the realm of digital marketing, many components go into forging a strong brand identity. You’ll not only need to consider visual elements like logos, color schemes, and typography but also your brand’s voice and messaging. Before diving into the 7 steps of building your brand identity, let’s dive deeper into what brand identity is.
Understanding Brand Identity
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of the steps to building a brand identity, let's dig into the basic definitions.
What is Brand Identity?
Brand identity is defined as the characteristics and elements a company has to make itself stand out. Your brand identity comes from your mission, the way you market your product, and how you want people to feel when interacting with your company. Many different components come together to create a cohesive brand identity.
Your brand name, logo, color scheme, and any images help create your visual identity. Vocabulary, voice, and tagline help communicate the company’s values and personality to the public. There are also fewer brand elements that are specific to certain types of businesses. Part of an app's brand identity is its UI and UX design. A restaurant's brand elements might include its signature taste or smell. These all come together to forge a consistent brand identity.
Brand Identity vs. Brand Image
Don’t get brand identity confused with brand image. Although they sound like the same concept, there’s a key difference between the two. Brand image refers to the external perspective of a company – what consumers see. It encompasses all associations and feelings a person feels about a brand. Brand identity differs from image because it’s what the company chooses to put out, rather than the customer’s subjective view. While brand identity and brand image are connected, they are not the same.
Benefits of Brand Identity
Projecting a strong brand identity pays off in multiple ways. By creating an identity that is bigger than you, you signal to prospects that your company is established, memorable, and committed to its mission.
Brand identity is a key part of digital marketing. It determines how your customers will see you and pave the way for a loyal customer base. Having a distinct identity also sets you apart from competitors. With a weak or undefined company identity, you risk losing sales to other competing brands.
How to Build a Brand Identity
Building a brand identity is no walk in the park. In this blog, we will take you through seven essential steps you must take to create an identity that is genuine and sustainable for your company.
1. Defining Brand Values and Personality
As you begin the process of building your brand identity, your first step is knowing who you are. The key to a strong brand identity is clear brand values and personality. Know the core values that define your business. Ask yourself these questions:
What is my personality?
What does my company care about?
What does the brand do and why does it do it?
How do I talk about my business?
After you’ve given these questions some thought, it’s time to flesh out the foundation of your identity. Decide on a brand name and tagline (if you haven’t already). These will help inform the other parts of the foundation, your core values, and personality. Your core values or principles include three main parts:
Purpose (why the company exists)
Vision (what your goal for the future is)
Values (the principles the company lives by)
Once you’ve documented each of these, it’s time to figure out your brand’s personality. First, consider what you want your company’s voice and tone to be. If you already know your brand values, the personality will fall into place naturally. Your brand’s personality will easily fit into what your business already does. Once you’ve nailed your brand personality and values, your next step is understanding the competition.
2. Conducting Market and Competitor Analysis
Brand identity is all about differentiating yourself from others. With that in mind, it’s still important to analyze your market and see what the competition is doing. A competitor audit will reveal opportunities for your company to make itself unique. For instance, if the other companies in your industry all use similar fonts on their website, choosing a different font will make your brand identity more striking.
You should also analyze your target market as well as your competitors. Identity their preferences and needs to help create an identity your audience will connect with.
3. Crafting a Brand Story
A brand story is a narrative that communicates your company’s origins and mission. It’s a great way to evoke emotion and trust from your customer and give them a deeper idea of your brand’s mission. Impactful brand stories often follow a specific framework where a main character encounters a problem and creates a solution.
Channel your inner storyteller to show the unique story of your brand’s creation and growth. Origin stories connect with the reader on an emotional level, helping them get more invested in your brand. A great brand story is customer-centered, authentic, and consistent with your brand’s personality. Once you have your brand story, you can incorporate those story elements throughout different marketing channels.
4. Designing Visual Brand Elements
Having a cohesive visual look to your brand is a crucial step in establishing a brand identity. First, you should have a memorable logo. Aim for an image that's unique, simple, and instantly recognizable. Once you have a logo down, choose a color palette and typography that aligns with your brand. Colors evoke different emotions. If your brand is cool and calm, you might opt for a sleek monochromatic color scheme. If your company is bold and loud, complementary colors will emphasize that. After you pick your company's visual assets, make sure you stick to them. Stay consistent with your website, social media, and other graphics. Keep your brand aesthetic cohesive so that it's recognizable and pleasing to the eye.
To help you along the way, create a comprehensive brand style guide. It acts as a reference document that outlines guidelines for future content creation in your digital marketing. A style guide contains all information on logo usage, color palettes, typography, and images. It also provides guidelines for the tone of voice, language, and messaging. Following these will help you maintain a consistent voice across marketing channels.
5. Developing Brand Messaging
Brand messaging is how your company communicates with its audience verbally and nonverbally. It’s a combination of a company’s philanthropy, events, and language. To develop brand messaging, start by crafting a unique value proposition. A value proposition is a statement that explains why your product or service is different from the rest, and why customers should opt for yours instead. Having a value proposition will help potential customers see what your company has to offer. Communicate your brand’s value clearly to your audience, from social media posts to your email newsletter and website. By establishing a niche for your company through your messaging, you can position your brand to fulfill your audience’s needs.
Create guidelines for brand messaging based on the company values, personality, and story you’ve already crafted. The way you interact with your customers should be rooted in the identity you’ve crafted for your business. Once you’ve laid down the groundwork for your brand’s communication strategy, tailor your messaging to fit different audience segments. Different demographics will have different wants and needs. Keep a pulse on your audience and how they respond to different types of messaging. Responding to comments on social media posts, online reviews, and other platforms is an easy way to directly interact with your audience.
6. Implementing Brand Identity Online
Now that you’ve built your brand identity, it’s time to put your plan into action. There are three different factors to consider with your online presence; your website, social media, and email/ advertising campaigns.
All of the visual elements of your brand should be present on your website. This includes logos, graphics, images, and your color scheme. Another area to consider is your website’s design and user experience. A well-designed website will have a fast loading time, easy page navigation, and high-quality content. These elements come together to create a stellar user experience that reflects positively on your brand identity.
Your layout should also reflect your brand identity. If you own a large consulting firm, you want to communicate professionalism with a sleek, uncluttered website. A local daycare’s website will have entirely different goals based on its brand identity. Do what feels accurate to your brand. If you’re not sure, you can always leave it to the experts and partner with a talented website designer.
Just like your website, your social media profile should fit your brand’s visual aesthetic. Social media platforms present a unique opportunity for your brand to directly interact with its audience. Prioritize creating engaging and beautifully crafted posts. Rather than clogging up your audience’s feed with irrelevant filler, take the time to tailor your posts to your brand standards.
Email and Advertising Campaigns
Continue following the guidelines set by your brand standards whenever you create digital content. When it comes to email marketing, there are even more ways to show your brand identity. Follow a consistent email template to give your email newsletters a sense of unity. Whether you’re promoting a sale, welcoming a new employee, or announcing an update, each email is a chance to re-establish your brand identity to the recipient. With digital ads, your brand identity can be incorporated to draw in new leads who connect with your company.
7. Monitoring and Evolving Brand Identity
Crafting an effective brand identity doesn’t stop with implementation. In fact, you should always be monitoring your brand’s identity and adjusting if necessary. It’s normal for a business to grow and change, and you might eventually decide to revamp your brand identity if it’s no longer accurate to your company.
For instance, take the clothing chain Victoria’s Secret. For many years, the company was known for flashy lingerie and fashion shows. In response to many customers not feeling seen by their branding, it pivoted in 2021 to be more inclusive. Now, the brand has put the focus back on how everyday customers define beauty.
You may never have to make a sweeping change like Victoria’s Secret, but you should still track brand performance and customer feedback. Be prepared to make data-driven adjustments to parts of your brand identity if needed. By keeping it relevant, your business will meet evolving market needs.
W.D. Can Help Shape Your Brand Identity
A strong brand identity is no small part of a company’s success. By following these steps, you can forge your own brand identity based on the heart of your business. Creating a brand identity isn’t always easy, and it won’t happen overnight. Building a strong brand identity takes time. It involves data analysis, research, and gauging customer response. Doing all of this on your own can be exhausting. Consulting with experienced professionals is essential, especially if you aren’t an expert in the small details of PPC ads, website design, and other aspects of digital marketing.
W.D. Strategies helps businesses generate new growth through marketing, SEO, and more. Schedule an introductory consultation to learn how W.D. can elevate your brand today.