Your business’s success isn’t just about the things you sell — it’s also about what you stand for and consider important. Some brands may value slick, professional product design. Others may want to focus on high quality customer service and their products’ hand-crafted or artisanal qualities. In this article we look at How to Create A Compelling Brand Identity.
Brand identity is the image of your company that you put into the world. It’s how you communicate to customers what you consider the most important.
This identity can play a big role when customers decide which brand to shop with. Your customers are constantly barraged by a steady stream of advertisements, appea
ls and content — all from businesses vying for the top position in customers’ heads.
Right now, an interesting and unique brand identity — one that elevates you above your competition and communicates your company’s mission — is almost necessary for success.
Here’s how you can create a compelling identity for your brand.
Planning Your Brand Identity
Ideally, the brand identity you create will be cohesive and offer a unique value proposition. Your identity will make it clear what your business’s purpose is and help you stand out from the crowd.
Research will help you build a brand identity plan. You may have a good idea of what your brand stands for, but it’s worth investigating what your audience finds valuable.
You may have a very strong idea of who your company should appeal to — the ideal customer. While this image may be useful, you might get too tangled up in it.
As a result, you may try to appeal to the audience you wish you had, rather than the people who are paying attention right now.
Gather data on what your customer base looks like at the moment and start from there. You can use this data to inform just about any marketing effort.
Surveys on customer preferences and interests, keyword research on the phrases that drive traffic to your website and the branding of your competitors can all give you a good sense of what your customers are interested in.
You should also take a moment to review your current brand identity. If you design your logo, website and branding without much thought put towards a cohesive look, some elements may clash or not come together.
You may also find that certain existing brand elements really embody the tone and values you want to communicate.
Knowing what works and what doesn’t about your current branding can help you plan your new identity. You can also pick out the elements of your current identity that work and keep them.
The Elements of Brand Identity
What do you need to keep track of when building your new brand identity? What aspects do the most to inform a customer’s view?
Everything your brand puts out into the world will communicate something about your identity. A few elements, however, will do more work than others.
The design elements below tend to form the core of a brand’s identity:
- Site design
- Company slogan or tagline
- Color scheme
- Tone and word choice
- Illustrations and images
While you should always be conscious of how your decisions may impact brand identity, these elements do most of the talking, so to speak.
If these elements are effective — especially your logo, slogan, brand colors and tone — you’ll likely be successful in building a strong and compelling brand identity.
A consistent visual vocabulary — and literary vocabulary, particularly if you produce a lot of text-based content or resources — will help you maintain brand consistency over time and in different contexts.
Also, remember that any customer experience — positive or negative — may impact your brand identity. In the same way that a slow-loading site can hurt your CRO, long loading times may also lead customers to develop negative associations with your brand.
Opportunities for Creating Brand Identity
Cultivating a brand identity also means building brand awareness. You can publish relevant and high-value content with a writing style and tone that is in-line with your brand identity.
This content will bring traffic to your site and solidify brand identity for new visitors.
Personalization in brand deliverables — packaged goods, services, content, web design and anything that you offer a client or customer — can also do a lot.
Personalized boxes with printed-on brand logos, for example, are an incredible opportunity to get your logo out there and highlight the values that matter most to your company. They’re cost-effective, too.
Consistency in tone and design will keep your brand identity cohesive across every channel that you use to reach consumers.
These channels include social media, email campaigns, your website and physical promotional materials.
Consistent doesn’t necessarily mean repetition. Your customers may follow you on multiple social media platforms, be on your mailing list and regularly visit your online storefront.
You don’t need to advertise the same content over and over in different places. You should, however, build your marketing strategy across channels with your core brand identity always in mind.
Because customer experience influences how people see your brand, better experiences can help you build a strong brand identity.
Improving load times and making your site mobile friendly and optimized for search will help you reach more customers and solidify your identity.
Maintaining Brand Identity
Brand identity is built over time. You’ll need to stay diligent to keep yours strong and consistent. Make the creation of your brand identity more of a process than a one-time event.
Dedicate some resources to re-evaluating your strategy regularly, researching what your competitors are doing and finding new ways to boost awareness.
You may find that, over time, your company’s mission and brand identity become misaligned. This issue can happen even if your identity is a perfect match when designed.
Many businesses find that the scope of their work changes as their business grows. When you’re meeting new customer needs, you may need to update your brand’s mission — and its identity.
If you’re keeping up with your brand identity, adjustments to tone, branding and design every so often can help.
You should also make sure that it’s easy to keep your brand identity solid. You can create branding guidelines for your marketing team and the people you collaborate with.
If they work within these guidelines, you can ensure that future marketing materials and promotions are in line with the identity you’re trying to cultivate.
You’ll probably find that you can’t build a strong and well-known brand identity overnight. If you keep up the hard work and maintain consistency, customers will take notice.
The qualities they start to associate with a brand can be a major advantage for businesses of any size.
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Lexie Lu is a designer and UX strategist. She enjoys covering topics related to UX design, web design, social media, and branding.