When developing a brand, many will start with a logo or name as those are the first entry points to giving a brand its identity within an industry. However, these two components are just small parts of your overall brand identity.
Brand identity is the collection of all elements that your company creates to portray the right image to your consumer. A brand identity is made up of what your brand says, what your values are, how you communicate your product/service, and what you want people to feel when they interact with it.
Essentially, your brand identity is the personality of your business and promise to your customers. Your audience will associate your brand identity with your product or service, and that identity is what forges the connection between you and your customers, builds customer loyalty, and determines how your customers will perceive your brand. Your product leaves an impression on your customers long after you’ve made the sale. Brand identity is the process of shaping that impression.
5 Key Brand Identity Components:
- Clear Brand Purpose and Positioning: The first part of establishing a brand identity is determining what your purpose and positioning is. The brand purpose is the big reason For your existence. Brand positioning is the naming of who your product is for and why your product is a better option than your competitors. Defining these will inform your strategy as you create a logo, decide on a color palette, etc. Brand positioning is the process of making the purpose actionable. By naming your target customer and differentiating yourself from the competition, you lay the groundwork for your brand to accomplish its purpose.
- Establish Your Target Audience Via Thorough Market Research: A brand’s purpose and positioning can be informed, at least in part, by market and customer research. Good market research can help you determine who your main customer personas are. Your customer persona goes beyond just defining what problem a customer has and details some of the professional and personal traits of your target customers. Defining these traits will help you know what kind of a personality your brand should have to be appealing to customers.
- Logo and Color Palette: A logo (also known as wordmark) is one of the primary elements of a company’s brand identity. The logo refers to a graphical symbol and the wordmark is simply the name of the company that utilizes a distinct text-only typographic treatment. More and more companies are moving to clean, modern wordmarks as they deliver an easily recognizable brand in a professional way without the need for other graphical elements. A few examples include well-known brands such as FedEx, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Coca-Cola. Related to logo design is the color palette. This should also be simple, with only 1–3 primary colors (though Google got away with 4). Knowing a bit about the emotions conveyed by certain colors can help you select the right ones. For example, blue expresses calm, while red and yellow express passion and energy. Depending on the tint or shade of a color you use, that emotion can be adjusted. A tint is the color mixed with white, making it lighter, and a shade is the color mixed with black, making it darker. A lighter tint of blue conveys tranquility, while a darker shade of blue often conveys trust, an effect that many banks use in their color schemes.
- Supporting Fonts: Another one of the elements of brand identity impacted by your logo design is your branded fonts. You’ll want your brand identity to include a couple of supporting fonts that complement your logo to use for all of your branded materials (both in print and digital). For instance, you can pick a font to use for all of the headers on your website and a complimentary font for the body text. These fonts can also be used for client contracts, social media graphics, advertisements, business cards, etc. You may be able to use your logo font for some other things, like a title page on your website. However, it is likely that this typeface will be too decorative or bold for most text (like body text on a webpage or the font of your email newsletter).
- Imaging and Graphics: Out of all the essential elements of brand identity, this one is particularly important for our increasingly digitally-focused society. Today, we have a vast multimedia world at our fingertips, so visually appealing imagery is a crucial part of successful branding. When it comes to the images you use for your brand, the key rule is: be consistent. You don’t need to use the same 5-10 images everywhere. In fact, staying relevant on social media pretty much makes this impossible! Rather, you can use as much imagery as you want, as long as it all looks and feels consistent. For example, you’ll want to choose stock photos and/or branded images that match the feel of your brand and complement your color palette. Look for photos with similar lighting, textures, and photography style. Again, your photos don’t need to be exactly the same or match perfectly, but they should all be complementary!
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