A good company becomes legendary when it cannot be confused with its competitors – and that is due to its unique brand identity.
What happens when you mention one of the global brands – Nike, Starbucks, IKEA, or Apple? Most likely the logo, the font, the commercial, and even the tone with which the company communicates with its audience.
Brand identity is one of the first vital skills that anyone aiming to learn how to start a business should establish. Well-developed brand identity combines brand values, communication style, and visual and emotional characteristics. For example, the visual part of Coca-Cola’s brand identity includes the bright red color, the brand’s ornate font, and even the shape of its bottles. And the emotional part contains a unique feeling of summer and youth, a trip to the sea with friends in a car, and the feeling when you take the first sip of an ice-cold drink in the heat. These associations are not accidental: Coca-Cola has spent decades and millions of dollars to make us perceive it that way.
It is essential to understand the difference between brand identity and brand image:
A sign of good branding is a situation in which a well-developed brand identity matches the brand image. In this way strong brand identity can bring in customers.
Developing a strong brand identity is an eight-step process that helps define the most important characteristics of a brand. Its purpose, personality, the emotions it evokes in people, and how the brand identity aligns with the company’s mission. Below we break down all five steps in detail.
The concept describes your company for the future. It should be inspiring and ambitious. Ideally, it should fit into one sentence but not be too literal. As you begin to define your company concept, try to answer the following questions:
A great example is JetBlue’s vision: “Bring Humanity Back to Air Travel.”
The company’s mission defines the company’s purpose. It should be simple, straightforward, easily reproducible, and free of jargon words. It should motivate both the company’s employees and the consumers of your products. The company’s mission is prescribed in the development of the brand book. Approving the company’s mission, try to answer the following questions:
Walt Disney Company’s mission statement is a great example: “The mission of The Walt Disney Company is to entertain, inform and inspire customers around the globe through the power of unparalleled storytelling, reflecting the iconic brands, creative minds and innovative technologies that make ours the world’s premier entertainment company.”
This is difficult to define but necessary. You need to determine the emotion consumers of your products should feel when they encounter your brand. When selecting your brand emotion, try to answer the following questions:
Some great examples of brands’ emotions are:
Brand emotion is the embodiment of a company’s heart, soul, and spirit. It is best described in one word.
As with a person, a brand’s personality lies in the way it speaks, behaves, thinks, acts, and reacts. That’s how a strong brand is personified: human characteristics are applied to a business. For example, Apple is young and trendy, whereas IBM is mature and grounded.
What inspired you to create your brand? How do your products and services benefit your customers? A thoughtful backstory will help customers better understand and connect with the brand more emotionally.
A transparent value system is vital for any strong brand. It defines the corporate culture and adds integrity to the business. Each company should have a specific goal, whether it is to produce quality products or to promote environmentally friendly consumption. And it helps to increase response rate of your influencer outreach, as far sa clear and public list of values shows your main features.
Draw a portrait of the potential customer – demographics, profession, social status, etc. This will determine what external attributes and tone of communication you choose for the brand.
A brand positioning or value proposition is a statement describing the uniqueness of a product/service and its value to the consumer in one or two sentences. It should define your audience and the category in which your brand exists, denote the specific benefit of buying the product/service, differentiate you from the competition, and inspire customers.
As you think about strong brand positioning, answer the following questions:
For example, Warby Parker is an excellent example of positioning: “Warby Parker was founded with a rebellious spirit and a high purpose: to offer designer clothes at a revolutionary price and to do socially active business.”
This step consists of tone of voice, brand color palette, typography, and logo. But don`t forget to pay attention to the brand identities scale.
It’s time to give the brand a voice. How will you communicate with your audience? Clearly and to the point or with lots of puns and jokes? Once you’ve chosen a tone of voice, make sure you stick to it in all communication channels: website texts, UX copywriting, blog posts, emails, etc.
A secret that any marketer knows: specific colors evoke certain emotions. Choose one or two signature colors and use them consistently on your website, print products, social media, and other mediums. That way, your brand will be associated with a specific color palette over time.
As with a color palette, the right typeface can be your brand’s card. Classic serif fonts are usually associated with tradition and stability, ornate fonts with elegance and premium, and softer, rounded fonts with technology and innovation.
The logo is the first thing a potential customer will see. It is a symbol of a business. The main thing is that it should be memorable and reflect the brand’s essence.
Strong brand identity is a rather tricky thing to understand, especially for those not involved in its creation. That’s why creating a brand book that spells out every detail – tone of voice, fonts, brand color palette, brand values, and other attributes is essential.
To add integrity to the brand, ensure every detail matches the brand book. Here’s what you need to pay special attention to:
Pay attention to these nuances because these communication channels make your product memorable. And also get brand advocacy.
Well-developed brand identity sets a business apart from the rest and helps customers establish an emotional connection with the company. All these things related to brand identity make your product memorable. In the long run, this leads to an increased loyal audience and a deeper involvement of customers in the brand’s marketing activities.
Vanessa Friedman is a content marketing professional who helps companies attract visitors, convert leads and close customers.