One of the primary reasons that people buy products from a business is because they trust their name. Establishing credibility enables people to easily see the value proposition.
How do you stand distinct from your competitors visually? Why is visual branding important? How do you develop a brand identity that tells a consistent, coherent story and shows credibility without saying a word?
According to Investopedia, Brand Identity stand to be how you want your business to be perceived by consumers.
All the building components of the brand (name, logo, tone, tagline, typeface) are created by the business to reflect the value being brought to the market and try to appeal to its customers.
Brand Identity need not be viewed as Brand Image, as this is the impression in the consumer’s mind of a brand’s total personality (real and imaginary qualities and shortcomings).
However, brand image is developed over time through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme and is authenticated through the consumer’s direct experience. According to Business Dictionary
As an entrepreneur, building a successful brand identity is considered a priority.
A business needs to establish an approach to developing its brand strategy and consulting with me in their branding process might be of help because of my substantial effort in building my own brand identity.
So, in this article, I want to show you how to build an authentic and strong brand identity in both print and digital media to amplify your brand strategy efforts.
Here’s the way to get started.
Define Your Target Audience
The foundation for building your brand is determined by the targeted audience you’re focusing on.
It is this simple.
Solidify a picture of your consumers, then create a brand identity that they can understand and relate to.
Your brand value proposition must be relevant to your audience. This would imply, your target audience must be first identified and clearly defined.
If you can’t gain insights and understand your target user’s needs, thoughts, emotions, and motivations, then they won’t be convinced that they need your product or service.
So, the focus of design thinking need not be on the designer or the client but shifted to define the very end-user/audience.
It’s therefore important in the process of defining your target audience to find the right balance that causes your audience to recognize that you are brand message is specific to them.
This would require narrowing down to your channel of providing your value proposition, in order for the message to be compelling and clear.
Some facts to take, no business exists in a vacuum, that’s obvious.
But it’s amazing how many business owners completely forget this when they embark on a brand design project. Many will dive into design ideas anyway, neglecting the fact that their brand will inevitably exist in a competitive market.
Research into your competitor’s brands and knowing your target market inside and out you’ll have the compelling information that you need to achieve your brand marketing goals.
Try to explore what stands important for driving growth and analyze how the product or service is actually viewed by the very users.
Simply put, when building a brand, keep in mind who exactly you are trying to reach. Tailor your mission and message to meet their specific needs.
Get specific. Figure out detailed behaviours and lifestyles of your consumers.
To add on that, the right audience is obtained through conducting a market analysis – gathering enough data to learn what you need to know to reach your target effectively.
It is easy to deliver your message in boldness, increase your confidence and build on the connection just after defining and identifying your target audience.
That is why defining your target audience will help to strengthen your brand’s overall effectiveness.
Takeaway point – the power of your brand relies on your ability to focus on your target audience and craft a marketing message that will convert prospects into customers.
Create a Unique Value Proposition
Your value proposition is the core of your competitive advantage. Actually, it is what separates your business from your competitors.
Building on your unique value proposition or selling proposition, clearly articulates why someone would want to buy from your company instead of a competitor.
This is what it does it defines your unique position within the marketplace and gives you an edge over other businesses.
In order for a branding effort to be successful, a company must first identify its core philosophies, such as its mission statement and values.
Therefore, as determining your brand’s value proposition to the consumer is important, it is the basis of building a successful brand that would represent your company.
Finding a value proposition would take you to know your customer and your business well. It doesn’t end there, you need to understand how your product or service fits into the consumer-driven world.
There are several ways to arrive at this strategy:
Consider this example, Invision is dedicated to streamlining the design process by making it easier for people to share, view, and collaborate on design mockups and prototypes. Therefore the result – Better design, done faster and done as a team – as explained in its value proposition.
Develop Your Brand Design
Before you could start creating your design assets, you need to ensure the brand’s look, feel, and voice will be communicated through the marketing channels.
Creating a successful brand identity through design structure: the building blocks of your brand identity, need to be reflected in the image the consumer has in their mind about your brand.
Brand identity needs to translate into making your brand/company instantly recognizable to your customers.
Your audience, in this case, will associate your brand identity with your product or service. This is what forges the connection between you and your customers, builds customer loyalty, and determines how your customers will perceive your brand from the website to social media, advertisements, and packaging.
The building blocks you’ll want to determine before you create your design assets include:
A study of the world’s top 100 brands (defined by brand value) saw 95% use only one or two colours. 33% of those top brands would like to think they own the colour blue, and 29% think red is their colour.
This has become irrelevant, and it has turned out what you do with it that really counts.
Therefore colour is an important consideration in your brand identity system. Nevertheless, there is no need to be limited to the shades of grey.
Colours have a significant impact on people’s emotional state. It has been shown to impact people’s ability to concentrate and learn.
In fact, the effects of colours are extensive to psychological and using colours strategically in your brand colour scheme can have a serious impact on how your brand is perceived by your audience.
In choosing a colour to identify your brand remember colour also has a functional impact on readability, eye strain, and ability to draw attention. This is considered useful in choosing colours for signage, website pages, packaging, and other marketing media.
Typography is an art form that can manipulate the significance of what it communicates.
Maximizing and selecting the perfect font for promotional materials is an important aspect of brand identity. Due to its effects on the context of communication, understanding typography is crucial when developing a brand identity.
Consider how typography fits into the overall brand architecture. All communication associated with your brand will utilize your typographic decisions.
Your typography can be simple and non-obvious, or it can actually enhance your communication.
For example, Sans serif fonts (like Helvetica or Franklin Gothic) – are letters that have smooth edges and lack the anchor or ‘feet’ of their serif counterparts. They give a more sleek, modern feel to brands.
Your logo is what identifies your business, company, product or brand, and therefore is the visual mark, symbol or signature that your ideal customers will use to recognize.
A logo, therefore, does not serve to sell the company independently nor does it describe a business. Logos derive their meaning from the quality of the thing it symbolizes, not the other way around.
Simply put, a logo would mark the identity of your business and wouldn’t explain what the business does. It is only after a logo becomes familiar to your customers that it does its function.
Therefore, a logo may or may not literally describe what your business does but rather, identify the business in a way that is recognizable and memorable.
Ensure that your logo design is in multiple formats – a black-and-white version or multiple sizes. This will save you when you need to use it in any form.
Your website is one of the most representative aspects of your brand identity.
In a business model that involves running an online business or a digital product, your customers will definitely land on your website.
Before the customer builds loyalty and making the decision to do business from your landing page determines how your customers will perceive your brand.
All effort on developing your brand through a website need to complement the whole brand, to ensure your brand message is accurate and memorable.
Communicating your brand identity is about making sure your website’s visitors get it and that your message is having the right intent and impact.
On your website, you have to give your customers an environment in which they can discover, collaborate and then transact.
No usability improvement on your website can make visitors buy if they can not connect with your brand. This requires you to find key triggers of your customers and use them for conversion.
By leveraging brand identity on your website by engaging copy you could increase your conversion rate immensely.
Your communication through visuals lacks consistency, at a subconscious level, your customers will feel that each message came from a different source every time.
Without consistency, you cannot build a connection with your customers and hence you will struggle in selling to them.
Consistent brand identity: Color, typography and graphic elements are paramount in building a compelling brand. The reality is, consistency is associated with positive traits such as discipline, commitment, trustworthiness, and quality.
Refining Your Brand Identity
To remain at the top of your game you as a company must routinely analyze and refine your brand to ensure it’s delivering on the promises of what the company stands for.
Successful brand identity is not built overnight but it takes time. It starts by implementing these strategies to help grow brand awareness and strengthen the brand.
Ensure your company website and online reputation match the intended goals of your brand.
In building a strong brand identity, you may be forced to beyond the logo design and the mission statement. Consider your brand as a reflection of your thinking, your persona, character, and values.
If you don’t have a fast website, customers will bounce faster before they connect with you.
Check your websites to be mobile-friendly, load faster, and search engine optimized within your demographic for easy access by clients.
Here is a point to take, in communicating your desired goals as a company, build a robust social media presence using the appropriate channels whether on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.
And it is no secret that maximizing your value proposition as you refine your brand identity may place you on the advantageous side and ensure that your business is accurately represented to your customers.
However, as it is important for a brand to establish an intrinsic value to the consumer, it wouldn’t mean you shouldn’t change over time.
For the case, where your target user was not defined properly, you might require to analyze and refine their brand or rebrand.
Other reasons such as testing new strategies might demand the change of your brand identity, to remain competitive and ensure you deliver on the company value proposition.
In my experience, it’s not out of the norm for a business to refocus and revisit its targeting, especially if it was not clearly identified in the beginning stages of business.
As a business, it is important to define factors that drive the growth of the brand and analyze from the client’s perspective on the product/service.
If you want to have a shot at a competitive market first identify your stand and the client’s position.
Conduct an in-depth competitor analysis – including a review of competitor websites, search engine optimization, brand identities, and advertising – informing who they will compete with for market share, how to differentiate, and what strategies to employ.