How to create a great brand identity

How to create a great brand identity

Brand identity is described as “the visible elements of a brand (such as colours, design, logo type, name and symbol) that together identify and distinguish the brand in the customers’ mind”.

All the elements in the definition above are the things that people will look at to decide whether or not to do business with you so you need to get them right.

Know what you stand for

Before you build your brand, you need to think carefully about why you’re in business in the first place and what you hope to achieve. This will help you build a mission statement and a personality for your business. A professional services firm, for example, may have a serious personality, whereas an ice-cream business may be more lighthearted and playful.

Frank Gramage, senior manager of brand communications at Vistaprint, says: "It's really important to define your business. Firstly, you have to believe in what you do, so consider the real reason behind your business. Once you've identified that, you need to dig deeper and understand your customer and what needs you're addressing. Only then can you start building a brand identity."

It’s also a good idea to work out where your brand sits in the market by carrying out a SWOT analysis. Analyse your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Don’t forget to look at what your competitors are doing on their websites and through social media. Also search online for what people are saying about them.

It may sound corny but successful entrepreneurs build a great story around their company. Business blogger Seth Godin describes a brand as “the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” Brand identity is a vital part of that.

Key to the whole process is understanding exactly who your target market is. Depending on the type of business you run, good questions to ask yourself include: Who are they? How old are they? Where do they live? Where do they work? What challenges do they face? What level of education have they reached? What do they do in their spare time?

Start designing

Once you’ve worked out your audience, personality and place in your market, it will help you create a logo and associated designs.

Designing a logo for your business is one of the most important decisions you will make in the early days of setting up a new business or refreshing an existing one. A logo will often be the first way a potential customer discovers your company so it’s vital that your logo communicates your brand.

As advised by many experts, your logo should be simple, distinctive, relevant, memorable, timeless, and versatile.

A complicated design can confuse customers and it may be hard to read when reproduced in different formats and different sizes. It also needs to be relevant to your sector. A logo for a nursery, for example, will be very different to one for an accountancy firm.

Ideally, your logo needs to last for several years so don’t include anything that’s time specific.

If your logo contains text, think carefully about the font you use and the message it communicates and chose colours that reflect your business.

Actually designing a logo can be a long process. There are various ways to do it. You could employ the services of a professional logo designer but that can be expensive. An alternative is to use a service that allows you to adapt your logo from template designs.

Once you’ve designed your logo, you need to reflect it in your marketing material. Keep your brand identity consistent across all customer touch points such as your website, business cards, stationary, packaging and email signatures.

Review, review, review

You should continually monitor your brand identity to make sure it’s stays fresh and relevant. As your business grows and new competitors arrive on the scene, your brand can begin to look tired and dated. You may also need to appeal to different types of customers.

If you think it’s time for change, you could completely rebrand but that can be risky. Big changes could damage your relationship with long term customers, something that is especially true for small businesses which are often particularly close to their customers. A big rebrand can also be costly as you’ll have to change your website, marketing material, signage etc. As this infographic shows, many of the world’s most iconic logos have changed little over the years.

A partial re-design could be the answer. Update with more modern colours or imagery, whilst keeping the integrity of your logo and other designs.

Do this and your brand will move with the times and attract the customers you need.

Source - Businesszone