With billions of evolving businesses trying to get their name out there, having a profound brand identity is crucial to differentiate yourself from competitors. Here, you will find everything you need to know to develop a successful brand.
Let’s be clear, a strong brand identity doesn’t happen in just one night. It requires strategic thinking, communication and design skills, and understanding your brand inside out. As overwhelming as it may seem, with the right guidance, you can well and truly develop a powerful brand.
Fortunately, we can offer you a step by step guide and push you in the right direction! Read on to find out how you can develop a recognisable brand.
Defining Brand Identity
Before diving in, let’s define what “brand identity” actually means:
A brand identity is a combination of what your brand stands for, your values, how your product or service is received, and what people feel when interacting with your brand. Overall, it describes what your business is about.
Your brand identity represents the nature of your business.
Thinking about what makes your brand identity, it is important to note that putting together a logo and choosing a colour palette is not enough. There are a lot more elements involved such as your tone of voice, photography, illustrations, iconography, web design and video. Basically, you want to create a visual language that you can use across all your channels from your website to your product packaging.
It’s about painting the picture for your customers.
Step 1: Outline Your Brand Strategy
The first and most important step is to outline exactly what you want to achieve and how you will get there. It includes the following key factors:
- Heart of your brand (What is your purpose? Your mission/vision? What are your values?)
- Brand messaging (Define your tone of voice, personality, slogans)
- Actual brand identity (Which is what we went through in the previous step)
Defining a complete strategy around your brand will help you at a later step when it comes to creating all the elements needed for your brand.
Step 2: Revisit Your Current Brand Identity
The goal is to understand every bit of your brand. And how will you fully understand? By getting an honest reflection from internal and external people of how your brand is being perceived. With this feedback you get an idea of what works and what doesn’t, and you can adjust accordingly.
When revisiting your current brand identity, see it as a philosophical approach. Don’t stop asking questions until you get to the very core of your brand.
Include the following factors in your analysis:
- Current state of your brand identity (How am I being perceived? Is it working?)
- Solutions and alternatives to improve your current brand identity (What changes can I do so that my brand is better aligned with my goals?)
How do you get there? Start asking around! Do a survey with your employees, stakeholders, customers and even your friends and family to see the true reflection of your brand.
Once you fully understand your brand and have analysed its current state, you can make amendments if necessary to make sure your brand comes across as you intended to.
Step 3: Understand Your Customers
It is true that your brand is the face of your business. However, it is also crucial to understand who you are trying to reach. Your brand identity is not only about communicating what your brand stands for, but also about what your customers want to engage with. If your brand doesn’t evoke certain emotions in your customers, who are you preaching your brand to?
Understanding your customers will help you when it comes to designing all the elements around your brand. Try to identify various personas representing different target segmentations. Include demographics, psychographics, geographics and behavioural characteristics when creating your personas. Also consider what motivates them when choosing a brand, as this will further assist you in your design choices.
Step 4: Analyse Your Competitors
Developing a strong brand identity is about one key thing: Differentiation! You want your brand to be recognised, remembered, and shared. To achieve this, you are aiming to create a visible brand that is relevant and unique to your customers. And how do you approach this?
Well, first you will have to get an understanding of your market and competitors within. Analysing and comparing your brand to how it stands in the market and against competitors gives you an idea of how you can differentiate yourself.
Consider how other brands get perceived, why are they successful, what design material do they use and what their brand personalities are. From this analysis you can outline your point of difference and expand on that, creating your unique brand position.
Step 5: Produce Your Creative Brief
Whoo, you are nearly there! Now it is time to write your creative brief that outlines all the details regarding your brand design. Make sure you also include visuals as you will go more into depth with these in the next step.
Having a creative brief will help your team to stay on the same page and keep an efficient work flow.
Step 6: Get Together with Your Team
Time to brainstorm! You would have a lot of information collected by now such as your market and competitors analysis, brand audit, your personas, and creative brief. Now you want to transform your text into visuals.
The information you have gathered would also tell you of your brand’s personality, mission and values. The challenge here is to work out how you are going to communicate those attitudes so your consumers can successfully receive your message.
Stick your heads together and start collaborating to get your text into visuals. Think about words that are simple to visualise. The best way is to just start writing them down on a big piece of paper or whiteboard, and start thinking about what you associate with each word when you look at it. Write down everything that comes to your mind, even if it seems unimportant at the time.
For example, if one of your brand values is to offer “ecological” products, think about what comes to mind when looking at that word. This could go as following:
ECOLOGICAL → SUSTAINABILITY → HELPING THE PLANET → WORKING TOGETHER
When you consider which concept you can visualise the best, here’s a top tip that will make your decision easier: See which element evokes the strongest emotional response! Because in the end, that is what you want.
You want consumers to see what you can see in your brand.
Step 7: Start Designing
Let the FUN begin! This is the last step to creating a unique brand. Design each element following the creative brief you have developed in previous steps. Keep in mind all the information you have collected about your brand while designing, making sure that each element aligns with your brand.
Top Tip: Start with your logo and colours. The logo is the first impression that a customer gets and you want to excite them with it.
First impressions count.
Make sure you have a professional logo that is of top digital quality so you can use it across any type of media channel. Also, you would want to design a logo that showcases what your business is about in one image only, which can sometimes be harder than you think.
As this is a crucial part of how customers perceive your brand, you would want to put a lot of thought into this. If you feel like you need support with this, don’t hesitate to get a team of graphic designers and marketers who can help you with it. Again, having a professional, distinctive logo can be the make or break for creating a strong brand identity.
Keeping Your Brand Identity Strong
Lastly, we quickly want to look at how to keep your brand identity strong. Follow these three simple steps:
- Make sure your team is always on the same page
- Be inspirational – create visuals that evoke emotions
- Be informed – stay on track with design and branding trends
And if you are feeling a little overwhelmed right now, because you might not have the right resources to take on the project yourself, we are here to help.
We are happy to assist in getting your brand going so you can develop a strong brand identity from it.