Updated: Jun 7, 2019
What exactly is brand identity?
Brand Identity extends beyond just a recognizable logo or a cool website. A company’s brand identity can be personified, and thus can be thought of as a personality, which includes a tone of voice, core values, an origin story, and a mission. In the following paragraphs, I’ll delve into each concept individually to help you find your brand’s unique identity.
“Stay thirsty my friends”, “Saving more and doing more” with the Home Depot, and the idea that “America runs on Dunkin’” are all slogans belonging to brands to which you immediately associate a specific company and its products. The mental picture you conjure in your mind is evidence of the power of branding. The aforementioned companies strategically created an identity to their brand, and it works just as they intended. So well in fact, that we often get their jingles or commercials stuck in our heads.
Your brand’s voice
Finding the right voice, or personality, for your brand can be a challenging endeavor. One method I use to help clients find their brand’s voice, is by asking a series of questions. For example, if your brand was a person, and it had a conversation with a potential client or customer, what would it say? What tone, vernacular, attitude, or even accent would it use? What emotions would you want to evoke in the customer?
Are you a health care organization or doctor and you want to make a potential patient feel cared for and safe? Are you a consulting firm that trains CEO’s and you want to convey leadership, power, business savvy and decisiveness? Or do you make hand-made arts and crafts and you want your customers to feel festive and nostalgic with your products? All of these questions help to guide business owners through the process of not only finding their brand’s voice, but ultimately, it’s entire identity.
Define your core values If you want your branding efforts to be successful, you need to commit your business to goals and missions that people can connect to and want to support. In the end, everyone knows you want to make money, but brands develop a real connection with their audiences when they are able to demonstrate that they believe in something altruistic or significant.
It’s paramount to underscore your company’s underlying intention beyond making money and illustrate the added value that people get from buying into your brand. Perhaps your business empowers them to lower their carbon footprint or support the environment by choosing your sustainable products? Maybe your services guide them towards better health or a happier sex life. Or an evening at your spa rejuvenates them or commemorates a special occasion? Writing down your core values and thinking of ways to integrate them to your brand’s voice will get you a step closer to unveiling your brand’s true identity.
Develop your story and your vision People relate to stories. After all, it’s our humanity that binds us together. Building your brand’s identity around an origin story, or why you do what you do, will help you engage and connect to your audience on a deeper level. Basically, what you want to do is communicate your unique perspective (as an individual or as a company) in an authentic and relatable manner that will resonate with your target audience…much like a great story teller would to a captivated group of school children or friends.
There are primarily two angles you want to incorporate into this process. The first focuses on what inspired or motivated you to start your company. What are you hoping to achieve? And the second aspect of crafting your story focuses on where your brand fits into their lives What are you offering, and how do you envision them using your products or what does your interactions with them look like? The idea here is to paint a picture so clear that future customers can easily conjure the exact picture you’ve imagined.
Visual Expression No discussion about brand identity would be complete without an emphasis on design, particularly the look and feel of your website and logo. Now that you’ve defined your brand’s personality, tone of voice and core values, let’s focus on our specialty…visual expression. Is your brand trying to present a professional, retro, or classy look? Maybe it better aligns with a flashy, vibrant tone, or perhaps a sharp, subtle, or natural one?
Hand in hand with your company website, is the logo. Arguably as important to your brand identity as your company name, your logo should capture the essence of your brand in one memorable visual. There are two categories of logos, iconic and logotype. The first relies solely on a symbol or image, where the latter usually includes both a graphic and the company name. Whichever type of logo you ultimately decide on, you want to stay true to your brand. Additionally, the visual representation of your company should be simple, versatile, timeless, and relevant. Keeping these important elements in mind, will ensure that you design a logo that embodies and cements your brand’s true identity.
Are you in need of a company logo or dynamic website? Do you or someone you know need branding guidance, or creative direction? If so, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 619-431-1313 for a free consultation.