What is a brand identity exactly?
Imagine craving for a cup of coffee. There are five coffee shops in your neighbourhood. They all roughly serve the same coffee for the same price. Which one do you choose?
You'll probably have a favorite. Of course they serve nice coffee, but they also have nice baristas, a cozy interior, just the right ambient music and their logo design is on point.
All these different aspects together are the reason why you prefer this particular coffee shop over any another one. These aspects are all part of what's known as brand identity. A brand identity is a carefully selected set of emotions and perceptions that you want to cultivate around your brand. You can invoke these emotions and perceptions through all senses, not in the least the visual senses.
What does a brand identity consist of?
A brand identity can constist of all kinds of things, as long as it derives from the core principles of your brand. For example:
- brand name
- brand slogan
- brand logo
- brand colors
- brand typography
These are the core visual items that any business needs for a successful brand identity. But for a really great brand identity, you'll need to think of everything. And most big brands do. They also carefully and intentionally have brand rules for the following items:
- how you write your communication ("tone of voice")
- use of photography
- how to communicate with customers
- product packaging
- in-store music playlists
The list goes on. You can probably think of more things that help to reinforce your reputation and identity of your brand. The collective set of all these things are your brand identity.
How to create a brand identity?
It all starts by understanding your target audience. It's the group of people that are most likely to interact with your brand. What do they want? What do they need? How do you want them to feel? You need to deeply understand your audience before you're going to decide what your brand could look like and what emotions it communicate to your target group.
It sometimes helps to create brand personas. These are typical users of your target audience. You can create a simple persona by thinking of the following characteristics and just write them down:
Now try to empathize with this persona and put yourself in his or her shoes. Try to see your brand from their eyes. Does it fit this persons' interests? What would you change in order to make it even better?
Design a visual brand identity
Once you've determined your target group, one of the most important things that you have to create is your visual brand identity. For example, your brand logo will be the most visible touchpoint of your complete brand identity. It's also fun to create your logo, this is the point where your brand gets real!
Here are the steps to create a visual brand identity:
Create a brand name
Your brand name needs to be unique, easy to remember and completely aligned with your brand identity. If your target group is traditional, you'll need a more descriptive name. When your target group are millenials or gen-z, you can be a bit more liberal and come up with something quirky. In any way you'll need to figure out what brand names appeal to your target group.
We have a free business name tool to help you get started:
Create a brand slogan
Your brand name should match your brand identity, and your brand slogan should perfectly capture your brand promise. Your brand promise is your pledge of what your company delivers to your target group. When your customers read your slogan, they should immediately be assured that this is what they can get from you.
Create a brand logo
Your logo is the most important visual aspect of your brand identity. This is what your customers will remember of your brand. A logo should capture your brand essence, be easy to understand and above all, be memorable.
You can create a brand logo by hiring a design agency, or create one yourself with My Brand New Logo. For most people, a design agency is too expensive and too time consuming. A logo maker like ours is often the best solution for most people.
Don't be afraid of not being 100% unique. It's more important that your brand is consistent. Think about using the same colors and fonts everywhere, to use the same layouts, to communicate in the same way. A logo is a very important part, but there's more to your brand that just a logo. Above all, it's vital to have a consistent brand identity.
Some logo tips
It's essential to pick a good font for your brand. Remember about your brand identity. What do your customers prefer? Do they prefer serif fonts, who are usually more traditional, and sometimes associated with luxury and formal companies. Or do they prefer sans-serif fonts, which are often chosen by newer companies, like tech startups.
It's good to think about which shapes fit your brand. Does your brand feel more soft? Or is it more firm? Would you associate your brand identity more with circular shapes or with rectangular ones? As long as your brand is consistent, it doesn't matter what shape you choose. The most important thing is that your logo shapes should fit the "feel" of your brand.
The same is true for color palettes. Is your brand identity powerful and loud? Pick a bright, saturated set of colors. Is you brand identity more understated and subtle? Then pastel colors would be a better fit, or even black and white only. It helps look at your logo from your customers' perspective. What colors would appeal most to them?
Roll out your brand identity
Now it's time to let the world know all about you. It's time to shine! First you have to think about where your sales channels are. It could be online, or a brick and mortar store for example. In any case, everywhere where you do business, you should let your customers know that it's you they're dealing with. That means showing your brand logo at every point of contact with your brand. On your LinkedIn page, on Facebook and Instagram you can easily upload your logo as a profile picture. And on your website you can place your logo on the top of your page. If you're doing business one on one, you'll need to place your logo on a business card. A good place to stick your logo is in emails that you send to your customers.
You'll get the gist. Your logo should be everywhere where you deal with your clients, supported by the rest of your brand identity, like tone of voice, use of colors and photography. It's important that you do everything consistently. You have to use the same logo and colors everywhere.
Create your own brand identity
It all starts with a great logo
Let the world know all about your brand.