Creating a strong and powerful brand identity does not happen overnight. Merely selecting a couple of main colors and slapping a logo onto your products is not branding. You need critical thinking, research, and creativity to effectively portray your brand to your target audience, trigger the right emotions, and be remembered under the right impression.
You have to be strategic and this often requires working with a team of strong communicators and designers and have a deeper understanding of your brand.
While these all sound intimidating, it doesn’t need to be. With the right guidance, you will be able to go through the process effectively and produce a great brand identity. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place.
Here’s a quick guide to creating a powerful brand identity in 2021. But first, let’s discuss what brand identity is.
What is Brand Identity?
Marty Neumeier defines brand identity as the “outward expression of a brand, including its trademark, name, communications, and visual appearance.” It is the process of uncovering how your brand should look, feel, and speak to people overall.
Brand identity is how you communicate with your market, what makes you stand out from your competitors, and how you want customers to experience your brand. Crafting a strong brand identity is critical if you want to build a competitive and successful company. When you are able to communicate who you are, you can establish better communication with your audience and form the strong customer and business relationships you need down the line.
What does brand identity include?
Your chosen color palette and logo are vital to branding, but it’s not all there is to it. When it comes to designing your brand identity, you need to create a comprehensive visual language that can be applied to every aspect of your business operations — from your printed collaterals to your website and product labels.
Basic brand identity includes:
- Web design
- Design System
- Data visualization
- Interactive elements
- Video and motion
Your brand identity should be reflected across all channels you are present in — be it traditional media or digital. It should also work for everyone — for your internal team, your brand partners, and your customers.
Key principles to remember:
- Your brand should be distinct. It should stand out from your competitors and catches attention.
- Your brand should make a visual impact. It should be memorable.
- Your brand should be scalable and flexible. It should grow and evolve over time.
- Your brand should be cohesive.
- Your brand should be easy to apply. It should be clear for designers to use.
How to Build a Powerful Brand Identity
If you are still in the early stages of your branding or are planning to rebrand and are not sure where to start, these tips will help you move through the process seamlessly.
Complete your brand strategy
A brand strategy is a detailed plan that outlines your goals and the process you’re going to take to achieve those. This foundational work helps you understand what it is you’re trying to communicate, so you can design a brand identity that successfully helps you achieve your business goals.
Analyze your current brand identity
Whether you’re just in the beginning stages or rebranding a stale identity, you need a full assessment of your brand’s current state and how that identity might be tweaked to align with your business goals in the future.
You want to understand how your brand is perceived by both your team and your target audience. Getting an accurate and honest reflection is the only way to understand where you fell short, where you’ve succeeded, and the next actions to take.
Know your brand’s persona
Many people think that branding is exclusively influenced by what your brand wants to present. This shouldn’t be the case. Your brand should also be influenced by your customers and the people you are interacting with. If your brand identity doesn’t resonate with them, it won’t be effective.
To have a better understanding of your audience, create personas that represent your different target segments. Aside from your customers, you also want to consider how your employees and business partners might perceive your brand. This will help you influence your design decisions.
Identify your competition
Building a brand identity is all about making your brand stand out in the market. Your brand should be impactful, relevant, and unique. However, if you have not done your research and failed to understand your market and your competitors, it’s easy to blend in.
It is important to understand who your competition is and how your brand compares in terms of perception and presentation. See how your competitors present themselves in terms of visual elements, trends, industry-specific visuals, brand personalities, etc.
Write your creative brief
A creative brief is a guide used to develop creative deliverables such as visual design, advertising, copy, websites, etc.
Create a creative brief that details the instructions and processes to keep your team on the same page and ensure you create a visual identity that aligns with your brand.
Brainstorm your visuals
Now the challenge is to figure out how to communicate and enhance your messaging through visuals. To do this, have your team brainstorm word clouds that describe your brand. Start with 5-7 descriptors to start. Think about what those words make you visualize.
Design your individual elements
Now, you are ready to design each element. Start with your logo. You can draw your logo onto a piece of paper or through a digital sketching app – whichever you prefer.
Build your style guide
Nothing is more heartbreaking than coming up with a beautiful design and not being able to use it correctly. A brand style guide is a set of easy-to-follow guidelines including examples and use-cases. This will help your team understand when and where to use your brand in their respective area of operations.
Need help with your branding? Public Advertising Agency provides top-notch branding solutions for small to mid-sized businesses from website to print collaterals. Call us and schedule your consultation!