Brand Identity: What it is and why it matters
Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon
A company’s brand is intangible and related to the values and culture of the organisation. In contrast, brand identity is tangible and associated with the sensory appeal of the brand. You build a brand: you design a brand identity.
Brand identity in a nutshell
It includes a well-designed logo, colour palette, font styles, voice, tone and images. When all these elements come together, it determines how your audience perceives your brand. They are used throughout your company’s visuals, from your website and social media channels to your letterheads, to establish recognition and trust.
The importance of brand identity
- To focus the vision and values of the company into a brand image
- To achieve relevant, distinctive and memorable differentiation from competitors
- To create positive awareness, recognition and reputation
- To facilitate trusted relationships with key audiences
- To build brand equity and a loyal customer base
- To develop consistent outward expression and communication
- To express a brand’s personality
Why brand identity matters for growth
Your logo design and colours are some of the main components that help make your brand recognisable.
Everybody knows the blue and yellow of Ikea and the iconic red of the Coca-Cola brand. As soon as someone sees your colour palette alongside your logo, they should instantly realise that they’re looking at your brand.
Brand identity builds loyalty and trust
To differentiate yourself from the competition, your brand needs something to set it apart — something unique. Once you identify what that is, you can focus on this as your main USP.
A strong, unique brand image is an essential part of building a good relationship with customers. If they feel that you both share the same values, they’ll be attracted to your brand and will likely feel comfortable choosing you over the competition. If you can keep this connection alive, you’ll be able to cultivate a long-term relationship — which can ultimately lead to stronger customer loyalty and higher lifetime value (LTV).
Poor brand identity will lower revenue
Strong brand identity leads to increased recognition and brand awareness, which should hopefully help improve your company’s word-of-mouth recommendations and referrals.
When your brand is top-of-mind for your customers, they won’t have to think twice when someone asks them for a recommendation — your company’s name will roll right off their tongue!
But how would this same situation play out should a customer find your brand unmemorable? If someone approaches them for a recommendation, they won’t be very likely to suggest your brand — as they’ll have forgotten all about you. Losing the possibility of powerful word-of-mouth business is a wasted opportunity to drive sales.
Good brand identity can increase revenue
When we think about strong brand identity, Apple comes to mind almost immediately. Apple’s high price point is a direct result of the strong, reliable brand it’s built over the years.
Despite the fact that quality-wise Apple products are pretty much on the same level as the competition, Apple is able to charge a premium price. In the minds of its customers, its products are worth more than the many other technology brands. This has a lot to do with brand identity.
So, what lessons can be learned from Apple? By investing in creating a strong, unique brand identity, you too can attract high-paying customers.
How to develop a strong brand identity
Know who you are
Before you know what tangible elements you want to make up your brand identity, you need to know who you are as a brand.
- Your mission (what’s your “why?”)
- Your values (what beliefs drive your company?)
- Your brand personality (if your brand was a person, what kind of personality would they have?)
- Your unique positioning (how do you differentiate yourself from the competition?)
- Your brand voice (if your brand was a person, how would it communicate?)
These elements are what define your brand, and before you start building your brand identity, it’s important you have a clear understanding of each.
Nail your design
Your corporate design assets are the tangible elements that will determine how your brand is perceived.
You need to determine the individual elements of your design such as typography, colour palette and form & shape (soft edges or sharp and square).
Design should be visual, memorable and engaging, and the overall effect should connect and communicate with your customers.
Now the fun begins! It’s time to translate all your learnings into visuals.
- Colour palettes
- Photography and graphics for marketing campaigns
- Style guide that explains appropriate logo usage and tone of voice, among other things
As you’re building your brand assets, think about clarity and consistency.
Iterate and refine
Your brand identity may change over time, and that’s okay.
Similar to other aspects of your marketing, it’s difficult to know what you’re doing right (and what you’re not) without tracking performance metrics. Use Google Analytics, surveys, social media comments etc. to monitor your brand and get a sense of how people talk about and interact with you. This will give you the opportunity to implement changes or improvements to your brand as needed.
Strong brand identity builds loyalty and trust. It’s what sets you apart in an endless sea of companies vying for attention.
Investing in brand identity will bring tangible results and ensure you are current and understood. Once you have an authentic, considered identity then your brand and business can only go from strength to strength.
Do you have a branding project you need help with? We can work with you to create a brand identity that’s distinct, unique, aligned with your values and ambitions, and relevant to your audience to deliver maximum impact.
Get in touch with our friendly team at email@example.com or call us on 01786 445022 to chat through your requirements.
Click here to see some of the branding projects we have worked on.