The process of starting a business is not exciting but on the other hand, very frightening. However, have you checked on the creation of a full brand identity? Well, branding plays a major role in notifying the global market on who you are, what you are aiming at, and the people you are expecting to have an interaction with on your business.
Difference between a brand, branding and a brand identity
What is a brand?
Well, a brand is the overall perception of a business that moves further than the known name and logo. As a result of this, a brand can be said to exist in the customers’ minds. This mainly comes from the impressions a customer experiences as they interact with your product together with other elements of your company. Every experience a customer gets from your business contributed highly to the message they receive. As a result of this, it is necessary to ensure that all messages received will aim at supporting the complete brand strategy of the organization.
What is Branding?
To be able to come up with a brand, you have to go through a branding process. It is defined to be the actions taken in creating a memorable as well as a unique brand. This is the effort you put in developing the desired image you want to have on your brand. Branding is very significant as it contributes highly to the success of the organization.
Significance of branding, making it a necessity include:
- Assists in building customer loyalty together with referrals. People will select companies they have familiarity with. Referrals will also follow as these people will keep sharing and telling others about the brands they love.
- Branding is essential for the competitive advantage of an organization over its competitors. The current world features every organization using different marketing strategies to reach customers. With a strong brand, you will save yourself much energy as you will stand out of your competitors.
- Branding creates recognition. Where there is a consistent brand, customers will always have the knowledge of what they expect at any time they have an interaction with your business. As a result, this makes it easy for them and easily trust your organization. An example is the Starbucks in which you will expect a similar level of experience no matter where you are.
- Branding enables you to get focused as well as creating clarity. With a clear brand strategy together with the purpose, you will remain focused on the mission you have, and this will lead to clear and better marketing decisions.
- An easy connection with customers is created with branding at an emotional level. Customers will always feel good about purchasing products and services of a good brand.
In conclusion, strong branding will mean an increase in the value of the business. An example of this is whereby Airbnb commenced as an idea between its founders, who had moved to New York. On noticing the problem at hand, they took the matter to themselves due to the lack of hotel vacancies in the city.
They purchased several airbeds in which they started charging $80 each night both for sleeping and breakfast. This with years has then grown to be a multi-million dollar company whose brand has been recognized highly providing what they promise to their customers of ensuring that people feel as if they “belong anywhere.”
Brand identity is achieved through branding. It is the collection of several brand elements that are tangible which an organization uses in creating a proper image of itself to its target audience. The elements may include visual branding, which can be seen and identified with the organization.
Furthermore, brand assets are also tangible elements that contributed to the brand identity. These elements include slogan, logo, to even the mascot, which are distinct pieces used in distinguishing your brand from other brands, especially from your competitors. Brand identity is very beneficial to any business as it enhances the competitive advantage of the business together with encouraging loyalty from its customers. The brand assets are required to be related automatically with what is in the consumers’ minds and not a competitor’s brand.
Below are some of the brand assets examples a business can have:
- Brand Name
- Advertising Style
There are brand guidelines, also known as style guides, which are some of the set rules on how your brand will be represented on the different assets as well as channels. This will be aimed at assisting your business in building its recognition together with credibility as it grows. Some of these guidelines include typography together with color guidelines, imagery examples, logo use cases, and many more.
Developing a Brand Strategy
With the knowledge of the differences between a brand, branding, and brand identity, you then need to know on the application of this knowledge in your business.
Though “brand strategy” might at first sound scary, it centers in the definition of your target audience together with observing how what you offer become distinctive to them.
Below are the steps you will use in developing a perfect brand strategy:
1. Finding the gap in the market to get your place together with defining the target audience
Establishing a gap in the market is very important as this is essential in determining your place in the market. This will also provide you with the knowledge of whether there is demand for the product and service you intend to provide. With this idea in you, you should then check on the competitors in the same market and get what they are not doing, which you will fill the gap in.
You might opt to check on what is their brand presence? How is their messaging like? What about customer service? Combine all the business initiatives and touchpoints of the competitors after which you can then provide the definition of what you can do best than then while remaining real to yourself.
You should note that you will not come to a point you satisfy everyone. However, you should put your focus on the target market only on your mission and messaging.
2. Purpose Definition And The Reasons
Take note of what your company is zealous in doing. What are the reasons for its existence? What makes you unique?
The purpose is a driving force on everything you will do in delivering your products and services to your customers. Your branding is required to reflect your purpose so as to ensure that the company creates a strong brand. Furthermore, to have a clear understanding of this, the following definitions will be essential:
- Brand Essence – This is the main brand’s defining characteristic. It is intangible to the audience though brings out the uniqueness of the brand
- Vision – This dictates ‘What’ or the main reason for the existence of your brand
- Mission – This dictates ‘How’ or the action you will implement in giving life to the vision you have
- Values – These dictates ‘Why’ or the purpose and the driving force on your vision and mission
- Brand Voice – If your brand was to take the place of a person, how would it sound? This is the communication your brand provides to the audience
An example of the use of vision, mission, and values can well be illustrated by an online communication platform for businesses known as Slack. Below are some of their defining purpose:
- Vision – Their vision is ‘Make work life simpler, more pleasant and more productive.
- Mission – Their mission is by working with global partners and developers to build apps and integrations that streamline work, automate mundane tasks and bring context into conversations
Through checking on the vision, some of the platform values are obtained, which include productiveness, and simplicity in a pleasant workplace.
3. Business Name Choice
Though at times, this has been overlooked, business name plays a major role in describing your business on who you are and what you actually do. It is essential to identify a name that personifies the brand you are to provide.
In coming up with this main element, you can use some of the below ideas to get the best business name to define you:
- Come up with a word, e.g. Pepsi
- Come up with another unrelated word, e.g. a name like ‘Apple’ has nothing to do with the line of electronic products
- Provide a description of the name, e.g. ‘Face Shop’ can be imitated easily
- Change an existing word through removing or adding letters, e.g. ‘Flickr which has letter ‘e’ removed
- Check on the Latin, e.g. ‘Volvo’ in Latin is ‘I roll.
- Make a portmanteau, e.g. YouTube which combines two words You + Tube
- Changing a number of words into an acronym, e.g. IBM from International Business Machines
- Addition of suffixes and prefixes, e.g. Shopify which is Shop + ify
- Selection of a place, e.g. Amazon which is a name of the largest river globally by water volume
- Use of your own name, e.g. Levis from Levi Strauss
After you have come up with the best business name defining you, recheck the brand’s vision, mission as well as the values to ensure that the name gives a reflection of the three. After you proof this, you are then on the next step in having a strong brand.
4. Developing a Slogan or the Tagline
It is a good idea to have your business mission together with the purpose in mind while you are coming up with your slogan. With the use of a single sentence, you need to sum up your business purpose on it. The slogan should not only be memorable, but it should also speak the truth concerning your brand.
You should as well keep your slogan simple. Furthermore, it should be short together with being catchy so as to create a strong impression on the customers while remaining memorable!
Come up with a brief description which you will use on your website headline, social media bios, marketing emails, and many more. This will create a great impact on the observation.
Furthermore, slogans are not necessary to remain constant. You can modify them any time you need with changes in the new angles on marketing. However, if it still works on your new marketing, stick to it.
Below are some of the approaches you can use in coming up with a slogan:
- Making your claim, e.g. Carlsberg – Probably the Best Beer in the World
- Use of metaphor, e.g. Skittles – Taste the Rainbow
- Tell them what they should do, e.g. Apple – Think Different
- Leverage labels, e.g. Cards Against Humanity – A party game for horrible people
- Become poetic, e.g. Folgers Coffee – The best part of wakin’ up is Folgers in your cup
- Complimenting your customers, e.g. L’Oreal – Because you’re worth it
Build-up and Use of Your Brand Identity
Having done your brand strategy, it is the right time you have fun by identifying visuals you will use in coming up with your brand identity. This will include the following:
This acts as the face of your brand. It is identified as the brand identity iceberg! You should put your audience into consideration and think about what can match with them while at the same, giving a communication of who you are together with what you do as a business. You can easily get through designing the logo using online tools, for example, Logaster.
When it comes to logo design, following the below 5 tips will be essential whether you are a designer or not. They include:
a) Make it simple
b) It should be memorable
c) Should be versatile on different mediums
d) Check whether it is appropriate
e) Should be designed for a long-term use
The logo should include the essence of the brand. After this has been proofed, you can then continue in other steps in having your brand identity.
2. Color Palette
After you have had your logo, you then have the basic foundations of your color palette. This will be included often in your brand guidelines.
First, you should put into consideration the color palette you choose will have an impact on your brand. E.g., a Tiffany Blue is mainly associated shade of blue that is linked with joy, surprise, and awe. They then incorporate this brand color into their marketing and packaging materials through which people easily recognize the brands even without seeing the logo.
To convey the feeling, you need to communicate with your customers; you need to research properly on color psychology and getting the understanding of the colors which links with specific feelings.
Furthermore, you should go for colors that differentiate themselves from those of direct competitors, which will be necessary to ensure no confusion on consumers on the products. However, at times, common specific colors are utilized in the same industries, such as the use of green on the environment and blue in the finance industry.
Lastly, you can choose to explore different colors by experimenting with different shades and tints. You can as well go for the colors that are not even mainly used in the industry! The more you will become unique, the better you will be above your competitors.
You cannot find any sense of the swirls and magical loops of Disney’s custom typeface at points where you can use other materials other than Disney’s marketing material. You don’t have to see its logo. All you need is spotting the typeface which automatically triggers in you the thought of the happiest place on the earth.
This is as important as color is in which the choice of your fonts will communicate a message of both who you are and about your brand. You can select one to two fonts to be used on headings together with the body text. After this, you should then ensure you stick to the choice made on all channels. As a matter of fact, you can even choose one main font and then incorporate different weights and cuts of it.
4. Shapes and Imagery
When it comes to visual communication, shapes, and imagery play a significant role. You need to put into consideration the feeling you want your audience to experience on coming across the visual elements on your brand. An example of this is when you can use in communicating unity and comfort feeling through the use of rounded shapes while on the other side, you use the hard-edged shapes to indicate reliability and stability.
Including imagery on your website strategically together with other marketing materials, you will increase the attachment your audience has towards the brand. You should pick the visuals which have a great impact which easily resonates with the target audience. You might also have to use the stock graphics or photos to get more resonation.
Note: In choosing imagery, you should first consider the brand voice: is it modern and edgy? Is the voice bold and loud? With this, you should then ensure that the images reflect the brand voice for cohesion in the visual communication strategy.
5. Brand Guidelines
Guidelines are an important part of the brand identity as we saw earlier. They provide guidance on how to use both your logo and other parts of the logo and brand as well.
Logo guidelines include the following:
- Logo Elements – These are the visual guides on the elements which contribute to your logo
- Clear Space – This is also known as safety space, padding, and exclusion zone which ensures that you get maximum visibility and impact when on the use of your logo
- Color Variations – This is the main (colored) version of the logo together with other variations of black and white
- Unacceptable Uses – These are the examples of what you need not do with the design of your logo hence avoiding it from facing any alterations. This might include alterations such as rotating, color adjustments, scaling, and many more. Furthermore, you can indicate its smallest size in which it can appear.
In addition to this, you can also include the mission statement, email marketing, brand voice strategy, visual rules for icons and images, specifications in packaging, and many more.
To be able to maintain an association with the brand on the consumers’ mind, you will be required to incorporate the use of brand assets on your marketing touch points. You will use the brand guidelines when you are:
- Working with a designer who builds a brand asset on your behalf
- On brand assets designing such as on social media accounts, websites, packaging, etc.
- New employee introduction
- When working with a print or a printer shop
- On the use of your brand as your business grows
- Ready to commence building a brand on a new business
Use of Brand Identity across Your Business
In coming up with a consistent brand will require you to remain true to the brand which will, as a result, enhance trust among your customers while on the other hand giving direction to your team no matter the size of the team.
First, take your time in coming up with a perfect slogan which might take you hours, days, or even weeks as well. Add it as a pop up on your social media bios and your emails which will, therefore, resonate with the audience you have. Is the green shade encompassed in your brand’s personality? Well, then show it off in all your packaging.
Below are some of the ways in which you can commence integrating your brand to be consistent in your business:
- Addition of logo to your website
- Using business cards with the brand colors and your logo
- Including your logo in your email signature
- Maintaining a consistent profile together with cover images on all your social media channels
- Addition of your logo on the stationery and apparel
You should never rush the branding process. First, you should define the brand strategy earlier such that you can easily build on it as your business grows.
Where you commence the business on your own, you might have other many things to do. However, you need to ensure you get time thinking on the brand you want to build.
Furthermore, you need to understand the following as you cater to this:
- Get an understanding of the significance of branding
- Come up with a concrete strategy defining your target audience
- Introducing your brand’s identity and using it across channels consistently
Upon coming up with the strategy together with your logo design, you will be sure to have a big step upon establishing your brand. Soon you will have your brand identity supporting your business and also building trust and getting recognition among customers. It’s high time you show off what you have to the world right now.