Table of Contents
- What is a Brand Identity?
- When Should You Start the Brand Identity Process?
- How to Create a Brand Identity
- Step 1: Discover Your Brand’s Purpose
- Step 2: Bridge Your Brand Goals with Audience Research
- Step 3: Audit Your Brand, Research Your Competitors
- Step 4: Create a Brand Strategy
- Step 5: Clarify Your Messaging
- Step 6: Develop a Brand Identity Framework
- Step 7: Implement Your Brand Rollout
- Need Help with Your Branding?
You can’t put lipstick on a pig. Your business is no different.
Sometimes we force ourselves to just “do” business without thinking about what we look like or say.
Most businesses fail at aligning their identity with branding.
What is a Brand Identity?
A brand identity is a collection of attributes that define the look and feel of your company or organization. In simple terms, it’s the tangible. You can touch it, feel it, hear it, speak it, and see it.
The attributes refer to all the elements that helps convey the essence of who you are and what your company does, everything from the logo to the website.
In more complex terms, these defining attributes are critical to how your customers engage with your brand and choose you over competitors.
So, how does a brand accomplish this?
How can you create a brand identity that not only expresses your values but captures the hearts of your target audience?
When Should You Start the Brand Identity Process?
If you are at any of these milestones, consider starting the brand identity process.
- For a new business.
- For a new product.
- For a brand refresh.
- For a name change.
- For company acquisitions.
- For an integrated brand system.
How to Create a Brand Identity
Your brand identity is an investment. What you create today might look drastically different 5-10 years from now.
When getting started on your brand identity, the goal is to create a solid foundation that can grow, elevate, and empower your company.
Follow these five steps to help jumpstart your brand identity.
Step 1: Discover Your Brand’s Purpose
Brands are not just about a good-looking design. Brands are about purpose.
Why does your brand exist? What are you hoping to accomplish?
Exploring your purpose will help you discover key qualities that can help shape and transform your identity.
According to marketer Seth Godin, you are either a Purple Cow or you are not. You are either remarkable or invisible. But to be truly remarkable, you must also be inspirational.
Simon Sinek further explores this by posing the fundamental question:
“Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? Why do some command greater loyalty from customers and employees alike?“
The answer: start with why. Behind every brand, is more than just a product or service. When you start with your purpose, the WHY behind it, people begin to connect to the greater picture of what your brand is and why they do it.
Answer the following questions:
- What does your company do?
- The result of why.
- How do you do it?
- Actions to help realize your wow.
- Why do you do what you do?
- What do you believe in?
Step 2: Bridge Your Brand Goals with Audience Research
When creating your company’s brand, it is hard not to focus on your needs and desires. But let’s face it, your brand would be nothing without your audience.
Your audience is who your brand is for, so having a compelling identity that aligns with their needs is just as, if not more important than your individual brand goals.
When creating a brand, aligning your business goals to your target market is essential.
What would appeal to them? What visual elements and brand voice would resonate with them?
A compelling brand can immediately position you for success.
Step 3: Audit Your Brand, Research Your Competitors
To know where you need to go, start by evaluating where your competitors currently are. Begin with a brand analysis. A brand analysis should determine what is important for growth and analyze how the product or service is perceived by the consumer.
The Brand Analysis describes and evaluates the current state of a brand and its effectiveness in achieving your business objectives. Throughout this audit, you will find recommendations to help you reach your goals. You will uncover marketing suggestions that address the next steps to close the gap between current and desired marketing efforts.
Additionally, you can perform a competitor analysis to help get a better idea of the business landscape.
Review your competitors’ websites, advertising, social media outlets, and search engine optimization (SEO). Look at any outlet your competitor uses to market, communicate, or share information with the consumer. Use this data to inform how you will differentiate yourself and compete.
Completing a SWOT Analysis can also be beneficial in giving you an understanding of your current branding position and how you should develop your strategy. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Use the SWOT Analysis to determine what is working well and what could use improvement.
Step 4: Create a Brand Strategy
A brand strategy provides a unified idea about all the behavior actions and communications are aligned. A brand strategy helps build the vision and emerges with the company’s culture.
Your brand strategy should have the goal of identifying your brand’s voice and persona, as well as reinforcing your company’s mission and values. It will determine how your company will share your brand and communicate with the public. The public not only includes your customers, but your employees, vendors, prospects, and even competitors.
Use the research gathered in step one to determine how people currently perceive your brand. You should also evaluate how your brand is perceived internally. Both insights will help you to understand how your brand is currently understood.
Using this information, you should be able to create a detailed plan that outlines clearly and concisely what your brand’s philosophies and value propositions are and how you want to represent that to the public.
Step 5: Clarify Your Messaging
The best brands speak with a distinct voice. Great messaging should be memorable, identifiable, and centered on the customer.
Most businesses throw in a lot of word vomit into the brand and marketing. But when you confuse, you lose. A well-designed messaging strategy gives current and potential customers a true understanding of your business’ products and services. It conveys the value that your company has to offer by demonstrating how your company can solve a specific problem.
To better bring clarity to your organization, you should use storytelling to help grow your business.
Try using the StoryBrand Framework to transform the way you communicate to your customers.
Step 6: Develop a Brand Identity Framework
Writing a creative brief will help you organize your findings, missions, goals, challenges, messaging, and other details of your brand identity. Utilizing a creative brief will help with consistency and keep everyone on the same page.
Your Brand Identity Framework should include the company’s background and history, the mission, and the story of the brand itself. You will also highlight challenges and objectives that your brand might face as well as practical solutions.
You can even go deeper and include things like:
- Brand characteristics
- Personality traits
- Mission, Vision, and Why statements
- Color palette
- Visual identity assets
- Rules for your brand in action
Step 7: Implement Your Brand Rollout
The last step in creating a brand identity is to implement the elements you created into your advertising, social media, website, and other marketing materials. The key is consistency. Ensure your team is implementing your brand identity across all communication channels.
Analyze how your consumers are interacting with your brand identity and identify areas of improvement. To remain competitive, you must routinely analyze and refine your brand to verify it is delivering your company’s character, voice, and values.
Need Help with Your Branding?
At Strategy, we are more than a marketing agency — we are your number one brand ambassador. Our team of marketing experts includes strategists, copywriters, designers, developers, SEO experts, and forward thinkers who can bring expertise and insight to help create your brand identity and give your brand a competitive advantage.
Whether you are a new business starting from scratch or an established brand looking to re-evaluate your brand identity, Strategy can support your brand’s journey to the next level.
Ready to get started? Contact us today!