Brand identity is essential to modern businesses. In a global marketplace, consumers need to be able to quickly distinguish you from your competitors, and a solid marketing strategy must be built around a well-defined brand identity so that all parts of the strategy work toward a common goal. When your marketing strategy is built around your brand, each part of that strategy will be easily associated with your company because it reflects the look and sound of your company.
Consider Fanta, a product of Coca-Cola. As soon as one of their commercials starts, the bright colors and distinct music instantly tell you what product is being advertised even before you see the product’s name. You may even hear the percussive “Don’t ya wanta Fanta – Fanta” in your head when you read the product’s name. Another great example is Apple. With sleek, minimalist designs and a stripped-down color pallet of white, gray, and silver, Apple products and packaging are unmistakable even at first glance.
What Is A Brand?
A brand, or brand identity, is like a persona for your company. If your company was a person, its brand would be its personality. Brand extends to anything that clearly identifies or represents your company such as your logo, social media posts, website design, product packaging, and even your customer service strategies.
How To Develop A Brand For Your Business
Strong brand identities consider three things: your company’s value proposition, your audience, and your company’s values.
Start by considering your business’ value proposition. What are you offering in exchange for your customers’ money, attention, or time? Your answer to that question is your value proposition, or the reason that your audience should care about your product or service. Your product or service should solve a problem for your audience. The problem might be a very practical problem like needing more time or a cheaper alternative, or that problem might be harder to quantify like wanting to meet new people or find ways to relax on the weekend. Whatever it is you offer, that value proposition needs to be expressed in all elements of your brand.
Next, consider your target market. Who is the ideal consumer for what you’re offering? Your branding needs to appeal to that demographic if you’re going to pique their interest. And in order to meet their needs, you have to know what their needs are. You also need to know how your target market wants to connect with your business. Younger audiences are more likely to turn to social media or feel comfortable ordering online, whereas older audiences often prefer the option of face-to-face or phone interaction. You have to meet your customers where they are.
Finally, consider your own values as a company. Is customer service important to you? Do you believe your business should give back to the local community? Is employee welfare central to your mission? Do you feel passionately about having your products made in the U.S.? When you set up your business, you made decisions about the ethics and practices that would drive your decisions as an organization. Now more than ever, it’s important to make those decisions public so your audience feels like they “know” your company. In particular, younger customers care about the values that drive companies they do business with. Customers actively choose to support businesses with a clear sense of ethos, even if that means paying a little bit more for a product or service.
Brand Identity Design
The visual representation of your brand is the easiest for consumers to identify. Visuals communicate information quickly and engage your customers’ senses, so thinking through your visual brand is important. Visual elements of brand include text, colors, and graphics that should be carried across all parts of your brand, from your website design to your product packaging and business cards or social media posts. Consistency is the name of the game.
Your company’s name is the first textual element of your branding. A good name needs to be easy to pronounce and spell, and should be easy to recall. Remember, that name will be part of your website URL and social media accounts, so if your company’s name is too difficult, this can become a stumbling block for customers who are trying to find you.
Another important consideration is typography, or the fonts you choose to use. Consistency is key to establishing a brand, so using the same one or two fonts on everything from your website and business cards to your logo and product packaging can help make your brand feel established. And the more times consumers see the same visuals, the more likely they are to recognize them. Good fonts should be easy to read and appropriate for the kind of business you run. Cutesy fonts are fine if your product caters to children, but that same cutesy font is going to be a big turnoff if your product is trying to reach young business professionals.
Colors have a strong impact on our emotions. This is why choosing a color pallet for your brand is so important. Colors will be the first thing consumers register when looking at your branding, so use these strategically to deliver the emotional response you want from them. If you want to excite and embolden your customers, use strong colors like red, orange, or yellow. If you’re going for a classy feel, try simple black, white, or gray to establish a clean feel. Just make sure you choose no more than 2-3 colors and that the colors you choose look nice together. If the colors make an unappealing combination, this can create an uneasy or displeasing feeling that you don’t want associated with your brand.
Like with fonts, use the same colors consistently across elements of your brand. Your website, social media, and packaging should all use the same shades of the same colors to establish brand recognition. If you rely on certain patterns of color, such as stripes or circles, those patterns need to be used consistently as well.
Graphics and Images
In addition to colors, pictures and graphics are another important part of visual branding. Like with every part of branding, consistency is key. Carrying over the same or similar images between your website, social media, and physical products is important.
Social media can be tricky when it comes to brand identity. Even though consistency is important, the nature of social media is to share new things frequently, so how can you both establish your brand and keep your content fresh? Whether you’re sharing original content or reposting memes, before every post ask yourself, “Would my brand’s persona share this? Does this reflect our company values? Does this post tell our customers who we are?” The goal is for posts to feel genuine for your company’s brand.
Perhaps the most important graphic for your brand is your company’s logo. Because the logo sits at the center of your brand, it’s important to get it right. Effective logos are usually simple – consider the Nike Swoosh or Coca-Cola’s unique font. These logos are easy to replicate, easy to adjust in size, and easy to adapt for promotions or holidays. They are also very easy to identify precisely because they are relatively simple.
When deciding on a logo, keep in mind that you need an image that will last. Choosing something that is too grounded in what’s trendy now may leave you with a logo that eventually looks out of touch. Another consideration is that it needs to be distinctive. Even though images of apples are very common, Apple has tweaked their logo to be easily identifiable; their apple always appears with a bite missing, and rather that creating a round, 3-D image, they choose to present their apple as flat, giving the appearance that it is a thin, 2-D object. These conscious design choices make their apple different from other apples we might see on educational products or signs at a farmer’s market.
There are lots of logo generating tools available online. Many like FreeLogoDesign.com allow you to create and download a logo for free, but also provide a higher-resolution image for a fee. These can be great resources for people without graphic design experience. Often they allow users to add shapes, text, and clipart that can be customized. But customization is key. Some of these sites allow you to select a pre-made logo, slap your business name on it, and download, but this is not a good idea. If you don’t take the time to customize your logo, you risk ending up with an almost identical logo as another business.
A Word On Websites And Branding
For most businesses today, the company website is the heart of its brand identity. It’s where their brand is most clearly and thoroughly expressed.
But creating a winning brand isn’t easy, and expressing that brand online can be challenging. Whether your company’s brand needs a light refresher or a major overhaul, TracSoft offers custom marketing campaigns to help you develop and communicate your brand identity to customers. We can help you design a website your customers will connect with. Contact us today to get started establishing your brand identity today.