It is a reality of working in the digital marketplace that, no matter how niche your business might be, there is likely going to be someone else out there doing exactly the same thing as you. This level of international competition means that branding, specifically brand identity, has never been more important. Your brand identity has the power to completely dictate the level of success of your business. Either, your brand identity can help you to attract and form a deeper more meaningful relationship with customers, or completely repulse and deter potential clients. Building an effective brand identity might seem like an impossible prospect, but with the right know-how and understanding, it is perfectly achievable for any business.
Before you are ready to learn the methods for building your brand identity, it is first necessary to learn what a brand identity is and why it is so important. A brand identity is the way that you define your brand, and the way that you want your brand to be perceived by customers.
Essentially, your brand identity describes the way in which your brand portrays itself to customers. The term brand identity differs slightly from brand image, which is because brand identity is a proactive process, whereas brand image is a much more reactive process. That is because your brand identity is the way in which you choose to portray your brand. Brand image, on the other hand, is the way that a customer perceives your brand. It is vital to focus on brand identity as you have much more power over this and brand identity will affect and dictate your brand image.
There are many reasons why brand identity is so important – the list below outlines just a few of these reasons.
The first and most obvious reason why brand identity is so important is quite simply because it is what makes your brand unique, helping you stand out in a sea of competition.
Brand identity helps to humanize your brand, which is vital for forming long-lasting relationships with customers.
Your brand identity helps you to appeal to your target market and form deeper and more meaningful relationships with customers. This might be because your brand identity embodies something that a customer aspires, or even relates to. Since 90% of purchases are informed by subconscious motivators, having a meaningful relationship with customers will likely lead to a long-term sales boost.
Creating a clear brand identity enables you to maintain consistency in all of your operations, from product design to digital marketing campaigns.
Now that you understand a little bit more about what brand identity is and why it is so important, it is time to focus on how you can start building a brand identity.
Finding the right brand identity must start with a comprehensive review of your current marketplace and your current customer base. In order for your brand identity to be effective, you need to appeal to the most relevant target market. You should conduct a review of your current customer base to discover who your most valuable customers currently are.
Once you have discovered which demographics are your most valuable, you can turn your attention to your competitors. Take the time to research your competitors, to find out who they are targeting and the level of success they are experiencing. You will not target exactly the same market as your competitors, after all, they will have had quite a head-start, but learning more about what they are doing can provide useful information. This will help you to more effectively decide on the target market you are marketing your brand to.
Once you have identified who your target market is, you are ready to begin creating your brand strategy. The first step for creating your brand strategy is to define exactly who you are as a brand. Namely, at this stage, you will want to define your brand, or more specifically, what is referred to as your brand heart. Your brand heart defines the purpose, vision and values of your brand. This step involves you giving personality to your brand. The more clearly, succinctly and simply you are able to define your brand at this stage, the more likely you will create a consistent and coherent overall brand image.
The next step is to define your brand messaging; this in itself can involve many different practices, including creating:
Again you should try to be as clear and comprehensive as possible when defining brand messaging to ensure that it remains steadfast in the future. As Ziflow explains, it is also useful to have some form of proofing and quality checking in place to ensure your brand messaging remains successful.
Once you have decided on what your brand sounds like, it is time to turn your attention to what your brand looks like with your visual brand identity. Your visual brand identity will involve a few different points of focus, and these will likely include:
To begin creating the visual brand identity, you might want to create a mood board with images and ideas of what your brand might look like. You can then begin to curate these, down to images and ideas that will translate well across different media and most effectively appeal to your target market. It is vital that you remain clear and consistent with your visual branding to ensure that your brand is as identifiable as possible.
Since it takes the average internet user less than one second to form a first impression of your website, your visual brand identity matters a great deal. So, make sure to check that you choose a visual theme works across different platforms.