Think of a brand. Any brand. When you've thought of one, what image comes to mind? Is the image clear, or a little foggy? If it's the former, that company probably has a good brand identity. If it's the latter, however, their brand identity might be a bit lackluster. So what about your brand? Where does it lie on the scale of unrecognizable to legendary? If you aren't totally sure or feel that your brand development could use some extra oomph, you're in just the right place. In this article, we'll go over what brand identity is, how it has evolved, why it's so important, and what sets good branding and bad branding apart. Once you know this essential information, you'll be branding like a pro in no time.
Brand Identity Explained
A brand's identity is the visual representation of the brand, including its logo, color scheme, typography, and other design elements. It’s the visual story to your brand’s story. These elements come together to create a unique look and feel that can be used to differentiate a brand from its competitors. A strong brand identity can help build brand equity, which can lead to higher brand awareness and recognition. A brand's identity should be carefully crafted to reflect the brand's values and personality. It should be consistent across all channels, from website and social media to print and packaging. And it should be able to evolve over time to keep up with changes in the brand or its industry. Creating a strong brand identity is an important part of any branding strategy and it can take time and effort to get right. When your brand image and your brand story match, they tell a persuasive and compelling story about the benefits of choosing your brand over the competition. At Wizard of Ads®, we take all the guesswork out of your branding design. Book a call with us today and we’ll help you with creating a brand that stands out, builds trust with consumers, and drives sales.
The Evolution of Brand Identity
There's no doubt that national, guild, religious, and heraldic symbols, logos, and other visual branding have been around for a very long time. However, the modern practice of using these elements to sell products and services can be traced back as far as the industrial revolution. That's when factories started producing household goods, therefore manufacturers needed a way to stand out from the competition and make their products more recognizable to consumers. Over the years, branding efforts have evolved from simple visuals to including mascots, jingles, and other marketing techniques. Some of the oldest trademarked brands are companies like Stella Artois, Averill Paints, and Lowenbrau. Today, brand identity has become a complex process that involves everything from market research and target audience analysis to graphic design, web development, and even SEO. In other words, a lot goes into creating a strong, recognizable brand.
Does Your Brand Identity Matter?
A strong brand identity can do wonders for your business. It helps you attract new customers and build loyalty among existing ones by creating a sense of trust, credibility, and a positive association with your brand. A well-defined brand identity also makes it easier for you to stand out from the competition, communicate what you do and what makes you different, and reside in the minds of your potential customers. If your brand identity is weak or nonexistent, on the other hand, you could be missing out on all of these benefits. Your brand will be less likely to stick in people's minds, and you'll have a harder time differentiating yourself from your competitors. Just think about shopping for wine. The label, and sometimes the vineyard, are the only elements that are used to decide which bottle to purchase in a sea of options. So, yes, your brand identity matters — a lot. If you're not happy with yours, it's never too late to make a change. Work with a professional designer to create a new logo and visual style for your brand. And make sure to put some thought into what you want your brand to represent. With a strong identity, you can take your business to new heights.
Your Brand’s Identity is Your Aim
When building a brand, creating the right identity should be your second focus behind crafting the right brand story. This means getting to the core of who you are as a brand, understanding your audience, your product or service, the value that it offers, and what sets you apart from your competitors. To do all of this, call a meeting with your business partners so you can brainstorm and ask some pivotal key questions, such as:
- Who are we as a brand?
- What is our purpose?
- What do we stand for?
- What are our core values?
- Who is our target audience?
- What do they want and need from us?
- What are their pain points?
- What are our unique selling points?
- What is our competitive advantage?
Once you have a clear understanding of your brand identity and answer these questions, you'll have the tools you need to develop a strong brand that truly resonates with your target audience. But how do you know if your brand identity is effective? Here, we’ll describe the difference between good brand identity and bad brand identity with examples to boot.
Bad Brand Identity
A bad brand identity is centered around you, your company, your products, and your services. Now I know we've just told you that these elements are key to building a well-defined and impactful brand identity, but these same elements can easily be overemphasized and quickly form into bad branding. For example, using words like “I, me, my, we or our" in your branding can create a self-centered or "salesy" image. You are speaking from the limits of your own belief system, and in doing so you are only speaking to the members of your own tribe. This leaves you with a message that lacks the emotional depth and value that you need for your target audience to become devoted to your brand. One company branding mistake that made headlines was Pepsi and their commercial starring celebrity Kendall Jenner. The ad was meant to show how Pepsi could bring people from all walks of life together, but it received a lot of backlash for being insensitive to the current political and social climate. Ultimately, it's essential to remember that your customers and clients are the ones you're trying to reach. They should always come first as it's their input, suggestions, and feedback that forms the basis of a great brand identity, not yours. So keep that in mind as you design or re-design your brand.
Good Brand Identity
A good brand identity is centered around the customer, and how your product or service can elevate their happiness. It’s about seeing through the eyes of your customers and finding out what they care about, rather than lecturing them on what they should care about. It involves opening your heart and mind wide enough to speak to the values and beliefs of which are not your own. Using words like “You, you, you, your, you're…" and (you've guessed it), "you" in your branding will help keep the focus on your customer and show them that they are what matters most. You can also use a technique created by persuasive ad writers called “inclusive communication by design.” This can be done in two ways:
1. Include Something for Everyone You’re Targeting
Use language that appeals to every possible perspective a consumer will have when making a purchasing decision. To find these perspectives, create three or four customer "personas" with the help of the frontline salespeople who talk to your customers every day. Ask them questions that will allow you to confidently showcase each of these different belief systems. This will effectively take your brand identity to the next level, and the next.
2. Speak Only to Those Values and Universal Truths That Most People Agree Upon
You may have a great product, and your ad copy may be very well-written, but if it's not speaking to the values that most customers share, then it's not going to be persuasive. As beneficial as this advice is, it can be tricky to market your brand identity in a way that is still specific to your target audience. That's why initially establishing your customer personas is so important. One brand identity that does this well is Apple. Everything they do is focused on the user experience and making it as seamless, efficient, and joyful as possible — things that any customer would want out of a product. They do this through elegant design, user-friendly interfaces, and constantly finding new ways to make their products even more intuitive. And that's why people are so passionate about their products. When you put your customers first, it shows. And it pays off in spades.
Your Brand Identity Epiphany is Approaching
So, if you want to create a lasting and successful brand identity, it's important to start with the basics. Your brand identity is the precedent for your branding, marketing, and sales success, and without a solidified identity, your brand won't have the legs to take you onward and upward. Your brand should be easily recognizable and have an inspiring story that customers will connect with. It's also essential to have a style that stands out from the competition and makes an impression. And finally, don't forget to make sure your brand is being seen and heard by the right people. With the help of Wizard of Ads®, we can guide you through this process so that you can achieve household-name status in your industry. Book a call today so we can get started on building your successful brand identity.