Brand Identity: What it really means
We all hear the term “Brand Identity” bounced around but what does it really mean for you and your business? This introduction will explain how a Brand Identity is not just a “nice logo” placed on documents, pens and mugs. We hope to aid your understanding to achieve a strong Identity that really works
A Functional Brand Identity
A Big Yellow Suit
A good Brand Identity is a vital tool in both standing out from competition externally and being a unified business internally. A Brand Identity is very much like a memorable bright yellow uniform. Even in a crowd, the company is still distinguishable from the rest. Likewise, a strong identity will also give employees inside the business a banner which they can feel proud and confident to carry.
Strong Street Cred
It is all very well getting a fancy yellow suit – but if the audience does not recognise, or worse have bad associations to the identity, the brand is useless. A visual Identity must build trust and confidence in the audience. So the Identity must be controlled in it’s use, how it is presented and how misrepresentation can be avoided.
Ethically your Brand Identity should communicate why customers can trust you. It is not simply a pretty book-cover disguise – but should be honest in bringing out your business strengths.
Your business needs to engage and work with the customer. The brand controls the language you use to this. A good-looking brand can still be bad if the customer doesn’t understand or relate to the language.
Building a Powerful Brand Identity
The Core Values
Ultimately, the appearance of a brand identity is made up of visual elements, colours and a developed tone of voice. Customers can identify with a brand that consistently speaks with a brand personality. The Brand is the voice and face of the business, which needs to bridge the communication gap between you and your customers.
The gap shown above needs to be filled. The various elements of your brand must work as a unified system. A unified brand will communicate the core values in a way the customer can grasp and embrace.
The diagram below shows how the external appearance of a business should be founded on the internal core values. The blue layer is what the customer sees – This is how the core values are communicated effectively to the customer and the communication gap is filled.
It’s important to stay focussed on the reasons for the Brand Identity. Don’t let your creativity lure you into the following traps:
Do not make choices based on aesthetic reasons alone
Do use the core values as inspiration for a creative solution.
Do not make choices based on own personal taste.
Do research the target market and find out what makes them tick and what your business has in common with them.
Do not create too many rules
Do create elements which work strongly as a system but have a flexible vocabulary.
Do not rebrand if only a refresh is needed
Do decide very carefully whether your brand needs to be refreshed or completely rethought. Your existing brand already has a reputation attached to it. Identify the positive and negative elements to decide what needs to be done and what may need to stay.
Hopefully this article has given you some pointers when approaching Brand Identity. If you want to find more about how we can help you find your voice, click here. Alternatively, call us on 0845 0700 820, we would love to chat to you.