What’s Your Story? The Complete Guide to Building a Brand Identity

A lack of branding is one of the most common reasons for marketing failures. On the other hand, a strong branding strategy can take a marketing strategy to the next level.

Don’t take it from us. Did you know that over 94 percent of the world can recognize the Coca-Cola logo? Nearly half the world lacks internet and clean water, but they all know Coca-Cola.

Well, your brand can benefit from that same level of recognition with the right tools! Let’s talk about creating a brand identity that’s recognizable and successful in 2022.

What Is Brand Identity?

Your brand is far more than your logo and slogan. It’s everything that customers or potential customers see.

Creating a brand identity that sticks in the minds of your target audience has enormous business benefits, regardless of your industry, niche, or target audience.

We can all recognize Facebook or Apple from a mile away. Believe it or not, there are thousands of niche brands that offer cruelty-free makeup, unique exercise equipment, or graphic t-shirts that have the same level of recognition as the tech giants within their target audiences.

For that reason, building a brand identity early on (the sooner, the better) and being consistent with it can help take your marketing campaigns to the next level and build a loyal customer base.

Define Your Brand

First, what does a brand mean to you, and what do you want your brand to represent? Before you begin developing a brand, ask yourself questions like:

  • What do I want my brand to represent?
  • What are our brand’s top priorities?
  • Do we take stands on certain issues?
  • How do we address our clients and customers?
  • What standards do we hold ourselves to?

All of this, over time, will help you develop a personality behind your brand that will (hopefully) proceed long after it’s out of your hands.

Essentially, everything from the wording you use (avoiding “negative” language, limiting certain vocabulary, etc.) to the mission and values of the company will encompass your brand’s personality.

How do you want your brand to be known or associated? Fun, serious, entertaining, humorous, whimsical, professional, elite, or anything else? These are important questions to ask ahead of time when developing a persona, but it doesn’t stop there.

Determine The Physical Brand

After you have the personality of the brand, it’s time to determine the actual appearance of the brand. Remember, personality comes first, as this is what you want people associating with its physical appearance.

Everything from color scheme to font should be determined. Some brands limit themselves to only using a few colors, while others choose a type of color, such as muted or pastel.

Again, this is all entirely up to you, but you should consider the nature of your business and how your audience will view it.

For example, a cursive font may work perfectly for a flower shop or a wedding planner, but not if it’s too difficult to read. Conversely, a slick, easy-to-read font like Apple’s San Francisco font may not work for a baker.

Don’t Copycat

To build a brand, it has to be entirely unique. It can’t be too reminiscent of another brand in looks or personality.

Imagine if you created a brand that only used the colors white, red, yellow, green, and blue on everything they did. This would be entirely counterproductive, as people will immediately assume you are a subsidiary of Google’s, and that’s only before the lawsuits come.

Instead, think about what you want rather than what already exists. There is no “right answer”, so use your imagination and get creative.

Understand Your Audience

Remember, you aren’t just making a brand for yourself, you’re making a brand for your target audience to remember and prefer over the competition.

Consequently, having their interest at heart is important. Take them into consideration by conducting some initial market research.

For example, generational values play a major role in branding. We know Baby Boomers value quality customer service and Gen Z more often values environmental sustainability and social justice.

You can try conducting or looking at existing polls over what your target audience wants from brands.

Moreover, you can also try testing the waters on smaller scales. Small-scale A/B testing on email and ad campaigns can offer valuable insights into the performance of certain branding tools.

While these are just a few examples, develop a genuine understanding of your intended audience and try to build a brand around that.

Showcase Your New Brand Identity

Once you have built your brand identity, it’s time to implement it. The best way to do this is to create “filters” for your brand that your marketing team and management staff understand.

What we mean is that if you’re trying to portray a message about a new promotion, product, or announcement, it should first be run through the branding filter. For example:

  • Is this content using colors outside of our color scheme?
  • Are there any “negative” words in here?
  • Does the messaging reflect our customer service standards?
  • Are we using the appropriate font?
  • Is this content recognizably on-brand or will it create confusion?

The list goes on, including any parameters you want to set for your brand. Of course, setting templates in advance will make that even easier for your team, but they won’t work in every scenario.

Once you have all of that, you’re ready to show it off to the world. Here’s where to start!

Build A Logo

Obviously, a brand is not a logo. However, your logo still has to match your brand.

Don’t place too much stock into a logo, but try to make it as slick, clear, and easy to read as possible. When using various social media platforms and other tools, your logo will appear as small.

However, that’s okay as long as you have a logo that’s easily recognizable and entirely unique.

On Your Website

Without a close second, your website is the best place to showcase your new brand. Where else do you have limitless control over colors, fonts, aesthetics, images, tone of voice, messaging, and content?

That’s right. Nowhere.

Consequently, your website should act as a gallery or portfolio of your branding efforts. Everything on the entire website should operate through the “filters” you put in place for your brand strategy.

Remember, your website is the center of not your entire digital marketing strategy, but your entire digital presence. For that reason, hiring a professional web design company with branding experience can take your strategy to the next level.

On Social Media

Social media allows you to post messages, display bios and profile photos, and share images and videos. What else does it do? Oh yeah, it allows you to directly communicate with your target audience.

For that reason, everything on your social media should run through the filters of your new brand identity. Social media is a great place to practice tone of voice, color schemes, fonts, image aesthetics, and more.

On Promotions

Ads are part of your digital assets, and they’re often the first thing your customers will see! Ads are one of the best ways to expand your brand recognition, so ensure that each campaign reflects your brand identity.

Of course, email campaigns should also run through these filters and use similar messaging to your other marketing campaigns.

Get Physical

So far, we’ve primarily talked about branding in a digital sense. Of course, you have plenty of digital assets that are perfect for showcasing your brand, but why stop there?

To maximize the effectiveness of your branding, use both the digital and physical spaces to your advantage.

See, when a client sees an ad, a social media profile, and a website with the same brand representation, that offers plenty of reinforcement.

However, when you also apply the same tools to your packaging, mail campaigns, flyers, billboards, and your physical store or location, then it truly becomes an integral part of your organization.

Also, don’t forget customer interactions! Customer service is a major part of a brand identity, so training all staff who answer emails, phone calls, and face-to-face interactions with people is a great way to boost your brand.

Ensuring that everything the public sees of your brand all follows the same guidelines is the best way to build a brand identity, so leave no stone unturned!

Be Consistent

Lastly, when building a brand identity, you can’t be anything less than consistent. Once you start to stray off-course, you lose the recognition your brand has worked to develop.

Building a brand takes time, but the rewards are so worth it. Start building yours today and stay up to date with our latest digital marketing tips!