What is Brand Identity?

And why it is more important than ever

What is Brand Identity? And why it is more important than ever

Brand identity. It’s such a simple concept on its surface, but so rich in its meaning, and even richer in its potential. A comprehensive understanding of brand identity unlocks all the untapped potential latent in a brand identity that you might have not considered beforehand. So, what is a brand identity? Let’s unpack the meaning of the concept to gain a deeper understanding of this essential part of your business.

 

What is a Brand Identity?

Think about your personal identity. It’s what you believe, what you do for work, your relationship status, the total of all these things and more.

At its core, your brand identity is the result of how you relate and how you communicate. You create an identity by communicating those beliefs through action.

When it comes to the constitution of your brand identity, it too is built by how you relate and communicate. So when it comes to understanding and building your brand identity, you must familiarise yourself with tools that allow you to communicate with and relate to your audience. At the end of the day, your brand identity is who you are to them.

Why is a Brand Identity so important?

When you have a strong and consistent brand that is tailored to your target audience, it will be instantly recognisable and live long in customer’s memories, thus building long-lasting relationships. 

brand-strategy-for-startups

Brand Strategy

The world we live in is increasingly driven by perception, with a brand’s reputation built on consumer’s viewpoints of their products, services and their experiences with them. Brand strategy is a method in which a company can formulate a specific image of itself in the minds of existing and potential customers. It is also a vital stage in the development of a brand that unearths its foundations, builds credibility, develops marketing strategies and therefore maximising performance. Via brand strategy you will gain a true and complete understanding of your brand and the direction needed to connect with your audience.

Components of Brand Identity

We believe when you know your brand identity, you empower your ability to tell your audience about yourself and thus get them on board with your business. Let’s examine what parts of your business that constitute and build up your brand identity.

Internal Brand

Via brand strategy, the brand’s purpose, vision, mission and values will be determined…

Brand Purpose

This is the reason behind the company’s existence and is the why behind what it does.

Vision Statement

Your brand’s vision covers the ultimate goals of a business, with aspirations and values that need to be upheld to achieve those goals.

Mission Statement

This is a memorable way to sum up the strategy of a business in order to achieve the vision of the brand.

american-express-mission-example

Brand Values

Brand values communicate what you believe in as a business and develops a behaviour in which it operates in the marketplace.

Principles communicate your character to your audience. For example, a business may commit to locally sourced materials. Principled actions like these communicate a value-set that establishes how your audience relates to your brand: your brand identity shares their principles.

Social responsibility, for example, is becoming a cornerstone in brand identities because it directly conveys your principles beyond even the scope of your business. Brands build identity by demonstrating how they relate to prominent social issues. If you are a brand that advocates eco-friendliness, inclusiveness, equity and equality, you demonstrate the core values that drive your brand identity, i.e. how you relate to those issues.

Target Audience

As much as you won’t want to hear this, not everyone is interested in what you have to offer. Many businesses attempt to appeal to everyone, but in doing so, their messaging becomes too broad and watered down. Sometimes a disconnect can be caused by the assumption of a customer base and who the actual ideal client is. Having a clear understanding of your ideal client and developing a buyer persona will help you get inside their head so you can address their needs and gain their trust.

Competitor Analysis

Analysing what your competitors have to offer allows you to compare their products and services with yours. This process unearths weaknesses in existing strategies and sheds light on gaps in the marketplace to target.

Brand Personality

Once the target audience has been identified and a buyer persona has been developed, the brand’s personality can be built.

Modern brands have human traits that align with their values, becoming relatable to their customers.

Voice

Each and every form of communication should use language that reflects your brand’s personality and resonate with the target audience.

brand-tone-and-voice-examples-blog

Slack’s Tone of Voice

Storytelling

Brand storytelling is the art of telling authentic stories that spark emotions and affirm a brand’s values. Storytelling is the way in which a brand presents itself and the perception developed by its customers.

Positioning

Brand positioning is where a brand sits in the market and where it intends to be. Within this exercise, you should consider your USP, your main competitors and how you compare against them. This is a fundamental part of building a brand, where you are able to distinguish your brand from competitors in a meaningful way.

ibm brand identity

IBM’s Positioning Statement

Logo

Brand storytelling is the art of telling authentic stories that spark emotions and affirm a brand’s values. Storytelling is the way in which a brand presents itself and the perception developed by its customers.

logo-design-tips-blog

An instant interpretation will be made by anyone that views your logo. As such, the design of your logo is essential in communicating to your audience and seamlessly transmitting to them the core values driving your brand to bring them on board.

Colour Scheme

Whereas a logo is a centralised image for your brand identity, a colour scheme elevates your image by communicating mood, or tone. A consistent colour scheme across your logo, brochures, website etc, will build consistency, while also highlighting a certain tone for your brand identity.

A steely silver colour evokes sharp professionalism. Verdant, green colours instill calm. When setting an intentional tone and feeling, you establish how your audience relates to your brand on an emotional level.

Typeface/Font

The choice of font and typeface used by your business communicate a consistent tone similar to a colour scheme. There are thousands of fonts at our disposal, but only a handful might be a good fit for your brand.

typeface-emotions-examples

Once a relevant typeface has been selected that compliments your values and other branding assets, you will create the kind of relationship you wish to establish with your audience.

Touchpoints/Styling

Many brands fail to stand out and therefore succeed as they haven’t taken the time to develop and truly understand their identity, their purpose or target audience. When we have this complete understanding can we create and pair suitable and captivating visuals. 

best-branding-examples

Sonos Branding

Product/ServiceEach form of marketing you broadcast to the world must follow the chosen styling of your brand. Whether it’s a website, stationary or packaging, your chosen visual style will enable customers to differentiate you from your competitors.

Pricing

Your pricing establishes identity by serving as a relation of value. Pricing is key to your brand positioning, the design of how your audience perceives your brand. In this case, pricing provides your brand with the opportunity to show its position through its dollar value.

Pricing can communicate a brand identity of high-quality or luxury with a higher price point. Or you could communicate a brand identity based on accessibility and reliability with inexpensive pricing. How you price your offerings positions your brand in such a way that communicates where you believe your brand ought to be, and how your audience relates to that position.

Product/Service

What your business offers is perhaps the most foundational component to your brand identity. Your product or service generates your revenue stream, the lifeblood of your business. More than that, your offering communicates to your audience your solution to their problem. This in turn establishes how you relate to them and builds your identity around how you provide for that need.

For example, a mechanic relates to their audience by providing services for their vehicle. As a brand, you communicate your relation to your audience by the virtue of the product or service that drives your business.

spotify wrapped

Spotify Wrapped

Spotify is a prime example of a brand with customers at the forefront, creating new ways to stay relevant. With the help of clever data management, they boost engagement with ‘Discover Weekly’ playlists that suggest songs based on user’s previous song choices. The hugely popular ‘Spotify Wrapped’ showcases users most listened to songs from that year and previous years. The joy and intrigue of sharing the results of users favourite songs led to #SpotifyWrapped trending for days and a 21% increase in downloads of Spotify’s mobile app. As a result of innovations such as this, Spotify reached the top five of customer-obsessed brands.

Conclusion

Brand identity isn’t as simple as it seems on the surface level. In many ways, your brand identity is less of what it is than what it does for your audience. Your brand identity is who you are to your audience, how you relate to them and how you communicate to them, which is an activity that requires deep intent. Building a recognised and impactful brand entails persistence, creativity and consistency. JD Designs can help develop your mission, connect with your audience and build an identity that speaks directly to them.

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james+delilahv2

About the author

James is passionate about helping businesses launch, grow and build long-lasting relationships.He has created and collaborated on campaigns for iconic brands, such as Facebook, Merlin Entertainments, Instagram and the University of Oxford.

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