When developing a comprehensive marketing campaign, you need to understand your business’ foundation and core values. These days, consumers want authenticity from brands, so you have to provide transparency and a commitment to something greater than making money.
That’s where a brand identity comes into play.
Brand identities help companies focus their marketing efforts and connect with consumers on a deeper level. The more you can engage with your audience, the more likely they’ll stay loyal to your brand. So, crafting a bold and exciting brand identity is necessary to take your business to the next level. Let’s find out the five steps to making this happen.
What Does a Brand Identity Include?
There are three crucial elements of a high-quality brand identity:
- Mission Statement – What do you hope to achieve with your business? How are you improving the lives of your customers and the world at large? The more noble and aspirational the mission statement, the better response you’ll get from customers.
- Value Proposition – What sets your business apart from the competition? Is it the quality of your products or the attention to detail you give to customers? Make sure that each part of your marketing campaign reflects the difference that users can expect from your company.
- Visual Elements – You can’t have a brand identity without essential branding elements like a logo, color palette, mascot (if applicable), and the overall aesthetic of your company.
Once you develop and combine these components, you can build a successful marketing campaign. Now, let’s dive into each of these elements to see how to turn an idea into reality.
How to Craft a Brand Identity
Step One: Assess Your Brand and Determine Its Purpose
When people see your brand logo or name, what thoughts and emotions do you want them to experience? Your mission statement should be apparent with all of your marketing and brand identity materials. Some examples of a mission statement could include:
- Product Quality – To deliver exceptional and dependable products to your customers. If they buy from your brand, they know that they’re getting the best quality possible. Some examples of brands that capture this mission statement well are Dickies, John Deere, and Tylenol.
- Innovation – It’s not enough to focus on “business as usual.” Some brands strive to push the envelope and see what is possible when thinking outside the box. These companies are trendsetters, not followers. Examples include Apple, Uber, and Tesla.
- Convenience – Sometimes, customers value speed and efficiency over everything else. If your products can get the job done faster and easier than a competitor, you can often come out on top. Some excel brands that highlight convenience are Amazon, Netflix, and 7-Eleven.
Step Two: Research Your Competition
If you want your brand to get noticed, you have to capture your audience’s attention. That said, flashy ads and sales gimmicks will not drive loyalty among your customers. Instead, you need to figure out what makes your brand stand out from the other companies out there. The technical term is a “unique value proposition,” and it can make or break your business model.
For example, taxis were the only way for people to take a car from one place to another. Then, Uber changed all that by empowering individuals to become taxi services. Customers could save money, and the Uber app was super convenient and easy to use. Practically overnight, Uber displaced taxis thanks to this unique value proposition.
While your business likely won’t be as revolutionary, you can find elements that make you more appealing to customers, such as:
- Better Customer Service – You enable customers to be more self-sufficient and take charge of their interactions with your business.
- More Value for the Money – Perhaps your products last longer than the competition, or you provide extras and incentives with each purchase.
- Charitable Operations – Customers can feel good about buying from you because you donate money to various nonprofit organizations.
Step Three: Design Your Brand Visuals
As we mentioned, a brand identity is nothing without various brand visuals, starting with a logo. When designing your brand visuals, keep these factors in mind:
- Consistency – Each of these components should illustrate your essential brand values. Whether you’re creating a web page or a direct mailer, the format, fonts, and color scheme should be the same.
- Personality – What aesthetic are you going for with your brand identity? Do you want to convey trust and security, or fun and whimsy? You can utilize different colors to connote specific meanings. For example, blue is calming and trustworthy, while green represents growth, rebirth, and nature.
- Specificity – Just as you need to establish what makes your brand unique, you also have to utilize customized visual elements. If you’re borrowing stock icons and graphics, your brand can blend in with others pretty easily. When possible, try to create a unique logo and aesthetic that will distinguish your company from all others. Basically, if you put your logo in a lineup with all of your competitors, will it stand out?
Step Four: Establish Your Brand Voice
Visual elements are crucial, but they’re only one piece of the puzzle. You also need to develop your message to accompany your marketing materials. For example, if your logo is whimsical and lighthearted, you don’t want your ads to be serious or dry.
Creating a brand voice can be challenging since you have to balance information with personality. Again, the goal is to make your business stand out from the competition. If your marketing message is too generic, it won’t connect with customers very well. Some examples of brand voices can include:
- Educational – Perhaps you’re in an industry about which consumers know very little. So, providing some behind-the-scenes content can help you engage with your audience.
- Authoritative – In some industries, experience is king. Some examples can include legal services, real estate agencies, and financial services. In these cases, customers want to be confident that you know what you’re doing. Otherwise, it’s much harder to build trust.
- Witty or Clever – Even if you’re trying to be educational or authoritative, you can add some panache to your brand identity. Why not add some clever elements to your marketing materials and content? This approach can be tricky since it’s hard to be funny or witty, but doing this will undoubtedly set you apart from your competitors.
Step Five: Build Your Brand Guidelines
Consistency is a challenge for many smaller companies when developing a brand identity. Typically, the problem arises because the business tries a few different things and doesn’t wait for the results. Unfortunately, marketing takes time and perseverance – not every brand can go viral and see explosive growth right away. For every Dropbox and Airbnb, hundreds of other businesses didn’t make any waves.
So, patience is another part of building a successful brand identity. As long as you stay the course and maintain consistency with your marketing message, you should see the fruits of your labor.
When creating your brand guidelines, be sure to incorporate these elements:
- Content Types – Ideally, you should utilize a multimedia approach to marketing, complete with images, infographics, video clips, audio messages, blog posts, and more. That said, you also have to ensure that your brand identity comes across in each medium, so you have to develop rules and guidelines for each content type.
- Keyword Research – As you build your brand identity, you should have a core list of keywords that reflect your mission statement and personality. Be sure to include these keywords as often as possible. Some examples of keyword placement include landing pages, social media posts, hashtags, and blog posts.
- Branded Assets – As you create more marketing materials, you’ll start building a library of various assets. These elements can include logo variations, infographics, licensed photos, and more. As the library grows, it’s easier to build specific marketing materials because you can use pieces from different campaigns.
Overall, building a brand identity is time-consuming, and a bit complex, but the rewards are well worth the effort. That said, you must recognize that branding is an ongoing process. Don’t assume that creating a logo or a website is the ultimate goal of any branding agencies San Francisco.
Over time, your brand may shift and adapt to a changing marketplace or customer demand. For example, you might add more products or services to your business, so your brand needs to reflect those elements. As you adjust your brand identity, keep these steps in mind, and they’ll help guide you to success.
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