Brand identity is your business card: thanks to it, consumers find a sense of familiarity and awareness in your brand. Here I explain what it is, what characteristics it should have, and the benefits of a clear and defined identity.
Imagine you're back in middle school: you're a preteen, rather awkward, who nonetheless cares about looking cool and getting in with the "right" crowd.
It's just that it's not like you can force others to have that image of you-you have to do something to get their consideration.
What do I know, follow trending YouTube channels so you always know the latest meme, commit to gym class and bring out all your athletic prowess to join the basketball team, dress a certain way and save enough to buy the latest model of Adidas--a new haircut wouldn't hurt either.
Basically, you have to invest your time and energy in developing that image that you want to convey to other people.
Here: all these tangible elements express your identity, that is, they are the things that make you recognizable in the eyes of your peers.
Well, with your company it works exactly the same way: you have to develop a well-defined character that includes a certain kind of values and qualities, give it a form and style of communication, so that people out there can clearly understand who you are and what you do.
This means having a brand identity: your target audience will associate it with your product or service and use it as a connection on which to build their loyalty.
What is obvious is that a strong brand identity is not created overnight.
And no, if you think it's enough to choose logos and colors a little by feel, know that's not how it works.
You need to have a strategic approach, to build an identity that truly reflects your brand and can support you as you grow. This requires deep thinking, a team with strong communication and design skills, and a deep understanding of who you are, what you do, and how you want to present your brand to the world.
It may not be entirely easy, but it is one of the most important jobs you can do.
If you feel a little confused about this, don't worry.
With the right guidance, you can proceed effectively, and that's why I'm here!
In this article you will find everything you need to know about brand identity; in the next one, however, I will explain how you can build one that is impactful and effective so that you can stand out, connect with the right people, and tell your brand story through the best content.
Let's get going!
What is brand identity?
Something I have already mentioned, but let's give a clear and precise explanation of what we are talking about.
First, it is important to understand that brand identity is something different from a whole series of concepts that, while related to it, are entirely distinct.
It is, in fact, different from the brand name, its positioning, and the awareness that consumers may have of it, just as it does not by itself exhaust the discourse of branding.
Branding, in itself, is in fact a true marketing practice that aims to create a distinctive and recognizable brand: the latter, the brand, is the perception of your company in the eyes of the world, the point of contact between you and other people.
From there you can then work on the brand positioning and on the brand awareness, so as to gain your space in the minds of consumers and increase their engagement with you.
And brand identity, in all of this, what exactly is it and where does it fit in?
Brand identity includes all the elements you create to deliver the image you want to your target audience. It consists of what your brand says, what your values are, how you communicate your product, and what you want people to feel when they interact with your company.
It is the sum total of how your brand looks, feels and speaks to people.
It is the aspect of branding that focuses on personality as well as the values and promise you convey to customers.
What about the logo?
The logo is part of this identity: along with the slogan, the name, at design and to the entry of the brand, it is what visually distinguishes you from your competitors-but brand identity goes far beyond all that.
Ultimately, we can say that as your product leaves an impression on your customers after they make a purchase, brand identity is the process that shapes that impression.
The elements of brand identity
Brand identity is therefore the combination of visual and content choices that represent your company's personality. It is the face of your brand and, if successfully created, it will represent and allude to its values and mission.
When you create a brand identity, you are basically building a toolbox made up of visual elements to help you communicate effectively. How broad such a toolbox is will depend on your needs.
Regardless, however, every brand needs a basic identity, which includes three basic elements: logo, colors and typography.
To these are added others, such as layouts, images and photographs, but also tone of voice, including slogans or taglines, social media posts, emails and content within the product, advertising text and website text.
The good news is that you don't have to design everything at once. If you don't have a lot of resources (or you don't know what your future needs will be), start with the basic elements and devote only later to the additional ones.
Well, now, before we see what the benefits of an effective brand identity are, let's address an important question...
What makes a brand identity strong?
Imagine you are an aspiring chef looking for a good online course on various cooking techniques: you know there are more than one, more or less similar in content, cost and duration.
How do you then choose among them all?
If rationally you can't find one better than the others, here it is your mind with its psychology and emotions that takes over: in fact, given the same characteristics, you will probably buy the one that resonates more with you at first glance.
The colors of the logo, the slogan, and even the choice of font in which the text on the website is written will all contribute to your decision to choose one particular online course over another.
Here, this is an example of how brand identity represents a real connection between the business a brand represents and the people who will use it.
That is why it must have a concrete meaning, corresponding to the tone, energy and mission of your company, but most importantly it must represent who you are, helping you stand out and outperform your competition.
In particular, to be successful, it should be:
Unique and distinguishable
It must stand out from competitors and capture people's attention, making your brand stand for what makes you unique.
It must have a visual impact, be simple enough to stick in everyone's head, but at the same time interesting enough not to be easily forgotten. Consider Apple: The logo is so memorable that on their products you don't even need the name.
It must be such that it can grow and evolve with the brand itself as needed.
It must be able to be used in many different applications (web, print, etc.). Flexibility allows changes to be made to advertising campaigns, slogans, and even to modernize the overall brand identity, so that audience interest remains constant.
This is perhaps the most important detail: the brand identity must be able to function as a complete solution. This means that it must work as a whole, and each piece must be able to complement the other.
Easy to apply
It needs to be intuitive and clear to use, as well as easily adapted to your chosen platforms.
Why is brand identity so important?
Brand identity, therefore, is critical to the success of your business.
Because it essentially represents everything you are and everything you do, it can make a real difference in the way you approach the market and establish relationships with your customers, positively transforming their engagement and interaction.
The advantages of having a well-defined brand identity are indeed many, but we can summarize them into three main types:
#1 Builds familiarity and connection
People prefer to buy from brands they know: the more effectively you communicate who you are, the easier it will be for them to interact with you and ultimately join your community of advocates.
From a business perspective, this is where strong brand positioning and an effective branding message come into play.
Having a distinct brand identity not only makes your product more memorable, it also makes your brand more authoritative in the market; it enhances its recognition by attracting public attention on various marketing channels, such as social media.
If you give your brand a face and keep it consistent over time, you develop credibility in your target industry and familiarity with your customers.
#2 Set you apart from a sea of competitors
Whether you want your product to stand out on a shelf or your ads to stand out on Facebook, creating a consistent brand identity is the secret to success.
When you create an identity for your brand, you are giving it something to stand for. This, in turn, gives your company a purpose.
If you then know how to make it fully visible in the way you communicate with your potential customers, the color scheme, the various visual elements, the values you represent, and everything else, you will leave a memorable impression in the minds of your target audience -- ending up beating the competition.
#3 Creates satisfaction of existing customers and generates new ones
A brand identity-one with a face and values-attracts people who agree with what your brand has to offer. And once those people become customers, that same brand identity will give them a sense of belonging.
A good product generates customers, but a good brand generates advocates.
Your values, a consistent visual identity, and effective communication help you offer your customers a unique brand experience-for which they will obviously be willing to pay and about which they will gladly tell everyone.
So the word spreads and you end up with new potential buyers without having to go looking for them who knows where 😉
To sum up, it is like when you meet someone new and you get a certain impression of them: you basically develop an idea of their personality, and all your future interactions will depend on this first assessment you have made.
Brand identity is much the same thing: It is your brand personality reflected in the way your business is positioned and communicates its visual identity.
A strong brand identity allows your company to be easily recognizable, but this cannot happen overnight.
You need to develop a proper strategy, one that adheres to sensible steps and, most importantly, is consistent with the rest of your marketing mix.
As you say, you just wouldn't know where to start?
So don't miss the next article: you will find a whole series of practical tips for building a strong and effective brand identity.
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