Creating a brand identity is a powerful strategy to make the right customers connect with your local business or brand and improve your leads and sales.
When you are entering a highly competitive industry, branding your business the right way can make your business stand out from the cloud.
That makes you need this brand identity guide.
Irrespective of what your industry or niche is, the journey begins with knowing how to create a brand identity for your business.
There are existing businesses that the customer already trusts.
So, you can’t enter the market and see the result you expect without carrying your target audience along.
As you are joining the race, your customers want to know what makes you better than the rest.
So, they want to know:
- Who are you?
- What products or services do you offer?
- What values do you have?
- Who do you target?
- Why should they patronize you?
You’ll have amazing answers to those questions after reading this brand identity guide for small businesses.
That makes it very important to know how to create a brand identity for your business.
Meanwhile, you’ll learn how to spell out your goals in a manner that people can understand what your business entails and become fascinated with it.
What is a brand identity?
Is your brand identity your logo, color pallets, name, or the combination of all?
Well, they are all part of it.
Marty Neumeier, in the Dictionary of Brand, defined a brand identity as the combination of your logo, colors, fonts, and a few other things, which include your values and culture.
That is, a brand identity is…
The outward expression of a brand, including its trademark, name, communications, and visual appearance. Marty Neumeier
If your business is for a specific class of people, it must be indicated in the way it’s branded.
For example, between a high-class lounge and a roadside bar, the customer can perceive two different brand identities.
Both might sell the same products, but their cultures and values can’t be the same.
On that note, VIPs will be careful not to go to the roadside bar because it’s not befitting. And at the same time, an ordinary person too wouldn’t want to be at the VIP lounge because it’s expensive.
Creating a brand identity is making the customers realize exactly what you are – what value to get from you and emerge a distinct position in their minds.
No wonder Devin Schumacher says:
A stronger brand means stronger marketing results. Devin Schumacher
When you combine your objectives and values and reveal what you have got in your brand, your leads and sales will increase.
So, using this strategy to make your customers loyal to your brand, you’ll be making a great landmark in your industry as well.
A brand identity, however, comprises all the tangible and intangible details, that the customer perceives to characterize a business and compel his patronage.
When a customer sees a new brand and asks,
“Which new brand is this?”
He wants to know what the brand depicts in reality – how determined is it to make life better for him?
So, your answers to all the questions that pop up in the minds of the customer must reflect in your identity before your brand can convert.
Otherwise, the customer might consider other choices, which aren’t good for you.
If you want to win more customers to your side, all you have to do is to present your business in a way that they will have a special affinity with it.
Elements of a brand identity
If a customer wants to buy a product and sees different brands, how can he make a choice?
Whatever choice he is going to make will be determined by the elements of each brand identity and the messages they convey.
So, through the following elements, you can communicate the unique values of your brand to attract prospects.
Brand culture and values
Brand culture and values are intangible elements of a brand identity.
They are a practice that a company is committed to demonstrating and making customers have confidence in its brand.
This includes your values, cultures, quality assurance, great customer experience, personnel, and so on.
For example, the way the personnel behaves (among themselves and customers) portrays what customers perceive of your brand.
If their behaviors don’t promote the company’s objectives, customers will have bad perceptions of the company.
Price too can shape customer perception of a brand.
When customers find out how much a product is sold, they conclude immediately if it is for their category.
Some customers prefer Apple to Microsoft products because of their uniqueness.
Apple products might be expensive, but because the brand focuses on consumer experience, it is a dream brand of every lover of revolutionary technologies.
Market position is another intangible component of a brand identity. It is the position a brand occupies in the minds of the consumers.
It can be used to help customers develop a perception of a brand.
Hence, it is what makes two brands that produce similar products or services different in the minds of the consumers.
Brand visual representation
Unlike the first two elements, brand visual designs are the tangible components of a brand identity.
They include shape, logo, font styles, colors, packaging designs, souvenirs, signage, uniforms, letterhead, website, social media platforms, and so on.
Having your brand visuals on all your marketing platforms must resonate with your target customers. And this can make them learn how to differentiate your brand from the others.
All your visuals must be consistent to avoid competing against yourself.
Most companies overlook the first-two elements and pay more on visuals which is not everything.
This doesn’t mean visual elements don’t work. But with a good brand culture, values, and market position, you will create a very powerful brand identity.
If you combine all these elements and pass the right message through them, it will be easy for customers to find and connect with your brand.
Examples of a brand identity
There is no successful business that doesn’t have a unique brand identity.
So, in this section, we want to see how consistency matters in creating a brand identity.
Microsoft is tied to a window surface with four panes – orange, green, blue, and yellow. While the colors depict values in Microsoft products, the panes signify Windows.
You can see consistency in the logo, colors, and font everywhere you see the brand.
Microsoft primary color is light blue. It is the major color in all Microsoft products. All devices have light blue in the background.
Microsoft Packaging Boxes
The logo and the font remain the same on the packaging boxes even if they are not in a colored design.
Microsoft places importance on all its brand colors. This can be seen in the staff uniforms. Each comes in all the brand’s four major colors.
With the help of the visual components, customers can identify a fake product and never mistakenly cart an iOS for a Windows OS.
How to create a brand identity for your business
The more you work towards achieving your goals and meeting the needs and expectations of your target customers, the more recognition your brand gains.
That is, creating a very strong brand identity is to ensure that the right message about your business and prospects is conveyed.
So, the following steps will show you how to brand your business.
Give your brand a good name
The name of your brand is an important component of your brand.
You can brand your business with the name of a person, animal, place, or thing.
That does not matter.
What matters is to ensure that the brand name is coined in a way to pass the right message across to the customers about your business.
In Google for example, the two ‘Os’ look like a ‘goggle’ – a pair of tight-fitting eyeglasses.
When you pronounce the brand name ‘Google’, it sounds almost like ‘goggle’.
If Google is recognized as a search engine, you can see that the brand name is absolutely relevant to the business.
So, when you’re naming your brand, take your time to consider the relevance of the brand name to the business.
You should also be wary of using a name that can easily be read, pronounced, and remembered.
Define your vision
Creating a brand identity begins with defining your vision – what you intend to achieve with your brand, both in the short and long run.
Look into the future, and draw a timeline.
Within the first five years, where do you want your brand to be? And in the second five years, what changes do you expect?
And on and on.
Let’s say you want your brand to be known as a life-changing business, your vision is to see your brand achieving that goal – transforming from an unknown to a known brand.
Then over a period of time, begin to see it as a leader or one of the major companies championing in an industry.
Clarify your mission
Your mission is your ability to stay in course of the things you intend to achieve with your business.
Let’s say your vision is to be the leader in manufacturing malaria drugs, then your mission will be to produce products that are potentially the best in the market.
Your mission addresses the reasons why customers should buy from you, not your competitors.
As a result of this, the values your products have, which others don’t, can be a source of inspiration for your customers.
Determine your promise of value and competition
As the customers are eager to know “why buying from you”, or “what is in it to buy from you?”, your brand must make a unique promise of value.
Your value proposition or promise of value can be what you think is missing in the industry.
If your brand can offer what is missing to the customers, then it will be easy to outshine your competitors.
It takes a little research to know what is missing in the market and that can be boring.
The point is your business must offer what the customer needs most to stay on top of the market.
Irrespective of what the consumers need, you must be revolutionary in offering the best solutions.
Determine your target customers
To create a powerful brand identity for your business, you need to ask yourself,
Who do I want to help – what sort of people will benefit from my brand the most?
You can achieve this by analyzing the market demographic and psychographic factors of the consumers.
Identifying the type of people that need your business can help you offer the right products or services to the right customers.
If you notice, Microsoft targets most of its products to business managers.
That is why the brand is more popular in offering business solutions than a luxury.
In an earlier example, I cited the case of a roadside bar and VIP lounge, which shows how customers make their preferences based on the values and culture of a company.
The VIP want special treatments while “anything goes” for the regular?
Assuming you are going into fashion, which is a very large industry, you can’t target both adults and children with the same products or services.
You have to target one at least.
If you decide to focus on children’s fashion, that means your target customers are kids.
Once your brand is identified with kids, customers that need kids’ stuff can always have you on their minds.
This implies that every category of people can’t be your target customers.
So, identifying what your target customers need can help you develop a brand that the customer desires.
Those that belong to the group you target will have a very strong affinity with your brand.
Position your brand in a niche
Know which market segment you’re to cover, what problems you intend to solve, and stick to it.
Since you’re not the only one in your industry, you should claim a position that can make you stand out among the others.
So, your brand’s position statement contains why your business exists, and what difference you intend to make with your brand.
However, your position can be used to define your niche.
Employ the right personnel
You can create a perfect brand identity by creating a business culture that is relevant to your brand.
Since the workers represent your brand, ensure you employ people that have nothing against your business.
Create a structure and policy that can make all the workers behave in a way you want your brand to be represented.
This includes employing people that have passion for your ideas.
Use visual representation
Your visual designs for creating a brand identity should go well with your personal tone of voice.
This includes using the colors, logo, icons, fonts, and characters that can trigger emotional connections with the relevant customers.
Choose your brand colors
Colors play important roles in building a strong brand identity. Each has different meanings that can catch the attention of the customers.
According to David Gaudreault, a brand specialist, you can choose up to three or four colors to brand your business.
This may be perfectly done by using any color scheme of your choice.
What are the color Schemes?
Color schemes include:
Analogous color Scheme – 3 colors
These are colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. They usually match well and creates serene and comfortable brand designs.
Triad color Scheme – 3 colors
These are any three colors that are equidistant on the color wheel. Their harmonies tend to be very vibrant.
To use this successfully, balance the colors by using one color to dominate and others for accent.
Split-complementary color scheme – 3 colors
This is a variation of the triad colors. It has the same very strong visual contrast as the complementary color scheme but has less tension.
Tetrad color scheme – 4 colors
These are any four colors that are equidistant on the color wheel. They use four colors as arranged in two complementary pairs.
Categories of brand colors
|Red||Passion, Importance, Attention, Intense, Energy, Strong||Warm Color|
|Orange||Playfulness, Friendly, Vitality, Warm, Stimulating, Enthusiasm, Happiness, Success, Creative||Warm Color|
|Yellow||Happiness, Optimism, Warning, Joy||Warm Color|
|Green||Nature, Stability, Prosperity, (Growth), Fertility, Freshness, Healing, Safety, Money||Cool Color|
|Light Blue||Tranquility, Trust, Openness||Cool Color|
|Dark Blue||Professionalism, Security, Formality, Stability, Masculinity||Cool Color|
|Purple||Royalty, Creativity, Luxury, Power, Nobility, Wealth, Ambition, Dignify, Mysterious||Cool Color|
|Pink||Femininity, Youth, Innocence, Cheerfulness, Intellect, Energy, Attention||Cool Color|
|Brown||Rugged, Earthy, Old-fashioned||Neutral Color|
|White||Clean, Virtuous, Healthy||Neutral Color|
|Grey||Neutrality, Gloom, Subdued||Neutral Color|
|Black||Powerful, Sophisticated, Edgy||Neutral Color|
Whatever colors you decide to use, ensure they communicate your vision, values, culture, story, and personality.
The colors should reflect in your logo, letterhead, business card, packaging, building, souvenir, uniform, website, social media pages, and so on.
Design your brand logo
Your brand logo is not a totality of your brand identity.
But because customers can easily perceive it, it is the most recognizable component of your brand.
Meanwhile, David Gaudreault suggested that a good brand logo must have the following characteristics:
- Versatile (made for light & dark backgrounds)
- Colored with your brand colors
- Made of plain colors (you may use a gradient, but very subtle)
- Made with a clean Font (e.g. Helvetica)
To have a perfect brand logo, your logo must be made in vectors.
Logos built of vectors mathematically have no sizing limits. To get this type of logo, you need to use Adobe Illustrator.
Logos built with Photoshop are pixelated, thereby having sizes limited to their resolution. This can affect the quality of the logos when used on different interfaces.
Select your font types
Font styles play a major role in creating a powerful brand identity.
You must have a consistent font type on all your communications.
There are excellent free-to-use fonts at 1001 Free Fonts or Font Squirrel. You can select anyone that is suitable for your design.
According to Column Five Media,
“To make a choice of font is not a simple task. Since it can also trigger emotional connection with customers, you must select what will communicate the brand persona effectively.“
The best practice is to limit your desired fonts to 2 or 3.
This includes what to be your primary brand typeface and secondary typefaces(s) to appear in specific areas.
Create a design guide
If you are outsourcing your brand identity designs to a professional, you need to guide him.
Your brand designer needs some practical information to know how your brand identity design should look.
Take your time to study the industry and your target customers to create a brand style guide for your designer.
He needs to know what concept, shape, color, and fonts matter to you. And this must resonate with your target customers.
Create an online presence
Creating an online presence for your business is part of your tricks to intensify your brand identity. The benefit is much if you can try it.
You can create a blog and open a business profile on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, and Instagram with your brand name.
All this can help you connect with your target customers and boost their affinity in real-time.
Carry out a survey on your brand
Present your brand to your family and trusted friends to get their feedback on how they perceive your brand.
Whatever answer they give you will tell you if your brand identity actually reveals exactly what your business entails.
That can help you to review your communications and add or subtract what is necessary.
Creating a brand identity for your business is no doubt a good strategy to make customers perceive the value in your business.
The strategy informs the customer that there is a new brand in town.
And to get the most of this strategy, your brand must be able to reflect “who you’re”, “what you do”, and “what makes you different”?
Without knowing how to create a brand identity for your business, becoming a leader in your industry might be difficult.
So, you need to effectively use this brand identity guide to re-position your business.
It will also help you to attain a bigger marketing success – more leads, more sales, and more loyal customers.