How to Build Your Brand Identity

How to Build Your Brand Identity

When it comes to branding, small business owners face unique challenges that larger companies don't have to grapple with: resource, such as having a large team of experts, an in-house creative team, access to cutting-edge technology, and a substantial budget. In the face of these obstacles, you might believe that branding is better suited for big companies with abundant resources. However, the truth is that branding is crucial regardless of your company's size.

Developing a strong and recognizable brand identity that is both authentic and accurately reflects what you offer is essential if you want to stand out from competitors, attract more customers, and ultimately expand your business. Therefore, it's crucial to master the fundamentals of branding. If you haven't given it much consideration yet, now is the time to start.

What Is Brand Identity?

At its essence, a successful brand identity encompasses the fundamental aspects of your brand, including your values or mission statement, products and services, brand voice (personality, tone, and style), and the desired relationship with your customers. These elements are harmoniously merged into a unified image, which represents the public face of your business. This image encompasses your business name, logo, and design elements like font and color scheme.

When utilized effectively, your brand identity serves to differentiate your business from competitors and establish a connection with prospective customers.

The significance of brand identity lies in its role within a robust brand strategy. It enables customers to recognize, comprehend, and remember your brand. In other words, when they encounter your distinctive logo, aesthetics, or messaging, they can instantaneously identify your brand. By achieving this level of recognition, you bring your target customers closer to identifying with your brand, which is a desirable outcome.

Why does this matter?

Purchasing decisions are often influenced by personal identity, as people choose products and brands that align with their values and preferences. Therefore, effectively conveying your brand's identity becomes crucial in enabling customers to recognize that your brand resonates with them. This, in turn, increases the likelihood of them making a purchase.

Your brand identity encompasses more than just visual elements like logos and design guidelines. It encompasses the overall perception of your brand, including its visual appeal, tone, and communication style. It shapes the entire customer experience and plays a significant role in how your credibility and business are perceived by others.

Given the importance of brand identity, developing it for your small business is not an instantaneous process. It requires time, research, and thoughtful consideration. However, the efforts invested in defining your brand's identity yield valuable outcomes.

Now, where should you begin?

1. Research

To create a brand identity that resonates with your customers, it is essential to have a comprehensive understanding of your customer base. Start by investing time in truly getting to know your primary, secondary, and tertiary audiences. Develop detailed personas that outline their preferences, interests, hobbies, and values.

Once you have gained a deep understanding of your customers, proceed with conducting competitive research. Analyze how other companies in your industry position themselves in terms of visual elements, brand personalities, and thematic approaches.

Lastly, remember to engage with the individuals who are closest to your current brand: your employees. They possess valuable insights on how the company should be portrayed and can provide feedback on what has and hasn't been effective in the past. Their perspectives are instrumental in shaping your brand's identity.

2. Make A Likable Brand personality

When considering your brand's personality, it can be helpful to imagine it as a person. Although it may sound cliché, this approach provides valuable insights into defining your brand's character.

A well-defined brand personality permeates every aspect of your brand identity. It strongly influences the voice and tone used in your marketing materials and communications. Failing to establish a clear personality can result in mixed messages and difficulties for customers to connect with your brand.

If you're unsure where to start, you can try an exercise: Identify celebrities who closely align with your brand's values and traits. Are there actors, musicians, or public figures who embody the same characteristics? This exercise can serve as a useful starting point in defining various aspects of your brand's personality.

Once you have visualized the persona your brand would possess and listed key attributes, it becomes important to consider how your brand's personality will be conveyed through its voice and tone.

3. Create Your Brand Assets

After completing the research phase, it's time to embark on the enjoyable task of translating your findings into visual elements. Here is a list of common brand assets to consider:

Logo

Color palettes

Typography

Iconography

Photography and graphics for marketing campaigns

Style guide that outlines appropriate logo usage and tone of voice, among other guidelines

While developing your brand assets, keep in mind the three Cs of branding and how they can assist you:

Clarity: It is your responsibility, not your customers', to understand your message. If they have to exert effort to interpret what you've created, your brand lacks clarity.

Consistency: Your billboard should have the same voice as your website, which should align with your Twitter account. Why? Consistency in your brand instills confidence and demonstrates discipline.

Commitment: It's natural to desire viral ads, but becoming discouraged and changing direction the moment they don't go viral is counterproductive. Remember that building a strong brand requires time and dedication.

Furthermore, once you delve deeper into creating assets specifically for marketing campaigns, the three Cs of marketing (create, capture, and convert) can also be valuable guiding principles.

4. Get Feedback & Adjust

At this stage, you have created a logo that you are pleased with and believe accurately represents your business. Well done! However, there is still work to be done. Before finalizing your logo, it is important to gather feedback from trusted individuals. Consider seeking input from the following:

Family and friends

Peers, such as other business owners in your community

Employees

Individuals with diverse backgrounds and abilities, ensuring your design is accessible and culturally appropriate

Obtaining effective feedback can be challenging, especially if your reviewers are not accustomed to providing it. To guide them, consider asking specific questions and reassure them that there are no right or wrong answers.

Some example questions to ask include:

Is the logo easy to read and understand? If not, which elements were the most challenging to interpret?

Based on this logo, what kind of business do you envision? What products do you think they sell, and what is the overall atmosphere?

Who do you believe is the target customer based on this logo?

Does this logo make you feel inclined to visit the business or purchase their products? If not, what changes could be made to enhance its appeal?

Do you like this logo? How could it be improved?

Once you have gathered sufficient feedback on your designs, make any necessary adjustments. This may involve modifying colors and fonts to improve readability.

Repeat this process as many times as needed until you are satisfied with your branding.