Building the right brand identity

30 March 2017Kelly Paik2 min read

Logos are nice to look at but have you ever thought about the time and work that goes into crafting them? Behind every beautiful design is an entire brand identity that may have taken multiple minds and sleepless nights to really pull together coherently.

Your brand is more than just your logo. Your brand is a promise to your customer about what they can expect from you. And the value of a strong brand means you can charge more for the product than generic versions. That’s because no one buys products in a vacuum. Every purchase comes with some expectations about the character of the seller and the quality of the exchange.

So it’s important for companies large and small to take care of their brand like it was their personal reputation at stake. If you’re just starting off your business or if you’re in the middle of a rebranding initiative, here are some of the things you should consider when building your brand.

Clarify your principles

What message do you want to convey through your product or service? Are you the innovative new kid on the block or the dependable family-owned shop with years of experience? What is your product’s value proposition? Can you state your goal in one simple line? These are all things you want to think about when considering your brand identity. The clearer you are about these core principles, the more customers will put their trust into your business.

And it’s not all about you either. Think about what kind of customer you’re looking to attract and how you’ll position your brand to respond to their needs. Create a buyer persona to fill in the blanks on who your ideal customer is and how to target them in your marketing.

Execute a consistent message

Once you’ve built your brand identity, it’s time to get the word out. And here, you’ll need both consistency and some creative flexibility to really delight customers.

On consistency, make sure all printed materials and web content have the same look and feel. Don’t just pick a random shade of red for your corporate colour. Use the same Pantone number every time. Make sure your salespeople repeat your company message to customers. And make sure both your company’s voice and visual identity are consistent with each other.

But while the logo and core messaging tend to stay unchanged, the way you choose to play with brand assets in marketing materials and new advertising campaigns will require a little more wiggle room. Here, designs need to remain consistent with the brand’s visual identity while putting a fresh and eye-catching new spin on it. It’s magical what creative genius can come up with given just enough freedom.

Present yourself to the world

Here’s a quick test, if someone saw your name, logo, and one other piece of information (say, your website or some marketing material), do you think they’d know immediately what your business does? If so, congratulations because you have a strong and clear brand. If not, maybe you have some work to do in this area.

Here are just some of the places customers will see your brand. Which ones do you think could use a little more attention?

  • Website
  • Business cards (Must-haves: correct logo, email from a branded domain, up-to-date contact info)
  • Products and packaging
  • Online advertising
  • Print marketing materials like brochures, books, and flyers
  • Social media accounts
  • Letterhead
  • Apparel and schwag
  • Retail signage
  • Email signatures

As your business grows, so must your brand grow with you. Smaller businesses might opt for a simple logo and stop there. And that’s totally fine. But as you develop and evolve your business strategy, you might hit that point where you’ll need to position yourself through your brand to set proper customer expectations. So make that pretty logo and make sure there are a consistent message and identity behind it.