Have you ever needed someone to point out that the Apple logo represents iPhone products when buying gadgets? Or have you ever confused an Airtel SIM for an MTN SIM? Probably not, or why should you? MTN’s yellow colour stands out.
Think of the many popular brands you instantly recognize: Coca-Cola, Close-up, Gucci, and the list goes on. The reason you remember these companies is because of their powerful brand identity.
If you want your business to stand out and be recognized globally, you definitely need a brand identity. This article is a complete guide to creating an irresistible brand that is not only popular but also thriving. Let’s begin with the burning question on your mind: “What is brand identity?”
What is Brand Identity?
Brand identity refers to the visual and verbal elements that make up a brand; it includes logos, colours, typographies, voice and tones, mission and values, and designs.
These are what distinguish a brand from competitors and make it easy for customers to identify it. It can be called the face of a brand—the first impression customers perceive when they come across your brand.
Read Also: How to Perform Effective Brand Marketing
Why Brand Identity Matters
In Africa, thousands of businesses are launched every year. It takes more than having a registered company to stand out in the crowded marketplace. Creating a solid brand identity is essential for your business’s success. It leaves a lasting impression in your customers’ minds. Imagine a company without a distinctive identity; it remains invisible in the market, and an unknown business won’t attract customers.
Brand identity also contributes to your business’s growth by leading customers to your doorstep. People prefer to buy from branded companies because they seek an authentic connection with your business.
That’s why you’d choose a Coca-Cola drink over a nameless, or, let’s honestly say, an unpopular soda, any day. Duly note that brand identity fosters trust and builds brand loyalty.
Beyond understanding why it matters, brand identity plays a pivotal role in marketing. Let’s explore its significance in detail.
The Importance of Brand Identity in Marketing
Successful marketing campaigns are only possible after a business has been branded. Brand identity serves as the forerunner of marketing. It’s the initial brand awareness you create for your business.
Marketing then repeatedly amplifies your brand identity to make your customers and prospects acquainted with your brand. It involves promoting your brand and all it represents.
This is the thriving strategy adopted by famous brands like MTN, Airtel, and Coca-Cola, among others. When you see a yellow theme in a telecom ad, your mind likely goes to MTN because you’ve become familiar with their brand colour over the years.
What about the phrases “Everywhere you go” or “Yello?” There is no further explanation because you already know what it is. The ads, TV commercials, and other marketing efforts consistently reinforce the product in your memory.
Now that you grasp the importance of brand identity, let’s delve deeper into the topic.
Components of Brand Identity
Brand identity components are the building blocks of an attractive brand; they give it a memorable identity. Each component works together; omitting them should be optional if you want a perfect brand identity. Today, we will discuss nine fundamental must-have branding components.
This symbol, trademark, or word represents your brand and is often the first thing people see about your business. It’s the most crucial aspect of brand identity, visible on business cards, social media, flyers, websites, prints, packaging, and more. Customers can easily recognize an attractive logo.
You can ask a professional designer to create your logo. However, these days, some people design their logos themselves, especially with new design platforms like Canva, which are available for easy and quick designs.
But here’s the thing: some people forget that there’s more to branding than a nice-looking logo. To have a great brand, you need to apply the other elements.
Colour is a vital element in branding, influencing how people perceive your brand. Different colours evoke specific emotions; red symbolizes love, while green represents safety and nature. Have you noticed that tech brands are primarily associated with blue? Brands use colours to create desired emotions.
Furthermore, understanding colour psychology is a valuable resource when crafting a colour palette for your branding. Consistently using the same colours in all aspects of your business and for publicity campaigns increases brand awareness.
Typography simply means the fonts and text’s appearance. It plays a significant role in brand identity. Different fonts convey distinct personalities. Choose fonts representing your brand’s personality and use them consistently in branding materials, such as newsletters, emails, flyers, websites, and prints.
The words you use should be easy to read, and they should match your brand’s style.
- Choose a main font for your captions or headers and a second font for your regular text. And please use font styles that won’t strain the eyes.
- Keep your texts all aligned and coordinated. You can justify it if need be.
Think of this as your brand’s promise, like a slogan. It’s a short sentence telling people what your brand offers or represents.
Some popular taglines include Nike’s “Just Do It” and MTN’s “Everywhere You Go,” among others. An awesome tagline should be short and easy to remember.
Imagery includes images, graphic styles, and other visual elements in branding, marketing, and advertising. It goes beyond photos and has lines, patterns, and structure to communicate your brand clearly.
When selecting images for your brand, set rules like quality images, consistent colouring, organizing them, and what they should portray.
Voice and Tone
How does your brand communicate? Is it conversational, humorous, or in a professional tone? Though your message tone could frequently interchange, you should have a particular style and manner in which your brand communicates to give your message a strong, pleasant tone.
Voice and tone should be integrated into the language used for copywriting, marketing materials, social media, and other communication channels.
Mission and Values
Of course, you can’t drive a course without a purpose. So, you need clearly defined statements that convey the brand’s goals and the principles it upholds.
This helps establish an emotional connection with the audience and helps guide your path to success as well.
You have a brand; are you going to let the days go by without constantly informing and updating your prospects about your activities, products, and services? Well, it isn’t just about consistently posting or running ads, but about how captivating and engaging your messages are.
Make frequent updates about your brand’s unique value proposition. This includes taglines, slogans, newsletters, website content, social media content, captions, and other key messages.
Packaging tops it all. If applicable, your design and materials used in product packaging should be top-notch. Packaging attracts customers and keeps them. A company with great solutions without good packaging might not make it all up to the top. Packaging contributes to its overall identity.
Steps to Creating Your Brand Identity
1. Defining Your Brand Values and Personality
The whole idea of brand identity is to communicate your brand personality, objectives, and core values to your customers. This is a crucial step in brand identity. Before you start branding, you ought to answer these simple questions:
- What industry am I in?
- What should be my brand name?
- What product am I selling, or what services do I offer?
- What is my target market?
- What solutions am I offering my customers?
Next, think deeper and ask yourself these questions:
- What message do I want to send to my customers?
- How do I want people to see my brand?
- Would my product or service help people and my community?
- Would people want to buy what I’m offering?
- Are there essential beliefs that are part of my brand’s mission?
Answering these questions will give you a clearer picture of how to show your brand to the world.
2. Analyzing the Market
It’s important to know what your competitors are doing and stay ahead of them. An excellent way to understand your competition is by conducting a SWOT analysis and then, surveys on customers’ preferences for affiliated brands.
It helps you determine their weak points and how you can improve your branding. Analyzing the market also helps you discover your strengths and weaknesses. You should also stay updated with the latest branding trends in your industry.
Most businesses in the same industry often use similar colours for their products or services. For instance, almost all tin tomato brands in Nigeria use red in their packaging.
But remember, even if you share some similarities with your competitors, it doesn’t mean your brand can’t be unique. Do not just copy your competitors; let them inspire you.
3. Audience Research
Learn to speak the language of your customers. To achieve this, you need to conduct proper target audience research. Research is essential for branding because, in the end, your target market needs are what matter.
Knowing and understanding your target audience’s preferences enables you to create a brand identity that appeals to and suits their desires. Imagine a law firm with a clown face as their logo—I’m not sure anyone would dare hire them for legal matters.
They would prefer a law firm with a more professional appearance. The same goes for other situations. During your research, answer these questions:
- Who is my target audience?
- What are their preferences?
- What attracts them?
- Are my business solutions for a diverse audience?
When you are done answering these questions, you will see that you can relate better to your customers.
4. Crafting Your Brand Visuals
Brand visuals are what your audience sees. Remember, your brand’s visuals can only make or break your business; therefore, ensure you properly combine all the elements of brand identity mentioned above to create a lasting impression.
They include your logo, colours, images, messages, tone, fonts, etc. These components help people recognize your brand. They should all align on all your publicity channels and in your branding. Consistency is key.
By making these four key choices, you’ll create a solid and consistent brand identity that makes people aware of and remember your brand.
Brand consistency is all about keeping your branding elements consistent across various platforms, like your logo, colours, messages, and fonts.
Though rebranding and updating are relevant after a while, but you shouldn’t use a logo today and then use a different one tomorrow. Consistency is vital for lasting awareness.
Brand consistency leads to brand recognition. When customers can easily recognize your brand, it could spark positive feelings, and they are more likely to patronize and stay loyal to your company for an extended period of time. In simpler terms, it builds trust and loyalty.
Guidelines for Maintaining Consistency in all Brand Materials
So, how can you ensure this consistency across all your brand activities?
One fundamental way is to have brand guidelines—a set of rules that guide you on how your brand elements should be used in your marketing across different platforms.
Think about brands like Coca-Cola. They always use their signature red colour in their unique bottle shape. You’ll never wake up to a yellow Coca-Cola logo in their ads. And when you look at MTN, you’ll notice that their logo and yellow colour remain the same across their marketing platforms.
Here are some steps to maintain brand consistency:
- Craft a mission statement: Having a mission statement is a great way to boost consistency in your branding. It helps explain what your brand stands for and how it operates worldwide.
- Create brand guidelines: Develop a branding manual that outlines your brand’s rules and how to follow them. This ensures accuracy and consistency.
- Stick to a color palette and logo: Use the same colours and logo in all your materials. It’s a quick way to make people recognize your brand.
- Keep a consistent voice: Use the same tone and style in all your marketing channels. You could tweak it sometimes but still maintain the flow. This is crucial for building a brand that people remember.
Your business needs a powerful brand identity to stand out in today’s crowded marketplace. Brand identity, which comprises your logo, colours, imagery, typography, tagline, and marketing copy, is the face of your brand that fosters trust, encourages brand recognition, and drives long-term loyalty.
Remember, brand consistency is the key to ensuring your customers easily recognize and trust your business, just as Coca-Cola’s iconic red and MTN’s unchanging yellow have become symbols of reliability.
By maintaining this consistency, you’ll pave the way for a brand that’s not just memorable but irresistible to your customers.