It’s not enough to simply design a landing page or a logo and call it good. Appealing to customers and building your brand requires a little more nuance than that. In order to truly understand what your company is all about, you need to be able to develop what’s known as a brand identity.
To put it simply, a brand identity is how your customers perceive you. What images and feelings do they associate with you?
Your identity isn’t just how you interact with your customers but everything that makes up how your company presents itself to the world- the types of visuals you use in your marketing campaigns, the typography you use in your email newsletters and on your landing page, your logo, the value you offer clients, and so on. Designing a brand identity that works is what ensures that you will stand out from your competition.
How do you design a brand identity that works? Here’s a few things to keep in mind.
Understand Your Audience
You simply can’t build a brand identity without understanding your audience. Who is your target audience? What do they want from your brand?
It never hurts to poll your customers and ask. Did your branding meet their expectations? If so, ask why that is. If not, figure out what wasn’t working. Consider if your current marketing efforts are meshing with your envisioned goals for your company.
Consider Your Values
What sort of values do you want your brand to impart? Are you authoritative? Casual? Light-hearted? Try to figure out what kind of vibe you want your brand to impart. Be willing to ask yourself critical questions. Are the kinds of visuals and messages your brand is sending cohesive with your brand’s values and envisioned personality?
Effective marketing and identity develop involves getting emotional. What kinds of emotions are you looking to elicit in your customers? One study demonstrated that humans experience four base emotions: happiness, sadness, surprise/fear, and anger. What sort of emotion do you want your marketing and materials to reflect and elicit in your customers?
If you’re a home security company, you may very well use your customer’s fear over potential home invasions to influence them to interact with your brand. On the other hand, if you’re a pet adoption agency, you might use images of puppies and kittens to appeal to your customer’s sense of joy.
The kinds of emotions you’re playing to will influence the colour choices you use (bright colors like yellows and whites play well to positive emotions while blacks/reds/and grays may be better suited when appealing to more negative emotions), your typography, and will influence how your identity interacts with customers.
Research Your Competition
No company exists in a bubble. Even if your brand is operating in an obscure industry, it helps to research competitors. Consider what sort of images and branding they’re using. If possible, you’ll want to consider their sales and market reach compared to yours. What are they doing right? What mistakes would you like to avoid? The better you understand who you’re working against, the better you’ll be able to understand what sort of identity you want your brand to impart.
But developing an identity shouldn’t be a solo effort. Collaborate with other departments in your company to determine what sort of identity your brand should have. Every aspect of your company must be working together. Your designers should know and understand your brand just as deeply as your HR department.
Be sure to seek constant feedback throughout the process and brief everyone in your company about the story your identity is trying to tell. This will ensure that your identity is both strong and consistent.
[This post by Jon Westenberg first appeared on his official website and has been reproduced with permission.]