Building A Strong Brand Identity: Your 10-Step Guide
When you think about the world's most successful brands, what springs to mind?
Maybe it's the unmistakable golden arches of McDonald's, the iconic 'swoosh' of Nike, or the tempting aroma of freshly brewed Starbucks coffee. One thing these companies all have in common is a memorable brand identity that resonates with consumers worldwide.
Interestingly, according to Lucidpress, brand consistency alone can increase revenue by a whopping 10-20%. A testament to the power of a robust brand identity. But how do you build such an effective identity for your brand?
Let's explore ten steps that will help your brand personality stand out and form the foundation for comprehensive brand guidelines that will keep your brand strategy consistent, targeted, and successful.
Understanding What a Brand Identity Is
When we talk about Apple, things like innovation, sleek design, high-quality technology, and even the bitten apple logo might pop into your head, right? These perceptions collectively form Apple's brand identity.
Building a successful brand identity starts with a clear understanding of what it represents. Brand identity includes not just brand elements like a logo or a tagline but an amalgamation of your business's vision, mission statement, values, and aesthetics.
Remember, a staggering 81% of consumers need to trust a brand before considering a purchase. So, to establish this customer loyalty, you need to consistently present your brand's identity across all platforms and touchpoints.
Step 1: Define Your Brand's Purpose
Your brand's purpose acts as the backbone of your brand identity.
It articulates why your brand exists, why you do what you do, and why your customers should care. Your brand's purpose should reflect your passion and commitment to your business and your customers. It should inspire and guide all your actions, decisions, and communications.
Take Patagonia as an example. Their brand purpose is to "build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis." This purpose, clearly defined and well-communicated, forms the backbone of their brand identity design and brand marketing.
Step 2: Identify Your Target Audience
Identifying your target audience involves understanding who they are, what they want, and how your brand can meet their needs.
Get specific - consider their demographics, psychographics, behaviors, desires, challenges, and needs. Use this information to help develop a brand voice that resonates with them.
Engage with them on platforms they hang out on; after all, 77% of consumers prefer shopping with brands they follow on social media. By deeply understanding your audience, you can craft a brand identity that connects well with them and stands out from the competition.
Step 3: Research Your Competition
Understanding your competition allows you to position your brand effectively in the marketplace. Identify what they do well and where they fall short.
Use this insight to differentiate your brand, filling gaps in the market, and providing unique value that others don't.
For example, maybe your competitor has lackluster brand assets (their logo design, marketing materials, etc.) in this case, you can make more of a statement with your brand image.
Step 4: Develop Your Brand’s Unique Value Proposition (UVP)
Your UVP defines the unique value your brand offers over your competitors.
It's a compelling positioning statement that conveys how your brand can solve your customers' problems, meet their needs, and deliver specific benefits. Similar to a tagline, but much more weighty, your UVP should be customer-focused, specific, and clear.
Slack's UVP "Be less busy" effectively conveys how the brand offers value to its customers – by providing a platform that streamlines communication, thereby reducing busyness.
Step 5: Create Your Brand's Visual Elements
The visual components of your brand identity - including your logo, color palette, typography, and images - communicate your brand’s personality and values at a glance.
Remember that color alone can increase brand recognition by up to 80%! That’s why it’s vital to invest time and resources into designing these brand elements to ensure they are distinctive, memorable, and visually appealing.
Step 6: Develop Your Brand's Voice and Tone
Your brand's voice and tone reflect its personality and values. Is your brand formal or casual? Professional or playful? Consistency in your brand's voice across all channels enhances brand recognition and deepens emotional connections with your audience.
Remember, 64% of consumers have tagged a branded hashtag on social media - engaging with your audience in your brand's unique voice can drive these kinds of interactions.
Step 7: Establish Your Brand's Core Values and Culture
Your brand's core values and culture are integral to your brand identity. They inform how your business operates and how it interacts with customers, employees, and society.
Transparency is key here. As<abhref="https://www.webershandwick.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Battle_of_the_Wallets.pdf"> 60% of consumers have taken action based on a brand's actions, it's crucial to establish and communicate your values clearly.
Outdoor clothing company The North Face lives its tagline "Never Stop Exploring" not just in the adventurous products it makes, but also in its brand culture and core values, resulting in a strong, authentic brand identity.
Love what you’re learning? Get more expert branding tips in our other blog, “Marketing Matchmakers: How to match your brand with a compatible audience.”
Step 8: Craft Compelling Brand Stories
Crafting compelling brand stories is essential for developing a strong brand identity. These stories create emotional connections, make your brand relatable, and leave a lasting impression.
Identify key narratives aligned with your brand's purpose, use storytelling techniques, choose the right mediums, and ensure consistency across touchpoints. By crafting powerful brand stories, you engage your audience, differentiate from competitors, and solidify your brand identity.
Step 9: Implement Your Brand Identity across All Touchpoints
Consistency is key when it comes to brand identity.
Every interaction customers have with your brand - from your website and social media to customer service and product packaging - should reflect your brand identity. This consistency reinforces your brand image and delivers a seamless and memorable brand experience.
Brand identity examples like Starbucks and McDonalds illustrate this well. Starbucks offers a consistent brand experience across all touchpoints, whether you're in a store in Seattle, São Paulo, or Seoul. The music, interior design, customer service, and even the aroma of their shops make up their well-rounded and consistent brand identity.
Step 10: Refine and Evolve Your Brand Identity
Branding is not a one-time activity. It needs to be refined and evolved over time to stay relevant and effective. Salesforce reports that 94% of marketers believe personalized marketing positively impacts brand-building, indicating the need for constant refinement.
Google is a prime example of a brand that has evolved its identity over time. While it has maintained the color sequence of its logo, the typeface has been refined multiple times over the years to keep it modern and accessible.
Begin Your Brand Building Journey Today!
Building a strong brand identity is an ongoing process that requires consistent evaluation and refinement. With these ten steps, you can create a brand identity that makes an impact and draws in your target audience, providing the foundation for a successful and enduring brand.
Ready to set sail on your brand-building journey? With Vessel, you'll navigate through the complex currents of brand identity with an expert crew by your side.
We have a successful track record in constructing powerful, unique, and compelling brand identities that amplify the voice of home services, manufacturers, non-profits, and more!
Reach out to us today and let's make your brand not only stand out but also stand the test of time. Connect with Vessel now for a free 20-minute discovery call!