Most business owners understand the importance of having a logo. You might already have your logo or be ready to get it designed. But, did you know that your logo is part of your broader brand identity? Investopedia provides a great definition of a brand identity:
“A company’s brand identity is how that business wants to be perceived by consumers. The components of the brand (name, logo, tone, tagline, typeface) are created by the business to reflect the value the company is trying to bring to the market and to appeal to its customers.”
Basically, a brand identity is what your customers and prospects see. It’s a set of visual assets, but these assets have to achieve a goal. Your goal is making a great first impression before your prospect ever contacts you. If you’re a business owner this should matter to you, because a brand identity can bring big benefits.
Benefits of creating a brand identity
When you drive down the road, you’re surrounded by brand identities. Signs, logos, and even architecture have strong associations to the brands they represent.
One of the best examples of this is Target. When you see the big red logo, color-coded entrances, and big red balls (for some odd reason), then you know you’ve found a Target. There’s instant recognition and if you’re like Nate you might think, “Walmart, but nicer.”
With a little effort, any business can leverage a brand identity in the same way that Target does. A brand identity will help your business to:
Increase brand recognition
Set itself apart from the competition (don’t settle for good enough, be different)
Provide motivation for your staff through clear brand values and company culture
Build loyalty and trust
A brand identity helps customers and prospects to perceive you as a qualified professional. Given that fact, it’s important for every business to create one. Let’s look at a simple process for creating an identity for your brand.
Creating your brand identity
When creating your brand identity the first thing you should do is gather everything that you already have. This includes your name, logo, website, and any other visual assets you already have. Doing an inventory will help you see what’s left to be done and give you a head start.
Next think about some fundamental assumptions that you have about your brand. What do you think your clients’ challenges are? How do you think that your brand is different from the competition? Write down your answers before creating your brand identity. Once you’ve created your brand identity, then you’ll see whether or not your assumptions were right.
Now it’s time to start building an identity for your brand. Here are the basic steps for creating your brand identity:
Set aside three hours to go through the brand sprint process. If possible, find a neutral facilitator to keep the process on track. Use the slide deck you create as a reference when making brand identity decisions.
Create a one-page document for listing all of your brand identity guidelines. If you need inspiration, then take a look at these gorgeous style guides.
Look at your logo and its variations. Can you eliminate unnecessary variations? Can you better align it with your brand’s values and personality? (check your brand sprint slide deck for this) Add all acceptable uses of your logo to your brand identity guidelines.
Choose the colors that your brand will use. We generally recommend using one dominant color with a subtle secondary color. This is a simple and typically most effective option. However, some brands can make multiple dominant colors work together (such as Fedex). Add the selected colors to your brand identity guidelines; make sure to include the HEX and RGB values for easy reference.
Select the fonts that your brand will use. Generally, you need a heading font and a body font. Each font has a different use and pairing. This handy guide can help you if you feel totally lost. Once you’re done, then add your selections to the style guide.
Finalize your style guide and keep it on hand. Share it with anyone that does design work for your brand. This will keep your identity consistent and ensure your company is always true to itself.
Creating a brand identity can be tough without the right resources. Contact us and we’ll answer your brand identity questions and discuss how we can collaborate on your brand identity project.