When it comes to Apple, what first comes into your mind? Perhaps the half-eaten apple, is it right?
It is not only a logo but also a brand identity! When it comes to the term "Brand identity", you can think of logo. However, when we talk about logo singly, it is not a brand identity at all!
SO WHAT IS A BRAND IDENTITY?
Brand identity is the visible elements of a brand as a whole, such as color, design, texture, patterns, and logo, that differentiate the brand in consumers' minds agains competitors.
Ah, by the way Brand identity is distinct from brand image. Brand image is wider in terms of meaning and property. It is related to all perceptions of a brand including tangible and intangible elements. For example, when it comes to Coke, people think of "classic people, old people". When it comes to Pepsi, people think of "Young generation". When it comes to Monster Energy Drink, they think of "Youthful and wild energy", "energy to discover something new" but when it comes to 5-hour energy energy drink, they think of "energy to focus and work effectively".
WHY IS BUILDING BRAND IDENTITY SO IMPORTANT?
Nowadays in a messy world, building and having a strong brand identity is everything because business owners need their brand to be outstanding visibly among thousands of other brands. Any business owners who lack a powerful branding strategy and strong brand identity are certainly going to struggle in their ladder to success. Having a compelling brand can make a big difference between success and failure in the business and marketing world.
HOW TO BUILD BRAND IDENTITY EFFECTIVELY?
Between you and me, building brand identity is not easy and simple as many people think. Majority of people think of a logo or just the key color when it comes to building brand identity. So they think it is a simple job. If it is easy, it will turn out to be hard for you to build because all people can do it effectively. Then the problem is not how to build brand identity but how to be MORE effective than the others.
Building brand identity should include: conducting brand audit, creating a brand strategy, creating brand building blocks, defining unique value proposition, and then build brand identity and brand image to represent the brand value. All these tasks are simply combined in some main steps as follows:
Step 1: Conduct Brand Audit
Despite any stages of your business, the first step is always to determine where you are now in the marketplace, who your customer is, and where do you want to be. To do so, brand owners must understand clearly what is most important to drive brand growth and understand how the brand is actually perceived by consumers. In addition, an in-depth competitor analysis including a review of brand image, brand perception, brand loyalty, websites, search engine optimization, brand identities and advertising - informs who they will compete with for market share, how to differentiate, and what strategies to employ.
In this step, I suggest using 5Cs analysis including: category, consumers, competitors, channels, and company. I won't go detail for it because the terms are as simple as its name. The importance is how to get data and how to analyze to put into each C in this 5Cs Model.
For those who are still unfamiliar with brand audit, 5Cs Analysis Model, and how to analyze, you can take a reference in my online course "Brand building for startups: how to win consumer mind?"
In the course, I explain step by step for you to understand it thoroughly and I also offer templates and samples for you to copy the methods to do it easily.
Step 2: Establish Unique Value Proposition and Messaging Statements
In order for a brand to be successful, a brand owner must first identify its brand's unique value proposition and its brand communication structure. Determining your brand's value proposition is also the first lever to create brand building blocks. This is the foundation of building a brand that truly represents your organization.
Although it is complicated and important, I already simplified it into a model and offer free in my course and in my website's landing page here: "Brand building for startups"
You can copy the idea and then apply in your situation.
Step 3: Develop Your Brand's Creative Elements
The next step is to create the look, feel, tone and mood of the brand that will be represented and carried through out all marketing channels - from the website, to traditional media and/or social media, advertisements, and packaging. The brand's creative elements should be distinctive and consistent and stay true to your company's and brand's values.
There are many methods to ensure that you are building the right brand image and voice to your target audience is to evaluate your professional capacity, consumer profile, category image and competitors... Yes, again we come back to 5Cs understanding. For example, Bioderma built the right brand image and voice by leveraging its founder's expertise as both biologist and dermatologist and combining the key concerns of target consumers as worry of chemical usage. Seacret is based on the fame of Dead SEA image. So it consider how to the SEACRET of the DEAD SEA as a creative element to build.
How colors connect with the nature of the category nature and your brand foundation and value? You must consider it in this phase. In this phase, you need to use your logical thinking to build your brand story in mind.
In my online course earlier mentioned, it also contained this step.
Step 4: Establish the Brand Identity
After you have all the things related to brand strategies as above and creative elements to consider, combine them all together to create the brand identity. In this phase, you must use creative thinking to build a story expressed by visible elements.
You must think of how to play with font style, how to play with colors, how to dramatize or humanize something, text... to make it as iconic image in consumer mind. If you are a new startup with limited budget, just think of the simplest way to do it by yourself.
If you have a specific budget for building brand identity, you can hire a freelancer to do it for you! All the things you do is to fill in the design brief with the information as above. You can find a low cost freelancer in Fiverr, higher standard in Guru, or you can contact me via my service here!
Step 5: Analyze and Refine the Brand Identity
Although it is vital for a brand to establish and differentiate from other competitors, it does not mean it can't change over time. To remain competitive, companies must analyze and reexamine their brand frequently to ensure it's delivering on the promises of what the company stands for. That's why big brands always invest huge budget in monthly brand health tracking report and U&A report (Usage and Attitudes). So keep in mind that you need to track brand performance frequently and if the current brand identity can't deliver its purpose anymore! Change it!