If you are one of the millions of business owners trying to be noticed by a niche audience, you, in all probability, understand how critical it is to stand out as different and better, and more promising than your competitors. A brand identity helps consumers see your business the way you want them to see you.
But why is brand identity important and how does one go about creating a brand identity. Is a brand identify the same as branding? How can you design a brand identity? These are some of the questions we will answer here, with a focus on the importance of having a brand identity.
What is a brand identity?
A brand identity is a message the public receives about a company, from the company. It is how the company feels it should be perceived by the public. With competition on the rise, having a brand identity is necessary for the success of a business. A brand identity is unique to a business and lets customers and consumers know what the business stands for – or what is its identity.
What are some common terms that are easily confused with brand identity?
A brand is a relation between a customer and a business. It is made up of several intangibles. Meaning, a brand cannot be seen; it can be felt. A brand can be many things – it could be a gut feeling that consumers have about a company, and it could be a relationship that consumers share with a company.
Brand identity can be seen. It is the visual aspects of a company’s style and personality. There are several components that make up a brand’s identity. Everything visual about a brand is bucketed under the term brand identity. While it is a set of tangibles, these tangibles are made up of the brand identity, consisting of what the brand says, the company’s values and a promise that you make to your customers.
Branding is the process of building awareness of a company and extending loyalty.
Together, brand, brand identity and brand fall into a common bucket known as brand design.
What are some of the best-known brand identities?
Coca-Cola’s well-known logo is part of its brand identity. This logo is printed on uniquely shaped bottles that let the consumers know that they are getting the real stuff. The red colour elicits confidence, while its script typeface is all about enjoyment.
McDonald’s golden arches and Nike’s “swoosh” are two other icons that are recognised around the world.
What is included in brand identity?
It’s not simply a logo that is a brand’s identity – it is the colour palette, fonts, typography, graphics and any other visual representations of the business, as well as guidelines on how these elements must be used across different types of media like the website, social media profiles, marketing collateral and other physical representations of the business. Packaging and messaging are other components of brand identity that reinforce the reputation of a brand.
Brand identity consists of a variety of marketing material, including:
- Business cards
- Print material (flyers, brochures, handouts, and so on)
- Product packaging
The importance of having a brand identity
A company’s brand identity is the embodiment of that company’s business – what it is and what it does. A brand does not just reside in the hearts and minds of consumers, but it also evolves. Therefore, its identity is very important. Consider these statistics:
- A specific colour can boost a company’s brand recognition by 80%.
- 60% of people decide if they are attracted by a brand message based on its colour.
- 90% of purchases are influenced by visual appeal.
- 38% of viewers will leave a website if the layout is unattractive or unappealing.
There are several other such statistics that prove the brand identity is more than important. Here are some more reasons:
1. Your brand’s identity is the face of your business
Brand identity makes your company more memorable. Consider your brand’s logo. It’s more than just a symbol. It is a symbol that tells consumers that this symbol belongs only to your company. So, when consumers look at your symbol, they associate with only your company. A smartly designed website can make a company look stronger and bigger than its competitors.
Another example is the Coca-Cola symbol and the very exclusive Coca-Cola bottle. These are more than cool and interesting additions to the Coca-Cola brand – they are a part of Coca-Cola’s brand identity that let consumers associate them only with Coca-Cola and no other beverage company.
2. A brand identity shows consumers that your business is memorable
Consumers might take time to research and compare options before making a purchase. But most consumers choose a brand that they recognise. That is why companies like Coca-Cola and KFC spend billions a year to advertise their brand identity.
A brand identity – however simple it may be – when used consistently, helps customers and potential customers to remember who you are. The more your brand is seen, the more likely they will contact you for your business and more information about your business. Every interaction that consumers have with your brand identity is a chance for you to make a connection and create a very memorable brand identity experience.
3. Your brand’s identity builds credibility and trust
Brand identity makes your brand more authoritative. A brand that has an established face and maintains that face consistently over time develops credibility among both consumers as well as customers.
A brand identity conveys stability. It projects a long-term feel to consumers who see it regularly.
A brand identity that has a unique and crisp image and clear messages convey to consumers that they are here to stay.
4. Your brand identity helps influence customers
A successful brand identity helps influence customers. Take the example of two well-known beverages, Coke and Pepsi. Both these brands have a strong brand identity. They have established themselves as leaders in the market. Let’s say a person has a craving for a Coke, but there is no Coke available. Instead, they are given a choice between Pepsi and an unnamed and unknown brand. There is a very high chance that most people will choose Pepsi over the unknown brand because Pepsi is a known and trusted brand. Pepsi has built its identity as a reputable brand. Even people who have no information about Pepsi’s quality will opt for it because they know that it is similar to Coke.
5. Your brand identity creates customer loyalty
Customer loyalty is much more important than customer satisfaction. That is because customer satisfaction does not guarantee that customers will return. But a loyal customer will ensure repeat business. If you concentrate on customer satisfaction alone, you will need to consider price sensitivity and competitive promotions of your product or service. You will need to make huge investments in marketing as well. But if you focus on customer loyalty, you are assured business without making changes in price or competing with the competition. Customer loyalty also ensures that your product or service reaches a wider audience by just word of mouth.
6. Your brand identity makes your company look bigger
An unestablished company with a small or unprofessional online presence and with no brand identity at all is not given any importance.
A brand identity that is consistently used across all business correspondence – such as on business cards, social media profiles and the company website – show consumers that you are an established brand. A brand identity shows consumers that yours is a company that deserves their business.
When you come across as an established company that has its very own and unique brand identity, customers expect to pay more for your business and are also willing to do so.
7. Your brand identity shows commitment and personal pride
When you take the time to invest in unique brand identity, consumers know that you take personal pride in your business and that you will be committed to its success. It further shows that you are willing to go the whole way to deliver a good product or service.
Companies that take personal pride and commitment are known to under-promise and over-deliver – that is what consumers want.
8. Strong brand identity can filter out bad leads
A strong brand identity can filter out bad leads on your behalf. Every business wants to do business that is aligned with its core values. The reason for this is simple. Consumers who are aligned with your core values are your best customers. Strong brand identity will automatically attract the type of customers you want while detracting the rest. It also helps you close sales easily with the type of customers you want and develops long-term customer relationships with them.
9. Your brand identity will support product launches
No matter what industry or vertical your business belongs to, you will always find opportunities to introduce new services and products to the marketplace. You listen to your customers’ requirements, anticipate what they want, and then decide to create innovative solutions that cater to their requirements. All this is good for business. But then, there is always that one nagging questions. Is this the right time to introduce something new?
If you have a strong brand identity, you will have a loyal customer following. This is a great advantage when you are launching a new product or service. Thanks to your strong brand identity, your reputation precedes you. So, you can introduce beta products to customers who trust you and get them to convince others to try your new product. Marketing and advertising for a new product become easier, as you are already seen as a trusted and well-established company.
10. Your brand identity shows your personality
A company’s brand identity is the visual representation of that company’s values and “personality.” A brand identity sets the tone of your brand and can be made to evoke certain emotions from your audience. It can be used specifically to communicate your business’ overall message and promote your business goals.
How to build a strong brand identity?
A strong brand identity is the result of consistency. To build a strong brand identity, it is necessary to ensure that it is used in all the visible elements. Consistent use of colours, consistent typeface and the use of consistent brand identity across all offline and online channels is a must. A strong brand identity is also created with consistent customer service.
What tools can be used to create a strong brand identity?
Visual branding can help you stand out from your competitors without you saying a word. Canva is a great tool to create coherent and consistent visual content and other brand elements to keep you ahead of your competitors. Canva is simple to use and has several useful resources on its site.
A logo can give consumers a lot of information about your brand in just a few seconds. A logo should display all the necessary information at a glance. A clever logo that is augmented with the right colours can impart a lot of information to customers.
Designhill’s logo maker is a free online logo generator that can take away the stress of designing a logo. This powerful tool makes use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to create several hundreds of unique logos in less than a minute.
Typography is a design element that can add personality to your brand. Typefaces can be soft, cool, humorous, or even robust. Cool Text Generator is a tool that can be used to generate text symbols in stylish fonts.
Email marketing can deliver measurable ROI of your campaigns. According to a 2015 report, each $1 spent on email had a $38 return on investment. MailChimp offers a variety of templates that you can use for different types of messages.
Social media is known to be one of the best platforms for brand identity development, with over two-third active users. Hootsuite is the best tool for social media brand awareness strategies. It can be used to discover, schedule, report and manage all your social media content.
Your company website is the first place a customer or a prospective customer goes for information about your product or service. WordPress is ideal for building brand identity.
Do small businesses need a brand identity?
There is a misconception that brand identity is required only for small companies. Many small companies believe that they do not require a brand or a brand identity to successfully market their product or service. These companies might go very far to invest in a logo, but they stop there. Sadly, these companies do not realise that a brand identity is much more than just a visual impression of the company. All companies, no matter how big or small, can benefit immensely from brand identity.
There is no doubt that any organisation – no matter its size or industry – can benefit immensely from brand identity. If you are looking for ways to influence your customers, gain their loyalty through credibility and trust, gain better leads and increase your company’s ROI through more sales, there is just one way to go, and that’s with creating a brand identity.