How to Write an Effective — And Informative — Brand Identity
Determining who you are in the world takes a lot of time and energy, and this goes for your personal reputation as well as for that of your business endeavors. Building a brand identity is an amplified version of building a personal reputation, but with much higher stakes. A strong brand makes it possible for your company to be … Continued
A strong brand makes it possible for your company to be recognizable with a single logo, but this can’t happen overnight.
You can’t just pick out a logo design and stick it on your webpage and expect everyone to start recognizing your brand for what it is.
Like any other form of digital transformation, building a brand identity takes time, but with the right strategy, it can be incredibly rewarding and can help really separate your company from your competition.
If want to learn the principles of a brand identity, and how to build an identity that resonates with your company, keep reading!
What is a Brand Identity?
Put yourself in the shoes of a customer and imagine being interested in a product that you could find online, like an online school.
There are a lot of different online schools, and you’ve heard of a few. Ultimately, when you go and crunch the numbers, many of the business principles are the same. So how do you make a choice?
You may find that psychologically you are pulled to utilize a school that you have some familiarity with, even if you can’t quite place your finger on exactly where that familiarity is coming from.
The familiar colors of the logo, the familiar wording of the logo, the slogan, and even the font choices on the website will all contribute to your decision to go with one online school over another, and this will likely result in you going with a school that you have some awareness of.
This is an example of branding. Even before you think about the benefits of one program’s merits over another, something about one school stands out over another.
A strong brand can help pull customers in over your competition in the same way.
Why Does Branding Matter?
Branding matters for a lot of different reasons, but at the core of it the plain and simple reason is that branding matters as much as dollars and cents matter to your business’s bottom line.
The goal of branding is to bring business into your company. When you build your company’s brand, you help make a clear identifying factor that signifies who you are and how you can be found in the business community.
Branding matters because building a strong online informative brand can mean the difference between a year of stagnation and a year of economic growth.
In a society that is so accustomed to strong digital access, a strong and highly effective digital brand is absolutely essential if you want to keep your base interested and your company growing.
What Are The Keys to a Strong Brand Identity?
At the core of a strong brand identity is a genuine connection to the business that the brand represents.
Branding needs to be organic. It needs to be something that makes sense and naturally represents the core of who your company is.
Having an outside group move in and slap a pre-established logo on your company is not going to crack some code to increasing customer retention. The brand needs to match the tone, energy, and mission of your company.
It needs to represent who you are. Identity branding needs to help you emerge out of the void and clearly rise above the competition as a clear choice for services in your field.
This is what builds the foundation of creating a brand identity. Taking these factors into consideration, a brand identity needs to be:
Brand identity needs to stand out from the competition. See what works for your competition but don’t copy it.
Do your own thing and make your brand something that represents what makes you unique.
Making a brand memorable goes two ways. On the one hand it needs to be simple enough to stick in everyone’s head. In the other hand it needs to be clever enough that it won’t be easily forgotten.
Think about brands that have simple one-word names with easy to recall logos, like Apple and Google.
It is important that the brand identity strategy can grow accordingly with the brand as needed.
Don’t attempt to make something so complex or rigid that it won’t be able to scale upwards or downwards as needed.
The last thing you will want to do is have to change your visual branding as you are making it into the big leagues.
This is perhaps the most important detail when it comes to applying a brand identity, because you want to make sure that the identity is going to be able to work as a whole.
The identity of the brand needs to be able to work as a full solution. This means that it needs to fit together and work as a fully functioning program.
It can’t just be piecemeal. It needs to be comprehensive.
Finally, the trick to making sure that your brand identity strategy is going to actually work for your growing brand is that it is easy to apply.
You want to make sure that when you are putting together your plan that your strategy can be easily adapted to the platforms that you have already adopted.
Your new branding goals shouldn’t attempt to bring you on board with new web platforms or commercial enterprises that you are unfamiliar with, leaving everything that you’ve already worked with and mastered untouched.
You need to dominate what you already have and make it clear that this is who you are, allowing this iconography to become synonymous with who you are, and then you can go from there and attempt to build in any way that makes sense for you and your company.
Case Studies: Examples of Companies with Good Brand Identity
When it comes to companies that have a good brand identity, the list can quickly become quite long.
You don’t have to look far to find companies that have defined themselves based on the appearance of a small square, a quick word, or a series of letters.
These companies have taken on such a strong brand that they can easily be recognized by competitors and customers alike by an icon, a word, or some other symbol that easily connects us with the brand.
Here is a look at some of the companies that are industry leaders in putting together a strong brand.
Amazon transitioned from a small mobile bookseller to an international wholesale provider of basic goods about a decade ago, and in doing so began the journey of upgrading their brand.
The wholesale provider recently started shifting to a simple smiling face on an arrow and began placing that icon everywhere — on their boxes, in their commercials, on their trucks and airplanes, and even changed the look of their mobile app so that it was also a little box, just like the ones that would show up on your doorstep.
Amazon recently launched an entirely new fleet of trucks that matches their updated brand initiative.
The trucks are designed to look exactly like their boxes, with the signifying arrow straight across the truck in place of any sort of statement of the company’s purpose.
Of course, even tech giants like Amazon are not faultless. Recently Amazon came under fire after changing its app logo to an even simpler logo that removed all signifiers of who the company was, other than the very simple logo of the basic arrow on the arrow.
The company was attacked for accusations of having a logo that resembled too closely the face of Hitler.
Amazon responded promptly by making a slight adjustment to the logo, therefore reducing the chance of obscuring the brand with unnecessary distraction and keeping the core of the update to the logo in the process, which is heavily simplified.
This is an example of how important strong planning can be when considering branding updates.
Another premium brand that is an expert at brand development is Apple. Apple has expanded over the past two decades to include any type of home computer.
It has developed hardware and software it has developed phones, computers, and televisions.
Apple’s brand development really took off in the early aughts when it introduced the iPod in the music player commercial.
Apple introduced a whole new idea with the commercial. There was no discussion of the product, no breakdown of what the item does, no showing how it can be used or different features within the product.
Instead, the commercials featured a song and showed a glamourous pop-style music video of people dancing with a very clear cord pictured in the background.
All imagery was in silhouette, and so the clearest thing in the image was the cord. While this was definitely not something that was what Apple wanted to be known for, the cord stood in for who they were.
Apple had successfully woven in a complex and advanced branding campaign that involved a highly intelligent and complex plan of communication across platforms.
Here is the infamous iPod commercial featuring “Vertigo” by U2. Speaking even more to branding, it was after this commercial that U2 struck a branding deal with apple to have their music on every apple device.
Disney is another company that has really good branding campaigns, with incredibly strong intellectual property right platforms that leads them to be quite aggressive in protecting their brand.
In fact, it is probably safe to say that Disney spends just as much time if not more protecting their brand.
Disney is a big brand that has a lot of different avenues. There are theme parks, of course, movies, television channels, TV shows, cartoons, and more.
They can easily be identified by its iconic script, but there are other factors that it has incorporated into its brand as well. Disney has control over all of its characters, which are incorporated into its branding.
Anywhere you see any of the princesses or superheroes show up you are definitely supposed to start thinking of Disney. They also have the incredibly iconic “D,” which is meant to look like a very intentional script.
The name of the company is designed to look like the signature of the founder and has created its own type of font.
The thing that Disney has mastered in branding is the branding of the personal narrative. They took this to a whole new level, branding the story of Walt Disney himself to that of an immemorial story and making it something of a fairytale in its own right.
This is aside from the incredibly iconic imagery of Mickey Mouse, and the very clear branding of the Mouse Ears that comes with everything Disney.
What’s really most impressive about this company’s accomplishment of branding is the way that it has been able to tie all of these different components together into one branding platform and keep it united under one front.
Most companies would have crumbled under so many large intellectual properties, but not Disney.
Writing an effective brand identity takes time and strategy, but is completely worth it for your company and can come with major payback for your business’s bottom line.
You do not need to attempt to build this yourself — in fact, it is not recommended that you attempt to do that at all.
Working with an expert can help you to identify the best places to target and how to plan ahead to develop a strong and comprehensive branding campaign that will meet all of your corporate needs.
Building a strong brand identity may seem like a huge challenge, but it doesn’t have to be impossible.