Creating a brand identity or defining your brand is an extremely important exercise that you need to pay thorough attention to. Your brand's identity is what helps your brand stay in the minds of your customers and what makes them loyal to your brand.
Think about it this way. You are more comfortable and feel more connected to people with who you can identify. This is the same way that customers feel about brands as well. When a customer feels 'connected' to a brand, they are much more likely to continue using that brand and choosing it over others. To build that connection, you need a strong brand identity.
What exactly is a brand identity?
A brand identity is basically your customer’s perception of your brand. Jeff Bezos put it brilliantly when he said, your brand identity is similar to the kinds of things that people would say about you when you aren’t in a room with them.
Your brand identity includes:
1. The brand’s visual identity
2. The brand’s voice
3. The brand’s values
4. The brand’s personality
5. The brand’s message
The message that your brand sends out needs to be a very strong one. This message is what encourages people to choose your brand and to buy your products. In a world where competition is so fierce, the brand that figures out the strongest message will emerge victoriously.
Now that you have an overview of what brand identity is, here are some of the most important questions to keep in mind while creating your brand identity:
1. Who are you selling to?
The most important thing you need to do is to figure out your customer base. Who are you selling to? How old are they? How much are they willing to spend on your product and similar products from the competition?
Figure out who you are selling to first, find out what makes them tick, and then imply those aspects in your brand. Assuming that your brand just sells to 'everyone' is a big mistake. Build customer profiles, create customer personas, and build from there.
2. Do you know your competition?
Do a very thorough competitive analysis of your market. There’s much to learn from your competitors. Some of your competitors could have very poor brand identities and messages, so you can learn exactly what not to do from them. Conversely, some of them could have excellent brand identities. Try to figure out how they were able to make it work and imbibe those skills into your brand identity.
3. What language does your audience speak?
Now, this doesn't refer to the tongue that your audience speaks in. What it means is, figure out the kind of language they use. Are you selling to youngsters? They use modern, colloquial language with abbreviations, short forms, and so on. Are you selling to a slightly older, dignified crowd who like to speak and type in complete sentences? Figure out what their language is, and make sure that your brand speaks to them in their language.
4. Can you tell a good brand story?
Does your brand have a good story to tell? This refers to how your brand came to be and also what your brand can do for the customer. Ideally, you need to tell the story in a way that your brand can make life easier for the customer. Your brand should become the reason that something great happens in your customer’s life.
5. How does your logo communicate your brand’s identity?
Your brand's logo is an extremely important aspect of its identity. This is the image that will come up in the minds of your customers when they think about your brand. Make sure that your logo is original, ages well are memorable, and scales well. It must look good on a small thumbnail to a large printout. Remember that your logo is designed in a way that makes it come out well on both print and digital media.
6. What font will capture your brand’s identity just right?
The font that you pick has a very large role to play in your brand's identity. Similar to the way that human beings can equate emotions with colors, we do the same with fonts as well. Certain fonts can evoke certain emotions inside us. Will yours be playful? Traditional? Energetic? Choose the right font to make your brand memorable.
7. What are your brand's colors?
As mentioned above, human beings equate emotions and feelings with colors. Blue equates to peace and tranquillity; purple equates to a feeling of royalty, green equates with money, and so on. The colors that you choose for your brand have the responsibility to evoke emotions in your customers. So what are the emotions you want to evoke, and what colors will you choose to help you do that?
8. How will you interact with your customers?
You need to define a very clear guideline on how your brand is going to interact with customers. Will you be fun, humorous, and playful? Will you be a little more serious and straight to the point? These are things that you need to decide about your brand.
It's a very important part of your brand's identity, and it needs to remain consistent. You cannot frequently change the way you interact with your customers.
9. What are some of the brands that inspire you?
Make a list of some of the big brands that have inspired you in the past. They need not be directly involved in the field that your brand is in. They could be completely unrelated to the field you are in but try and analyze their brand identity. Try and understand what it is that drew you to the brand. Try to figure out what it is that works for them, and try to make those things work for your brand, too.
10. What makes your brand different?
Try and figure out what sets you apart from the competition. You are well aware that in today’s crowded market, no matter what field it is, you are going to face stiff competition. Try to understand what it is that you offer your customers that none of your competitors can.
This is what sets you apart. Once you’ve figured out what makes you different, constantly remind your customers about it. Let them also know why you are different from the crowd.
To sum up
Your brand identity will speak volumes about your brand. If you manage to build a solid brand identity, a majority of your work is already done. The questions asked above are for you to ask yourself as you spend your time creating a brand identity. If you have good answers to all these questions, you can be pretty confident about the path that you've set upon.
Remember that all the greatest brands became the greatest because they created strong identities that resonated with their customers, and they were identities that their customers could relate to. Hopefully, you can do the same with your brand. All the best!