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A memorable and impactful brand identity takes time to build. There’s more to it than picking a name, choosing a few colors and throwing together a logo. Your design needs to be thought out strategically and it needs to be consistent with your purpose as a business. An in-depth understanding of your target audience is paramount, in addition to solid communication and creative design skills. At its core, brand identity is a means of telling your story to the world, differentiating your business from your competitors, and creating brand experiences that inspire people to be drawn to you.
This article will help you begin to think about how to create a meaningful brand identity. If you’re just starting a business or thinking of retooling your logo, you’ll get practical tips, some simple steps to get going, and how to connect with your target market in a productive and profitable way.
1. Research Your Audience
Before you make your own logo and proceed with developing your brand identity system, you must first identify your target customers. To be successful, you need to connect with your prospective customers authentically, but to do that you need to know them ahead of time.
But to really make your brand identity memorable, make sure you know that answers to the following questions about your audience:
How old are they?
Where are they located?
How do they define their values?
Do they have any dislikes or likes?
Why should they care about your products or services?
What unmet needs will you help them fulfill?
Do a little secondary research on the internet to find out what people are saying about the industry in which you compete. Additionally, you can conduct some primary research and gain data by reaching out to people directly with a questionnaire.
2. Create Your Brand Story
Your brand story represents a detailed outline of the goals of your business and the process you’ll use to achieve them. It’s more than just a tagline, it’s a narrative that defines your purpose and compels your target audience to want to be a part of your story. The most compelling brand stories do the following.
- Simplify a Complicated Issue Your brand assumes the role of a guide who helps customers identify challenges and solve problems.
- Stir Emotion. People buy based on emotion, but they also connect and become brand advocates based on strong emotions too. Give them a reason to feel.
- Trigger Memories Audiences more readily relate to a good story than to a fact-laden description of the wonders of a product.
- Make Your Customers the Hero of the Story—but not your brand! Your story should help them decide to use your brand to fulfill their needs.
Your brand identity is the visual element of your brand—your name and your logo. It’s essential to have a story in place before you begin defining your brand identity, which should be derived from your purpose, story and your methods of communicating to your customers. By understanding your own message, you can design an identity that successfully conveys it. It also helps if your business’ brand story becomes publicized and well-known, as this strategy has made popular brands more famous due to their humble beginnings.
3. Select an Authentic, Identifiable Brand Name
Ensure that your brand name is easily spelled, pronounced, and remembered. You should be able to repeat a great business name after hearing it just once. You don’t want the name to be used elsewhere. You may wish to use a translator to ensure that the text does not translate to something misleading, improper or rude in foreign languages. The story of the Chevy Nova launch in Mexico may just be urban legend, but you get the point!
If you do business in a particular location, you can add that to your name. However, a name can be derived from many things other than your business location. Also extremely important: check whether the website domain is available. It’s not hard and it may save you lots of trouble or money or both. Go to domain registrars to do it quickly and easily.
4. Design Your Logo
The next step is to decide which graphic representation to use for your brand once you have chosen a good and creative name. A unique and distinct logo is essential. You need to make sure the colors are meaningful and that the design reflects the values your firm represents.
Check out guides and resources on what makes an excellent logo. Make sure the it is simple and uncluttered. A complex logo may initially seem ideal, but it can quickly translate to many issues later when it’s transferred online or when it’s blown up for oversized display on a billboard. When users cannot understand your logo, it won’t inspire them to adopt your brand. This logo will follow your company everywhere, so try to incorporate and use it as much as possible—on your website, collaterals, business cards, and all other company materials. If you are in the process of retooling your brand identity and logo, consider how you can use the process to reconnect and reenergize relationships with your past and current customers. Be sure that your logo is legible, no matter how big or small it is. A graphic designer can help you develop a good logo if you have difficulty formulating it yourself. Brief your designer on your brand story and purpose, and then let them work their creative magic.
To create a powerful brand identity for your business, these four tips will help guide you and keep you on track for success. They probably seem straightforward, but the “devil is in the details” as they say. Great brands, from Apple to Zappos, have a compelling story, a clear strategy and a ruthlessly consistent identity system that helps them connect authentically with their target audience. You have an incredible opportunity at your fingertips, a chance to create something uniquely yours, the face that will represent your brand to the world. Please make the most of it, do your market research, and remember, you only have six seconds to give people a reason to care, listen, engage, buy, and finally a reason to stay.
Thanks for reading. Sign up for our upcoming webinar event on storytelling, and then join our blog! You can learn more about how to harness the power of brand identity by following me on Twitter, connecting with me on LinkedIn, subscribing to the TopRight blog, and buying copies of my latest books, Strategic Analytics and Marketing, Interrupted.