No matter what industry your business is in, there are a few key elements that you will need to tap into to increase your chances of success – your vision, the right team, and a solid brand identity.
The words brand, branding, and brand identity are often thrown around and used as if they refer to the same thing. Although closely related, each of these is distinct.
What is a brand identity, and why does it matter?
The term “brand” refers to the public’s perception of your company. Branding, on the other hand, refers to the activities that help shape your brand. Brand identity is the umbrella term for the different tools and assets that the company uses to cultivate the right image for its intended audience.
In a nutshell, brand identity is what sets your products or services apart from the competition. It is what your audience sees and expects from you.
But why does it even matter? Here’s a snapshot of the benefits a strong brand identity offers.
1. Command a higher price
In a competitive market where companies mainly offer the same products or services to the same group of consumers, how do some brands command a higher price just like Apple?
The answer lies in brand identity. Brand identity allows even smaller industry players to exude an image of quality. In turn, this perception makes it easier for consumers to choose your products or services, even if they have to pay more.
2. Project an image of professionalism and reliability
Companies that cultivate strong brand identities are often viewed as experts in their industries. In the eyes of consumers, your company can be relied upon to deliver quality products consistently compared to industry peers who have neglected their brand identities.
But apart from this, a strong brand identity can open new doors for your business, especially if you are looking for collaborations.
3. Get ahead of the competition
Companies are always looking for ways to set themselves apart from their peers. In industries where there are several competitors, a strong brand image can help you get a leg up over the others.
Building with the right foundations
Well-recognized brands do not stumble upon success. According to one of Dubai’s leading brand consultancy agencies, to build a robust brand identity for your company, you need to start with the right foundation. Here’s a look at the essential elements that will allow you to develop a strong brand identity.
1. Know your purpose
Before diving deep into the process of building a brand identity, you should first establish its purpose.
The brand purpose encapsulates your company’s reason for existing. And along with the brand purpose, you will also need to determine your brand positioning. Brand positioning is essentially about identifying your target market.
Through precise brand positioning, you will be able to carefully target the right customers and differentiate your products or services from the competition.
2. Know your audience
One effective way to determine your brand purpose and positioning more accurately is to use every available type of data.
For many businesses, that means conducting thorough market research. Sometimes, it does not need to be too complicated. Talking with people from your target market is an excellent place to start. Plus, it allows your team to make a genuine connection with the people they interview.
Apart from interviews, you can use surveys as well as data from government agencies.
3. Create a brand personality
The brand personality that you create will dictate how you will form your brand identity. It also plays a central role in determining the tone and voice used in your communications and marketing campaigns.
In a nutshell, your brand personality should reflect who your brand is if it were personified. One of the easiest ways to start is to find a celebrity who possesses the traits that you think are ideal for your brand.
4. Design your logo
The logo is easily one of the most recognizable visual assets of a brand. It also plays a crucial role in identity design — holding together other visual elements into one cohesive unit. For that, your logo needs to be memorable.
What makes a logo memorable?
First, it needs to be simple and easily recognizable. A logo needs to be simple because you will need to scale it up or down, depending on the platforms you use. But more importantly, a simple logo makes it easier for an audience to make a positive association.
Another characteristic memorable logos share is flexibility. Simply put, it needs to look good wherever you place it.
5. Choose the right fonts and colors
Each color has an underlying meaning. Intentional or not, the colors you use for your branding and marketing efforts send specific messages subtly.
This is why it is imperative to choose the appropriate colors for your branding. It helps to have some basic understanding of color psychology, which will allow you to finetune your palette to reflect the key messages that you need to get across.
For branding, you do not need to use several colors. For the primary palette, you will need around three colors. From there, you can add a few secondary colors which complement the primary colors you have chosen.
As with the color palette, companies should also spend ample time choosing the fonts they will use for their branding and marketing.
As much as possible, avoid using fancy fonts. Instead, focus your attention on legibility. At the end of the day, you want your audience to read and understand your message.
A rule of thumb that can help you get started is to choose fonts from no more than two families. It is all right to use serif and sans serif fonts.
Bringing it all together
Over time, you will have people going away or joining your team, either as full-time members or as vendors or consultants like the Middle East’s leading branding and design agency.
To avoid confusion and maintain consistency, it is a good idea to create brand guidelines that will encapsulate the use of the different visual and communication assets used for branding.
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About the Author
Hasan Fadlallah is a Serial Entrepreneur – Founder & CEO of Brand Lounge, the region’s leading and award-winning branding consultancy, whose role is to help organizations align their business behind an idea that will deliver success time and again. Equipped with over 20 years of professional consulting experience, today he advises businesses throughout the Gulf and Africa on brand development and in 2014 was recognized by the World Brand Congress who awarded him the prestigious Brand Leadership award in Brand Excellence.