John Lincoln

What is Brand Identity: How to Create One That Makes You Stand Out

What is Brand Identity: How to Create One That Makes You Stand Out

No matter your field, you’re going to run into competition. If you want to make a splash in your industry and stand out from your competitors, you need to establish your brand identity.

What Is Brand Identity?

How Do You Establish It?

Why Does It Matter?

Let’s talk about it!

What is Brand Identity?

Simply put, your brand identity consists of all of the elements that make up your brand. It is what consumers think of when they see or hear your brand’s name.

Everything from your logo to your tag line to your color palette makes up your brand identity.

Since these elements are what the general public will start to associate with your brand, you’ll want to make sure that you create an identity that truly suits you and your products but is also cohesive enough to create a noticeable link between the elements and your brand.

Like everything else in marketing, there is a strategy behind creating a brand identity.

How to Create a Brand Identity

The very first step in creating a brand identity is to really nail down who you are and what you bring to the table. How can you expect other people to get to know your brand if you aren’t even sure that you recognize it yourself?

To get started, you’ll want to think about these key elements:

  • Your mission statement – what is your “why?” Why do you do what you do?
  • Your values – what drives you? What does your company believe in?
  • Your brand positioning – why are you different from your competitors? What differences do you bring to the table?
  • Your brand personality – if your brand suddenly came to life, what would he or she be like? Funny and relaxed? Straight-laced and serious?
  • Your brand voice – what do consumers hear when they read your copy or hear your commercials? What sort of tone do they pick up on?

The answers to these questions will give you a strong foundation to start establishing your brand identity.

The Importance of Your Brand Identity Design

Once you’ve established your foundation and you are clear on your brand identity, it’s time to give it a tangible look.

Think of some of the world’s most recognizable brands. Nike. Apple. Netflix. Burger King. All of these brands are recognizable just through their design elements. They don’t even have to say anything in their advertisements. Just one look at the font or color pattern and you’ll know who it is.

Let’s talk about what design elements you should start with and how you can use them to help get your brand identity across to consumers.

Typography

Before you start to create any branded assets, you’ll want to lock up the most basic design element: your typography.

The four main types of typography are:

  • Serif
  • Sans serif
  • Script
  • Display

A brand that uses a font in the Serif family is an old soul. Using this class font family probably means they’re pretty trustworthy and traditional.

On the other hand, using a font in the Sans serif family probably means the brand is a little bit more modern. They’re newer and more up-to-date on what is happening in the world. They have a strong classic foundation but are more open to changing with the times.

As far as a brand that uses a Script font, they’re probably pretty feminine or luxurious. These fonts bring you back to the days of cursive handwriting and something about that just screams elegant.

Fonts in the Display family are pretty bold. They’re in your face and unforgettable. These brands are sure of themselves and are ready to make an impact.

Because so much can be communicated just through your font, it is a key component to your brand identity design.

Color Palette

Next up is your color palette.

Believe it or not, a consumer can tell a lot about a brand based on their chosen colors.

Your color palette will also invoke some subliminal feelings so you’ll want to be mindful of that when you’re choosing your colors. Consider what you want consumers to feel when they think about your brand or see your creative assets and choose accordingly.

If you want your brand to come off full of warmth and optimism, include yellow in your color palette. 

Orange is another high-energy and happy color. It’s friendly, cheerful, and full of confidence.

If your brand is bold and youthful, consider using red in your color palette. Red is loud, passionate, and full of excitement! 

Purple is next. It’s still as fun as red but a little tamer. It’s wise but still imaginative. Long thought of as the color of royalty, there’s something luxurious about purple. 

Then there’s blue. Blue is a nice, steady color. It’s strong, dependable, and trustworthy. Blue usually produces a calming feeling.

If you’re looking for a more peaceful or natural color, consider using green in your color scheme. Green reminds people of growth and health. 

Next is gray. Gray and white schemes give a feeling of balance and neutrality. 

If you want your brand to appear modern or sophisticated, consider classic black. Think of high-society events like black-tie galas. Black gives a brand a feeling of luxury and sophistication.

Creating Consistent Creative Assets with Your Brand Identity

Once you’ve figured out your brand identity design, it’s time to transfer that design to your creative assets.

No matter your industry, from brick and mortar stores to those solely dependent on digital marketing, there are a variety of places where your brand identity will shine.

Logos

Your logo is probably one of the most important creative assets you’ll design.

It is important for your log to be symbolic for you and the beliefs behind your brand but also recognizable to the general public.

A good graphic designer can tell you how you can play with shapes, textures, colors, and copy to obtain the exact look and feel you’re trying to convey.

Website

Many newer marketers might tell you that a website is obsolete in the world of social media but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Your website is your own little piece of the internet that you can use as you wish. It’s important to use it as a way to connect and communicate with your audience.

Regardless of your industry, most consumers will check out a company’s website before they reach out for more information. Ensure that your website is consistent with your brand identity. Everything from your copy to your color scheme to your logo should match all of your other creative assets.

Product Packaging

Think of Starbucks. As soon as you see a Starbucks product, you know where it came from because of the packaging.

Your product packaging is just one more place to establish brand identity and advertise your business. You want to make it so that consumers can easily identify products that came from your brand.

Make sure you’re packaging matches your brand identity. Are you a sustainable brand that puts a lot of effort into protecting the environment? Use recyclable packaging. Are you a luxury makeup brand? Look the part!

All of these may seem like minor details but each one of them plays a big part in establishing a brand identity.

Business Cards

Business cards are another great way to establish your brand identity!

Whether you’re using them to hand out to prospective clients at networking events or inserting them into the packaging of your products, produce a card that makes a consumer think of your brand immediately.

Use your business cards as a way for consumers to reach you when they want to. Make it consistent with your website, email marketing, and other creative assets.

Marketing and Transactional Emails

Whether you’re reaching out to a consumer for the first time through a marketing email or sending them a purchase receipt, all of your emails should have the same branding.

When a consumer sees your email, they should know immediately that it came from your brand.

Are you a fun and trendy boutique? Transfer that vibe to your email content!

Maybe you’re a straight-laced and serious financial analyst firm. Your emails should be branded to reflect that.

Brand Voice

Marketers often say that content is king because it’s true! So much of your brand depends on the words and voice you give to it.

Your brand voice will help to establish your brand identity. It will create the vibe and feel of your brand and all of the corresponding creative assets.

If you are a law firm that specializes in corporate litigation, you probably won’t be using the same language and content as a magazine that focuses on cheerleading.

The words you use have power behind them. Consumers will associate certain feelings and emotions with your brand based on the tone in your voice. Choose your words and use your brand voice accordingly.

Unique Brand Identity Examples

Now that we’ve gone through what a brand identity is and how to create one, let’s look at some good brand identity examples.

Target

Target

Everyone recognizes Target!

Everything from their logo to their color palette screams fun and bold. They often feature families and people of all ages in their ads to show that there is something for everyone at their store. You can trust Target to always be at the forefront of their industry. It’s fun and relaxed but still bold and fearless.

Peloton

Peloton

If anyone nailed brand identity, especially during the pandemic, it was Peloton.

Their fonts are clean and easy to read, which lends to the idea that their products will also be clean and easy to use.

They use black and white to convey a clean and sophisticated brand identity while popping in some red accents to show how they are a bold leader in their industry.

AirBnB

AirBnB

AirBnB just wants you to enjoy life and explore! They use a lot of fun colors to make their website pop while tying in lots of greens to bring in the feeling of nature.

Their use of photography and clear lines and fonts shows that they want you to explore the world but that you can also trust that they are a company that you can feel safe with.

Apple

Apple

Apple is smart, dependable, and trustworthy. Just look at their brand identity!

They use clean and clear fonts as well as a color palette that takes the focus away from their brand and onto their products. Through their use of muted hues, they convey a sense of strength and timelessness, while also feeling as if they are on the cutting edge of technology.

Basically, their brand identity establishes a feeling that you can trust Apple to produce quality products that will last a longtime.

Best Practices

When it comes to establishing a memorable brand identity, remember the following:

  • Pick colors and fonts that will embody your brand but also resonate with your audience.
  • Establish foundational pieces of your identity, such as your logo and color palette, to be timeless, not trendy.
  • Be consistent across all of your creative assets. It should be clear that all of your assets belong to the same brand.
  • Test your brand identity from time to time to be sure that it is creating the impression you want it to.
  • If you’re struggling with nailing down exactly what you want your brand identity to be and you can’t seem to answer the question “what is brand identity”, don’t be afraid to reach out to an expert!

Wrapping Up with Brand Identity

In a world where things move a mile a minute, it is so important to stand out from the crowd.

But that can be hard to do when you aren’t sure why your brand should stand out in the first place.

Creating your brand identity starts with creating a strong foundation. With a strong foundation and a memorable brand identity, your company will stand out in any crowd!

FAQs

1.What is brand identity?

Your brand identity is what consumers think of when they see or hear about your brand. It consists of all of the elements that make up your creative assets: typography, color palette, logo, website, email content, and more.

2. How important is a brand identity?

Very! Your brand identity is going to be what keeps you in the game for the long-haul so you’ll want to put some time and effort into establishing one that really fits your brand’s true values and purpose.

3. Can I hire someone to walk me through how to create a brand identity?

You definitely can! There are plenty of branding agencies and consultants out there who will walk you through each step of the process to be sure that your brand identity is exactly what you want it to be.

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John Lincoln is CEO of Ignite Visibility, one of the top digital marketing agencies in the nation. Ignite Visibility is a 4x  Inc. 5,000 company. Ignite Visibility offers a unique digital marketing program tied directly to ROI with a focus on using SEO, social media, paid media, CRO, email, Amazon and PR to achieve results. Outside of Ignite Visibility, Lincoln is a frequent speaker and author of the books “Digital Influencer” and “The Forecaster Method.” Lincoln is consistently named one of the top digital marketers in the industry and was the recipient of the coveted Search Engine Land “Search Marketer of The Year” award. Lincoln has taught digital marketing and Web Analytics at the University of California San Diego since 2010, has been named as one of San Diego’s most admired CEO’s and a top business leader under 40. Lincoln has also made “SEO: The Movie” and “Social Media Marketing: The Movie.” His business mission is to help others through digital marketing.

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