Home » Building a Brand Identity: How to Stand Apart From the Crowd
Building a Brand Identity: How to Stand Apart From the Crowd
Today I’m excited to present this guest blog post from Stephen Moyers. Enjoy.
For the entrepreneur, building a brand identity is much more than printing customer business cards and buying a storefront sign. It’s about establishing yourself as an industry leader, resonating with customers and potential partners, and making your brand the one everyone’s talking about.
There are a few key elements to brand imaging that have proven successful time and again. Follow their lead and mix in your own personality to control the audience’s impression of your business overall. Every successful brand identity is built on a foundation of cohesive marketing efforts working to establish an effective image. With an articulate brand definition, name, logo, and tagline, matched with the right color scheme, you can forge a consistent, unique presence that sets you apart in an incredibly busy marketplace.
How can you expect to come up with concise, powerful brand imaging when you don’t have a clear vision of your brand? Before you even think about getting into the finer details of brand imaging, you must settle on a solid definition of your brand. With this in mind, you can become your product’s strongest proponent, and your confidence will seep into every piece of content you create.
Consumers react well to this kind of strong presence. Brand confidence makes them feel secure in their investment in your company and establishes you as a knowledgeable source of industry information. See, for example, Google. Every page affiliated with this enterprise is clearly pointed in the same direction, supported by a consistent logo and graphics wherever readers interact with the search engine.
To achieve a similar effect, you must establish your brand’s exact boundaries and purpose before you begin designing the rest of your company’s image. Once you have a solid definition for your brand identity, you can move on to the name, logo, and tagline.
Your company’s name is one of the most important aspects affecting your brand’s image. It can express what your business does, like J & R Law Firm; incorporate your own name, like Paul Mitchell; or intrigue consumers with its obscurity, like Über. Either way, your brand name is what you will be known as for the duration of your company.
Sprite set a pretty creative standard for name marketing. A sprite – that is, a lively elf or spirit –stuck in the creator’s mind because he wanted a name that indicated a fresh, energetic spirit. This was further reflected in the brand’s color scheme and logo.
Be careful when designing your logo. This is much more than just an image; it’s the way people will see your brand for years to come. For example, when someone says the word “McDonald’s,” you immediately picture those twin yellow arches.
McDonald’s uses this logo to incite feelings of optimism and warmth whenever its logo is seen. In fact, the company drives this spirit through everything it does, which is what makes the logo especially strong and important to its brand identity. Everything from its taglines – for example, “We love to see you smile” or “I’m lovin’ it” – to its Happy Meals and even its color choices point to happiness as a major theme. This is anchored by its logo, which suggests a smiling face.
It’s all too easy to mess up your logo or accidentally say something with your color and font choices that you weren’t aware of. Be careful with your logo. Treat it as the powerful tool it is. Don’t hesitate to enlist professional web design help while creating your this core component of your brand identity – these specialists can give you tips and advice and save you the headache of reworking a logo that falls flat over and over again.
You must develop your company’s key message. This will become your tagline and the slogan that makes people think about your enterprise. For example, consumers can hear the phrase “Eat Fresh” and immediately think of Subway, whether or not the business’ name is mentioned. Subway has marketed this slogan in relation to its brand identity so successfully that anytime people think about eating fresh food, they think of Subway.
Make your tagline appealing to your target audience and relevant to what your company aims to achieve. Browse through some of the most successful company taglines for inspiration or take hints from some of your own personal favorites. The key to creating a catchy tagline is to be succinct and precise. Keep it short (some companies manage to deliver a complex message in a single word, such as IBM’s “Think”) and choose your words wisely.
Tiffany’s. This brand’s unique shade of blue conveys sophistication and femininity. This has been so effective for the company that it’s almost universally known for its packaging – the classic Tiffany & Co. blue box.
McDonald’s. This brand’s logo was already discussed, but color is a big part of what makes it so successful. Yellow is the happiest color on the spectrum, which is an attitude that’s clearly reflected in the rest of the company’s marketing and content.
You can capitalize on web design color theory to establish your brand identity in the right way, whether your angle is exciting or peaceful. Just think of a masculine or a feminine brand – what colors do you imagine? If you were targeting content at a specific gender and failed to create a brand identity that was clearly aimed at that group, it would only confuse customers. Once you have this squared away, it’s important to be consistent across all of your branding and content.
Consistency is another key to successfully crafting your brand’s image. You want to be seen as dependable, not wishy-washy. Altering your brand’s identity can confuse customers and give them the impression that your company could change at any moment. This volatility isn’t good for business, since customers want to feel secure in their investments. Once you’ve created a solid logo and brand image, stick with it. You can update your content according to trends, but keep your core the same to build a loyal following.
Just because something worked for another business doesn’t mean it will work with yours. One of the fastest ways to fail is to mimic other successful operations, copying their website design layouts or creating similar content. While it’s natural to want to find role models within your industry, it’s important that you bring something new to the table and define your brand identity according to your own goals.
Copying big chains and brands isn’t just lazy – it can hurt your business in today’s consumer market. Right now, there’s a huge trend toward supporting independent establishments, and brands that are humanizing their campaigns are seeing the most success. In fact, many large corporations are currently trying to mimic the look and feel of startup businesses to regain some of the lost market.
There has never been a better time to establish a brand the way you want to by using branding and imaging that speaks to you instead of conforming to pre-established norms. In today’s market, there’s no norm. Startups have seen better rates of success than ever before because consumers today crave the unique, independent feel of a small business. Capitalize on the current trend by following your own intuition when it comes to brand imaging.
Tie Everything Together and Optimize Your Content
You’re probably tired of hearing the phrase “content is king.” It isn’t a new idea, and it’s been rather played out across all digital media channels. However, it’s still worth mentioning in closing, because it holds the key to your long-term success. While new innovations in web design continue to change the way websites operate, one thing remains true: A website without great content holds no value.
You must infuse your brand’s image with valuable content, actionable tips, and compelling current information – whether through a blog that gets people talking or an excellent website that’s unique and informative. Just remember: Wherever customers interact with your business, your brand must be consistent. Your brand definition, name, logo, tagline, and color scheme all serve an important purpose, and when they are unified consistently, customers will have no trouble remembering you.
Stephen Moyers is an avid tech-savvy blogger, contributor & online marketing manager. He is associated with Los Angeles based SPINX Digital Agency. You can visit & subscribe to SPINX blog on which he contributes regularly and follow Stephen on Twitter.
About the Author
John Lincoln is CEO of Ignite Visibility, one of the top digital marketing agencies in the nation. Named #1 Search Engine Marketing company by Clutch.co, Ignite Visibility is a 3 time 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 marketing strategiest 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.