How to Build a Professional Brand Identity
Brand identity is often confused with the “branding” choices that make up your visual marketing. But it encompasses much more than that.
What is a brand?
For those that don’t know, a brand is a way your company’s name (or something else you want people to associate with your brand) is used to bring people to you. It’s the identity your business has with consumers, and it’s something that can help boost your business, even more, and be much more influential in your growth. The big benefit of having a good brand is that you make it easier to show up in search results, and attract more traffic and business to your site and products. However, while you can always grow your branding, it takes a lot of planning and work. In fact, it takes a lot of planning. So you might be asking yourself, how do you create a brand identity that stands out?
Why do I need a brand identity?
Because your identity is the way people perceive your brand. It’s the essence of who you are, how you act, what you do, and who you work with. You can make many superficial changes to your business, but you can’t change your identity without significant effort. So, where do you start? Here are 5 ways to help your organization create a brand identity: 1. Know your core Who are you? What do you stand for? What do you believe in? Do you see the world in terms of good, bad, or ugly? Do you favor working for yourself? Or having employees? What makes your work meaningful to you and your customers? Let’s break this down a little more. Your brand identity should articulate what you stand for and your unique strengths. The more detailed your answers, the better.
Assessing your brand identity
How do you know whether you’re accurately assessing and communicating the shape of your brand identity? Here’s an exercise. Go back to the 5S’s. What are your most important brand values? Look at your existing identity and ask the questions that made sense to you then. If those values still make sense to you now, your brand identity is most likely solid. But if those values no longer hold, or don’t feel connected to you as an organization, then your brand identity needs some work. You need to think about and evaluate your values to figure out what, if anything, is going wrong. You may even need to reevaluate your vision and what you are trying to achieve. Gather your stakeholders and get them to describe the brand to you. Are they aligned with the values?
Defining your brand identity
The term brand identity is generally applied to commercial brands, like Apple, and to organizations, like the United Nations. But branding is only the starting point. That said, there is a component of branding that most people don’t think of as branding. A strong company identity or visual brand identity defines how people perceive and relate to a company or organization in a way that is intended to drive brand loyalty, satisfaction, and competitive advantage. When creating a visual brand identity, your focus should be on capturing the essence of your company. Without the brand identity, no matter how great the visual marketing might be, people may feel confused about your organization’s purpose and the right way to connect with it. Often, visual identity is more than an image.
Developing a brand identity
A brand identity is a package of your organization’s goals and values, along with a list of the assets that support those goals and values. Organizations evolve over time, so your brand identity will evolve along with it. But you need a package that is consistent and strong. Building an identity To build an effective brand identity, you need a comprehensive set of values and goals, a set of answers to the three questions you started with. What’s your mission statement? How do you want to stand out from the crowd? What makes you unique? When you have these answers, you can start creating your identity. You can draw from these same values and goals to start your brand identity framework.
This section in some ways recapitulates the points I made in previous blog posts. In marketing, your brand identity is the personality of your brand, its uniqueness, its consistency, and its associations. 1. Identify Your Brand. Before you do anything else, you have to make sure you are building your brand with a purpose and not just for the sake of doing so. You need to be confident about your brand identity and do so before doing anything else. As Guy Kawasaki, founder of Sage (a software company that helps businesses grow their sales), states in his book, To Sell is Human, “At any given time there are between five and twenty million businesses around the world that are all selling something.