Simple Steps for Building a Strong Brand Identity
Building a strong brand identity requires you to think strategically and unconventionally. This is because branding comprises of much more than just distinctive logos, slogans and colourful design assets. It requires detailed planning to establish how your brand identifies itself within the marketplace and how to distinguish your brand from the competition.
To help you maximise your brand’s potential, we have compiled a few simple steps for building a strong brand identity. But first, let’s familiarise ourselves with the term - brand identity.
What is brand identity?
Even if your brand design assets are flawless, they may not necessarily be effective. This is because strong branding whittles down to much more than visual impact. It is also essential to consider the identity behind your brand. This includes defining what it stands for, how you intend for your brand to connect with your target customers and what the message, value and personality is for your brand. Essentially, your brand identity should be an accumulation of all these brand elements, used as an outward expression of your business to both employees and customers.
Beyond this, brands are also business tools that drive commercial value. If your brand identity is strong, achieving optimal visibility and reach, then it is almost certain that you will acquire more customers and surpass your competitors.
In this blog post, you’ll find all the relevant information that you need to build a strong brand identity in today’s market.
Step 1: Identify and define your brand’s core values
When building a strong brand identity, it is essential that you consider the intangible elements of your brand. This involves strategic planning to define your brand in terms of a set of values and to deliver certain experiences to your customers. These values should align perfectly with your overall business goals and embody exactly what it is that your company stands for. Doing so will enable you to create a strong sense of brand intimacy with both employees and target customers.
You want customers to purchase from your business because they take interest and believe in your brand, but more importantly you want to earn their loyalty. This is why your brand values should be clear and concise and capable of nurturing emotional connections with customers. Start by defining your brand mission - a statement that clearly communicates your brand’s purpose – and compile a list of core brand values that relate directly back to this statement. This way, your brand will resonate directly with your customer base and drive value.
Take IKEA for instance. In practice, IKEA is just a furniture store. However, its strong core brand values have worked to ensure that it is much more than this. IKEA is centred around a culture of pragmatism, innovation and functionality, helping ‘to create a better everyday life for the many people’. IKEA customers are not just buying an item of furniture, but are buying the values that the IKEA brand communicates to them.
Step 2: Do the research to identify your brand’s niche
Market research should never be underestimated, especially when constructing a brand identity.
Strong brands show a deep understanding of both the customers and competitors operating in their target market and use this information to provide key insights for branding strategies. Moreover, building a brand identity around this research ensures that it is distinctive, relevant and able to bridge the gaps in customer expectations and competitor advantage.
Especially in today’s society where consumer markets are increasingly saturated, standing out from the competition has never been more essential. Consumer buyer power has reached an all time high, making for strong brand competition and limited differentiating opportunities.
Conducting a simple competitor analysis can help to distinguish your brand identity enough to beat market competition. For instance, if many of the businesses operating in your industry are offering nothing but lower prices, a brand identity intent on customer service will allow you to differentiate and compete. What’s more, gaining insight into the needs and wants of your target customers will ensure that your brand is able to optimise its value proposition, and that this value is effectively communicated to customers.
Step 3: Create compelling and memorable visual brand elements
Visual brand elements allow your brand to make an impact and further distinguish itself from the competition. Whilst visual branding is not the be-all and end-all, it is an integral part of building a brand identity. Strong design ensures that your brand identity is visually communicated and helps to build a familiar connection between your audience and the values that your company upholds. It is the tangible element of your brand identity and must be both consistent and memorable.
Brands that have done this well are Apple and Coca-Cola. Their brands have become inherently associated with their visual branding. Their bold, simplistic and consistent brand design speaks for itself and is successful in expressing their unique brand identity.
When creating your visuals, ensure that the above steps are utilised to inform the ideation and execution of all visual components. Whether it be brand symbols, colours, logo and slogans, brand style guides or typography, you need to put in the time and research to guarantee that your brand identity is accurately represented in line with your core brand values.
Most importantly, try to ensure that your visual brand elements are:
- Consistent to complement your brand identity and generate brand association
- Memorable to make a visual impact and stand out against the competition
- Well-researched to reflect your brand values and resonate with prospective customers
Step 4: Account for the long-term scalability of your brand
Building a brand identity requires you to start small. This means that you should always account for your brand’s ability to grow without being hampered by certain structures within your brand. For example, if your product or service is suitable for all genders, but initially you are targeting women, try not to construct your brand identity too firmly around this targeting. Doing so will damage your chances of expanding to a wider market in the future. Ensure that your brand identity is flexible and can act as a foundation for potential growth.
Try to prioritise creating a community around your products or services. Begin conversations with customers, reward them for their loyalty and ask for their feedback. This will help once you grow organically as, no matter how long it takes for your brand to expand, your community will help you through any of the challenges you will undoubtedly encounter. Build you brand identity with the future of this community in mind, making it as flexible and inclusive as possible.
How can we help?
Building a strong brand identity is not an easy task. It takes many years of planning, hard-work and risk-taking for your brand to pay off. Here at Novicell, we can help you every step of the way. We work closely with you to develop a comprehensive brand identity that achieves your goals, tailoring the approach to your individual requirements and providing recommendations based on your specific marketplace reality.
Our branding consultants can employ strategies to meet your own personal brand challenges. Whether you're failing to differentiate from your competition, have outgrown your brand, suffering from a lack of brand focus, undergoing a merger or change in business model, or trying to connect with a new audience, we have the solution.
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