How To Develop A Powerful Brand Identity (And Actually Use It)Oct 14, 2021
Jeff Bezos is apparently known for saying "Branding is what people say about you when you're not in the room."
In other words, many elements of what you do, who you are, and how you've made customers feel will be what your branding is, whether it's intended or not.
Another quote, this time from Maya Angelou: “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
So how do you make your customers feel? Today we're going to have a deep-dive into the core elements that make up what builds that brand.
Why It Really Matters
First, let's take a look at the more practical reasons why this will affect your organisation - and why you as the founder must have a grasp on it.
Bringing In New Customers
A strong identity that potential customers can identify with will mean that, if someone develops a connection with you and what you stand for, you'll build trust more quickly and are likely to have them keep coming back as a result.
You can see your branding as a template for everything you would include in advertisements, content, and pages like websites and social media. Having credibility makes it much easier to seamlessly promote yourself and make impressions on potential customers.
Keeping Your Current Customers Happy, Bonded, and Loyal
A lot of us are, or know of, people who stick with one brand for all the products of that type that we want to buy. For example, people that always buy Nike brand sneakers or Apple phones.
This is because psychologically, people are likely to stick with what they know, as long as they trust it.
So a great brand identity that makes your customers feel great, will make you more authoritative. And by maintaining this consistently over time, you develop credibility and trust among customers.
How To Make The Foundations Of Your Brand Identity
As always in entrepreneurship, starting off with some market research to understand the best decisions to make is always going to help you.
The first thing to research is your audience. Different people will respond better to different things. You can't target a student the same way you would target a middle-aged mother of three. Learning who your audience is, and therefore what they might want from you/your service, is vital to creating a brand they'll love.
So make sure you're also finding out what makes you unique in your industry. What can you offer your consumers that the competition can't? It also helps you understand what branding techniques (like the other headings below) will work well on your target audience.
This is essentially helping you determine your main 'customer personas', which means also understanding the personal traits of customers that will help you know what kind of a personality your brand should have so that it's as appealing to them as possible.
Although some startups spend far too long on their logo, it does make sense to get it right - it will be the first and most recognisable thing that people see.
Although the logo is not the entirety of your brand's identity, it's important because it'll be on everything from your website to your printed material to your ads. With your logo on all of these elements, your branding should look as cohesive as possible and the logo should too. It needs to line up with all the other elements of your identity, and therefore should remain consistent.
If you have more than one version of your logo, make rules about when you can use it can how. Consistency is key with so much of what's in here!
3. Tone of Voice
Even if your brand is a business, it's possible to be personable when developing a brand image. Are you professional? Friendly? Even sassy?
And that means using language that matches that personality. If your brand identity is high-end, use professional language; if you're high-energy, be professional and bubbly. This will be integrated throughout the copy (texts) in the entire business, so it's important that you carefully craft your tone to match the personality you want to create or that you think will most resonate with your target customers.
This is great because you'll be building an emotional connection with consumers, which can be a solid foundation for a long-lasting relationship!
4. Colours and Fonts
Create a colour palette. This makes it easy for everyone creating your branding materials (including you) to always use the same colours, which means everything will look similar and feel consistent. This builds that all-important trust we talk about so often here on StartrHub.
It can also give you variety, so you can create unique designs for your business while remaining faithful to the brand's identity and feelings or personality.
Your font is important too.
Mixing a handful of fonts isn't usually a good idea. Whether it's in your logo, on your website, or on any documents that you create, there should be consistent use of typography. For example, here on StartrHub we mostly use the Quicksand font.
Choose a single primary typeface to lead your brand design, making sure it works well with your logo and colour palette. Again, keep it simple - no one wants to struggle to read your text!
5. Brand Purpose
You might be able to communicate what your business offers, but be sure to have a clear purpose statement that describes your vision and goals. In other words, know your business's purpose -- you can't create a personality for a business unless you know why it exists!
This is essentially brand positioning - the naming of who your product is for and why your product is a better option than competitors. And the great thing is that it will also help you decide what to create for your logo, colours, personality, and more! (Maybe this should have been further up on the list...)
Key Extra Tips
Avoid these mistakes!
Don't give your customers mixed messages - Know what you want to say, and use the appropriate visuals and tone of voice to say it. Just because something makes sense to you doesn't mean it will make sense to your customers or necessarily represent you well. And worst of all: don't use multiple different tones of voice. Then you just sound untrustworthy!
Understand your competition, but stay unique - As we stated above, understanding what your competition is doing is necessary, but don't copy it outright. They might have incredible branding, but you should only take what they do into account, and then put your own twist on it to make you stand out in your industry and be relevant and unique!
Stay consistent online and offline - Usually any printed materials will need to look a bit different to your online content, but your colours, fonts, tone of voice, and messages should all look as similar as possible and feel totally consistent.
Monitor how you're doing!
It's difficult to know what you're doing right (and wrong) without tracking key performance metrics. Use Google Analytics, your market research, social media feedback, and any other tools in your arsenal to monitor your brand and get a sense of how people talk about and interact with your brand. This is so that you can utilise any feedback to improve that branding and how it makes your customers feel!
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