Much to the dismay of marketing professionals everywhere, there has long been a discrepancy on what, exactly, the term brand identity means. There’s the industry definition, which incorporates many branding elements such as messaging, company culture, creative standards and customer experience. And then there’s a common misperception – a company’s logo.
Here’s a riddle: while the mainstream belief is incorrect, there are elements of truth to both definitions.
So, how exactly can that be? Well, there’s a lot that goes into the makings of a great brand which means that the answer isn’t always found in just one element.
Here, we’ll detail what brand identity means, what it should do for your brand, and how you can improve it within your audience.
If brand identity isn’t a logo, what is it?
As Inc.com stated in a recent article, “your logo isn’t your brand.” Of course, a logo, the design aspects of a website, and colors used in marketing materials are important parts of brand identity – they’re what people see first. But the core message of your brand has to speak from within those elements.
When done correctly, a brand identity – although made up of various branding elements – should be simple and clear. The true definition of brand identity is how you want your brand to be perceived.
This is why the above riddle isn’t that complicated – to build a strong brand identity you need everything in your brand to work together, logo included.
Elements used within a strong brand identity
To create a concrete brand identity, consider asking the following questions:
- What is my brand’s mission?
- What kind of experience do I want my client/customer to have with my products/services?
- What does my brand believe in?
- What feeling do I want my brand to invoke?
- What do I want my brand to be?
- What is my brand’s story?
All of these questions can help to shape the identity of your brand. Once those details are decided, all of the marketing elements that will bring your brand to life can start to come together. These elements can include:
- Brand standards – the name of your brand, logo design, respective colors and typeface associated with all branding efforts, etc.
- Brand voice – the manner in which your content is written.
- Brand mission – the goals of your brand’s work.
- Brand promise – the expectations your brand intends to meet.
While your logo may be the first thing people see, the first message your brand gives to its audience will only be heard once all of these branding tools are used together.
Educating your audience on your brand identity
Try comparing the concept of brand identity to an individual’s identity. There is a lot that can be said about what someone, or a brand, looks like. When it comes to people, discovering that an outward or personal style may not match an individual’s true personality is part of the fun of getting to know someone. Having to work hard to get to know a brand, however, doesn’t have the same payoff and can actually turn your prospects off.
Ever hear the phrase, “don’t judge a book by its cover?” That might be okay for books, but for a brand, it’s important that your brand identity is judged, and judged correctly, right away.
In order to be judged, you have to get in front of an audience and tell your brand’s story. This can be done easily by using tools to help spread awareness about your brand, such as social media. A crucial part of getting your audience to understand your brand identity is consistency and repetition, so designing social media feeds with content and graphics that reflect your brand standards and setting a schedule to publish content regularly can help with growing visual recognition on these platforms. It can also be a great way to provide small pieces of your larger story, enticing followers to visit your site to learn more about your company.
Another element that helps with brand identity? Time. Unlike brand identity, brand image is how your audience actually perceives your brand. And for brand identity and brand image to really match, your brand will need to deliver on all of its individual elements consistently and long enough for those results to resonate with people.
How Taylor Brand Group can help to strengthen your brand’s identity
As a branding agency, Taylor Brand Group is dedicated to helping businesses execute marketing and advertising with the intention of focusing on brand identity as the foundation of all they do. To do this, we start by examining all of the core elements of your brand to make sure they’re telling an accurate story and a consistent story. Through our Brand Lab™ programs, which include BrandStorm™ workshops, a BrandScan that studies all brand elements and their effectiveness, and our Brand Blueprint processes, we take a 3-D Branding approach to understand your brand inside and out. Because of our unique perspective as a branding agency, we’re able to offer a fresh perspective on traditional marketing agency and advertising services such as content marketing, digital marketing strategy, social media management, and public relations. If you’re searching for an agency that can diagnose your branding needs while offering marketing solutions, Taylor Brand Group can help.
Located in downtown Lancaster, PA, Taylor Brand Group offers a wide range of services such as rebranding, internal branding, brand development, and brand research in addition to work dedicated to brand identity. To learn more about the services we offer and how to take your brand to the next level, contact us today.