Beyond the Logo: How to Establish Your Brand Identity from the Inside Out
Your business’s brand is more than the logo, colors and typography you choose. It’s important that any new small business finds clarity in establishing their brand identity, voice, values and mission statement before they jump into design. Your brand will become your reputation!
Why Is Your Brand Identity So Important?
Here are six things a well-developed brand identity will do for your business and why it’s important.
- It’s the “face” of your business. Even though your logo is technically the face of your business, it’s more than that. Your logo’s contribution to brand identity is associative. It tells prospects and customers that this image equals your company.
- It builds credibility and trust. A brand identity doesn’t just make your product easier to remember; it makes your brand more authoritative and recognizable in the marketplace.
- It helps with advertising impressions. Maintaining consistency within your brand will help develop credibility among competitors and trust with customers.
- It shows what your business stands for. Outside of the design, your brand will align with what you value as a business.
- It helps generate new customers (and keep existing happy). Branding can help with word-of-mouth referrals. Current customers will appreciate a consistent and recognizable brand.
How to Establish Your Brand Identity
Now that you know why it’s important to establish a brand, let’s dive into how to establish it. The more cohesive and consistent your brand identity is, the easier it is for customers to understand it and connect with your business.
Generally speaking, your brand can be broken down into three categories.
- Clear purpose and positioning. This is probably the most important step in creating a powerful brand identity that will drive growth for your business. This can be a long and challenging process, but necessary to establish a clear purpose, values, goals and target audience. Some initial questions to think about:
- Who is my target audience? What are their values and pain points?
- What is my value proposition? What are you offering to your target audience in return for their time and money?
- Who is my competition? Research your competition so you can identify where you differ and provide more value.
- Brand name. A very important, yet challenging step to building your brand. Avoid common business naming mistakes and follow general guidelines when it comes to naming your business.
- Consistent tone and voice. Tone of voice reflects your brand personality and helps you connect with your audience, making you different than your competition. This is especially important when connecting with your audience on the platforms they communicate, such as social media.
- Website. A website is a part of your brand’s “first impression.” It’s the central hub for key information. With your website, you have the opportunity to go into more detail than you would on social media or any type of signage or advertising. The tone needs to be authentic and your voice needs to be consistent throughout.
- Employees. Not only should your business be consistent in its look and feel, but your employees need to embrace and believe this, too. If your employees resemble your brand, there will be continued consistency. If you hire an employee that goes against your business values, customers will see this and may possibly leave your business for a competitor. Train your employees on your brand.
- Customer experience style. Again, similar to hiring and training the right employees, customer service is VERY important. Whether they are answering phone calls, meeting customers face-to-face or answering social media inquiries, responses should be similar and reflect your brand values.
Once you’ve determined the above, you can focus on the fun stuff. Icons, visual symbols, photographs, etc. are a large part of your brand development. Consider some of the following:
- Logo and graphics
- Color palette
Consistency is important. Don’t choose anything too trendy — rebranding is expensive and time-consuming. Also, consider testing a few different themes on your target audience to see what they resonate with best.
Bringing It All Together
Lastly, an important part of implementing and building your brand identity is creating a brand style guide. This guide acts as a “bible” of sorts, as it functions as a go-to resource on how to display your visuals and explain your brand’s voice, tone and values. If you are ever in question, or need a guide to train your employees, this is a perfect place to start.
Creating a brand is not an easy task, but these steps will help guide you in the right direction. If you’re looking for more helpful business tips, look no further than Incfile’s blog. Not only are our blogs about business marketing, but you can find helpful tips on how to form your business’s $0 LLC, too.