Building a Brand Identity | Level343

When you think of Coca Cola, Nike, or even Kardashian, what comes to mind? They’re all names that have become synonymous with a look, an activity, or a lifestyle. We’re talking about branding, baby, and it’s something that every business or professional should know.

What is Branding?

In one word, a brand is everything. It’s about having a unified image that ties the senses together with emotion. When it’s done right, you will know a company just by seeing it’s logo or a certain pattern of shapes and colors. Doritos highlighted this fact with their new marketing campaign that features just a plain red or blue bag and a triangle.

They’ve laid the groundwork, and they know that you know
their name without it ever being mentioned.

Think about the brands you use and why. Do you choose a
particular fabric softener because the name makes you think of warmth and
comfort? Does the soup you enjoy remind you of coming in from the cold when you
were a kid? What about your aftershave or perfume, your car, and the clothes
you wear?

Emotions and associations with certain products and
companies are the result of careful branding, and it isn’t just for the big
boys and girls anymore. To remain competitive and recognizable, you need to
define and build your brand.

5 Easy Steps to Building Your Brand

Strong brands know who they are and why they exist, and
they’ve developed a strategy that conveys that to their audience and makes them
stand out from the competition. Your branding efforts should clearly
communicate your identity, yet be flexible enough to evolve as your business

It’s no easy task. It takes deep insight, a strong creative team, and a level of self-awareness for your branding strategy to bear fruit.

Our goal is to take you through the steps of building your
brand. What you do with the information is up to you. We can’t wait to hear
about your success!

1. Understand What Branding is, and What it Isn’t

Branding is about more than creating a logo or color scheme
and plastering it all over everything. When creating your brand identity, you
need to make a unified effort that ties that logo and color scheme to who you
are and the image you want to present to the public.

These needs will differ depending on your product or
industry, but branding includes:

  • Logos/trademarks
  • Colors
  • Typography
  • Design
  • Photos or illustrations
  • Video and motion
  • Data visualization
  • Interactive components

All of these elements come together to appeal to the target
audience, convey emotion, and create a connection between the individual
branding components and your company.

2. Do Your Research

Your brand identity is the face of your company that you
show to the public. In order to build a brand that connects with people, you
have to know your products or services inside and out. Then, you need to relay
that insight to the public in a way that’s visual, even visceral.

To do this, you also need to know your audience. What are
their pain points, their wants or needs, and how does your product address
them? What sets you apart from other companies in your niche?

Get a firm grasp on your mission and vision, research your
audience, create a persona of the ideal customer, and hone in on the ways your
company serves them better than the other guy.

3. Craft a Brand Strategy

Once your exhaustive research is finished, you have to find
a way to translate all of that data into a visual concept.

The most effective marketing elicits emotion. Get together
with your marketing team to brainstorm the best words to trigger an emotional
response, and pair them with images and colors that reinforce those emotional

All of these components go into crafting a unified brand
strategy that includes print and/or digital marketing, social media outreach,
and customer acquisition/retention.

Your branding should be:

  • Memorable. This means creating a visual impact that’s so strong, seeing your logo or colors immediately identifies your brand to your audience without ever mentioning the name. Consider the Nike swoosh or the sunburst on a box of Tide.
  • Distinct Don’t go the cheap, shady route and use similar colors, shapes, and patterns to the competition. You want your packaging or website to stand out.
  • Flexible You want your image to grow and evolve with your brand while retaining consistency.
  • Cohesive Every element of your brand should complement and build upon the next.
  • Easy to apply It’s clean, uncluttered, intuitive, and easy for your design team or printer to create.

4. Build Your Brand Identity

Successfully creating an identifiable brand and watching it
thrive are among the most satisfying things a business owner can achieve. But,
your work isn’t done yet.
You need to nurture and maintain your brand
identity and reputation.

Here, consistency is key. You’ve done your research, put
together a unified look for all of your platforms, and created an eye-catching,
easily identified logo. Now, you’re ready to build upon that foundation and
grow your brand.

One of the most effective ways to accomplish this is through combining traditional marketing with content marketing. This approach combines using language that matches your brand personality, telling a story that connects with your audience on an emotional level, and leveraging your social media presence to support engagement and interaction.

Make sure to monitor and tweak your efforts by analyzing
metrics, initiating customer surveys, collecting feedback, and engaging with
your audience on a regular basis.

5. Know What to Avoid

Sometimes, it’s not about what you do, but what you don’t
do. Just as there are black hat practices that will punish you with Google,
there are bad habits in branding that you should avoid altogether.

  • Don’t lose consistency between digital and print media. Some elements will necessarily be different, but the overall look, tone, and language should be unified.
  • Don’t copy the competition. You may love their branding and be in the same general niche, but when it comes to advertising, imitation is the opposite of flattery. Take what works for others into account, but retain your own unique identity when it comes to concept and execution.
  • Don’t send mixed messages. Keep your branding, language, and approach consistent at all times, and make sure that they clearly convey your vision.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re a small business owner, the head of an
emerging enterprise, or a solo professional, you and your brand are one and the
same. Establishing your brand identity is the first step toward creating
authority, recognition, and trust among your peers and audience.

It takes a little bit of work to set the foundation for
brand recognition, but the ROI is huge. From there, you’ll nurture and build on
your brand image, taking it as far as your ambition and imagination will allow.

What are some of your branding challenges and success
stories? Tell us about them in the comments.

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