Companies like Nike, Google, and Coca-Cola actively protect and nurture their brands because it’s a measure of value.

This article explores the following topics:

  • The significance of developing a strong brand,
  • How to develop one,
  • The benefits of having one
  • And typical pitfalls to avoid when building one.

What Is Brand Identity?

It’s your brand image and perception. Whether you actively curate your brand or not, the world forms an opinion about your product which ultimately influences how they interact with it. Everything your business does reflects its identity.

What Makes Up a Brand?

There are five basic elements for building a brand:

  1. Name,
  2. Logo
  3. Slogan
  4. Design
  5. Voice

A Note on Psychology and Branding

The concept of branding utilises human psychology. Humans generally mentally associate things with one another.  Certain names or words, for example, can elicit certain emotions in us. Similarly, we associate certain food colours with taste. For example, red for spicy or green for fresh.  In psychology and cognitive science, these associations are called Schemas which is a pattern of thought or behaviour that organizes information categories and their relationships. People are more inclined to notice items that fit into their schema while reinterpreting inconsistencies as exceptions or distorting them to suit.


Name

The brand name is the name of the company, product, or service that embodies the brand. It should be memorable, distinct, and easy to say.

Logo

The logo is a visual representation of the brand. It should be simple, recognizable, and consistent with the values of the company

Slogan

The slogan is a short statement that communicates the brand’s value proposition to customers.

Design

This includes colours, typeface, and imagery used to represent the brand. It should be consistent across all marketing materials and media.

Voice

The tone, vocabulary, and style used to connect with customers.


Why Is Branding Important?

Trust and Credibility

A strong identity contributes to consumer trust and credibility which increases loyalty.

Brand Differentiation

It makes it easier to stand out in a competitive marketplace. Consistent brand messaging improves brand recognition.

Customer Loyalty

Strong brands are consistent in how they communicate and deliver value to customers, creating a sense of trust that fosters loyalty and advocacy.


How to Build A Strong Brand Identity

Creating a powerful brand identity is a complex process that requires a systematic and strategic approach.

  1. Define your brand values and mission
  2. Develop a brand personality
  3. Create a visual identity for your brand
  4. Communicate with customers

Define Your Values and Mission

Many companies tie their identities to their vision and mission. For example, Nike’s mission is to BRING INSPIRATION AND INNOVATION TO EVERY ATHLETE* IN THE WORLD. *If you have a body, you are an athlete. You would observe that their marketing campaigns promote a lot of inclusivity.

Develop a Personality

This personality should be consistent with the brand’s values and mission, and serve as the foundation for all communication and messaging. A brand personality could be welcoming, warm, amusing or even authoritative. Apple’s brand personality, for example, is inventive, elegant, and modern, which aligns with its brand principles of creativity and design.

Create a Visual Identity for Your Brand

Leverage imagery as much as you can. The visual identity contains elements like your logo, colour scheme, typography, and artwork. These characteristics should be in line with your personality and values. A well-designed logo may be a strong tool for increasing brand identification and affinity. For example, the Nike swoosh emblem is instantly recognizable and has become synonymous with the brand.

Develop a design system that outlines your library of components, including colours, fonts, and style. Did you know that Google, Apple, IBM, Atlassian, and other large businesses share their design systems with the public? This allows them to spread awareness about their style, and philosophies further promoting their brand

Communicate with Customers

Building a strong brand identity requires consistent delivery of the brand message. This message should be consistent with the brand’s personality and values, and it should be communicated through all marketing materials, such as your website, social media, advertising, and packaging. It’s important to remind customers of your unique value proposition. This UVP is what differentiates you from other players in the market.


Challenges of Building a Strong Brand Identity

  1. Inconsistent graphic elements
  2. Inconsistent messaging
  3. Inconsistent customer experience
  4. Inconsistent product quality
  5. Limited marketing budget
  6. Lack of patience

Maintaining consistency across all marketing materials can be challenging but unfortunately, these inconsistencies confuse customers.

Inconsistent Graphic Elements

When your brand’s visual identity is inconsistent across different platforms, consumers may become confused.

Inconsistent Messaging

Inconsistent messaging can lead to misunderstanding and distrust. If a company that claims to be environmentally friendly uses excessive packaging in its products, customers will interpret this as being insincere.

Inconsistent Customer Experience

For example, if a company provides excellent in-store customer service but terrible treatment online or over the phone, it can undermine the brand’s reputation and lead to customer turnover.

Inconsistent Product Quality

For example, if a corporation delivers high-quality products in some locations but lower-quality products in others, the brand’s reputation will suffer and sales will fall.

Limited Marketing Budget

Building a powerful identity requires a lot of time and a large marketing investment. As such, smaller organizations may find it difficult to devote adequate resources to branding and marketing activities.

Lack of Patience

It takes time and patience to develop a strong brand. Building an equitable brand involves a long-term commitment to branding activities and good customer experience.