Accelerate Growth by Investing in Your Company’s Brand Identity

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There’s a good reason why successful companies like Uber, Weight Watchers and Dunkin’ Donuts created new brand identities in 2018.

It’s the same reason you should invest in your own company’s brand identity: your company’s brand identity impacts the success or failure of your business.

What is a brand?

People commonly use the word “brand” to talk about logos. However, a logo is not a brand.

Put another way: a designer’s job isn’t to design a brand. Designers design the brand identity.

A brand is the sum total of the experience your customers and customer prospects have with your company or organization.

Importantly, your brand is not what you say it is. Your brand is how your customers and prospects perceive your company.

What is branding?

Branding is a process designed to develop, among other things, a unique business name and custom logo design for a company, product, or service.

But branding is also about the company’s reputation, the way a company’s products and services are advertised, and about a company’s values.

Branding is important. 77% of consumers make purchases based on a brand name alone. For example, most people don’t say tablet – they say iPad.

A great brand name will become synonymous with the product or the service.

What is brand identity?

Brand identity is everything visual about a brand. It’s what you, customers, and prospects can see.

The goal of brand identity design is to tell your company’s story in a way that creates loyalty, awareness, and excitement.

Brand identity is important. Ramon Ray, one of the country’s top small business experts explains:

People immediately recognize a Starbucks logo or a BMW logo because those logos are consistently displayed and used by each Brand. Smaller businesses might think that they don’t need to be consistent with their identity, but they are mistaken. People recognize businesses based on their brand identity. Only small businesses that have a small mindset don’t worry about design and branding. Small business owners who think big, who think about growth, who think for scale – those owners understand that branding is important and invest in their brands.

Brand identity takes disparate visual elements and unifies them into a complementary system.

Every decision your company makes and every action that it takes affects the brand. In fact, it only takes consumers 10 seconds to form a first impression of a brand’s logo, but it takes 5-7 impressions for consumers to recognize the logo.

Don’t leave such decisions to chance. A brand strategy can help you shape the public perception of your brand.

How do you build an effective brand strategy?

There are three core phases to an effective brand strategy.

Phase 1: Discovery

Start by evaluating your existing core identity

Your core identity is often defined by your company’s vision (why your company exists), mission (what your company does) and values (the beliefs that guide your company’s actions).

New companies don’t have an existing core identity and can skip to Phase 2.

Existing companies should evaluate whether their original vision, mission and values are still relevant. Here are some helpful questions you can ask:

  • Are there elements that have emerged in the company’s culture that aren’t reflected in that vision, mission, and values?
  • Are some of the existing elements poorly defined or no longer valid?
  • What’s most important to your company?
  • Does your existing brand identity and marketing properly communicate your core identity?

Conduct market research and perform a competitor analysis

Here are some useful questions to ask when you conduct market research:

  • How big is your market?
  • How has your market changed since the time you started your company?
  • How has it changed?

It’s not enough to understand your market. You also must evaluate your competitors to understand where your company is positioned in your industry. For a primer on doing this effectively, read 10 Tips for Evaluating Your Competitors.

Develop personas for your target customers

Personas help you figure out:

  • Who your customers are,
  • What their goals and frustrations are,
  • Where they spend their time,
  • When they’re the most active or available,
  • Why they make certain decisions, and
  • How they interact with your products or buy your services.

Evaluate how people perceive your brand

Evaluate both internal (your employees) and external (everyone else) perceptions of your brand.

Phase 2: Identity

Define your core identity

If you’re starting a new company, start with a blank sheet of paper and fully define your company’s vision, mission, and values.

If you have an existing company, you evaluated your core identity in the discovery phase and now have a chance to evolve that identity.

Articulate your brand positioning

Your brand positioning explains how your company differentiates in the marketplace and how you are different from your competitors.

Often, your positioning can be summarized in one or two sentences to explain what you do better than everyone else.

Articulate your unique selling proposition

Ultimately, a company’s unique selling proposition (“USP”) is what your business stands for. For example, you could say that Apple’s USP is found in “user experience”: everything they do is meant to have the user at its core.

Develop your brand identity assets

When you understand your brand and the components that define brand identity (colors, typography, shapes, etc.) it’s time for you to work with your designer to develop the creative elements that will give life to your brand identity. These include your logo, website, product packaging, brochures, and more.

Phase 3: Execution

Once you’ve completed discovery and developed your core identity, you must find the right way to communicate about your brand through marketing. Execution is beyond the scope of this article, but you’ll find detailed chapters on execution in the complete brand identity guide for marketers and businesses.

How do you translate your brand identity into marketing?

PoopBags.com is trying to solve a problem, help the planet, and have

fun doing it.

PoopBags.com has a distinct personality that shines through in their product packaging.

PoopBags.com’s packaging design keeps things light and playful, showcasing their fun personality. Their products come in boxes featuring a range of bright, exuberant colors juxtaposed with a neutral background.

The raw cardboard color shows through beneath the cheery, saturated pastels to remind consumers of their dedication to using and creating biodegradable materials.

Their logo embraces the light and humorous personality of their brand with a gently rounded font and a cute flower to remind consumers of their eco-mindedness and provide a cheeky nod to poop’s role as a fertilizer.

They complete their brand story with a seal claiming that they have been “Saving the Earth Since 2003”. This seal features their dedication to helping the planet with their product.

PoopBags.com’s packaging unapologetically owns their role as purveyors of potty accessories and has fun with it.

But they also manage to deftly remind their audience of their enthusiasm for protecting our planet, all in one cohesive and attractive design.

What you can learn from PoopBags.com

  • Choose colors, imagery, and fonts that reflect your brand’s personality. And don’t forget to use an appropriate voice for your packaging copy. You can communicate so much about your brand by showing instead of telling.
  • Share what your brand is all about. Do you have a cause or mission that you’re passionate about? What motivates you? Feature that in your packaging design.

Conclusion

A strong brand identity can mean the difference between your company succeeding beyond your wildest dreams or failing miserably.

Are you ready to get started?

This is a condensed version of a complete guide to brand identity. For the complete, 17,000 word guide, read What is Brand Identity and How to Create a Great One: A Complete Guide for Marketers and Businesses (2019)

Ross Kimbarovsky

Founder & CEO at crowdspring
Ross Kimbarovsky is founder and CEO at crowdspring and Startup Foundry.In 2007, Ross left a successful 13-year career as a trial lawyer to pursue his dream of founding a technology company by founding crowdspring – one of the world’s leading marketplaces for crowdsourced logo design, web design, graphic design, product design, and company naming services.

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