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6 Surefire Tactics for Building Brand Identity Building

How To Create a Powerful Branding Identity

September 24, 2021
8 MINUTES
Danica_Popovic.png
Danica Popovic

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What is brand identity? And how to create one? Learn all the key steps that will help you build a better brand.

An idea for a small business usually starts with deciding what you want to do. But creating a strong brand means building a brand identity that will resonate with audiences for years to come. You might change what you do: create new products; expand your services; switch from offline to online. But why do you do it and for whom should always navigate your brand strategy in order to stay on course and relevant in your target market?

Feeling a bit confused? Let’s dive right into the ins and outs of creating a brand identity.

What is a brand identity?

Think of your brand as a person. A person’s identity is composed of different elements such as nationality, skin color, sexual orientation, gender, background, belief system and more. A brand identity is almost as complex.

In a nutshell, brand identity is the sum of your mission, vision and values; your target audience and, of course, your products and services.

It’s the personality of your brand (what feelings and associations people have connected to your brand), what it does and how it looks.

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How to create a powerful branding identity?

Here are some effective tactics to employ to create a unique and powerful brand.

Find out how to build a strong and unique brand

Download our guide to learn all about branding and visual identity

Create a memorable logo and tagline

You’ve probably heard that a logo is the face of the brand. This means it’s often the first thing that people see when they come across a new brand, and usually, the visual element they remember best.

A professional logo design needs to encompass your values and be created to appeal to your target audience.

Seems like a tall order? Not for a professional designer!

One example is the team collaboration tool Asana (we use and love it at ManyPixels as well). The company name derives from Sanskrit and is also used to describe the specific pose in which yogis sit. Since the company’s mission is to help businesses find their balance and flow, this analogy works great. And of course, since Asana is more likely to be used by modern digital businesses, the trendy muted coral color and minimalist sans serif work perfectly.

asana logo.png

Another great logo example is Airbnb, and below you can see how their “belo” sign combines different aspects of the company’s mission.

airbnb logo.png

However, the logo is also accompanied by a powerful tagline “Belong anywhere”, which perfectly complements the logo and the company’s mission to transform travel accommodation into an enriching cultural experience.

Find the best fonts that will make your logo stand out

Download our guide on logo typography

Develop a coherent visual identity

Your logo design is the basis of a brand style guide, which should include all the different visual elements of your brand such as:

  • Color palette
  • Fonts
  • Shapes and symbols
  • Images and photos
  • Backgrounds

Defining how and which elements are to be used is important for several reasons. First, it will give you coherence which will help with brand recognition.

Next, it will make partnership and collaboration much easier. Whether you’re hiring a new employee, a freelancer or an agency to take over any part of the work in design and marketing, guidelines will ensure results are more efficient and successful.

Finally, visual elements will help form your brand image. Whereas a brand identity is built from the inside out, the brand image reflects how your customers actually perceive you. The visual elements and their usage will increase the chances of brand image and identity being perfectly aligned.

Develop a unique value proposition

You can have the best idea in the world, but what if someone else has already thought of it before you? The sad truth is that this happens more than often. So, another key step in creating a long-lasting brand is to offer something no one else is offering.

A great example to learn from is Ikea. Love it or hate it, this industry giant has changed the way people look at furniture and home decoration. The two main parts of their unique value proposition are: affordable quality design and DIY.

The variety of choices, ever-evolving styles and modern designs created an opportunity for (usually young) people on a budget to have beautiful living spaces for less.

Love it or hate it, but the possibility to assemble your own furniture is a hugely creative value proposition.

Find the right brand voice

How you convey your messages is almost equally as important as what you have to say. It goes without saying that even young people value security and trustworthiness in a bank or an accounting service, but if you convey these values in a very corporate-sounding way they might ultimately decide your service is not for them.

Finding the right tone of voice relies on extensive market research and discovering what your potential customers respond to best. A brand voice will relate to your brand personality, or how you define your brand.

brand personality spectrum.png Straight Marketing

Finding the right brand voice means making sure the different aspects of your brand personality are in sync. For example, Apple’s brand voice is fun but also exclusive (being an Apple user is often seen as a sort of status symbol).

On the other hand, Nike has a more serious tone since they don’t usually go for jokes or memes, but it’s also spontaneous and high energy: they want to empower users to embrace and live in the moment.

Another one of my all-time favorites (and indeed often mentioned on our blog) is Dollar Shave Club. Throughout my childhood, the ads from men’s grooming companies always featured macho men with a tone of voice to match (words like power, strength etc.)

Along came Dollar Shave with their ridiculous viral YouTube ad and a much more honest way of communicating something as mundane as shaving. And of course, they made it all funny. Humor is one of the best ways to make ads memorable, and though there are probably some industries in which it should be used sparingly, this is one where a playful tone fits perfectly.

dollar shave billboard.jpg

Matt Knapp

Another example is the fast-food chain Wendy’s. It became an internet sensation with its Twitter roasts to competitors as well as its own followers.

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wendy-s 3.jpg Bored Panda

Partnerships and collaborations

Learn how to design captivating digital ads

Get inspired by the catchiest and best-designed ads we found.

Handing out thousands of business cards can sometimes help you boost profit, but effective networking is much more than that. It’s connecting with people who are interested in your brand and, ideally, share the same values.

An infamous example to show you how important it is to find the right collaborator is Scott Disick’s Instagram post sponsored by BooTea Shake supplements. Since a sponsored post from Disick probably costs tens of thousands of dollars (or even hundreds), he can afford major slip ups like this, but this type of “behind the scenes” glimpses really harm a brand’s trustworthiness.

scott disick instagram fail.png Kubbco

Of course, a small business won’t exactly have the same budget for sponsored posts, but the logic of it is still the same. If an influencer or brand ambassador sees your company as just another paycheck, you’re much better off partnering with someone who expresses genuine interest in what you’re selling and, even more importantly, wants to actually use your products. Even if they have a smaller following and reach, this will help you establish a strong brand image in the long term and build a loyal audience and steady profits.

Make content marketing relevant and useful

While social media gives you an opportunity to engage with your customers directly, content marketing allows you to provide value for them. Whether it’s shareable infographics, long-form content or an explainer video, the point of effective content marketing is to give your audiences a useful piece of content.

Of course, it also has a huge impact on SEO and website ranking, but since search engine algorithms are very refined these days, it’s no longer enough to just use the right keyword: your content needs to provide an answer to a user’s search intent or present an original piece of content that isn’t found elsewhere.

Finally, content marketing can also help you build a strong brand identity. The topics that you cover and how you approach them are another way to define your brand and what is important to you.

An example we have to mention here is Hubspot. If you’re a marketer, chances are that before you even knew what exactly Hubspot does, you had come across their blog. With detailed and informative articles, Hubspot’s blog is the marketing bible and it attracts an enormous amount of traffic to their blog.

Of course, not all of these visitors will turn to customers. But it helped them establish themselves as digital marketing experts so that the purchase of their marketing automation software also seems like a sound and solid choice.

Make signage and physical stores on brand

The pandemic has moved many businesses online, and there is no doubt e-commerce will become even more prevalent in the year to come.

Yet, this doesn’t mean that physical stores aren’t an important building block of your brand identity. If you have one, a space where you conduct business should also be decorated according to your brand style guide and reflect your mission and values.

Starbucks is known for doing many things right but perhaps the first one was making space a part of their brand. Back in the 70s when the first Starbucks opened its doors, it offered customers a completely unique experience.

Instead of a quick hit of caffeine and a boring everyday routine, Starbucks coffee shops are a place to spend time. The chairs, the music, the tables that accommodate large groups or offer people a chance to work remotely or enjoy time with friends all uphold Starbucks’ mission: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time”.

Another branding superstar in this area is of course Apple. Their stores are known for offering a very unique, futuristic experience you can’t get anywhere else. The sales assistants are not there merely to make a sale - they have to know everything about Apple products and be prepared to show them in action.

apple store 1.png Apple Insider

apple store 2.jpg Tech Spot

Check out what you can create with ManyPixels!

Check out what you can
create with ManyPixels!

Check out what you can create with
ManyPixels!

Download our design library to see our latests creations: illustrations, brand guides, ads, logos and much more!

Download our design library to see our latests
creations: illustrations, brand guides, ads, logos
and much more!

Download our design library to see our latests creations: illustrations, brand guides, ads, logos and much more!

Danica_Popovic.png

Danica Popovic

September 24, 2021

Having lived and studied in London and Berlin, I'm back in native Serbia, working remotely and writing short stories and plays in my free time. With previous experience in the nonprofit sector, I'm currently writing about the universal language of good graphic design. I make mix CDs and my playlists are almost exclusively 1960s.