How do you create a brand identity? For many people, this involves sketching out a logo, thinking about colors, or coming up with catchy slogans. While these things are part of the process, they aren't the only parts. There is actually much more to it than that. Here are three steps to follow that will help you create a brand identity that stands out.
1. Understand the Brand
This is the most important part of the process, although it is also the part that is usually skipped. This happens because people think they already understand their brand. After all, they work on it every day. If you are a business owner, you live and breathe it—maybe even created it.
But that is not enough. You have to go deeper to understand the brand from the perspective of your customers. What do they think? What are your competitors doing and how are you positioned against them?
Here are two tips to help you get a deeper understanding of your brand:
1. Talk to the stakeholders, or the people and parties involved with the brand. If you have customers, talk to them. If you don't have customers, talk to your staff and anyone else who has knowledge of the company, its products and its services to get their honest take and perspective.
2. Do a SWOT analysis – list your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.
Once you fully understand your brand you can move on to the next stage.
2. Define the Brand
The next step involves defining your brand, and again it involves writing. There are many ways that you can do this, but here are four that you can try:
1. Describe your brand in one sentence.
2. Now expand on this slightly and describe your brand in one paragraph.
3. Write your company's mission statement.
4. Write a value proposition.
Here's an example of a value proposition from Uber:
Going through this exercise will force you to think about your brand in a concise way—just like your customers do. You will also have to clearly identify what makes your brand stand out, and why that is important to your customers.
3. Create the Brand
Now you can use the information and definitions that you have gathered to create your brand. A central part of this is creating a logo using the concepts formed from the gathered information, but it shouldn’t stop there. You also have to create slogans, a design language (or brand guidelines) for websites and printed materials, a unified tone of voice, among other things. These should match the identity you defined in the previous stage of the process.
When doing this, it's okay to look at other brands for inspiration. In fact, it is recommended—after all, large corporations and the most successful companies spend a lot of money on creating their brands. So tap into that knowledge and break down why it works for them, but make sure you do not copy directly. In short, you can use it for inspiration, but don’t rip off.
Finally, you have to ensure that the brand you create is consistent across all platforms and mediums. This will reinforce the message every time your customers see or interact with your brand.