How to create a successful Brand Identity

brand identity fingerprint

You’re setting up a new business. The first thing that comes to mind is: “I need a really cool logo”? Am I right?

Once you start thinking about the brand, if you’re not a designer (or have no design background), that’s when you’d usually get stuck.

“- What should I name my business? What colours should I pick? Do I need a website? Should I outsource a designer?”

These questions seem trivial at first, but when you start introducing your services and products to your potential clients, that’s when you realize that branding is important.

After reading this article, you will know:

  • How to start building a brand identity from scratch
  • What kinds of help you need to make your brand successful

FREE BRAND GUIDELINE TEMPLATE

Get inspired by this brand guideline template and build your own.

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A product is not a brand

A brand is an intangible marketing or business concept that helps people identify a company, product, or individual (according to [Investopedia]).

A Brand is made concrete and tangible with a Brand Identity.

To draw the difference, let me introduce you to Lora, who is a professional fitness instructor, bipolar and also allergic to cheese. She owns a gym membership ID card.

Lora is the brand, the ID card is her brand identity.

If she loses her gym membership card on the street and a random guy picks it up, he will judge her based on what he sees on the card.

The stranger will know her name, that she’s young (judging by the picture), he’ll probably guess that she prioritizes her health and that she lives in the same area where the gym is located.

However, since the card doesn’t have information on her cheese allergy and her bipolar disorder, that person will never know about it.

Cartoon holding gym ID card
A Brand Identity is your Business ID - the image you show to the world

As the brand owner, you have to choose how your brand identity will look like so it can resonate well with your target audience.

You are in control of what you want to highlight to your customers.

4 steps to create brand identity

How do I start building a brand identity?

1. Ask the Founder

To know the purpose of an invention, ask the inventor.

Start with yourself, the founder. More often than not, we tend to look too far beyond the horizon for answers to questions only we can answer.

Your story – what inspired you to start the business, what your values are, why you are doing it – that is what shapes your brand. It will set you apart from many other products and businesses that offer the same thing.

There can be a dozen coffee shops in your community, but yours might have delightful ambient music because you belong in a musical family who performs there weekly.

There can be hundreds of podcasts about time management, but yours might have valuable leadership insights for teenagers because of your basketball coaching background.

You want this uniqueness to be part of your brand. No, you need it to be part of your brand.

Now what?

Start by writing down 3-5 values your brand resonates with. As a head start, start by listing your own [the founder’s] values. Remember that those values attached to the brand must serve your customers, not you. A mismatch is a recipe for confusion.

For example, if your brand promises compassion for out-of-school youth but you’ve never even participated in charity, it won’t be authentic.

Not only there will be misalignment in the message but also extra work trying to prove something you’re not genuine about.

2. Humanize the Brand

Remember the values you listed in step one? Put them together and create a living being from them.

Like a real person, your brand must have its own characteristics. Is it male or female? If your brand can choose its own clothes, will it wear plains or prints? Is it a shirt-jeans kind of person or will wear suits all the time?

If it can talk, how does it communicate? Fluffy words? Does it tell a story first before getting to the main subject or is it sharp and on point?

When you humanize your brand, it can help greatly in choosing icons, colours, fonts, and even the tone for your copywriting.

How do you do build a brand identity from this?

Let me tap something from your childhood to help you with this exercise. Back in the 90s, kids passed around a Slambook, where all their friends would add their information, likes and dislikes, and testimonials.

If you have a crush on someone, you’d sneak peek at their page in secret to know more about them. [or was it just me?? LOL]

Save the Slambook Sheet below and fill it out as if you’re the brand writing it. Keep it for reference and keep your business on track with your brand’s likes and dislikes. If you don’t invest time doing it for your own brand, nobody else will.

Slam Book Page
Slambook

When you make your brand human, you are able to create a match with your potential customers.

People buy from people, not companies. Humans understand humans and that’s how relationships are built. The end goal is to make your brand and your ideal customer stay in a happy relationship with each other: supporting, cheering, and advocating for each other.

Humanize Brand
Ronald McDonald and Wendy - Famous Food Brands as Characters

3. Outsource Design Work

Find someone talented that can breathe life into the Slambook sheet you have filled out.

Since you are a startup business, hiring a full-time graphic designer or getting an agency may be out of the budget. Hiring a freelancer at a cheaper rate can yield cheap results too.

Your best bet is an on-demand design company (sometimes called “unlimited graphic design”) that can create various designs as fast as possible that offer as much revision as needed.

You are testing what will become the best Brand Identity, remember?

Once you’ve determined what works best for your audience, the design company of your choice should be able to replicate the designs for all your collaterals and in different channels.

You want your Brand Identity to be part of the whole customer journey from your social media posts to your website, merch, email signatures, and so on – to place you on top of your audience’s mind in your chosen industry or business.

If you read it until here, you’ve got a bonus!

Whoever you choose to be your graphic design company must be as flexible as you are, growing and adjusting as your company does.

So if you decide to rebrand, a design company such as Deer Designer should know your preferences and all have your design request history. This way, both of you can always review to make informed decisions on which next best road to take.

If you religiously take the steps listed above, you can create your own Brand Guide. Take a look at this one created for a fictional tech company called TechMonk.

👉 Download it here

And if you’d like us to take care of your (and your clients’) logos, brand guides and anything else design-related try us now!

FREE BRAND GUIDELINE TEMPLATE

Get inspired by this brand guideline template and build your own.

DOWNLOAD NOW!

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