What’s your personality? Can your friends describe you in one or a couple of words? And can you describe, let’s say your colleague that way?
You probably started naming adjectives like smart, funny, or sophisticated. We use the qualities that the person shows to better categorize and understand our feelings towards them. That’s basically how nature works.
Brand identity is kinda the same. Since a brand represents a group of people working for a certain goal, we unwillingly personalize it. We add human-like attributes based on what the business does and doesn’t do. When there’s a lot of competition, you need to make sure that your face stands out amongst the others.
We can use this to our advantage. Mold the shape of our brand and emotional connection that we want our audience to feel. In other words, we can create a personality for our business that we really want.
Here are 6 tips for creating a consistent and solid brand identity that I think can help you:
1. Research the target audience
It’s important to actually reach your users in order to be successful. Before you start laying down the foundation that is memorable, you need to know who your customers are. You need to have a clear picture of your users.
- What’s their age?
- What kind of values do they have?
- What do they like or dislike?
- Do they live mostly in the city or the suburbs?
Tools to use
The research itself can be easy or really difficult. That all depends on the time and money you can spend.
You might already have some information about your audience from years of working with them, or you already know what your goal is. If that’s not the case and you’re on a budget, there are still things you can do.
Use the internet and social media to see what people are liking and talking about. And of course, you can do it yourself by creating a questionnaire and sending it to your friends and visitors. There’s a lot of different platforms, including Google Forms, but I would recommend you try SogoSurvey. It allows you to create great looking and easy to manage surveys completely for free.
If you have more money and want quicker results you can go with audience research platforms. These usually offer to do the questioning for you or have other ways to find exactly what users want. One of the biggest companies here is Nielsen. Whether your buying information from a big company or just paying someone to do surveys for you – it’s going to cost you.
After you’ve done at least some basic audience research you can begin to build the foundations of your brand.
2. Pick your brand’s tone
The tone is how users see your website and brand – what adjectives they use when describing you. You want to be in control of that as much as you can. So first you can list a few adjectives that will describe your business.
Just some examples:
You can use one or a couple of adjectives to create what your brand will be.
Adidas – Confident/ Innovative/ Youthful/ Futuristic – Adidas has branded itself as a company that is not afraid to make innovative decisions and is always thinking ahead. Their style and tone represent that perfectly.
Slack – Clarity/ Improvement/ Friendliness /Modern – Slack is a popular instant messaging platform. It focuses on being super clear and easy to use for every customer. This tone helps Slack get into most work environments because it communicates a slick and simple design.
FireBox – Lighthearted/ Funny/ Creative/ Ridiculous – FireBox sells unique and funny things and gifts. Its tone can best be described as creatively funny. From the first moment you enter its website you immediately feel the lighthearted direction that the company is taking.
Tools to use
Try to do research or find tools online to help you come up with the ideal tone for your brand. There are a lot of useful websites that give inspiration in this regard.
For example, you can find a useful list of adjectives that you can use on the Elise epp website.
3. Pick your color scheme
Colors surround us everywhere we go, and it’s a well-known fact that certain colors can influence us one way or another. So why not use this knowledge to your advantage? After you’re done picking adjectives, use them to select from 2 to 6 colors that will be your primary brand colors.
You have to make sure that the colors you pick match the personality of your business. Picking the wrong colors can easily send mixed or bad messages to people you are trying to get on board. Color is a powerful part of your brand that you shouldn’t overlook.
What popular company do you think this color represents?
If you guessed Coca-Cola, you’re correct. And all it took was just one single color, that’s how powerful color can be. And of course, it took a long time of consistent use of this color in advertisements, social posts, and real-life to establish this. So keep in mind that it won’t be that easy and fast, but you shouldn’t feel discouraged and instead keep using the colors of your brand persistently.
Using your style, colors, and tone consistently is the key to success.
CloudFlare – uses three main colors to represent clarity – It’s the perfect balance between too much and too little. This allows you to have a variety of designs while also keeping the tone intact.
Coca-Cola – uses just one color to represent it’s brand – it’s more of a unique situation with this company. And I wouldn’t recommend just going with one color as at the start it might be difficult to stand out from the rest.
HootSuite – uses six colors to represent – This allows it to have a lot of different color designs and combinations. But it might be too much to create one unique color style.
As with most cases, it all comes down to your wants and experimentation.
Tools to use
Adobe Kuler is a great tool to use, it allows you to select analogous or complementary colors.
All you have to do is select one color and all the other sliders will adjust automatically.
You can find more information on what specific colors can represent and how to use them here.
4. Choose a great name for your business
Customers are known to gravitate towards a well-known brand. When coming up with a name, make sure that it is very easy to pronounce, spell, and remember. A great business name should be like a catchy song stuck in your head after you hear it once.
Make sure that your brand’s name isn’t used anywhere else with a negative connotation. And use a translator to make sure it doesn’t translate into something profound in another language.
You can use your own name or the location you do business. But it’s not just that, a name can reflect a lot of different things. In general, there seven categories that we can put all business names into:
Descriptive – Use words or phrases which describe what your business does. Ex: General Motors.
Founders name – Use your name, surname, or initials to create your brand’s name. Ex: Ralph Lauren.
Metaphor – Use colorful words and metaphors that reflect what your business does. Ex: Nike (Greek God), Amazon (biggest river).
Geolocation – Use the location you’re located or where you do business in your brand’s name. Ex: Portland Automotive, New York Burger Bar.
Invented – Just let your imagination run wild and come up with fun and catchy words for your name. Ex: Kodak.
Acronym – If you want to use a longer name or you want your brand’s name to explain what you do you can use acronyms. Ex: Ikea.
Lexical – Make your name stand out by using puns, compound words, or even intentional misspellings. Ex: American Hair Force, Petsmart.
One thing to do before committing to a brand name – check whether the domain with this name is free. There’s nothing worse than spending all that time, just to find out that every domain is already taken. You can use domain registrars to check whether the domain is available.
Netflix – Descriptive – Netflix has a rather simple name, it’s a combination of Net (The internet) and Flix (an alternative word for motion pictures). It’s really easy to pronounce and easy to remember. And the best thing is that it completely describes what the company does – bring movies to you through the internet.
HP (Hewlett-Packard) – Founder Names – One of the most famous tech companies out there got its name from its founders. Both creators gave it their name, and it was shortened to just the first letters later on.
Amazon – Metaphor – Amazon is the largest online shop in the world that brings you thousands of items. So it’s no surprise why the name of the biggest river in the world fits this company so nicely.
Tools to use
If you’re having trouble coming up with names, you can look at the internet for inspiration. There are a lot of name generators available. These apps use the keywords you enter to come up with hundreds of ideas. Below you can see what we got when entering the keyword Headphones into the Namelix website.
Alternatively, you can use the Business name generator to find more simple variations around your keyword. Just remember that you probably won’t find that one perfect name with these generators, but they might spark your creativity.
5. Create a visually appealing logo
Once you have picked a good and creative name, it is time to pick the graphical representation of your business. This has to be something that stands out and does not rip off another company’s brand identity design. And of course, it has to use the colors you previously selected.
You want the logo to be simple and not cluttered. While a complex logo might sound like a good thing at first, it quickly becomes a problem. Small details create unclear images, and if users can’t even understand your logo, well, it’s just not attracting any customers. If you’re serious about your business you will use this logo everywhere. On the website, on t-shirts, or as a business card. Make sure your logo looks good no matter what size you see it.
If you are having trouble coming up with a logo, you can hire a graphic designer. All you have to do is run them through the concept of how you want your logo to look and they will do the rest for you.
FedEx – Federal Express has a simple and really memorable logo. The logo uses bold font and the Ex color represents different departments (Orange – Express, Red – Freight). And this logo is most widely known for its hidden arrow representing speed and a way forward. Can you spot it?
Nike – The checkmark in Nike’s logo represents not only the pursuit of success but also its sporty “Just do it” attitude. It also became one of the simplest symbols that are immodestly connected with this company. Just show a checkmark and more than half your audience will know what you mean.
Bing – (Don’t do this) – When Bing released this version of the logo in 2009 it was immediately met with negativity. And it’s clear why – there is nothing that would show what the product does or even what it is. And non-uniform squished letters just look terrible and don’t do anything for the brand itself. So no matter what experimentations you do, just remember that your logo needs to always look visually appealing.
Tools to use
If you don’t want to or can’t use the service of a professional designer, there are still ways to create a logo. You can use an online logo maker that will let you create and modify your logo using a simple interface. It can also offer you templates and automatically generated logos based on your name and keyword.
In this regard, there are two types of these generators – free and paid. You have a lot of paid options available, and most of them have an automatic logo generator and a wide array of design tools and templates. They can even fix your existing logo or make it from scratch. Of course, the drawback is that some of these services can get pretty expensive pretty fast.
The free alternatives usually give you the tools to create a logo from scratch or use a pre-existing template. But with most of these, you have to deal with restrictions. Either you can’t download the bigger logo image or your color selection is limited to just two. So while it’s free, you pay by your time and inconvenience.
What I’m trying to say, is that if you’re serious, don’t be afraid to spend some money on a good logo. You won’t regret it in the long run.
6. Most importantly – be consistent
Now that you have chosen your colors, tone, logo, and brand name, it’s time to put everything to good use. And all that work will be for nothing if the next day you decide to change the logo or colors. Only consistency creates a good and stable brand image with your visitors.
Sticking with your decisions will make you look like you have everything under control. And if you as a business have everything figured out, there’s no reason for users not to trust you.
So just as that catchy song stuck in your head, you have to repeat and repeat it.
I like to include some small tips to help you out in your brand’s development journey:
You can also research your competitors to find out what they offer for their customers. This helps keep your business up to standards and you can even find ways to do better than them.
Deliver quality services
Delivering quality and superior products to customers is one way of creating a brand identity. You might have created the best company logo and brand in the world, but if customers don’t associate that brand with quality, what’s the point?
Use similar images in your marketing
Just like the name and logo of your business, the images that you use are very important as well. Consistency is the key when it comes to images, so make sure your images have the same feel and tone.
Brand identity shapes your business
The six tips pointed out above (and those small extra ones) are very important when it comes to creating a brand identity for your business. A brand gives a business a voice as well as a personality.
Building a brand identity requires time and patience and shouldn’t be rushed. Know your audience, understand your values, have a good name, and an awesome looking logo. But most important be consistent and keep using your brand until you succeed. And if you follow the advice above, you definitely will.
Guest Author: Vivian is fond of writing and has been involved in the content marketing industry since 2011. She is specializing in web hosting & website builder niches.