Do you know the difference between brand and brand identity?
Did you even know that those two terms are actually not interchangeable and have completely different definitions?
If not, that’s okay. In fact, you are in the majority.
Many people often confuse brand and brand identity and use them interchangeably.
If you’re doing the same, your business might be suffering as a result of that.
So in today’s post, we’re going to go over what the difference is between brand and brand identity.
As well as share with you 6 steps that we have for developing a memorable brand identity in 2023.
What’s The Difference Between Brand And Brand Identity?
Before we can get into the 6 steps, you need to first understand the difference between brand and brand identity.
People often use the term brand to describe products.
You’ve probably done this yourself.
You may have asked a friend, “Hey, what brand of cologne is that?”
In these instances, you’re not actually talking about the brand, you’re talking about a product that is sold by a brand.
A brand is how people perceive your company.
A good example of this is IKEA.
When people think of affordable and reliable furniture, the first thing most people think of is IKEA. IKEA’s brand is affordable and reliable furniture.
So what is brand identity then?
Brand identity is what the customer sees.
Your brand identity is made up of all of the visual elements of a brand.
This includes your logo, color scheme, typography, and more.
An example to help you further understand this is…
Picture you’re back in middle school, you’re the new kid in school, and it’s lunchtime.
You’re in the cafeteria and you want to sit at “the cool kid’s table” but you notice that you don’t quite have the look that’s needed to sit at that table.
So, you buy some new yeezys, get a haircut, and change your style.
Those things would act as your brand identity.
They are the tangible features that you can control to influence how others see you.
Why Brand Identity Is Important
So what makes brand identity so important?
As we’ve just mentioned, brand identity is how others see you.
This means that your brand identity is often your first impression on new customers.
Since brand identity includes your logo, your logo can be thought of as the face of your business.
This is what greets these new customers as they develop an opinion of your business, or in other words, your brand.
Also, much like how people change over time, so do the thoughts a consumer has on your brand.
Maintaining a consistent brand identity over time will help build trust with consumers.
This is because you’ve built that “face” in their minds and have maintained that image over time.
Also, one of the best benefits of branding is that by creating an identity for your brand, you are giving it purpose.
Your brand identity will help show consumers what you stand for as a business.
This can be critical in determining why a consumer would choose to do business with you instead of one of your competitors.
By selling a great product, you are bound to attract customers.
But once these people purchase your product and become customers, how do they become repeat customers, or better yet, advocates for your business?
We’re sure you’ve already guessed it but the answer is with a great brand identity.
A great brand identity can provide a consumer with a sense of belonging.
This is what will keep them coming back to your business and referring it to others.
Keys To A Strong, Memorable Brand Identity
So what makes a strong and memorable brand identity?
For starters, it needs to be unique.
This will help you stand out from your competition and grab the attention of your target audience.
You also want your brand identity to be easily remembered by consumers.
By making a visual impact on the consumer, which in most cases is done with your logo, they will remember your brand.
And, that familiarity can create a lifelong customer.
Just look at Apple, for instance.
Their logo, the apple with a bite taken out of it, is so memorable that you never see the name “Apple” on any of their products.
They only have to use their logo because that’s how powerful their brand identity is.
Since we mentioned that creating a memorable brand identity can include a lot of variables…
…it’s important that each piece that makes up your brand identity compliments one another, and works cohesively as a unit.
Lastly, your brand identity has to be set up in a manner in which it can become scalable as well as easily changed if need be.
You might be thinking, “If I create a strong and memorable brand identity, why would I ever want to change that?”
The answer is because we know that your brand, that gut feeling a consumer has about your product, service, or business, changes over time.
In order to remain successful, your brand identity needs to adapt and grow with those changes.
This is so that you continue to provide that consistent image of your business in the consumer’s mind.
Now, with that understanding, it is time to move onto the six steps to create a memorable brand identity in 2023.
6 Steps To Create A Memorable Brand Identity In 2023
Step 1: Understand Who You Are & What Your Purpose Is
Before you can decide on the tangible elements that will make up your brand identity, you need to first understand who you are.
As well, as what your purpose is as a brand.
So how can you identify who you are as a brand?
Well, ask yourself these questions: if your brand was a person…
- What kind of personality would they have and how would they communicate?
- What makes you unique and how will you differentiate yourself from your competition?
- What’s your “why factor?”
- In other words, why do you do what you do?
- And lastly, what values and beliefs drive your company?
Having a clear understanding of your answers to these questions will be extremely beneficial when building your brand identity.
Much like creating a buyer persona to understand how to effectively market to your audience…
…you need to know and understand your answers to these questions first before diving right in.
To understand the purpose of your brand, you need to answer these questions:
- Why is your business in business?
- Why should your target audience care about your business?
- How are you different?
The answers to these questions will help you develop your brand message and your brand voice.
It may even be useful for other areas of your brand identity.
Also, knowing the answers to these questions and what your purpose is will help you in developing your mission statement.
Step 2: Research Your Audience & Your Competition
Let’s start by going over how to research your audience.
This is a key step because it allows you to understand what your audience wants from your business which will help with your branding and advertising.
In this step, you essentially want to create a buyer persona or multiple depending on who your audience is.
Try to identify…
- who your ideal buyer is,
- their age,
- what pain points and
- interests they have,
- what their income is, and
- what their spending habits are
Another key piece of information to uncover is where can you find your audience online.
Most of them will be on social media but we want you to dig deeper.
Does your ideal customer use just one social media network or multiple?
If multiple, do they spend more time on Instagram than Facebook, or do they spend more time on Twitter?
Knowing this will help you understand where you should go to have meaningful conversations with your audience.
After all, social media provides consumers with a voice so that they can interact with brands.
Seeking out those opportunities to make connections is what will separate you from your competition in the mind of the consumer.
Now it’s time to conduct research on your competition.
When we say conduct research on your competition, we don’t just mean go check out their website.
We have to go much more in-depth in order to gain enough valuable information to move forward with this process.
This means that we want you to not only check out their website but…
- check out their social media,
- sign up for emails and see what their email campaigns look like,
- see what their customers say about them,
- see how they interact with their customers and what tone they use, and
- see if they are consistent with the visuals they use
In addition to this, try to understand their brand mission, which you can often find a mission statement on their website.
And also, try to determine how they use that to decide what to post and share with their audience.
It’s important to remember that we’re not doing this so we can copy them.
We are doing this to understand the space that our competitors currently occupy.
And, what room they’ve left us with to insert our brand and position ourselves differently.
The last part of the research step is to conduct a S.W.O.T analysis.
S.W.O.T is actually an acronym that stands for:
This analysis can be used to help you get a better understanding of your brand as it currently stands.
To identify your strengths, you need to find characteristics of your business that give you a competitive advantage over your competition.
To find your weaknesses you must do the exact opposite.
Here, you are trying to find characteristics that put your business at a disadvantage relative to your competition.
By already having conducted research on your competitors, you may have already identified some opportunities your business can take advantage of.
However, in this step, we want you to take that research one step further and examine your industry as a whole.
Look to see if there are any branding trends beginning or changes in current trends to identify opportunities your business can take advantage of.
Even before the competition identifies them.
Now threats are not the same as competition so this portion of the analysis shouldn’t be a list of your competitors.
Threats are anything in the industry or environment that can cause problems for your business that you should be aware of.
After completing this analysis, you should have a pretty good idea of what characteristics you want your brand to represent.
Step 3: Design Your Logo & Create Your Identity
The next step in the process is the design phase where you’ll design your logo and pick out the other features that will make up your brand identity.
Let’s start with the logo. This step is EXTREMELY important.
As we know, brand identity doesn’t only include your logo.
However, your logo is the most recognizable part of your brand.
So you’ll want to dedicate ample time here in order to create a logo that is powerful enough to deliver your brand’s message whilst also being visually appealing.
Some of the simplest and widely popular logos have a much deeper meaning that you might not have known before.
Like Nike for example.
Nike’s famous swoosh actually is a symbol from Greek mythology.
Nike is the Goddess of Victory and the swoosh represents her wing which symbolizes speed, power, and motivation.
Or even Amazon.
Did you know that the arrow in the Amazon logo pointing from A to Z is to signify that you can buy anything from A to Z on Amazon?
Now, we’re not saying that you should go to the library to read up on Greek mythology to create your logo.
But we want you to understand the type of thoughts and the amount of creativity that goes into this step.
Your logo will appear on your website, your ads, your social media profiles, and much more.
With your logo being featured in so many places, it should work cohesively with the rest of your brand identity.
Make sure that your initial logo mock-ups are in black and white.
This is because you don’t want your logo to influence what color scheme you choose for your business.
The hard part is designing a logo that is both visually appealing and delivers your brand’s message.
Color can easily be added in later.
Not much later though because next up is choosing your color palette!
This is another big decision because everything from your website to your social media graphics will use these colors.
You shouldn’t just pick your color scheme based on which colors are your favorite though.
Instead, try taking a look at color psychology.
Yes, you read that right.
People have psychological ties to different colors.
As you can see here, each color can stimulate a specific emotion from a person.
This is exactly why Facebook and Twitter use blue.
It’s because blue is known to inspire trust and loyalty and those are key components of their brand identity.
Typically, most businesses will choose one primary color and multiple secondary colors to complement their primary color choice.
When you have come up with those, you can now figure out how to apply those colors to your logo.
You might be thinking, “What if my logo includes text?”
Well, another important piece of creating your brand identity is choosing your typography.
Much like how colors trigger emotions, typography can also reflect a particular mood and add personality to your brand identity.
As you can see here, there are four main types of typography which are serif, sans serif, script, and display.
Your typography is part of the visual language of your brand. So, much like each part of this step, take your time in choosing your typography.
Typically, most brands will select anywhere from one to three fonts for their brand.
The most important part of selecting a font is to make sure that it’s easy to read.
The last thing you want to happen is your audience being unable to determine what your message is simply because they are unable to easily read it.
Form and Shape
The last piece of this design step is picking out your form and shape.
What does this mean?
When creating designs, like your logo for example, what shapes go into it?
Do you tend to use squares and rectangles for a more boxy look with sharp edges?
Or do you use circles and ovals for a smooth finish with no rough edges?
Much like colors and typography, shapes can also form certain thoughts in the consumer’s mind as you can see here.
Although picking your approach here may not be as important as it is for typography and color scheme…
…it is still important to note what direction you take so that you can be consistent with your approach.
Step 4: Develop Your Brand Voice
This is an extremely important step in creating a memorable brand identity because your brand voice is used in many different areas.
Your brand voice is reflected in your social posts, your advertisements, your emails, your blogs, and when communicating with your audience.
When you begin to work on your brand voice, you need to establish its tone.
Is it professional, humorous, friendly?
Whichever you choose, you’ll need to be consistent with this voice across all platforms and in everything you do.
That way, you can make a lasting impression on your audience.
You’ll want to be sure that you choose a tone that matches how you’ve crafted your brand’s personality up to this point.
For example, if your brand focuses on luxury goods, you’ll probably want to have a professional tone to complement your sophisticated brand.
At this point, you should also develop your brand message to help your audience understand what your brand stands for.
Arguably, the most important thing to remember is to be conversational.
You’re giving your brand a voice so that it is capable of having conversations with your audience.
Make sure you’re engaging with them so that voice doesn’t go to waste!
Step 5: Get Started & Be Consistent
At this point, you’ve completed almost everything that needs to be done for creating your brand identity.
That’s why this next step is to get started with marketing your brand identity.
For this, you will need to use parts from every step before this to make sure everything you create is on-brand.
Use your fonts, colors, and shapes that were previously picked out.
And, be sure that no matter what you create, it reflects your brand message and is delivered in your brand’s voice.
Are there any ways to ensure everything you create stays on-brand?
There is one method that doesn’t 100% guarantee this but it definitely helps and that method is to create a brand style guide.
A brand style guide is a guide that includes everything we’ve established in this process so far.
Anyone who reads your brand style guide should be capable of creating marketing material that looks and feels like your brand.
After all, we didn’t go through all of this work just for none of it to be used.
Make sure that your brand guide is easy to follow and has clear instructions for different usage scenarios.
All of this will help you and your team create amazing content that looks and sounds exactly like your brand.
If you are consistent with this, you will create a lasting impression on your audience.
And this impression will have them choosing your business over your competitors time and time again.
Step 6: Monitor Your Brand
The final step in our process is to monitor your brand.
Much like you would monitor an ad campaign after launch to optimize results, you’ll be doing the same for your brand.
However, when it comes to your brand, this isn’t as easy as it is for advertisements.
Those ad campaigns provide you with lots of analytics about how you could improve.
In order to monitor your brand effectively, you have to do more than just look at the digital marketing metrics and your analytics.
You’ll have to look at:
- social media discussions,
- comments on your posts,
- reviews, and
- surveys to find out what people think of your brand
As Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, once said, “Your brand is what people say about you behind your back.”
Once you understand how people talk about your brand and interact with your brand…
…then you will be able to make the necessary changes to make sure that your audience maintains a positive image of your brand.
The goal of monitoring is not to change what your brand stands for or any of the features we’ve identified during this process.
The point of monitoring your brand is to see how well it resonates with your audience.
This is what will help uncover areas you can improve on your already established brand identity.
This step is essential to creating a memorable brand identity.
By continuously monitoring and marketing your brand, with time, you’ll build such a memorable brand identity that your audience will be able to identify you.
As well as the values your business stands for just by looking at your logo.
Ready To Create A Memorable Brand Identity?
That’s all we have for the 6 steps to create a memorable brand identity in 2023.
And if you ever need help with any of these steps or your online marketing strategy in general, don’t hesitate to contact us today.