What does it take to fully create a brand?
How do you support your brand identity beyond a killer logo?
Is branding an ongoing activity, or can you set it and forget it?
There are so many good questions when it comes to the elements of a brand. In this blog post, we will paint a picture of the expectations for building a brand that’s ready to go out in the world and shine.
Essentially, the equation is: brand identity + branding = your brand.
But first, let’s define the terms “brand identity” and “branding,” just so we’re on the same page.
Brand Identity vs. Branding
Brand identity is all of the tangible elements that combine to create a single brand image. Elements can include logos, brand names, taglines, style, and color, all working together to help consumers associate specific elements with the brand itself.
Branding is the act of developing and applying imagery, messaging, values, and operations that reflect what the brand is, what it does, and why it does it. The brand is communicated visually, textually, and experientially in every context where consumers can interact with it.
In other words, brand identity and branding truly define what your brand is all about, and it does it in a way that’s authentic, original, and bleeds throughout all areas of business. This creates not only a consistent experience for consumers, but also expectations that hold your brand to a certain standard. It’s what separates you from your competitors, makes you recognizable, and makes you more likely to build long-lasting relationships with your customers.
To help create a brand, you first need to develop a brand identity.
The 4 Elements of a Solid Brand Identity
The very first step in creating a brand identity is establishing a brand name. Ideally, you want the name to communicate information as well as emotion, so consumers can easily recall it. You may decide to develop it in-house or work with an agency with experience in naming.
This is the element most people associate with a brand. It’s highly visual and—by including certain colors, fonts, and styles—elicits some type of feeling from consumers. Since the logo is applied to all brand materials, you want it to be something you’re comfortable using for the foreseeable future. Again, you may want to work with a design agency to develop a logo for your brand.
The tagline is a short phrase that communicates either what you do, why you do it, how you do it differently, or how it impacts consumers. It accompanies the brand logo to further define the brand or what consumers can expect.
While there are many different fonts you could choose from for your brand, you’ll probably want to narrow it down to just a few selections you can use across all channels. This keeps your communications consistent and helps consumers associate the font with your brand.
Once you’ve developed a brand identity that captures what your brand is all about, you’re ready to support it with ongoing branding (and yes, that does answer our question earlier about whether or not you can “set it and forget it.”).
Next, let us learn the elements to consider to create a brand.
Elements to Consider When You Create a Brand
With branding, you’ll want to determine how you can elaborate on your brand identity to communicate a message to consumers. For example, a camping equipment company probably wants to create a library of images that reflect what their brand is about and stands for—plus, they’ll want to include their logo and/or tagline on those images for brand recognition. If you’re a bakery, then perhaps you create an experience for those who visit your store, which supports your brand identity.
Here are a few elements of branding you may want to use:
In order for brands to thrive, they need to determine their positioning— which is basically their place in the market. You can figure this out by defining who it is you serve and applying as many specifics as possible. For example, your target audience may be women in their 40s, married and with kids, who have full-time careers. Understanding your brand positioning helps you serve your audience better, because you know more about what they need and want.
What is the personality of your brand? Is it funny and lighthearted, or stoic and dependable? Once you determine how you want consumers to perceive your brand, you can apply that personality across all areas of the business for consistency.
How you deliver your message across channels is called your brand communication. Whether it’s email marketing, social media, or advertising, be sure your messaging is consistent everywhere.
What makes your brand different from your competitors? This is the question you need to answer for brand differentiation. Consider what makes you stand out and how that benefits consumers, and then promote it in all aspects of the consumer experience.
Do you stand for a social cause, or does your brand align with certain beliefs? Studies show consumers are lining up behind brands with a purpose, so it may be worth considering what yours is first.
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Putting It All Together
Now that you know how to approach your brand identity and branding, you may want to develop a strategy for serving a cohesive message, visuals and experience to the world. If your brand already exists but needs to be updated, check out this guide to rebranding.
To learn more about how to create a brand, check out Simplilearn’s Digital Strategy for Brand Marketing Course.