How to Build a Solid Brand Identity

Whether you’re a start-up or a Fortune 500 company, having a strong brand identity is essential to success in today’s fast paced, visually based, society.  Before an individual can even experience your product or consider your service, you have to pull them in with a polished, professional and consistent brand identity.

So, what’s going to catch their attention?  What’s going to bring them into your orbit and seriously consider working with you?…your brand.  So the real question is, what the heck is your brand?

WHAT IS A BRAND IDENTITY, ANYWAY?

For the last decade or so, the word brand has been thrown around routinely, as the world of entrepreneurship has exploded.  As often as the word is used, it’s just as often misunderstood by the general public, and usually has so many definitions that it’s hard to determine what it officially is.  Your brand is way more than just your logo.  Think of your brand as the totality of the characteristics that uniquely identify you, your product, or your service.  These characteristics can include your logo, color scheme, typography, packaging, customer service, price, and product quality.  It also encompasses the intangible emotion or experience of your customer/client.  

Your brand identity is a little more specific than just your brand, and it will be the focus of our conversation today.  Your brand identity is the visual/physical component of your brand.  It is composed of the surface components that a person notices about your brand, the same way that when people meet you, they’ll notice your clothes and other physical characteristics before they get an opportunity to know anything about your personality.  So your brand identity consists of those visual and surface aspects of the characteristics we discussed earlier; logo, colors, fonts, packaging, and messaging.

SO, HOW DO I BUILD A GREAT BRAND?

Your brand is essential to your professional success.  Whether you’re an entrepreneur, work for a company, or you’re an artist or performer, your brand is priceless.  It’s the time that you get to really define who you are and what you want to be perceived as.  Building your brand is a strategic process that most people don’t spend nearly enough time on, if they don’t skip it all together.  It’s important to build a solid foundation for your business, for both yourself and your potential customers or audience.

Building a strategy for an impactful brand isn’t hard to do at all.  First, you’ve got to ask yourself some questions to help define your foundation.  The key here is to dig in, past your surface idea, and set some guidelines.  It may be helpful to sit with a consultant or coach like myself to help achieve your brand identity, but if that’s not in your realm of possibility, here are a handful of questions that can help you solidify your foundation.

Food For Thought Questions

  • What are the mission and values of your brand?
  • What is your brand purpose, promise and position?
  • What products and services will you offer?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What emotion do you want your client to experience while working with your brand?
  • If your brand was a person and had a personality, would you like them?

Once you’ve answered these questions for yourself, you’ll find that you have a much clearer definition of your business, and it will make it extremely easy to actually build the components of your brand identity.  

The components of your brand identity can be checked off as they’re attained, some of the components being quick tasks and others being larger projects.  To keep up with where you are, I’ve created a Brand Identity Checklist that you can grab for free from http://www.kimbrio.com/free-bic.

10 Components of a Solid Brand Identity

  1. Brand/Business Name
  2. Logo
  3. Brand Guidelines (Color Scheme, Typography, Visual Themes)
  4. Brand Messaging (Tagline, Key Messages & Strategies, Etc.)
  5. Supporting Digital Graphics (Social Media Branding, Email List Artwork, Digital Ads, etc.)
  6. Online Identity (Custom Domain Name, Email Addresses, Social Media Accounts)
  7. Web Site
  8. Business Cards
  9. Non-Digital Communication (Letterhead, Greeting Cards, etc.)
  10. Print Brochure or One Sheet

PERFECTING YOUR BRAND IDENTITY IS AN ONGOING PROCESS

Building a solid brand identity that is true to you and your vision is not a one time thing.  It’s not a process that you’ll complete and move on from for the entirety of your professional endeavors.  You’ll find yourself tweaking the components of your brand identity, and sometimes even the depth of your actual brand.  The answers to some of your defining questions may change as your business grows, and that’s okay.  Evolution is natural, and re-branding is a part of almost every successful company’s lifespan.

As you build, tweak, and re-build your brand identity, here are a few quick tips that I want you to keep in mind.

Brand Building Tips

  • Keep it consistent!
  • ALWAYS remember your “Why”
  • Don’t mimic your competition
  • Engage & CONNECT with your fans
  • Be UNIQUE!
  • Focus on attracting new supporters and spoiling your loyal fans

Be sure to grab your free Brand Identity Checklist to help you along your journey.  

If you’re ready to pull the trigger and get started now, consider grabbing a Brand Basics Print Pack.  For details, send me an email to kim@kimbrio.com and mention the Brand Basics Print Pack.

Now, go and build your brand identity like the BOSS that you are!