What is brand identity? 

And how do I build a successful brand identity? 

As an expert brand building company we know your brand identity is a powerful tool that can influence the way clients and potential customers think about your company.  

Your brand identity is not just one thing. It consists of several professionally created elements which are mostly visual. When combined, these components can build an effective, distinctive brand identity.  

Seven Elements needed to build a strong company brand: 

  1. Name and Tagline
  2. Logo 
  3. Colour Palett
  4. Typography 
  5. Graphical Elements
  6. Imagery style 
  7. Tone of Voice 

When professionally designed as part of our brand building service, these elements work together to communicate a unified visual message or visual tone. All or some of the elements will be used to design and deploy anything visual that represents your company. They will include: Stationery, Flyers, Website, Packaging, Interior and Exterior Signage 

Each element of your brand identity is an opportunity to influence the way people perceive your company. Let’s look at each one individually. 

1. Name and Tagline generation  

Part of your new brand development will be selecting a company name. Naming can be a complicated process but we can guide you and make the naming process for your company as easy as possible. As a brand building agency we are well aware of what needs to be taken into account when generating and selecting a brand name — pronunciation, trademark issues, originality, URL availability, spelling, additional colloquial meanings, foreign language meanings. We guide our clients every step of the way in this brand naming process.  

Strong company names ideally should be easy to say and spell, memorable and short. They can be abstract or literal descriptions of what your company does. Avoid a brand name that is too long, confusing or generic.  

If you are starting your brand building process consider renaming your business if it falls into any of the categories of types of brand names to avoid.  If you don’t yet have a brand name we are an agency with the experience and expertise to develop a powerful brand name for your company.  

Once you are happy with your unique new company name it is time to establish if a tagline is required. It is important in your brand building process to only use a tagline if it adds value. A brand tagline should serve a clear function.  

Does your company tagline help to build your brand by: 

  • Explaining what your company does 
  • Highlighting a main brand attribute 
  • Stating your company’s focus 
  • Making your company more memorable 

2. Logo design in brand building 

Your company logo is one of the visual components of your brand. It will serve as a symbol for your business as a whole. If you are starting your brand building journey it’s important to be aware of what job your logo will do. A well designed logo will rarely describe a business but it will allow clients to identify the company. This is why the other visual elements of your brand are so important – your logo only works as it’s intended to after people become familiar with your brand. Your brand logo might occasionally stand-alone eg. On your company building but more often it will be a small part of a piece of communication that will contain the other elements of you overall branding. Ideally your brand should become so strong and distinctive that your marketing communication will be recognisable as yours even without your logo. The best brand building companies will be able to achieve this for your company over time. 

3. Company Colour Palette as part of your visual branding 

Though your company logo might have one or two colours this does not mean that these are your only brand colours. In fact we recommend a carefully selected suite of colours that will ensure flexibility within your brand and allow you to build visually engaging pieces of brand communication. 

As one of the elements in your brand identity colours should be carefully considered.  We believe that in order to build a successful brand your colour palette should be selected based on brand strategy rather than personal preference or phycology. So rather than being restricted to “traditional” colours for your industry why not look at going against the grain selecting colours that stand out amongst your competitors. The same can be said for selecting brand colours based on what you like. It’s more important that your brand colours serve your brand by supporting your company’s unique look – not just colours you like personally. 

What is brand identity? 
Learn how Branding can transform your business.

4. Typography – brand typefaces 

During your brand building process the fonts that your company will use and how they will be used will be decided. This could be as simple as one or two fonts being chosen for your company to use in all brand communication or as in depth as a custom typeface being created with specific type treatment set out for different scenarios (Headings, quotes etc.) The typeface selected will be dictated by the brand personality you need to convey for your company. There are also practical considerations, for your new brand development, such as web friendly fonts and access for staff to the company typefaces. There is little point in selecting a brand font that can only be used in some instances. This will lead to inconsistency in marketing material and will lead to a weak brand overall. By selecting a brand building agency you can be sure that your brand typography will be carefully considered. Fonts and how to use them will be set out in your brand guideline so that all marketing material can be checked to ensure that your brand goes from strength to strength. A consistent look is essential for a strong and successful brand identity. 

5. Graphical Elements for Brand Building 

A unique and adaptable brand element can add interest to all of your marketing material. It can be used instead of your company logo to apply your brand look to a range of materials. So what is it? Sometimes is will be developed from an interesting part of your company logo. Equally it can contrast with your brand logo for a dynamic brand look and feel. To demonstrate this we can show you an example we developed for one of our clients.  

The PROGRESSIVE GENETICS shape element is inspired by a combination of DNA and petri dish view under a microscope. The shapes can be used individually with a solid colour, individually containing an image, as part of a group filled with colour over a white background, over an image or over a solid colour. Innovation and 

experiment is encouraged when using the shape element. It is a flexible aspect of the brand and can be used in many different formats. There are currently 5 different colour options which can be used with the solid colours from the brand colours. More colour options may be created as required. 

6. Imagery style 

The photography and/or illustrations you use in your company’s marketing communications should add to your brand identity. Rather than just selecting an image based on content with no regard to style you should follow the distinct style set out for your brand. In professional brand building services, an imagery style should be set out. This doesn’t mean that bespoke photography needs to be taken as not all companies have a marketing budget to allow for that. What it does mean is that all imagery used to build your brand will have a common style, theme, or treatment. Unfortunately, this aspect of brand building is where many companies fail. By using generic images their brand doesn’t stand out and the visual tone becomes unclear. It can be very useful to ask your chosen brand building company to supply you with a bank of approx. 100 images that are aligned with your brand’s imagery style. An interesting approach to this visual aspect of your brand is to select photographs that all have a similar colour or represent some of your brand values instead of specifically what your company does. This will help your brand positioning to be clear to your audience. When searching for stock photography try to select images that represent your brand values. It can be helpful to find an account that suits your brand on a stock photography site and use images from the same account so that they all have a similar look and feel. Another trick is to crop images in an interesting way to give them a clear style that builds your brand further. If your marketing budget allows custom photography is an ideal way to build a strong brand. A professional photography can supply you with a selection of images that can be used to create a positive image and will resonate with your target audience. This approach also allows you to request copy space in your bespoke photography which means that your marketing will have a more professional look. Another option in the brand building process is to use illustrations. Again, consistency in terms of style of illustrations is key when trying to develop a strong brand. Hiring an illustrator to create bespoke images is the ideal solution as they will be completely on brand and unique to your company. If stock illustrations are to be used because of budget restrictions it is best to select a style that is not too limiting when finding new images. There is no point in selecting an elaborate style if there is only one illustration available as you will likely need several throughout the lifetime of your brand. A simple style can be selected which can be customised using your brand colours and graphic elements. The saying “A picture is worth a thousand words” is very true when it comes to branding. So, using the correct images is key when you are trying to build a distinct and memorable company brand. 

7. Tone of Voice 

Imagine if one piece of marketing used a serious formal style of writing and the next used  jokes and a friendly style – this would cause confusion amongst your target market. While an extreme example, it is important to consider and define the tone of voice that your company should use. A brand tone of voice is the style your company speaks to the world. It includes  the emotional tone, type of words and overall writing style. As with all of the elements of your brand identity, the company tone of voice must reflect your brand values and must match the brand personality. So, whether approachable or serious, consistency is essential in your language style for successful new brand development. It can be helpful, when involved in brand building, to describe your brand tone of voice in a document that gives examples and general guidelines on the style of writing to be used in all communication from your company. This approach means that all staff have clear guidance and extremal companies who may write copy for you will also be aware of your specific brand tone of voice. 

If each of these 7 brand elements are created mindfully and with your overall brand strategy in focus you will be well on your way to developing a successful brand identity. 

With each brand element established it is vital that they are communicated effectively to everyone who will be creating content or marketing material for the company. The best way to do this is through a brand guideline. This can be a pdf document which explains the rules around each brand element. To prevent your carefully crafted brand going off track you should communicate to all staff the importance of strong branding. Instead of seeing the branding as restrictive this should help them to see the rules as supportive so that the company can present a united face. If everyone understands the brand building process and the resulting benefits of a strong and consistent brand there will be less instances of off-brand communication pieces.  In larger companies it can be helpful to designate a person to oversee branding and to correct any items that may be damaging to the brand or simply not in keeping with the brand identity. 

Now that you are aware of the 7 elements involved in brand building for business you can  take at look at where companies can go wrong in terms of brand positioning and development here

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